Fly Fishing the Middle Chesapeake – Early June

After the successes of May, I honestly expected the fishing to stay solid through the end of June.  Looks like I was wrong.

Early morning at Cedar Point off of Solomons.  It was unusually dead for a weekday morning.

I spent last Wednesday and Thursday fishing the middle Chesapeake, ranging from Sharps Island Light to the mouth of the Honga River.  My friend and I fished back in amongst the islands of the Eastern Shore with fly rods and spinning tackle, deep water ledges and artificial reefs, and a few go-to spots along the Western Shore.  All in all, we probably managed 20 fish over two days of effort, and none had any size.  What happened?

One of the nicer schoolies we caught.  This one came while walking the shore by an island creek gut.

Both days saw strong winds that muddied the shallow waters I’d been fishing, and that, combined with poorer water clarity from algae blooms, limited the amount of clean water we found.  When we did find clean water, we caught fish.  Cleaner water was in the southern end of our travels, while the shallows of the northern end were muddy, with the deeper waters showing a heavy mahogany tide.  In these conditions, and with water temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s, striped bass like to suspend as deep as they can while still having clean water and good oxygen.  South of Sharps Island, I wasn’t able to find good structure with the right conditions.

Sharps Island Light

That said, we did find hundreds of stingrays and ran into bottle nosed dolphins a number of times.  Oddly, we saw no cow nose rays in the Honga, but saw dozens of southern stingrays in all shapes and sizes.  In the area near the Choptank and Little Choptank, cow nose rays were everywhere.  In our hunt for striped bass, we left them all alone.

Until the heavy runoff from our May rains settles, I imagine summer striper fishing will be slow out of Solomons.

Solomons watermen (and the photographer) are fans of silly boat names.

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