- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2008

This week’s fishing begins with news that the first hickory shad have shown up in the Deer Creek section of the Susquehanna, while the main stem of the river below Conowingo Dam turns up catfish, white perch and a few bass. However, no solid hookups of Susquehanna Flats rockfish have been made.

Spawning white perch should be available in the upper portions of Maryland’s Eastern Shore rivers, including the Chester at Millington, the Choptank in Greensboro and Marshyhope Creek in Federalsburg. White perch also are found in the Queen Anne Bridge area of the Patuxent River, and they ought to bite in Virginia’s Rappahannock River above Fredericksburg. But the most popular local spot is the Potomac River at Fletcher’s Cove (call 202/244-0461) on Canal Road, where perch are available and more will arrive daily along with shad and rockfish. Fletcher’s Cove rental boats are in the water.

Bass fans who are not into tournament fishing will find several out-of-state groups conducting their contests on the tidal Potomac this weekend. Local boat ramps will be busy. Meanwhile, the largemouths can be quite active as Patrick Dodson, of Hollywood, Md., learned when he was fishing for perch with an ultra-light spinning outfit in the Liverpool Point (Mallows Bay) area and felt a good tug on a nightcrawler bait. It was an egg-laden 5-pound female bass that simply wouldn’t let go of the worm. Good show, Patrick!

State record catfish — A Maryland state record blue catfish of 67.10 pounds was caught Sunday by Ron Lewis of Point of Rocks, Md. Lewis fished in the Fort Washington area of the Potomac River, and he used a slab of gizzard shad on a weighted bottom rig with a 6/0 hook and a 4-ounce sinker to hold the bait on the bottom. Catfish guide Tim Hagan was nearby, and he let the angler put the big “cat” into his oversized livewell so the fish could be taken to a display tank at Bass Pro Shop in Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md. State biologist Mary Groves verified the species and certified the weight, which beat the old mark of 65½ pounds set in 2006.

Occoquan Reservoir fair — Fountainhead Park ranger Smokey Davis said, “Those who braved [recent winds] did quite well on bass. A 6-pounder and several 3- and 4-pound bass were reported. Most fish were caught on spinnerbaits off secondary points in the major up-lake creeks. The crappie bite is still erratic. Some small ones were caught on minnows under a bobber around a beaver dam, but decent-sized ones were few and far between. The water is clearing up nicely; water temperatures are in the 52 degree range.”

Burke Lake bass bite Crappie catches in this Fairfax County lake are not great yet, but some fat bass are looking at slow-rolled spinnerbaits and maybe a soft-plastic olive or blue crawfish-style bait.

Lake Anna bass on move Bass fishing guide Wayne Olsen finds largemouth bass on jerkbaits, Roadrunner lures and Carolina-rigged lizards and craws. The crappie fishing has not yet turned on.

Kerr Reservoir perks up Kerr Reservoir, also known as Buggs Island Lake, on the Virginia-North Carolina border has been giving up good numbers of largemouth bass to anglers using hard jerkbaits or Carolina-rigged lizards and worms. Catfish are always willing if you use cut baits on the bottom.

Shenandoah only fair The Shenandoah River’s smallmouth bass are starting to look at some baits in both forks, but Dick Fox, who lives in Front Royal, Va., predicts much better catches will come along in a week or so. By the way, ace fly-angler/fly-tier Harry Murray has a Shenandoah fishing report accessible via murraysflyshop.com.

Lower Potomac stripers — Large catch-and-release rockfish have been noted in the lower Potomac near Point Lookout, and stripers of all sizes are hanging around the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant’s discharge waters.

Croakers move up — Virginia Beach master angler Julie Ball (drjball.com) reports that hook-and-line catches of croakers were confirmed in the lower Chesapeake Bay and some of its tributaries, including the Rappahannock around Deltaville. Ball also said flounder are starting to draw interest since a number of them were hooked in the lower bay, including hefty 19-inchers at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s pilings and islands. One angler caught a five-fish limit, and all met the new 19-inch minimum size law.

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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