- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles () — At Fletcher”s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) and the rest of the tidal portions of the river, the heat is being felt. The fishing can be good for catfish, but most other species are keeping their mouths shut for now. That will change quickly when cooler weather arrives. The river from the District down to Charles County can turn up largemouth bass if you get out early and work loud popping lures along the edges of sunken wood or grass beds. Soft plastic worms and creature baits are the lures of choice when the sun begins to bake the water. Bass guide Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) has been doing surprisingly well, using finesse worms and dropping them into small open pockets inside the many weed beds found on the river. Beyond the Route 301 bridge, trollers will find a bit of rockfish activity that gets better farther south. Snapper blues and 18- to 22-inch-long stripers are active from below St. George’s Island to Point Lookout with some flounder catches at Cornfield Harbor.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles () — Most of the fishermen have reported the fishing is tough. Not many croakers are hooked during the daylight, but spot, perch and even some small rockfish are found. For boat rentals, call Quade’s store in Bushwood (301/769-3903).

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (..) — Like the adjacent Potomac, Mattawoman’s Smallwood State Park again will be overrun by an out-of-town tournament group that is holding a large competition.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — Gilbert Run Park”s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) has had a bad case of hot weather. Few fish are caught. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road) it’s not a whole lot better, but a few bass are hooked.

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) turn up bluegills, crappies, catfish and bass — in that order. Unless more heavy rains visit, the lakes will be nice to fish in.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles () — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Better get started early. The water is really warm, and the better bass chances will come before the noon-day sun.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles () — Rockfish and snapper blues are possible at the mouth around Cedar Point. Early bird anglers can score with topwater popping lures and Rat-L-Traps. Inside the river, nighttime fishermen around the Solomons fishing pier connect on a few croakers, spot and occasional juvenile rockfish. Heading up the river, all the feeder creeks and main-stem rip-rap or duck blinds will turn up white perch that love 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce spinnerbaits or Mini Traps. Some croakers are hooked in deep ledges adjacent to river markers.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles () — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis reports, “The winning weight at the latest [reservoir] tournament was 17.1 pounds (six fish). The big fish was 5.45 pounds. Most of the fish were caught off main lake points or in the mouth of major coves on drop shot or Carolina-rigged plastics. The reservoir is clear, but water levels are down eight to 10 feet below normal pool.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (..) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Hot weather is keeping many fishermen from trying, but early risers could connect on bass and certainly on sunfish. Crappie fishing has been tough.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (..) — DNR biologist John Mullican says the fishing isn’t the best right now with the water low and warm as bath water. He says the water vegetation that so many anglers complain about actually is of benefit to the smallmouth bass and other fish because it provides much needed cover in this heat. By the way, smartly fished tube jigs will draw strikes from the bass.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles () — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) says you can flip soft plastics under floating docks that bass love before the sun really bakes the water. Nighttimers can score on walleyes by drifting minnows or scented curly tailed jigs across rocky points.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (..) — Little water is coming through the Conowingo Dam. Hence, the lower Susquehanna is warm and not the best for fishing. Some anglers are live-lining little white perch and occasionally find a rockfish. Bass fishing has been pretty good.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles () — From St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) reports fair fishing for schools of keeper rockfish and blues between her home creek and the Middle Grounds, as well as all the lower bay buoys in Maryland. Spanish mackerel and even some sea trout have been scored along the Maryland-Virginia state line. The fishing goes into high gear as you head north toward the Patuxent, Gas Docks and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant and across to the Eastern Shore and up the bay clear to the Chester River. Surface eruptions by feeding snapper bluefish and rockfish up to 24 inches appear frequently. These schools of fish make short surface appearances, then sound, but anglers who abstain from running through the breaking fish can catch them by lowering 4- and 5-inch-long chrome Sting Silver and Swedish Pimple jigs straight down and begin jigging them. The fish will be there.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles () — From the Northern Neck, charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) finds breaking blues and rockfish, some Spanish mackerel and plenty of action for his customers. In the lower bay, Ken Neill says the flounder fishing has been good. “Limits of big flounder are being caught at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Back River Reef and at the Cell/Buoy 42 area. Good Spanish mackerel catches have come from York Spit. Big black drum are being caught at the islands of the bridge-tunnel,” he said.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles () — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Perch, spot, snapper blues and some juvenile rockfish will bite, but croakers are not as cooperative. Upper river bass anglers are disappointed because of the tremendous heat.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (..) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Hot water, few bass and fish that have lockjaw make this a tough place this week.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside of Federalsburg) Slow going for bass again this week, but early hours could turn up surface catches of feeding rockfish in the Vienna area and below.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles () — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Stick to the dark hours and you will catch bass around creek entrance points that decline sharply. But if it has to be during the hot sun, use a little heavier slip sinker than normal with your worm rig and you will score in up to 20 feet of water. Occasional striper catches are made, but all of those occur after sundown or before sunrise.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles () The upper river water is low and warm, resulting in fewer smallmouth catches, but if you can find the occasional deep hole you also will be into a few keeper bass.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (..) — (Route 793, off Route 29) There’s not much happening, but catfish and sunfish can be caught.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (..) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) The catfish don’t mind a little heat if you arrive during the “cool” hours of the day (if there is such a thing). Bass fishing has been terrible.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles () — (Route 46, Gasburg) Marty Magone reports, “Get out early and fish vegetation adjacent to deep water for bass and school-size stripers. Don’t forget the upriver feeder creeks that have a decent bluegill population. Downsize to a small spinning rod with a 1/8-ounce jig & grub. Pitch this combo near the many laydowns or brushpiles and hang on. Palm-size bluegills are lots of fun, especially for kids.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles () — (Route 58, Clarksville) Catfish are sure to snatch up a large piece of cut bait. Bass will take surface poppers and buzzbaits early or late in the day.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (..) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Even the catfish aren’t cooperative. Few are caught.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (..) — (Williamsburg area) Catfish and some bass are hooked, but the river has seen better days.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas are warm, low and slow. Richard Fox of Front Royal said, “I fished the river for smallmouth bass and got one 15-incher and two smaller ones. The fishing is slow,” he said.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles () — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Even in the mountains the bass fishing has slowed a bit, but it’s still better than many other lakes. Plastic worms are best around docks and lake points.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (..) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Low, slow and heated water make for meager smallmouth bass catches.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles () — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Ocean City’s Route 50 bridge and the adjacent inlet area have been giving up a few decent flounder, the DNR’s Keith Lockwood says. Even some rockfish are available in the same area. The surf fishing has taken a nosedive during the current heatwave. Offshore waters will be occupied by tournament boats during the White Marlin Open, but there will be some tunas, wahoos and sharks hooked. White and blue marlin should show up in the canyon waters.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach () — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association said, “Offshore weed mats are holding plenty of dolphin. Billfish action is good. The wahoo bite is very good. Tuna are scattered, but nice fish continue to be caught. Virginia”s offshore bottom fishing continues to roll along. A 48-pound golden tilefish was weighed in by a Virginia Beach charter boat. It has the potential of replacing Jeff Dail”s 44-pound golden as the new state record. Along the oceanfront, anglers are finding a good concentration of menhaden off of Sandbridge. When the bait stacks up like this, king mackerel, red drum, cobia and even a possible tarpon will be around.” For additional Virginia saltwater information, go to www.drjball.com. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/491-8000.

c Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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