- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (….) — From Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461), Ray Fletcher said, “The D.C. rockfish season is open, and quite a few big ones are caught. Two fish per day of at least 18 inches and no longer than 36 inches will be legal. They like cut herring baits on the bottom. In addition, lots of hickory and American shad are here, along with white perch and catfish.” Wow! Get going, folks. Downriver, guides Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) and Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) are doing very well on the largemouth bass. Soft plastics, especially those “creature” baits that are so popular, attract the bass in grass and around sunken wood or rocks up and down the river and its tributaries as far down as the Nanjemoy. See The Washington Times this Sunday for a feature on creature bass baits. Near the Route 301 bridge, the chance for croakers is increasing, but it really heats up near Point Lookout. The Point Lookout Pier has been hot at night, with croakers and a few rockfish biting especially well at night. Tides will be good this weekend for late afternoon and evening fishing.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (…) — Peter Malnati and friends have been scoring on croakers (some of them up to 19 inches long) with squid baits. They fished between Cobb Island and a little upstream of St. Mary’s County’s Bushwood.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — The bass fishing has been wonderful. Soft plastics or slowly retrieved spinnerbaits and shallow-diving crankbaits work well. Catfish are becoming active in channel waters. Clam snouts or slabs of herring fillet are best for the “cats.”

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (…) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) has bass sitting on the spawning beds, while crappie and sunfish also bite well. The park reminds trout fans there are still some in here. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) much the same is happening. Spawning bass, hungry bluegills and crappies are in brush and timber.

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) deliver the goods. Bass are on the beds, sunfish are getting ready to do their thing and catfish are ravenous.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Plenty of bass opportunities, but anglers can’t keep any until after June 15. Crappies and bluegills are not bashful about striking a small dart, jig or live worm bait under a bobber.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — The Tackle Box’s Ken Lamb reports that many croakers have been caught at Cedar Point on the Naval Air Station near Goose Creek. “Big rockfish are visiting the shoreline at Cedar Point also,” he said. Most of these stripers were taken on bloodworms, shrimp, squid or cut alewife. Croakers are also found inside the river around Solomon’s pier. One nighttime angler landed 18 of them by casting into the shallower water on the sides of the pier, knowing croakers enter shallow water at dark. Farther up in the river, white perch are beginning to hit spinner lures in the creeks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) ranger Smokey Davis said, “Bass are on the beds and are paired up. Several big females over six pounds were caught Sunday by members of the Fountainhead Bass Club. Soft plastics pitched directly to the spawning beds produced the bigger fish. The crappie bite is starting to heat up.” The lake is clear, and water temperatures are in the 60s.

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Crappies and bass are active. Quite a few of the largemouths are sitting on their beds now, so if you hook a fat female, take a photo, then let her go near the bed. She will return to her spawning duties.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — Department of Natural Resources biologist John Mullican says the upper river is in fine shape for fishing and plenty of smallmouth bass like 4-inch grubs or small crankbaits. Walleyes are beginning to provide more action.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) is finding good walleye and bass catches now on dropoffs next to lake points.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — The special Susquehanna Flats catch-and-release striper season will be extended until midnight next Thursday. A few bass are found inside the river, but the shad in Deer Creek are providing the most fun right now.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — Ken Lamb at Lexington Park’s Tackle Box said, “The rockfishing is good, [but lots of weekend] trollers cause the fish to scatter. Try to get a day off during the week and troll. Your chances will increase tenfold. Charter captains are getting their limits, but be prepared to spend lots of time trolling on weekends. Weekdays find the boats back at the dock by 10 a.m., their coolers full. The biggest rockfish we’ve seen so far was caught by angler Paul Bannigan. The fish was 51 inches long and weighed 45 pounds. It was caught on Capt. Greg Drury’s ‘Eva Marie.’ ” Christy Henderson at Buzz’s Marina (www.buzzsmarina.com) on St. Jerome’s Creek said, “We had another good [rockfish] week, even though some people up the bay complain. It’s not the case here. The [fishermen who get up] and get out there early are the ones who really find the hottest bite. We saw fish this weekend from 341/2 inches up to 45 inches. Rockfish are being caught anywhere from the HS buoy down to Buoy 72 and on the western side of the channel.”

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (Ingram Bay Marina in Wicomico Church, www.captbillyscharters.com, call 804/580-7292) says the Virginia trophy striper season is now open and good numbers of rockfish are migrating through the region. The creel limit is one striper a person, with a 32-inch minimum size limit. This season will last two weeks. Croakers continue to move up the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, as well as in the bay’s channel waters. Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association says flounder catches are steady, with good catches coming from the Hump, Eastern Shore bayside and near the third and fourth islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Black drum have been hooked near the mouth of the bay on the eastern side.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Upper river above Denton delivers perch, shad and some quality bass.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) There will be bass hooked on scented plastics or small crankbaits this weekend.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Federalsburg ramp on the Marshyhope Creek) Some anglers receive vicious strikes from bass when they cast a plastic worm across a spawning bed up and down the river from the Seaford, Del., area down to Vienna, where some rockfish have been seen.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Bass are on the beds, and some can be fooled easily. Crappies are quite active, and a few stripers are hooked.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) The Fredericksburg sector delivers shad, perch, catfish and white perch in various quantities. Upriver smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Tidal stretches around Port Royal and below are good for a few bass.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) One reader nailed enough crappies for several suppers. He used a 1/32-ounce white/red shad dart some three feet under a bobber. Bass are bedding.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (…) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Bass are spawning and will snatch a plastic worm along many shoreline stretches. Catfish and crappies are available in good numbers.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Local angler Marty Magone said, “Some creeks have 61 degree temps and some as high as 70. The bass are in several spawn and prespawn modes. In the cooler creeks, such as Lyons and Hubquarter, fish the points early then visit shallow coves. Use soft plastics.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Fine stringers of crappies are seen. Bass and striper chances are hot one day, cool the next.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Blue catfish are biting, and they love a large chunk of river herring.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (…) — (Williamsburg area) Bass and crappie catches can be good in the upper sections of the river, where lots of fallen trees and sunken brush is seen.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — Regarding the Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville stretches, Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “It has been good with fish now starting to spawn. The river is in good shape but has a slight stain. The smallmouths are hitting a variety of lures.” Reports continue of areas that apparently have suffered unexplained fish kills.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Michael Williams of Wirtz, Va., won the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Shenandoah Division tournament here Saturday with five bass that weighed 21 pounds, 13 ounces, good enough for $4,638. Williams caught the majority of his fish using plastic worms on a Carolina rig on main lake points and brush.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) There’s good smallmouth bass fishing with fly-rod streamers or conventional spinners, crankbaits and tube jigs.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (..) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Wind has made fishing tough, but flounder in the back bay waters might bite. Tautog might be fooled right inside the Ocean City Inlet if they see pieces of green crab. Small bluefish and shad also have been in the inlet. A bluefish now and then makes surf fishing more interesting. The offshore headboats find tautogs.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Ocean expert Ken Neill says it’s time to bang a drum. Big red and black drum have arrived. They are being caught along the Eastern Shore seaside and on or around the shoals near the mouth of the bay. Other species will not be far behind. Later this month, there will be sheepshead, spadefish and cobia. Offshore bottom fishing is great for tilefish, snowy grouper and other wreck fish. 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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