- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (…) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) anglers will be greeted by typical summertime fishing. There will be channel “cats,” a few bass, sunfish and perch and maybe a walleye or two. From the District down to Charles County and Virginia’s Fairfax and Prince William counties, the best advice coming from bass experts is to fish the grass beds. Cast jerkbaits, weedless topwater lures and such early in the day, then switch to plastics. Some bass hounds are “crashing” through the middle of the weed carpets, using heavy pegged slip sinkers with their plastic worms or multiappendaged “creature” baits. All of the main stem’s weed beds and the feeder creeks’ milfoil or hydrilla patches can be productive. In the saltier portions of the river, croakers are available, but finding a decent school can be tough. They have been caught in the deep drops just outside Capt. Billy’s Restaurant in Pope’s Creek, as well as downstream by the mouth of the Wicomico and on toward Tall Timbers, Blackiston Island and in the deeper waters of Cornfield Harbor. The river’s rockfish trollers score around Piney Point and St. George’s Island, as well as at the mouth of the Coan River on the Virginia side. Some flounder are possible at Cornfield Harbor.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (…) — Croakers are available, but again this week some boaters complained of mediocre catches. Others, even Chaptico Wharf pier anglers, said they did well after sunset. Boat rentals, bait and snacks are available at Quade’s store in Bushwood (301/769-3903).

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — Work the weed beds with grass frogs and other weedless topwater lures early in the day. Scented plastics do well as the sun rises. Check out also any sunken wood. A few heavy channel catfish are seen in the deep creek bends. They like clam snouts on the bottom.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — At Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata), Bluegills, a few crappies and throw-back bass are caught. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road) surprisingly good bass fishing was enjoyed by members of a bass club that held a tournament here last weekend.

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) are sure to bring a bass or two, good catfish opportunities and plenty of sunfish that will hammer a fly-rod popping bug or slow-sinking black gnat. Crappies are hooked now and then.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Even though hot, humid weather is returning, good bass fishing has been the rule for those who know how to work a plastic worm or tube jig around sunken brush, lake point dropoffs and waterlogged boulders. Crappies are scattered, but sunfish are plentiful in both lakes.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — Croaker continue to be plentiful in the deeper holes of the river. Ken Lamb reports that Norfolk spot are schooled up in the river from Half Pone Point to the mouth, many of them quite large. The spot are also in the bay at Second Beach, Little Cove Point and Cove Point. White perch bite in all the feeder creeks and main stem rockwalls and docks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis said, “Low water conditions and warmer weather have made bass harder to come by, but soft plastics fished in the main lake channel off points are still producing some quality fish. The catfish bite remains strong. The reservoir’s clear water is seven to eight feet below normal pool. Boaters should use caution when launching their craft. This is especially true at the Bull Run Marina ramp. Bluegills are everywhere, but crappies are hard to find.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Good early and late hour bass fishing, but the crappies are playing hard to get all of a sudden. Sunfish galore await.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — Waders or anglers in small johnboats fish among the rocks and deeper pools, looking for smallmouth bass and finding them, too. Fringed tubes, small crankbaits or Zoom Fluke jerkbaits connect from Washington County down to Montgomery County. Some decent walleyes are hooked with crankbaits after sunset.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) reports, “The lake’s fishing remains good, with plenty of largemouth bass hitting Senkos and jigs with trailers around docks and pontoon boats. The smallmouth bass go after topwater plugs on main-lake points early and late in the day. Walleyes prefer fuzzy jigs tipped with minnow, or you can troll a crankbaits. The kids will have a fine time with big yellow perch and bluegills.”

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (..) — Not much improvement over last week as far as bass catches are concerned.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — From St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) said, “Father Jerome Daley of Fort Belvoir caught a 16-inch Spanish mackerel between Point No Point and Point Lookout.” That means the mackerel bite probably will be fully underway by the weekend. Father Daley’s mackerel was the first one caught that I know of. From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb said, “The Middlegrounds continue to have plenty of croakers [hardheads] for night fishing parties. The Tackle Box crew had its annual outing with captain Greg Buckner aboard the Miss Susie [301/873-1327], and we caught hundreds of croakers, bluefish and spot. The fish started biting in earnest about 9:30 p.m., and the fish box was filled by 11 when we headed for home. The croakers ranged in size from 10 to 15 inches.” Elsewhere, the bay delivers plenty of rockfish to live bait drifters from the Bay Bridges down to Cove Point. Live-lining small Norfolk spot is a sure way to find action, but trollers also score on stripers and bluefish that are becoming bigger as the month wears on.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — From the Northern Neck, charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) said, “Fishing efforts this week centered mostly around bottom fishing. Bluefish schools, sometimes mixed in with a few Spanish mackerel, continue a slow northern migration. Action can be found between Windmill Point bar, Dividing Creek and the Great Wicomico River. These fish appear to be holding more to the eastern side of the bay. Schools are surfacing between the shipping channel and Tangier Island. Speckled sea trout are showing hope despite a slow start in the spring. Landings have occurred on the shallow grassy flats off Gwynn’s Island, Dividing Creek and Dameron’s Marsh. Floating live minnows under a bobber is working particularly well.” Don’t forget that the flounder season is closed through Saturday, then will reopen Sunday. Down the around the Bay Bridge-Tunnel and eastern side of the bay, cobia catches have increased.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 20 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) In the lowest parts of the river, expect bites from spot, perch and croakers. A few bass will be hooked upstream around Denton.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (..) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) The bass catches are still down. Blame the heat.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside of Federalsburg) Bass anglers have seen better days here. It’s pretty slow now.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Early and late hour bass and striper catches can be good. White Zoom Flukes have drawn strikes from both species around the Splits. Deep-fished plastics do well around lake points after the sun bakes the water.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) Upper tidal water areas, especially above Port Royal, see largemouth bass going after 4-inch-long finesse worms. Work the sunken trees, duck blinds and pad edges. Crankbaits produce as well. Above Fredericksburg anglers will find a couple of decent smallmouths on tube jigs, especially past the Rapidan’s mouth. Water is low.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (..) — (Route 793, off Route 29) There are sunfish by the dozens but not bass. They’re biting slowly now.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (..) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Catfish bite during overcast days, as will the bass, but when it’s hot and sunny, forget it.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Marty Magone reports, “Down-lake early risers can take advantage of schools of roaming stripers between Pea Hill Creek and the dam. Baitfish are the key. Bass and stripers are active near Allens Creek. Flukes, spinnerbaits and topwater lures will do the trick.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Bass will jump on a 4-inch scented finesse worm or soft jerkbait. Fish brush or creek mouth weed lines.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (..) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) The catfish bite slowed a bit around Dutch Gap and elsewhere, my Varina contact said.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (…) — (Williamsburg area) Early mornings coupled to receding tides are good for bass because they will begin to feed as the water rushes from the marsh fields. Catfish are plentiful.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas show heated, low water and occasional bass and sunfish catches. It’s nothing too exciting, though.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Plastic worms, early morning popper lures or soft Fluke baits will see bass action in and around boat houses and submerged stump fields.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) There’s warm, low water, but smallmouth bass can be caught on soft jerkbaits, tubes, jigs and streamers.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (…) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore canyons deliver tunas, a few billfish and heavy sharks, while closer in the bluefish cooperate. Ocean City pier and surf anglers find sand sharks, kingfish and some snapper bluefish on cut bait.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball said, “Amberjacks are readily available and are ready for action at local wrecks, but steady hook-ups at the South Tower are convincing many to make that 60-mile run. Speckled trout and tons of puppy drum are taking baits within both Lynnhaven and Rudee inlets. Offshore, the white and blue marlin catches are on the rise. The great catches of big yellowfins, bigeyes and bluefins have backed off a bit. More boats are returning with fewer tuna but more dolphin. Wahoos are also making their presence known, [especially] at the Norfolk Canyon.” For the latest 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: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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