- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

If the weather is kind, weekend shoreline anglers and boaters will find good fishing for a variety of species.

The yellow perch spawning run is well under way. In fact, we hooked some female perch a few days ago that already had deposited their roe in the uppermost reaches of the Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County. Their bellies were empty. The same has happened in the Wicomico River at Allen’s Fresh and in the upper Patuxent River, also in a tidal Potomac River feeder known as Cuckold Creek that abuts the famous Swan Point golf course.

This is not to say that the yellow perch fishing is over. There are some that haven’t spawned and even those that have must head back downstream and they will hungrily inhale bait minnows or small artificial grubs. Besides, most of the yellow perch spawning is quickly followed by schools of white perch that also need to reproduce.

Among the better white perch waters count the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg and the Maryland Eastern Shore’s upper Choptank, Chester and Nanticoke rivers, the Marshyhope Creek below Federalsburg and the Blackwater and Pocomoke rivers. All soon will show increasing numbers of spawning white perch. My favorite rig is an ultra-light spinning outfit, light line and a 1/8-ounce red/white or green/white shad dart. Cast it out and retrieve it erratically. If the perch are there, they’ll strike. Be sure to have spare shad darts because you’ll lose some on snags.

Meanwhile, bass catches are reported from a number of locations. It begins with the tidal Potomac and its feeder creeks in Charles, Prince George’s and Prince William counties. Blade baits, Sting Ray grubs, drop-shot rigs with Power Bait shiners and pig ‘n ‘jig combos can do the job along marsh bank dropoffs, creek points and sunken wood.

Blue catfish in the Potomac — With a little patience, juicy fillets cut from gizzard shad or menhaden, strong rods and line, 7/0 hooks and sinkers heavy enough to hold the bottom, you can expect big, fat blue catfish to bite along deep dropoff ledges where the Piscataway Creek meets the Potomac River in Prince George’s County.

Early striper hookups — The Calvert Cliffs Power Plant’s warm water discharge in the Calvert County section of the Chesapeake Bay can turn up catch-and-release stripers if you cast and retrieve soft plastic Striper Kandy or 4-inch Sassy Shad lures in chartreuse or white. The same can happen in the Morgantown Power Plant’s discharge pools on the Potomac River in Charles County.

Anna has bass, crappies and stripers — Boaters fishing Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, have scored on bass, crappies and stripers — sometimes all in one spot. As baitfish schools move into the backs of coves, the predator species have followed. One fisherman in a local tournament won with a 5-bass catch that weighed an impressive 22 pounds.

Lake Gaston bass and stripers — Marty Magone said that for bass fishermen the [plastic] worm bite is turning on at Lake Gaston on the Virginia/North Carolina line. “Many of the main lake coves near Eaton’s Ferry Bridge are filling up with bass ready to snatch up creature baits and jig worms, [but] anglers should always have a bucktail ready on another rod in case a school of stripers comes by,” he urged. Magone said the early spring water temperatures are in the low 50s and a pre-spawn bass bite appears to be under way.

It should happen in Maryland/Virginia — From the Fishing Wire comes word that two Volusia County, Fla., commercial fishermen face federal penalties for multiple saltwater fishing violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Management Act. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a $16,000 civil penalty and 45-day permit sanction to the owner and the operator of the fishing vessel “Mama’s Money II” for violations that include retaining undersized fish, exceeding bag limits, making false statements and interfering with and obstructing an investigation, search or seizure.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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