Regional Reports-East

Chesapeake Bay

To most anglers, the Chesapeake Bay area is known for high-profile species like striped bass and bluefish. But the Chesapeake is also home to good numbers of channel catfish. "Channel cats can tolerate some salinity and can be found in the brackish portions of the Chesapeake," says Jim Uphoff, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist. Uphoff notes that the bay's catfish numbers peaked several years back, but the age-classes remaining from that boom have given the present population a proportionally high number of large fish. These include some that could approach the 28-pounder that stands as the largest "spotted cat" taken out of Maryland's share of the bay. An avid catfish angler, Uphoff feels the best time to fish is early May, prior to the spawn. Ideal places to cast are areas of submerged structure upstream from the mouths of rivers such as the Choptank. As for the most potent catfish baits, Uphoff prefers chunks of peeler crab and cut fish. Contact: Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Service (Tawes Building, B-2 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401; 800-688-3467; www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries).