9 Best Striper Fishing Spots in Maryland

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Whether you call them stripers or rockfish, striped bass are a beloved game fish up and down the East Coast. Maryland anglers enjoy targeting stripers as much as anyone and have more types of water to catch them in than just about anyone.

This guide will help you find Maryland’s hot spots and have one of your best rockfish seasons ever.

Maryland Coast Surf Stripers

Many surf anglers on the Maryland coast near Ocean City will be fishing with bait, such as live eels or fresh bunker.

A chunk of bunker (Atlantic menhaden) fished on a fish-finder rig is one of the most popular set-ups and is tough to top. Live eels are certainly effective but pricier and more apt to be chomped by bluefish or tie themselves in knots. 

Look for sand bars closer to shore, specifically troughs around those bars. You can watch the wave action as incoming waves hit a sandbar to see where lines of deeper water exist.

Target the spots near these irregularities in sand bars with fresh bait, bucktails, or diamond jigs, especially on a high tide.

Ocean City Inlet

A hurricane that battered the Maryland coast in 1933 formed the Ocean City Inlet, creating a natural passage from the Isle of Wight Bay to the open Atlantic.

As is the case with almost any narrow passage connecting a protected bay from the open ocean, it is an excellent ambush point for game fish like striped bass to target baitfish like bunker and sand eels that funnel through. 

Casting a bucktail or diamond jig from the tip of the north jetty is your best bet for stripers on the eastern side of the inlet. Plan your trip to this spot to coincide with a high tide.

When the tide is dropping, stripers will hold on the south side of the inlet, because there’s a steep drop-off. The ebbing tide will wash baitfish out of the bay, and it’s a perfect place for striped bass to sit and wait. 

March through May and October and November are the prime seasons to find better-sized fish holding around the inlet during their annual migrations to and from the Chesapeake Bay.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island is a beautiful stretch of protected land that runs through both Maryland and Virginia, and it can offer great striper fishing for anglers in both states.

Chunked bait like bunker on a circle hook will provide your best chance at hooking and landing fish on a regular basis. However, throwing topwater poppers at first light and bucktails and diamond jigs at high tide can be productive as well.

Action will be best here in early spring and late fall when stripers are leaving for the Northeast in March and April and returning in November and December.

A bunker chunk, clam, or piece of squid on a circle hook with a pyramid sinker to hold the bottom in the surf, with a three-foot leader of fluorocarbon, is a good beach option.

Access: Maddox Blvd. leads to Beach Road in Assateague, which will take you out to the island and lead to a variety of parking, driving or walking options.

Catch More Surf Stripers

Check out my full guide to catching stripers in the surf.

Chesapeake Bay Stripers

Chesapeake Bay is renowned for its nearly year-round striper fishing, whether your throwing bait and lures around the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, trolling through the depths of the bay, or casting from one of its long piers.

However, since we also published a complete striper fishing guide for the Chesapeake as well as a separate guide to all types of Chesapeake Bay fishing and crabbing that you should check out, we’ll move up into freshwater areas next.

River Stripers

Potomac River

The Potomac River, shared with Virginia and Washington, D.C., gets a run of shad every year, and these are a favorite food source for stripers.

However, targeting stripers on the Potomac is highly regulated before June 1 to protect these spawning fish.

Because the seasonal regulations can be hard to keep track of, it’s best to reference these color-coded maps to tell you what areas of the bay and tributaries are open, closed, or open to catch-and-release only throughout the calendar year.

Between June 1 and July 15, you can fish the Potomac for stripers that have not yet headed back into the Atlantic and up the East Coast. Although these early summer fish are typically smaller striped bass, those between one and three years old, larger summer stripers are caught in the river every year.

In the fall, stripers return to the river to chase bait.

Target areas where creeks flow into the Potomac and where shallow flats are adjacent to steep drops.

Rockfish use these ledges and drop-offs to corral baitfish. Also, the increased oxygen level where tidal creeks flow is always a magnet for all manner of life.

Speaking of big fish in the Potomac, the river is home to a large population of invasive and humongous blue catfish.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing the Potomac River

Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna Flats on this river were, for a long time, a favorite spot to target and catch enormous striped bass in the spring. However, the popularity of the fishery threatened the health of the species, so tightened regulations now ensure these fish remain an integral part of the Atlantic ecosystem.

Per current regulations, the lower Susquehanna River is open to striper fishing from May 16 to May 31, and the entire river opens until July 15. However, at last update, Maryland fisheries officials were moving toward halting the spring fishery on the lower river to further protect spawning stripers.

Be sure to read the most current regulations pertaining to the Susquehanna and its tidal flats can be confusing. It’s best to read them in detail here and look for emergency changes.

It’s worth noting that the Susquehanna regulations apply to a point downriver from a line connecting the Susquehanna State Park boat ramp at Lapidum (at the end of Lapidum Road) to Comes Wharf in Port Deposit (right across the river).

In the spring, you’ll want to find the warmest water possible, where stripers will feed on herring and hickory shad. Imitating either of those big baits will be your best shot at a trophy striper.

Warming water temperatures in the summer will push these fish out of the river into the bay and up the coast.

In the fall, you will see these fish back in the river because the shallow flats give them a great means of ambushing baitfish to fatten up for the coming winter.

Stripers can be caught in the river through November and December, often in water as shallow as 5 feet. Topwater plugs at first light, or big, herring- and shad-imitation baits are your best bet.

The Susquehanna also is among Maryland’s most famous bass fishing rivers.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing the Susquehanna River

Landlocked Stripers

When targeting landlocked stripers in Maryland’s reservoirs, you can keep two fish of at least 18 inches per day, year-round, but only one of those may be larger than 30 inches. 

Piney Run Reservoir

Piney Run is a 300-acre lake in Carroll County that has an enormous variety of freshwater species ranging from largemouth bass to brown trout to tiger muskies.

The state boasts that it is one of the most popular and productive lakes in Maryland. Of course, you’re reading about it here because it has landlocked striped bass as well.

There’s a catch: There are no gasoline motors allowed on Piney Run. So bring your kayak, canoe or electric trolling motor-powered boat if you want to fish here.

The lake’s northeast corner has the deepest holes, pushing 40 feet, so you’ll want to concentrate your efforts here during the summer, when stripers are holding in the coolest water.

Steep drops along the entire northwest corner of the lake offer a prime place for fish to push bait in cooler spring and fall months.

Access: Martz Road in Sykesville provides the best parking/access options. 

Triadelphia Reservoir

While at this writing, the boat ramps are currently closed to use at Triadelphia, this is another Maryland gem with a variety of gamefish species. Check for launch status before bringing your watercraft.

The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission owns the reservoir and allows fishing.

Anglers can target northern pike, pickerel, and largemouth, but the reservoir also has stripers.

The southernmost portion of the lake has the deepest holes, pushing 50-plus feet. That’s where you should concentrate your efforts in the summer. 

Steep drop-offs near the Brighton Dam, also in this portion of the reservoir, are shelves that stripers will use to push bait, especially in the fall as these fish feed more aggressively.

The Big Branch Recreation Area off Triadelphia Mill Road on a northwest arm of the lake is an access point that, when it’s open, will put you near the type of shallow flats that stripers will use in the fall to feed.

The arm of the reservoir that leads to the ramp has deep drops adjacent to flats and is a good place to concentrate your efforts in the corner seasons of spring and fall.

Triadelphia Reservoir offers a variety of gamefish, including some very good crappie fishing for panfish aficionados.

Access: The Greenbridge Recreation Area in Brookville is at the end of Greenbridge Road.

Rocky Gorge Reservoir

The 34,000-acre Rocky Gorge Reservoir is home to everything from catfish to walleye to stripers.

In the spring, while water temperatures are still in the 60s, stripers are likely pushing shad into the shallows. So try a chatterbait near shallow structure, especially in shad color patterns.

Alabama rigs that mimic a school of small baitfish can be effective on reservoirs like Rocky Gorge as well.

This long, thin reservoir has almost all of its deepest water in the southeastern end, where holes plunge to 100 feet. By contrast, the northern end has flats that range from six to 18 feet deep.

Access: At the end of Supplee Lane in Laurel, a public launch will put you on the Patuxent River. If you head west, you’ll reach the reservoir. 

Liberty Reservoir

Although Liberty Reservoir has at times been stocked with striped bass by the state, stocks have struggled in recent decades. However, there are still stripers and other game fish like walleye, trout, and largemouth and smallmouth bass.

The reservoir drops to more than 140 feet deep, giving stripers ample deep-water habitat for the warmest months of the year.

This is another reservoir where gasoline motors are prohibited, so kayaks, canoes or boats with electric trolling motors are your best options.

The southern portion of this massive, sprawling lake has the deepest holes, pushing 100-plus feet, and should be the focus of your efforts in the summer.

The northern portion has shallow flats that can draw these fish in to feed in the spring and late fall.

Access: Just west of the intersection between Oakland Mills Road and Rte. 26 is Lakeview Memorial Park, which is great for shore fishing. A service road that runs off Oakland Mills Road has a public launch right at the end. 

Catch More Freshwater Stripers

If you plan to target striped bass in a lake or river, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Freshwater Striper Fishing.