- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (….) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road, 202/244-0461), the shad are slowly declining in numbers, but rockfish, catfish and bass are possible. River guides Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) and Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) find plenty of action on a variety of lures, from topwater poppers to soft plastics and shallow crankbaits, in all the tidal feeder creeks and even the main stem. Downstream, saltwater fans catch croakers in the St. Mary’s River at Priest’s Point. They’ll inhale bloodworms, squid strips or small shrimp.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (..) — Mixed reports arrive from the Wicomico at Bushwood, where some boaters say they’re into croakers, perch, and catfish, but others between the Cobb Island area and the St. Mary’s County shore say the croaker fishing has been very slow.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — Try flipping crawfish- and lizard-style baits or jig ‘n’ craw lures into the open pockets in any of the creek’s large milfoil beds. The bass often snatch these lures up.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (…) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) and St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) offer bedding bluegills, which can make for great fly-rodding with popping bugs. Bass are available but can’t be kept yet. St. Mary’s Lake also has seen fine catches of crappies.

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) have spawning sunfish that will readily attack a small popping bug. Bass take soft plastics.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) The crappie action is good if you can find a brush pile. Bluegills are spawning. Use a light fly-rod and various popping bugs. Bass catches are fair.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — The Tackle Box’s Ken Lamb says the hardheads (croakers) are in the river as far up as Greenwell State Park. Elsewhere, Naval Air Station fishermen are using surf rods to reach croakers on the bay and river sides. Daytime boaters get croakers in the mouth of the river in about 20 feet of water inside the Three Legged Marker and off the O’Club. Pier fishermen catch hardheads off the pubic pier in Solomons, and some are found at the Hawk’s Nest in the mouth of Cuckold Creek during the day.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis says, “The bass bite has been very good, but most of the fish caught were males guarding the spawning beds. The females left the beds and have moved into deeper water to recover from the spawn. Lizards, tubes and small crankbaits all were effective. Crappies are still difficult to come by and have not schooled up yet.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Most female bass are off the beds and now are hard to find, but crappies and sunfish are plentiful.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — Fisheries biologist John Mullican says the Washington County portions are in good shape. Walleyes are possible on crankbaits. Many smallmouth bass continue to spawn, but some are done and can be found in mid-river rock beds.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Rocky lake points provide walleyes and smallmouth bass. Crankbaits, jig ‘n’ minnows and tubes can do the job. Need a guide? Call Brent Nelson at 240/460-8839.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — Some decent smallmouth bass have been caught below the Conowingo Dam, with largemouth action fair in the Havre de Grace area. The DNR’s Keith Lockwood says the hickory shad in Deer Creek are departing, but some of the bigger white shad are still around.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (St. Mary’s County), Ken Lamb says excellent catches of rockfish are made in the Southern Maryland portions of the Chesapeake. That report, however, isn’t always shared by the trollers in the upper and middle bay parts. Apparently, some rockfish trollers have had a tough time but will do a lot better now as two fish a day of more than 18 inches (only one can be more than 28 inches, though) will be available if you downsize your lures a bit. We’re hearing reports of croakers being caught as far up as Hackett’s Bar above the Bay Bridge.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (Ingram Bay Marina in Wicomico Church, www.captbillyscharters.com, 804/580-7292) continues to find enough rockfish to make everybody aboard happy. Croakers are biting up and down the Northern Neck’s bayside dropoffs, ditches and channels. The mouth of the Rappahannock has been particularly good for hardheads. Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association finds red drum (channel bass) at the mouth of the bay and in some of the cuts and channels on the Eastern Shore side. Black drum catches have been spotty, but some heavyweights are hooked.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Upper river from Martinak State Park and Denton on up toward Greensboro can be good for bass, a few crappies and perch. You might tie into some croakers in the deeper holes at the mouth.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Early-hour topwater poppers and buzzbaits, with plastic worms and rattle baits when the sun begins to cook the water, are good choices for bass.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313, or use the Federalsburg ramp on the Marshyhope Creek) The Marshyhope Creek sector shows scattered bass and increasing crappie catches. Upper river around Seaford shows perch and some willing bass in spatterdock and around wood pilings.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Largemouth bass are off the beds and have begun to look for food. The bite has been fair, but post-spawn days often give the females a case of the blahs. Crappies are in the brush piles and beaver huts.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) Smallmouth bass catches have been good in the waters above Fredericksburg. In town and a little upstream from the Route 1 bridge, there still are some shad around. Tidal parts from Hicks Landing downstream toward Leedstown show bedding bass and some that are after your spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) The crappie fishing can be fine, but the bass might be displaying a bit of the post-spawn blues. Still, a number are caught.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (…) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Get a lightweight fly-rod and a handful of popping bugs and have yourself a merry time catching bedding bluegills. Crappies are biting, too.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake reporter Marty Magone says, “Bass are still very active in the creeks on crankbaits, topwaters or plastics. Main-lake grass beds are starting to produce largemouths, stripers and pickerel despite cooler water coming in from Kerr Dam. Spinnerbaits and Baby Minus 1 lures have been the lures of choice.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) A few rockfish are taken by trollers in the creeks, but most local anglers are after crappies and they’re getting them in brush and sunken branches. Bass catches are good considering that it’s post-spawn time for the females.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Catfish and stripers are in the middle portions of the tidal river, and the Richmond falls area shows some shad, perch and herring.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (…) — (Williamsburg area) From River’s Rest comes word that they’re seeing good-sized bass and catfish brought in by customers.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville stretches have been fair for bass, says Front Royal’s Dick Fox, who uses tubes and jigs. Harry Murray of Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg reports that smallmouth and largemouth bass, as well as sunfish, are cooperating in his area.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Night hours have been best for striped bass that attack Redfin lures or big Rapala jerkbaits. The bass in this mountain area are still spawning and will attack soft plastics.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Smallmouth bass catches are increasing for users of tubes, grubs or small crankbaits.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 iles (..) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) The wind has been simply awful. However, flounder catches in the back bay near Route 90 should perk up this weekend. The inlet at Ocean City continues to deliver small bluefish that will strike any shiny lure. The DNR’s Keith Lockwood says Ocean City’s South Jetty holds good numbers of tautogs, but catching them is another story. Surf fishermen are hooking bluefish and a few stripers. Sea bass and tautogs are in good supply for headboats that fish the offshore wrecks.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…)—

Inshore specialists are finding beautiful red drum in the Barrier Island chain, including Fishermen’s Island. Offshore wind has been tough on wreck fishermen, but it may be good enough this weekend when tautogs or sea bass will be hooked, as well as various tilefish and snowy groupers. Bluefish have been charging up and down the Virginia coast. For charter boats, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/422-5700.

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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