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BURKE LAKE: *** — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Good bass, crappie and sunfish catches are made. Catfish add to the lake experience. Try fly-rod poppers and sinking Black Gnat bugs for the bluegills.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MARYLAND

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: ***DNR biologist John Mullican says the river from Washington to Montgomery counties is in decent fishing shape and the smallmouth bass have jumped on fringed tubes, grubs, small crankbaits and occasionally a surface popper.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: *** — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) says the water has been slow to warm, but the largemouths are spawning and the crappies are in some of the brushier coves where they can be caught on jig-and-bobber combos. Smallmouth bass catches are said to be excellent, said the DNR’s Keith Lockwood.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: ***Catch-and-release striper fishing has turned on again onn the Flats. Many fish in the 18 to 26-inch class are hooked on Striper Kandy and Zoom Fluke lures.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: *** Rockfish and ever increasing numbers of young bluefish are showing up over wide areas of the Chesapeake Bay, starting with St. Mary’s County and lower Eastern Shore waters, including the lower Potomac River around Point Lookout, then moving up toward the Hooper’s Island Light and PR Buoy as well as the Patuxent’s Cedar Point. Rockfish also have been trolled up from the Sharps Island and Stone Rock sector to the Poplar Island area. The trouble has been a general lack of croakers, but the catches will perk up as the water warms a little more. Black drum are due to arrive around Stone Rock, but I have not yet had any reports of a confirmed catch.

VIRGINIA: *** — Virginia Beach’s Ken Neill said, “Cobias have arrived in the bay and the first fish have been caught by anglers targeting drum. Both red and black drum continue to be caught in good numbers and sizes. The run of big black drum seems to have slowed a little, but action is still very good. A few large gray trout are around. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel [is] best for large tide-runner sea trout.” Meanwhile, keeper-sized rockfish are available from the Bridge-Tunnel to the Maryland state line. Croakers are hooked along the drops between the Rappahannock River mouth and the Great Wicomico, as well as Smith Point Light.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MARYLAND

CHOPTANK RIVER:*** — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Look for white perch and some decent bass around Denton. One reader said he had caught a hardhead from the Cambridge Fishing Bridge, but that was it. White perch, however, should take FishBites or the real thing: bloodworms.

POCOMOKE RIVER: *** — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Bass are nipping at 4-inch finesse worms, even some whacky-rigged worms and Mann’s Baby 1-Minus crankbaits in flooded timber and spatterdock.

NANTICOKE RIVER: ** — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313, or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside Federalsburg) The river is still murky, but when you use dark tubes, jigs and such the bass might have a look at such offerings. In the upper river, Seaford area anglers report fair bass fishing along the edges of spatterdock.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: ***(Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Good bass chances are now on soft plastics, spinnerbaits and early day topwater lures. Fish the Duke’s Creek area with Carolina-rigged worms anywhere you see a dropoff on your depth finder. The insides of Sturgeon Creek have been good for bass and crappies. Above the Splits, there is a possibility of seeing early morning surface eruptions by stripers. Keep a hard or soft jerkbait at the ready.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: ***The upper river is much better now and a few of the river waders around the Rapidan and above are finding good smallmouth bass action with tubes and grubs hopped among the river rocks. Below Fredericksburg, expect catfish and a fair number of largemouth bass down toward Hicks Landing. Fish blowdowns and creek junctions.

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