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AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY
POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (…) — At Fletcher”s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; 202/244-0461), you will hook catfish, scattered bass and some remnant rockfish. Below town, river bass guide Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) has been finding topwater bass on Rico poppers before the sun bakes the water. Then he switches to soft plastics or shallow-running crankbaits around marsh edges in any of the tidal feeder creeks between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and Charles County. Main-stem grass beds can deliver, as can sunken wood and old boat docks. Catfish are hooked up and down the river with slabs of herring or menhaden as well as clam necks. Ken Lamb reports that south of the Route 301 bridge “the Potomac is loaded with croaker most everywhere.” Some folks still have a tough time catching enough for dinner because they do most of their fishing in the sunny day hours. Croakers bite better after sundown.
WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (…) — Quade’s store in Bushwood says people are hooking croakers on a variety of baits from shrimp to squid. Perch and spot are taken, but again this week they are kind of small.
MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — The weekend again will see a busy tournament launched from the Smallwood State Park ramps. Upper creek bass fishing along marsh banks has been fine. Use 4-inch scented plastic worms.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (…) — Gilbert Run Park“s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) delivers bluegills, some crappies and a bass now and then. All bass must be released. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5 past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road), the bass catches have been good. Use topwater poppers and buzzbaits when it’s early or overcast and short plastic worms any other time. Bluegills and crappies are plentiful.
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) show crappies, bluegills, catfish, bass and sometimes even a tiger muskie, as master angler Tom Pinckney proves. Check out Tom’s web site at www.toothycritters.com.
WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Johnboaters and some shore walkers find bass with plastic worms or jig ’n’ craw lures around sunken wood or jutting lake points. Sunfish are in good supply, but where are all the crappies?
PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — Lexington Park’s Tackle Box reports that boaters hoping to hook some croakers are doing well in the mouth of the river 3-Legged Buoy, Green Holly, Seven Gables and Hawk’s Nest. The usual run of rockfish up the Patuxent in deep water around the oyster beds has not yet started, but some flounder catches are reported at the 3-Legged Buoy. White perch are striking small spinnerbaits in the creeks.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — From Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis says small shad are schooled up in the main lake, the mouth and secondary points inside the bigger coves of the reservoir. The bass are found at various lake points and in deep lake blowdowns. Shad and crawfish-color crankbaits have been the hot lures, but spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged plastics also work. Channel catfish and crappies are biting. Fly-rodders are having no trouble hooking fat bluegills.
BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) There are good bass and crappie opportunities for early hour fishermen.
AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — I don’t know whether local rains discolored the water, but I’ll wager the smallmouth bass and channel catfish are biting from near the Shenandoah junction clear down to Montgomery County.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Lake fishing guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) says largemouth bass are mostly in postspawn mode and now relate to grasslines near shore and under docks and pontoon boats. Some can be found in deeper submerged grass beds in 10 to 15 feet of water. Big bluegills are cooperating nicely, hitting a piece of nightcrawler under a slip float.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — Garlic-scented green pumpkin/red flake Zero worms have done a number on largemouth bass inside the marina docks and adjacent blowdowns in Havre de Grace and when fished without slipsinkers on the Susquehanna Flats.
AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY
MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) of St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County said, “This week we saw croakers galore, and many of the bigger ones were caught during the daytime. Charter fishing captain ‘Walleye’ Pete Dahlberg [cell: 703/395-9955] went out to the Middlegrounds at midday and said there were blues and rockfish breaking on top all over. A couple of 13-inch sea trout were caught at the mouth of our creek over the weekend, but flounder have been scarce. I heard that spadefish were caught near the Targets.” From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb reports, “Bay fishermen are doing well anchoring at night on the Mud Leads and the Middlegrounds. The croakers in the bay are not [very] consistent. One night you’ll get 300-plus big fish, and the next night it’s slim pickings, but you’re not going to get skunked. Some decent-sized trout also have shown up mixed in with the croakers. Cobias have been swiping at hooked croakers being brought to the boat on the Mud Leads.” Andy Croley and his wife, Cathy, trolled from Buoy 77 to the Gas Docks and latched on to four legal rockfish keepers in no time. He also caught three blues, mostly on Sassy Shads behind an umbrella rig. The striper catches, meanwhile, are good north of the Patuxent mouth from Cove Point to Parker’s Creek and even farther up toward the Bay Bridge and beyond as 17- to 22-inch rockfish are plentiful.
VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (Ingram Bay Marina in Wicomico Church, www.captbillyscharters.com, 804/580-7292) said bluefish catches are on the rise, with one- to three-pound fish becoming more abundant in the chum slicks. Some anglers chum for a mix of blues and rockfish at the Northern Neck Reef and the adjacent channel edge down to Buoy 62, but the rockfish must be released. From the Virginia Beach area, Ken Neill of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman’s Association reports that the lower Chesapeake’s Bluefish Rock and York Spit Light are cobia hot spots, but red drum also are available. Flounder fishermen are finding some legal fish at Back River Reef, Bluefish Rock and the Cell. Spanish mackerel are showing up in better numbers. The mackerel hit small trolled spoons throughout the lower bay. Spadefish are being caught at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.
CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Croakers and white perch are hooked inside the river’s mouth and sometimes clear up to the Cambridge fishing bridge. No word about decent bass catches in the Denton area.
POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) The heat is taking its toll on the anglers, but the bass bite can be quite good early in the day if the tides are right. Baby 1-Minus lures and plastic worms are all you need.
NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Federalsburg ramp on Marshyhope Creek) A bit of a slowdown has been noticed as far as bass catches are concerned. It could be the heat. However, early hour stripers are caught on Rat-L-Traps in the Vienna area.
AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA
LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) A few early hour rockfish are caught by Sassy Shad trollers, and bass-seeking boaters can score with topwater lures before the sun clears the tree line. Deep-water brush and stump fields have been good for topwater and plastic worm fishing. Crappie action has slowed for some reason.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) We had a decent bass outing upstream of Hicks Landing, but not much was happening below the Route 301 bridge. Plastic worms and Minus-1 crankbaits worked. The upper river above Fredericksburg has been fine for smallmouths.
LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Crappies, sunfish galore, and some decent-sized bass and catfish are waiting for you. Go early and leave early in this heat.
LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (…) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for the left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Some early and late hour bass action can be had. That and catfish. Crappies have been uncooperative.
LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake specialist Marty Magone said, “Early risers are scoring on topwater bass and stripers. Find a main lake point with some grass and start casting. When the sun gets high use plastics on docks.”
KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Bass fishing with jig ’n’ craws or worms in sunken brush, fallen trees and flooded willows has been fine. Stripers and catfish are also active.
JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Stripers and blue catfish are the main story here, but the rockfish are off limits starting tomorrow.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (…) — (Williamsburg area) The bass, crappies and huge catfish are in a feeding mode, but you need to be there when the sun has not yet baked the water.
AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA
SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — From the Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville stretches, river specialist Dick Fox says the fishing hasn’t been great. But from the North Fork, the Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg reports that flyrodders have scored on smallmouth bass and fat sunfish.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Boathouses and lake points with stumps around them will give up nice stringers of bass. Use shallow crankbaits or plastic worms.
UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Small 1/4-ounce crankbaits will be looked at by the smallmouth bass, Daytime heat can be hard on anglers and fish.
AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN
MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (…) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore possibilities include tunas, sharks and bluefish, while inshore anglers concentrate on snapper blues and rockfish in the Inlet as well as the surf. Flounder fishing has seen better days.
VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Virginia Beach’s Ken Neill says amberjacks are available at the southern towers. There are some yellowfin and bluefin tuna available off the coast of Virginia, with offshore action looking promising in coming weeks. The tuna bite is still good to the south, with Oregon Inlet boaters scoring on good numbers of yellowfin and some bigeye tuna. For charter boats, 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: email@example.com.
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