AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY
POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (...) — At Fletcher"s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461), expect catfish and a few bass but slow going overall. Downstream, bass guides Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) and Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) are finding bass, but it's hard work, they admit. Usually, plastic worms and topwater poppers are the primary lures. In the saltier parts below the Route 301 bridge, trollers using small spoons and bucktails find a few rockfish and blues. The catches increase as you head farther downriver.
WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (..) — Some people insist the largest croakers are hooked in this river, but I can't find anybody to verify it. For boat rentals call Quade's store in Bushwood (301/769-3903).
MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (...) — If you're willing to work for your fish, soft plastics, Minus-1 crankbaits and topwater lures can score around milfoil and hydrilla beds.
SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — Gilbert Run Park"s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) has sunfish, for sure, but bass are tough to find. At St. Mary's Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road), you will get fat sunnies, a few bass and some catfish. It will get better when cooler weather arrives.
LITTLE SENECA LAKE: 30 miles (...) — Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117, near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127) can be fine if you fish early or late. Bass, well-fed bluegills and catfish can be yours.
WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (...) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Get there early and work points and stickups with loud surface poppers, then follow up with 4-inch Power Worms or other scented baits. Bass will do the rest.
PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (...) — White perch are plentiful everywhere in the river's feeder creeks, says the Tackle Box in Lexington Park. If it's flounder you want, the flatties have been in the mouth of the river with drifted minnows a good way to find them. The Cedar Point area on the south side of the river's mouth has been alive with rockfish, small blues and some Spanish mackerel.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (...) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) ranger Smokey Davis reports, "Hot weather and low water conditions have made the bass bite really tough. You must fish early or late to have a chance for quality fish. Channel catfish up to seven pounds are being taken regularly on chicken livers. The crappies have gone south, but our bluegills love mealworms. The reservoir is clear with water temperatures in the mid to high 80s."
BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (..) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) It's still slow going for most species, especially bass.
AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (..) — DNR biologist John Mullican said the fishing is holding up pretty well despite the heat. Water temperatures in the upper river range from 83 to 87 degrees; the river is low and clear. Water star grass continues to increase, and many shallow areas better resemble a lawn than a river. Nevertheless, smallmouth bass have been taking tubes, grubs and small Power Worms bounced on the bottom. Use weightless-rigged worms on top of vegetation, then pull them into open pockets.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (...) — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) says, "Good fishing one day, poor the next, but we're getting a consistent early morning surface bite for young smallmouth bass. Pop R's, Rapalas and propeller baits will receive strikes from the bronzebacks, but the bite only lasts until 8 a.m. After the sun rises, we skip plastics under the floating docks and pontoons for largemouth bass. Boat traffic is horrendous."
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (..) — There"s still little water coming through Conowingo Dam. The fishing has been slow for stripers and bass.
AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY
MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (...) — Christy Henderson from Buzz's Marina on St. Jerome's Creek in St. Mary's County (www.buzzsmarina.com) said, "Trollers seem to be doing best with bluefish, some pushing seven pounds. We have seen them from the fishing reef in front of St. Jerome"s Creek to the Point No Point lighthouse. This area has a lot of small blues with rockfish mixed in. The larger ones are along the ledge from buoy 72 down to buoy 70, the Southwest Middlegrounds and the oyster sanctuary east of buoy 72. Spanish mackerel are caught in the same locations as the blues. The croaker action is still good during the day but much better at night. They range from 16 to 18 inches." From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb reports that flounder are thick in the Kedges Straits and adjacent Tangier Sound, in the Honga River and on the edge of the ship channel near buoys 74 and 76. The middle and upper bay parts above the Bay Bridges deliver fine catches of breaking blues and stripers, many of them small. Small, trolled silver spoons on light inline weights can bring delicious Spanish mackerel.
VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (...) — From the Northern Neck, charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) says trolling for bluefish, rockfish and Spanish mackerel has heated up from outside Windmill Point at the Rappahannock River mouth up to the Great Wicomico in the Northern Neck. The mouth of the Rappahannock River up to the bridge has been holding a mix of croaker, spot and small trout. In the lower bay, Ken Neill reports, "Spanish mackerel are being caught from York Spit Light on out to the ocean. Good catches have been made at Cape Henry this week. Flounder fishing is good or bad depending on which day you fish. Good catches are being made at the Cell, Back River Reef, along the structure of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the Cape Henry Wreck."
AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.
POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (..) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Poor catches of bass again this week. Rain and cooler weather are desperately needed.
NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside of Federalsburg) It's slow going for bass, but some are hooked in sunken trees with soft plastics.
AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA
LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (...) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Some decent catches of bass are made in deep dropoffs with soft plastic worms or creature baits, such as Berkley's Beast. Topwater poppers can score in shallow water before the sun warms the water.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (...) The upper river is low, slow and warm. Fish deeper holes below large river rocks for the best smallmouth catches. Downstream of Fredericksburg, largemouth bass are in sunken shore wood, and plastic worms will get them.
LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (..) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Deepwater brush will give up crappies, but only a smattering of bass has been cooperating.
LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (..) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Catfish, bluegills, crappies and bass — in that order. Overall catches are way down, though.
LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (...) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake expert Marty Magone says, "It seems like all the good bass reports come from upriver, where grassbeds and baitfish are plentiful. Down-lake, fishermen are still concentrating on dock patterns and bridge rip rap. The topwater bite has picked up above I-85 bridge with pickerel and bass competing for your lures."
KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (...) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Boat docks, bridge abutments and brush piles hold the crappies. The topwater bite for largemouth bass has been good at first light of day.
JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (..) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Big blue catfish are possible, but bites come few and far between during daylight.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (..) — (Williamsburg area) Catfish are hooked, including some of more than 40 pounds. Bass catches are slow, but a few hefty specimens are seen.
AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA
SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) Overall catches of bass are down, but it can be done with early morning topwater plugs or fly-fishing poppers. Tubes and streamers can connect as the sun warms the water.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (...) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Topwater catches of large- and smallmouth bass have been good during overcast days or early in the mornings. Lake striper catches are only fair.
UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (..) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Everyone is praying for rain, but some smallmouths are taken on jigs, tubes and streamers. The river is clear, low and around 81 degrees.
AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN
MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (...) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Flounder catches are doing well in the backwaters behind Ocean City, but sizes leave a bit to be desired. Mostly throwbacks are hooked. Some croakers and snapper blues are possible near and in the inlet. Offshore boaters connect on fair numbers of tunas, with the canyon waters also turning up blue and white marlin but not in the numbers that used to be common in the 1970s. Wahoo, dolphin (fish) and a few tunas have been taken at Baltimore Canyon.
VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (...) — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association said, "The waters east of the Cigar produce good numbers of billfish and plenty of dolphin. Yellowfin tuna are not caught in great numbers, but the ones that are caught are weighing in at over 70 pounds. Wahoo are also being brought back to the docks. Closer to shore, amberjack and jack crevalle can be hooked at structures like the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Gulf Hustler, and the Ricks. There is a good amount of menhaden from the mouth of the bay down to Sandbridge. Some of the best king mackerel fishing we have seen in years can be found around this bait. Cobia are also cruising this area making for some good sight casting opportunities." For additional Virginia saltwater information, go to www.drjball.com. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/491-8000.
• Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: email@example.com.
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