- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The current cold wave shouldn’t surprise area anglers. It’s January, folks, and it’s supposed to be cold. However, the local fishing will come to a temporary halt for some but not all.

Even when the daytime temperatures hover in the 30s, the lower water column temperatures will be in the 40-degree range, and that means fish can be caught.

To prove it, several fishermen who hunt and peck for action in the Potomac River’s tidal feeder creeks have found numbers of scattered yellow perch, largemouth bass, carp and catfish.

Spoils Cove, just upstream of Wilson Bridge on the Maryland side, continues to deliver bass and crappies. Yes, the boat run from any launching ramp to the cove can numb your brain, but once you arrive you will thaw out, and the fishing can begin. Jig with Silver Buddies or drag a Sting Ray grub across the bottom during the cold days. The metal Silver Buddy looks like a bright-scaled minnow, and the Sting Ray imitates a green bull minnow nicely.

Elsewhere, word has it that some fine catch-and-release fishing can be had around the Potomac River bridge and the Morgantown Power Plant’s outflows in Charles County. Plastic Sassy Shad and Bass Assassin lures can do the job.

Shenandoah River doings — Dick Fox, who fishes the Shenandoah River regularly, decided to give the smallmouth bass a try last weekend.

“With all that warm weather, I found that the fish were still biting,” he said, pointing out that many of them had moved into the shallows that usually are found along the river banks.

“I guess that will change with this cold weather,” he said, instantly qualifying for the Understatement of the Week Award.

Yes, it will change, but Fox will find them, slowly dragging plastic grubs across the bottom. The one thing that will stop this blue-nose angler is lots of river ice.

Flounder regulations — Virginia flounder regulations are going to change soon, that much is certain. But which direction the state’s Marine Resources Commission will choose remains to be seen. Four options are on the table. One calls for a 19-inch minimum, allowing six flounder a day, and there will be no closed season. Another is a possible 18½-inch minimum, five fish a day and fishing closures from Jan. 1 to March 31 and July 23-29. The third possibility also calls for an 18½-inch minimum size but only three fish a day, with no fishing allowed July 25-26. The fourth option calls for an 18-inch minimum, two fish a day and fishing closures from Jan. 1 to March 31 and July 16-31.

If you wish to comment, contact the VMRC’s Jack Travelstead via e-mail at Jack.Travelstead@mrc.virginia.gov.

Lower Chesapeake and Atlantic — Speaking of flounder, Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association reports some nice flounder are being caught at Cape Henry by anglers who actually are after rockfish.

“Besides the January flounder, the speckled trout bite has been fantastic at Willoughby Spit, [and] there are also some speckled trout being caught inside Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets,” he said.

Neill is aware the cold blast might change things, but he wants everyone to know that striped bass action has been good from False Cape on up the coast, while catch-and-release striper anglers continue to score inside Chesapeake Bay. Tautog fishing is good in the bay, with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel producing a lot of fat “togs.” Neill also said the offshore wrecks are loaded with fat sea bass.

Boating courses for the public — Flotilla 7-10 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Gaithersburg-Rockville offers boating courses to the public, including a “Let’s Go Sailing” course that introduces the terminology and techniques of sailing. This is for beginners and intermediate sailors. Much also can be learned in the “Coastal Navigation” course, which includes reading of a compass, charts, dead reckoning, plotting, tides, currents and electronic navigation (GPS and radar).

These sessions begin Feb. 20 and run from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Register at 7 p.m. at Seneca Valley High School. There is a nominal fee for books and supplies. Contact Ellen Hurley at 301/762-1421.

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

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