- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

Be sure to check out Gene’s new blog, “Inside Outside,” on the Sports page of www.washingtontimes.com.

On to the fishing report: The Atlantic Ocean anywhere between Delaware and North Carolina delivers offshore catches of blue and white marlin, some sailfish, plenty of bull dolphins, king mackerel and bluefish. Closer to shore, hookups range from amberjacks and bluefish to Spanish mackerel and spadefish. It all depends whether you troll about in open water or drop your baits and lures around the pilings of a light tower.

In the Chesapeake Bay the fishing is very good. From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, where black drum continue to hang around along with spadefish at the third and fourth islands, to the Northern Neck of Virginia and the Bay in Maryland where spot, croakers, rockfish and bluefish provide happy outings for boaters, occasionally even pier fishermen.

Today, 21 specially tagged striped bass will be released at various locations throughout the Bay and its tributaries. One of the 21 will be Diamond Jim, a fish worth $25,000 cash, courtesy of Boaters World and a $5,000 diamond from Smyth Jewelers, if caught by midnight on Aug. 31. The other tagged striped bass, all of them Diamond Jim imposters, will each be worth $500 in Boaters World gift certificates. Go to www.dnr.maryland.gov/fishingchallenge for additional details.

In the tidal waters of the Potomac River, continued good catches of bass are the norm for boaters. The bass fanatics now are becoming accustomed to also hooking Chinese snakehead fish, which cannot be released; they must be killed and disposed of on land.

If strong thunder showers stay away from the mountain rivers, the smallmouth bass, channel catfish and sunfish of the upper Potomac, Rappahannock, James, Shenandoah and Susquehanna rivers will cooperate for waders or anglers in shallow draft canoes or johnboats.

Here is this week’s fishing outlook:

(Ratings key: ★★★★=excellent fishing; ★★★;=Good; ★★Fair; ★;=Poor.)

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (★★★&#9733) — Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) shows warm water, catfish and a few bass, but expect typical summertime fishing, which is not as red-hot as it is here during spring. Downriver from the District into Prince George’s and Charles counties, as well as Virginia’s Prince William County, count on bass bites along creek marsh edges, main stem weed patches and sunken wood. The hot lure right now is a wacky-rigged slow-sinking plastic worm, such as the Senko or Strike King Zero, pitched to the edges of cover as the tide recedes. Early and late hours can be fine for topwater lures. In the saltier water of the river, downstream of the Route 301 bridge, the chance of hooking a croaker continues to be iffy, but strong reports of stripers and croakers are coming in from the mouth of the Wicomico River, also from St. Clements, the channel edges of St. George’s Island, Tall Timbers and the waters toward the Point Lookout area. The channel edges of the lower river can produce flounder of mixed size, particularly as you move over to Virginia’s Smith Point area.

WICOMICO RIVER:55 miles (★★★) — The Bushwood sector near Quade’s Store (301/769-3903) can give up croakers, perch and Norfolk spot, but finding the croakers is a chore. Start with channel edges dring receding tides and use uncooked shrimp pieces, squid strips or peeler crab chunks.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (★★★) — Good early morning bass chances if you use topwater poppers, wacky-rigged worms, maybe a shallow-running crankbait such as the Baby 1-Minus by Mann’s.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (★★) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) gives up a few sunfish, but not much else. St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) offers good numbers of largemouth bass in all sizes. The lake’s bluegills love night crawlers, live crickets, even flyrod popping bugs.

LITTLE SENECA LAKE: 30 miles (★★★) — Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117 near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and the nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127) feel the heat, but bass, sunfish and catfish are available if you can stand the temperatures.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (★★★) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Even shoreline walkers at Rocky Gorge have had success near Scott’s Cove. Either lake has good numbers of crappies, sunfish and bass.

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