- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 26, 2008

Along with decent catches of striped bass, bluefish, croakers and spot, Chesapeake Bay anglers have been connecting on surprising numbers of flounder. The fish that usually brings visitors to Atlantic flounder hotspots, such as Chincoteague, Wachapreague and Oyster, Va., also Ocean City, Md., hasn’t been bashful about inhaling a drifted minnow or a slice from a bluefish fillet with the skin still attached. (Flounder are fond of the taste of bluefish, but will also nibble on any fresh slab of fish).

The flatties, some running up to eight pounds, are biting in Virginia around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and throughout that general region. Then turn your boat and head north up the Bay and begin to hunt for flounder from the mouth of the Rappahannock River clear to the lower Potomac, especially the Potomac’s Cornfield Harbor and Piney Point sectors. The flat fish are scored inside the Tangier Sound, a stretch of the eastern channel edges between Hooper’s Island Light and the Middle Grounds, but also in the western shore’s St. Jerome’s Creek mouth and the creek’s outside flats. Don’t overlook the Patuxent River from the mouth to the Solomons bridge because it, too, has turned up catches of them.

Local Maryland and Northern Virginia tidal water bass fanatics say this year has been the best in memory. Catches of 30 or more bass per day in some of the Potomac’s feeder creeks are not unusual. Of course there will be the inevitable caller or e-mail writer who’ll say that he hooks 100 bass every day, but that’s stretching it a bit.

On a nonfishing note, if you’d like to have a look at the biggest nontypical whitetailed deer ever shot in Maryland, come to the Guy Brothers Marine store at 23470 Budds Creek Road, in Clements (St. Mary’s County), Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The deer is among the top 20 nontypicals of all time in the U.S. The man who bagged the deer, Bill Crutchfield, will be on hand to talk hunting if you wish. For information, call the Guy Brothers shop, 301/475-9774.

Now here’s this week’s fishing outlook:

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

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (***) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461), you can bet that the catfish and a few bass will cooperate. There’s still a chance of hooking a striper or two. The largemouth bass picture improves greatly as you head downstream. Some bass can be taken on soft plastic worms in the Washington Channel and along the various seawalls in town, but expect multiple hits from bass as you approach grass and rock lines above and below the Wilson Bridge. From the Piscataway south to the Pamunkey and Dogue Creek, the catches of bass on topwater poppers, 4-inch scented worms or various spinnerbaits and shallow crankbaits improve and even get better from the Pohick Bay area to Leesylvania Park, Va., and beyond. Of course that also includes all the Maryland creeks. Croakers catches have been made from below the Route 301 bridge south to Swan Point and toward the Wicomico River mouth. By the way, flounder are caught from Piney Point to the southern deep side of St. George’s Island; also around Tall Timbers and then at Cornfield Harbor, near Point Lookout. The Coan River on the Virginia side of the river also has given up flounder, croakers, spot and a mixed bag of bluefish and stripers.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (***) — The Bushwood area near Quade’s Store (301/769-3903) has been giving up fair to good numbers of croakers along with small spot. The inside grass lines near shore are good for white perch.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (***) — The mouth of the creek on its southern and northern sides has given up fair numbers of bass, as have the back sides of Marsh Island, Temple’s Turn, also the creek’s marshy shores above Slavins boat ramp on Mattingly Road. Check out the Horstman’s Cut, Hancock’s Cove and marsh edges between Hanock’s and the railroad tracks. Short plastic worms, small buzzbaits and jerkbaits have been effective.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (***) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) gave up some nice-sized bass this week to a fellow retrieving a small crankbait near the dam. Sunfish are plentiful. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) you’ll find active bass, crappies and sunfish. Have a ball.

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) are good for a few well-fed bass that like a 4-inch hard jerkbaits, plastic worms or small spinnerbaits. Sunfish and catfish are plentiful.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (***) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) should be visited before the heat strikes. Fish early and as late as possible and see if a largemouth bass doesn’t hammer your jerkbait, worm or medium depth crankbait. Crappies and sunfish are in brushy areas inside deep coves or around shoreline obstructions in the main bodies of the two lakes.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (***) — The river is home to plenty of small croakers inside the mouth, but larger specimens are found up the river at Broome’s Island Bar, St. Leonard’s Lump and at Helen’s Bar. We fished for white perch in the creeks this week, but must admit that strikes came few and far between. It’ll get better in early July. Rockfish are possible around the Cedar Point lighthouse foundation. If you fish the dark hours, a loud Chugbug topwater lure will be attacked by the stripers. Flounder have been found in the mouth around the long ledge that runs from the 3-legged marker to near the Solomons bridge.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (***) — From Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) ranger Smokey Davis said, “Bass have recovered from their spawning activities and are returning to their normal haunts. Some good fish were taken off the secondary points of major coves over the weekend. Texas-rigged plastics and medium-running shad color crankbaits worked well. The crappie bite has picked up as well. Medium size minnows under a bobber in deep mainlake blowdowns produced some good limits including two citations. Catfish love chicken livers and cut bait and flyrodders are cleaning up on bluegill. Water surface temperatures is 78 and 82 degrees.”

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