- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (….) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road. 202/244-0461), chances for catfish, scattered stripers and some largemouth bass are good. Downriver, the bass action has started in all the feeder creeks’ marsh banks from below Woodrow Wilson Bridge to western Charles County, wherever there’s a bit of deep water nearby. River guide Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) has been hooking dozens of bass along marsh edges, using YoMaMa plastics and Baby 1-Minus shallow crankbaits. You can do it, too. In the saltier waters, trollers are finding big rockfish off Stuart’s Pier, St. Clement’s and St. George’s islands. Ken Lamb of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box says, “Croakers are in the Potomac and its tributaries in great size and numbers. We had our first flounder of the season brought in by Mark Fahey [from] the mouth of the Potomac near Point Lookout. Small spot have shown up in the mouth and should be caught by bottom fishermen anytime now.”

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (…) — Croaker anglers are finding action in the Cobb Island area of the river, but croakers are also possible from Bushwood up toward the Chaptico Bay. Remember that evening and night hours bring croakers into the shallows.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — Work the marsh edges when the tide begins to drop. Shallow-running crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics will work. Milfoil beds hold good numbers of largemouths as well.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (…) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) was good for a fly-rod and popping bug excursion as bluegills slammed the tiny poppers. The same holds true for St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5 past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road), where sunfish bass and crappies provide good action on a variety of lures. The lake is at full pool now.

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 good bass action for those who know how to work a “whacky” worm or standard Texas-rigged worm. Catfish are hungry.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Catch-and-release bass fishing can be quite good as female bass have left their beds and now seek food in the deeper coves and around lake point dropoffs. Crappie and sunfish are plentiful.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — Lamb says croakers are caught by boaters at sunset and high tide at the mouth of St. Leonard’s Creek in 25 feet of water. You can catch a limit of 20 just east of the creek entrance in the evenings and early mornings. The “hardheads” measure from 14 to 17 inches. They like bloodworms, squid, shrimp or clam snouts. White perch are coming on in the lower feeder creeks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) ranger Smokey Davis reports that crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastics have worked well on bass this past week. Mainlake points have produced some nice fish, and crappies can be found around sunken brush or beaver dams. Small minnows under a bobber work well. The catfish bite has picked up. The reservoir is full, and clear; water temperatures are in the low- to mid-70s.

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Bass like garlic-scented Zero worms or Senkos. Work lake points and brush piles. Crappies and sunfish are available.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — Smallmouth bass action is perking up nicely as the spawning period has ended from above Knoxville and then downstream clear to Dickerson in Montgomery County. Spinners, small crankbaits, tubes and jigs will work.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Largemouth and smallmouth bass are beginning show up under floating docks. Skip a tube jig or plastic worms under the floats and see what happens. Call Brent Nelson at 240/460-8839 for quality guided trips.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — Smallmouth bass chances are good from the Conowingo Dam down to Port Deposit’s rocky shore. Largemouth bass like spinnerbaits and scented plastics from Havre de Grace boat docks out into the river blowdowns, gravel bars or weeds pockets.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) down on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County recalls an outing a few days ago. “Around 5 p.m. we went fishing, got just outside the creek and there were birds and fish as far as you could see from the creek to the [Point No Point] lighthouse. We were casting Bass Kandy plastics and each of us hooked at least 15 rockfish. I also got two bluefish, and we were back in by 6 p.m. I feel so bad that many people these days spend so much time trolling.” The following day, two Buzz’s Marina customers did exactly the same thing. They reported hooking dozens of rockfish outside the creek mouth. The stripers measured anywhere between 18 and 28 inches. Meanwhile bay trollers from the Southern Maryland area north to the Bay Bridge and above find off-and-on success with smaller rockfish. Most of the big females have departed. Croakers are beginning to show up north of the Patuxent mouth.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (Ingram Bay Marina in Wicomico Church, www.captbillyscharters.com, call 804/580-7292) scores on rockfish and increasing numbers of bluefish. The croakers are well supplied from the Rappahannock up toward the Potomac, including the Great Wicomico River. In the lower Bay, red drum are found on the Eastern Shore side, but the black drum fishing in the general Cape Charles area has been iffy. Some are caught; more are not. Ask Bob Greer, of Welcome, Md., who was aboard a charter boat Saturday and came up with goose eggs. No drumfish all day. The bridge-tunnel holds flounder.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Chances for croakers have improved in the deeper layers at the mouth. Small rockfish are possible from the Choptank Lumps to near Cook Point.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Good bass catches are possible up and down the river. Mann’s Baby 1-Minus in red/orange has been a fine lure around waterlogged tree roots.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313, or use the Federalsburg ramp on the Marshyhope Creek) Fair bass chances in the creek mouths and upper river marsh and spatterdock edges.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Largemouth bass catches can be fine. Carolina-rigged or standard plastic worm fishing styles will produce bass. Crappies are taking minnows or plain white jigs under bobbers around beaver huts in the backs of coves. Some striper action is noted in the early hours.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) Upper river will give up some nice smallmouths to crankbait or tube slingers. Fredericksburg’s downtown waters show mostly catfish, with bass looking at plastic worms and spinnerbaits from a little above Hicks Landing down to Leedstown when the tide recedes.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Bass have begun to cooperate, taking scented plastics around lake point dropoffs and sunken brush. Crappies are willing, too.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (…) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Crappies, sunfish, bass and catfish are on the prowl. Get busy.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake angler Marty Magone reports, “Some bass are in post spawn mode, so it depends on what part of Gaston you fish as to tactics or lure selection. Up the lake, bass are on the edges of shallow flats and will take a spinnerbait or worm at the dropoffs. Many bass in the creeks have moved out and are a little more difficult to locate before they settle on summer schooling patterns around emerging grass.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Bass and crappie catches have improved, with many bass females having left bedding sites and now seeking food.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Blue catfish are the primary lure to come to this river.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (…) — (Williamsburg area) The bass are done with spawning and now can be found on marsh edges, fallen wood and other ambush spots. Spinnerbaits and soft plastics work.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville stretches will turn up some largemouth and smallmouth bass, but it’s not red-hot action.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Good largemouth bass chances are around points and boat houses. The lake’s smallmouth bass also have turned on. Check out rock beds and other stone and gravel groupings.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Smallmouth bass will deliver plenty of action this week.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (..) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Rough seas have been the biggest handicap for offshore boaters, but seabass and tautogs are available, as well as bluefish of all sizes. Backwaters at Ocean City show some flounder with the surf and inlet holding scattered snapper blues.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association said, “The offshore waters of Virginia are still on the cold side. Fishing is good out of the Outer Banks [N.C.] with excellent action on gaffer dolphin, plus a decent yellowfin bite and some wahoo thrown in.” That should turn around quickly now as bluefish will arrive for sure, and there have been reports of tuna showing up at the Norfolk Canyon. Eastern Shore has hungry flounder. For charter boats, 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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