The picturesque Chesapeake Bay, at almost 200 miles long, is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest in the world. The 64,000-square-mile watershed spans from New York to Virginia and is fed by more than 100,000 streams and rivers. The bay’s brackish water – a combination of salt and fresh water – creates a nutrient-rich habitat ideal for fish and other bay species breeding and nursery areas.
Looking to do some fishing? Several areas in the northern and southern parts of Calvert County, Maryland, provide public water access to the bay, including North Beach, Breezy Point Beach & Campground and Rod N Reel Marina West. Solomons Boat Ramp and Fishing Pier, Chesapeake Beach and several commercial trailered boat ramps are also available for boat access onto the bay.
Fishing seasons on the Chesapeake Bay vary based on the species migrations, weather and bay conditions and the availability of the species. The striped bass, or rockfish, is one of the most popular commercial and recreational fish species and is the state fish of Maryland! Rockfish season runs from May through mid-December. Another prevalent fish species, the black drum, is one of the largest species of fish in the bay. Black drum fishing season runs from May to early June. Regular seasons for spot, white perch, sea trout and whiting run mid-June through early October, while Spanish mackerel and bluefish season runs from late July to late September or early October.
The bay is rich with many other species including red drum, yellow perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass, black sea bass, catfish, chain pickerel, cobia, croaker, northern snakehead (an invasive but tasty species), sheepshead, brown shrimp, white shrimp, snapper species, spotted seatrout, summer flounder, tautog, walleye and weakfish.
A sport fishing license is required for those 16 years of age and older. Maryland offers free fishing days on the first two Saturdays in June as well as on July 4th each year.
If you are seeking fun on the water but do not want to worry about the details, hire a charter boat for a half or full-day adventure! There are many private charter boat companies that provide an all-inclusive experience for your group.
Head out onto the bay with Captain Drew Payne and Big Worm Charter Fishing on their locally famous and signature green and black boat, Big Worm. Chesapeake Beach Fishing Charters offers several boats to accommodate groups of six up to a group of 30. Check out family-owned and operated Katherine Charter Fishing, which sails seven days a week. Join Captain Wally Talbert of Renegade Charters out of Solomons Island for an exciting fishing adventure aboard the 40-foot vessel, Renegade.
Whether you are at the northern or southern end of the county, there are several area restaurants that offer a delicious menu and a scenic view of the water.
In North Beach, enjoy southern coastal cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood and wine offerings at Hook & Vine Kitchen and Bar. In the mood for steamed blue crabs? Check out Abner’s Crabhouse, a family-owned and operated restaurant in neighboring Chesapeake Beach. Sit outdoors and take in the views while enjoying a delicious meal at 1936 Bar & Grill – they also feature live music every Saturday! For a more upscale experience, visit Baia Coastal Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar which offers a coastal Italian seafood menu including pasta made in-house and several Italian wine offerings.
In the southern part of the county, Solomons offers many choices with prime views of the bay. Angler’s Seafood Bar & Grill and Bugeye Grill offer a seafood and steak menu. Try some tapas at Charles Street Brasserie. Enjoy dinner and drinks at Island Hideaway or The Lighthouse Restaurant & Dock Bar overlooking Back Creek and Solomons harbor. Indulge in your favorite southern Italian cuisine at La Vela Italian Restaurant. Order a crab cake dinner at The Pier and take in the views of the Patuxent River. In nearby Dowell, enjoy a burger with friends at Hidden Harbour.
Looking to explore locally after a day of fishing? Check out one of Calvert’s driving trails for inspiration and to truly enjoy all that the area has to offer! Whether it’s a wine tasting with friends at one of the area’s wineries and vineyards or listening to live music at a local brewery, there is much to experience! Enjoy the local, award-winning wineries and breweries found on the Calvert County Wine & Ale Trail. Explore the local arts and culture scene by following the Calvert County Arts & Antiques Trail, there are many shops and galleries along the way to find a perfect souvenir. Spend an afternoon checking out the unique and colorful hand-painted quilt squares featured on barns and buildings throughout the county – use the Barn Quilt Trail as your guide!
Hunt for fossils at Calvert Cliffs State Park or Flag Ponds Nature Park in Lusby. Chesapeake Heritage and Paleontology Tours in St. Leonard offers guided collecting tours. What treasures will you find?
Opt outside! Enjoy the outdoors and trails perfect for your next hiking or biking adventure. Follow the Chesapeake Beach Historic Heritage Trail or the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail and take in the sights and learn about the rich local history.
In the Solomons area, take a stroll through the sculpture garden and peruse the art gallery at Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. Learn about the marine and local wildlife at Calvert Marine Museum, where you can meet local river otter celebrities Chumley, Calvert and Chessie Grace. Tour the historic Drum Point Lighthouse and shop for the perfect gift at the museum store before you leave!
When planning your visit to beautiful Calvert County, remember, it’s always in season!