Baltimore Maryland

Saltwater Fishing

striped bass school

Baltimore Maryland is well known as a saltwater fishing destination. The city offers convenient access to the Chesapeake Bay from the Inner Harbor and other nearby locations.

Anglers departing from Baltimore fish for striped bass (rockfish), white perch, croakers, spot, flounder, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and other species. Recreational crabbing is also popular on the nearby Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers.

Baltimore has an excellent fleet of charter boats, fishing guides, outfitters, and local tours. Outdoor guides also offer kayak tours, guided fly fishing trips, nature tours, waterfowl hunting, and other outdoor activities.

Saltwater Fishing Locations

Patapsco River

The Patapsco River is one of the most important destinations for saltwater fishing. Flowing from western Maryland, the Tidal Patapsco passes through metropolitan Baltimore, including the world famous Inner Harbor.

Below the Inner Harbor, the river is joined by Stony, Rock, Main, and Bodkin Creeks. Several of these tributaries sustain populations of white perch, striped bass, catifhs, and other species.

Other Rivers and Creeks

North of Baltimore, several rivers and creeks offer fishing opportunities. Near Essex, the Back River is a popular saltwater fishing destination. Along its banks are Rocky Point Park and portions of North Point State Park. Near the mouth of the Back River is Cedar Point and Hart-Miller Pleasure Island State Park.

Just North of Cedar Point is the Middle River. The lower Middle River consists of a network of covers, small creeks, and marshes where a variety of fish and wildlife find refuge.

Also located along the I-95 corridor are the Gunpowder and Bush Rivers. Near White Marsh, a portion of Gunpowder Falls State Park provides access to the Tidal Gunpowder.

Conowingo Dam - Susquehanna Flats

Located within a short distance of Baltimore is the Conowingo Dam and Susquehanna Flats. Accessed from the city Havre De Grace, these areas are famous for their outstanding fishing. Below the dam, a number of species congregate, including catfish, striped bass, shad, and others. In springtime, the Susquehanna flats come live as trophy class stripers move in the shallows to spawn.

Chesapeake Bay

The upper and middle Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore contains a wide range of fishing spots including shoals, lumps, natural reefs, channels, and manmade structures.

The shipping channel near Baltimore attracts trophy-class striped bass (rockfish). In spring, anglers troll along the channel for striped bass as they move back down the bay after spawning.

During summertime, anglers also fish along the southern end of the shipping channel edges for bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and other species. Each season is unique, with the northernmost range of fish varying from year to year along the channel.

Again in the fall, trophy striped bass fishing occurs along much of the shipping channel. As striped bass move south, some anglers follow the fish as far as the Virginia line.

Natural Structure

Located near Baltimore are a wide range of naturally occuring bottom features, including ancient shellfish beds, shoals, lumps, and other structures that attract fish, crabs, and other marine life. Popular fishing areas include Tea Kettle Shoals, Tolchester Lump, Gales Lumps, Hodges Bar, Man O' War Shoals, 6 foot knoll, 7 foot knoll, 9 foot knoll, Belvidere Shoal, Snake Reef, Swan Point Bar, the Dumping Ground, and others.

Artificial Reefs

Four artificial reefs (Pooles Island, Tolchester, Gales Lumps, and Memorial) are located near Baltimore. Chesapeake Bay artificial reefs attract a variety of fish species.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Just south of Baltimore is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Spanning 4.3 miles, the dual bridge spans provide prime fish habitat for striped bass, white perch, and other species. The bridge and nearby structures include a wide range of environments where anglers can practice their craft.

With its deep water and frequently rough conditions, the main channel is often targeted by large charter vessels. The bridge pilings offer fishing opportunities for smaller craft. Nearby, Sandy Point State Park is popular for shore fishing, crabbing, boat launching, and kayak launching.

Free Fishing Areas

The following Maryland free fishing locations are located near Baltimore City:

Canton Recreational Pier at Boston Street

Hull Street Recreational Pier (directions: Key Highway to Hull Street north)

Middle Branch Park from fishing pier south of the Hanover and Pottee Street Bridges, to Hanover Street Bridge over Middle Branch (directions: Route 2 to Middle Branch Park)

A MD angler registration is required for anglers fishing without a license in designated license free fishing areas. For more information, visit

Related Information

Saltwater Fishing Techniques

Fishing Piers


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