- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fine autumn fishing for blues and stripers can be yours from the lowest portions of the Chesapeake Bay to the northern parts, especially around the Chester River and other areas in Kent County waters. In Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck of Virginia, expect excellent bluefish and increasing rockfish activity along with some flounder and redfish hookups.

In tidal rivers, the boss of them all, the Potomac, shows stripers and blues from Point Lookout clear up to the Route 301 Bridge in Charles County. Most of the river markers and buoys that have protective rock piles around them also hold stripers that can be caught by small-boaters using nothing more than lipless rattle lures or, but when the fish go deep, white or chartreuse Sassy Shads pierced onto quarter-ounce or half-ounce jig hooks will work.

Fresh- and brackish-water bass fishing is solid. As always, it begins with the upper tidal Potomac, where largemouth bass of various sizes attack shallow to medium-depth crankbaits, especially if they’re retrieved in an erratic stop-and-go fashion. Good smallmouth bass catches are made in the upper mountain rivers, while small lakes and reservoirs in the metropolitan area are always good for largemouth bass, catfish or crappies this time of year.

Along the oceanfronts, expect a mixed bag of red drum (redfish), bluefish, flounder and croaker, while offshore boats connect on tunas, some king mackerel and dolphinfish, as well as sharks.

Here is this week’s outlook:

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

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (***) — Around the Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) you’ll hook catfish, carp, and maybe even a bass or two. The fishing can be very good some days. If it’s largemouth bass you’re after, all the feeder creeks from the Broad to the Aquia produce. We’ve had our best days in the Mattawoman and Chicamuxen in recent days. In saltier water, down around the mouth and slowly heading upstream to Tall Timbers, you’ll catch a mix of stripers and bluefish. For some, it’s mostly bluefish. The river from St. Clements Island to St. George’s Island has active rockfish for trollers and lure casters, said the Tackle Box’s Ken Lamb. Bluefish can be hooked as far north as the Route 301 Bridge, while rockfish have been at Swan Point just before the sun rises and as it sets.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (**) — White perch and catfish are taken inside the river, with rockfish and a few snapper blues hanging around outside the mouth where bucktail or spoon trollers connect some days

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (***) — The slow stop-and-go retrieval of medium-diving crankbaits has been super-effective along flooded shorelines where grasses, open water pockets and some wood are seen. If that doesn’t produce, start throwing spinnerbaits or slowly work a 4-inch finesse worm along the marsh bank ledges up and down the creek. You’ll score.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (**)Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) is good for a few bass, sunfish and even a crappie now and then. At St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) we are repeating that the water will be drawn down to make repairs on the dam and the boat ramp will be closed down. Despite that, some nice bass, pickerel, crappie and sunfish have been hooked. If you care to carry a cartopper or canoe through the exposed mud shore, you can do so.

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) will turn up fat channel catfish, some chunky largemouth bass and a crappie or two.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (***) (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) We repeat that repair work is being done at Rocky Gorge’s dam, resulting in a drawdown. Expect closed boat ramps, but shore walkers or cartoppers who carry their little boats across muddy shores, can do so. At Triadelphia Lake there have been catches of crappies in flooded brush and in the backs of deep-water coves, and the bass fishing is picking up steam. Use crankbaits, spinnerbaits or plastic worms around any waterlogged structure, be it wood or stone.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (***) — Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said: “The Patuxent has hefty rockfish in the shallows from Sheridan Point to Point Patience. Breaking fish are not uncommon anywhere from Cape St. Mary’s to St. Leonard’s Creek.”

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (***) From Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) ranger Smokey Davis said: “The backs of long, deep creeks, such as Three Fingers, Little Beaver and Hoos Run, provides bass anglers with plenty of action. Topwater baits and shallow to medium-running crankbaits account for most of the fish. The crappie bite was slower this week, but a beautiful 19-inch, 3-pounder was caught off the pier on a minnow fished under a bobber. Catfish still like chicken livers or clam snouts and bluegills are readily available. The reservoir is clear with surface temperatures in the low to mid-60s.”

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