Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

hHave you ever fished on the Chesapeake Bay before? Wondering what the Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons are? Every year, thousands of fishing enthusiasts flock to the region to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that it offers, and if you love getting out on the water then it is definitely worth a trip.

With over 150 rivers flowing into the bay, it gives anglers the choice of nearly 4,500 square miles of water to fish in and the Chesapeake Bay is a truly year-round fishing spot. With such a vast body of water, knowing the right spots to visit as well as the right time, can make or break your experience. Here at Backdraft Charters, our expert captains know the Chesapeake Bay fishing seasons have been fishing in these waters for nearly three decades…

The Chesapeake Bay is renowned for the highly sought after Striped Bass and the late spring, early summer months are the perfect opportunity to secure that catch of a lifetime. In May, this large breed is making its way through the Chesapeake stem and our knowledgeable captains will be able to take you right into the middle of their migration route.

As it is such a short season, demand for charters during this period is always high so we recommend booking in as soon as you can!

As the summer begins in earnest, it is a great time to hit the water and teach your kids how to fish. The water is still packed with fish and the area has decreased its sized limits and introduce a more liberal bag limit – making it a great time to head out in larger groups.

Bottom fishing is incredibly popular during this period and during these months, the Chesapeake Bay begins to see large numbers of white perch and spot arrive, alongside the first signs of bluefish too. Some years we could even see some black drums arriving by August as well.

The summer months are also a great time to experience the local area, with an abundance of fresh seafood restaurants and bars to choose from!

September is the best month for trying out various styles of fishing, but most anglers opt for live-bait fishing to attract the large numbers of bluefish and Spanish Mackerel that are in the bay area. September is a great month for bottom fishing too, with spot, white perch, and croakers in abundance.

With the weather beginning to cool down, it’s one of the best times of year out on the water – not too hot, not too cold. It’s also a great time of the year to see some incredible sunsets too.

With water temperatures dropping, October sees the Chesapeake Bay welcome thousands of rockfish arrive. Fishing enthusiasts will be able to use a wide range of methods to catch the rockfish during this time of year, but it is also still possible to catch bluefish and white perch too – just remember to wrap up warm as it can get quite cold!

The last two months of the year lets anglers catch a mix of resident fish and those migrating through the Chesapeake Bay, and is often the time of year to catch the biggest fish. It is an incredibly varied time of year and you will never know what you might catch on each day, but our experienced captains will always take you to the most populous spots!

So no matter what time of year you’re thinking of enjoying a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay, Backdraft Charters will help to give you the trip of a lifetime in accordance with the Chesapeake Bay fishing seasons.  See more Maryland fishing regulations.

Rockfish Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

Rockfish / Striper – Subject to Restrictions  The Spring Trophy Season begins May 1 and goes to May 15th and is limited to one fish per person and a minimum size limit of 35 inches. The Summer and Fall seasons (mid May – December) the limit is 2 per person and a minimum size of 19′ inches. One of the 2 can be over 28 inches.

FISHING STYLE: Trolling, Bait-casting, Live Lining, Chumming

Bluefish Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

Bluefish – Mid June / August / September – There is an 8 inch minimum and a limit of 10 per person.

FISHING STYLE: Trolling, Livilining, Chumming

Black Drum Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

Black Drum – Late May – Mid June

FISHING STYLE: Bottom Fishing while drifting


Spanish Mackerel Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

Spanish Mackerel – July / August / September


White Perch Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons

White Perch – June to September

FISHING STYLE: Drifting or anchored Bottom Fishing.

Turn Fishing Dreams Into Reality, Let's Go Fishing!

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Chesapeake Bay Fishing Seasons