Gene Mueller’s Weekend Fishing Report

It all depends on whom you ask when you want to know whether Tropical Storm Hanna and its sometimes heavy rains affected the local fishing.

If it’s a bass angler who prefers the upper tidal Potomac River, you’ll receive generally good reports. In fact, some of the Potomac bass catches are as good right now as they were before dour predictions of Hanna’s damaging rain and wind.

On the other hand, Chesapeake Bay fishermen on one side say the catches of bluefish, rockfish and Spanish mackerel are holding up well, while a few charter fishing captains say the mackerel are on their way out, along with croakers and Norfolk spot.

The fact of the matter is that the weekend will deliver good to excellent Bay fishing, but if nights turn seriously cooler, yes, there’ll be a small exodus of the warm-water species, like the mackerel. But they haven’t really disappeared yet.

If you happen to find kind winds and fairly smooth boating in the Atlantic, which is possible, you’ll also find offshore action, including false albacore, blackfin and bluefin tunas and a good number of dolphins, with inshore and backwater catches of flounder and an assortment of sand sharks, kingfish and a few bluefish in the surf waters from Delaware to Virginia Beach.

On a separate, but equally important note, if you didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting in Annapolis regarding the draft management objectives for the recreational yellow perch fishery and draft recreational management options for 2009 and beyond you can still provide input that the DNR says it will consider. You may request a list of management options and send your recommendations by Sept. 24 to Rick Morin, morin@dnr.state.md.us. If you have questions, call 410/260-8272.

Here is this week’s fishing outlook:

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

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: *** — Ray Fletcher of Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) said the rain really didn’t amount to much as far as upstream runoff is concerned. “The river looks good and there are largemouth and smallmouth bass caught along with the always present catfish,” he said. Downstream it’s much of a similar story. The weed-infested waters of the Potomac are fishable and show few signs of recent heavy rains, but in a few open water areas there is some discoloration. Bass, however, can be caught on soft plastics and topwater grass frogs or poppers from the Piscataway down to the Aquia creeks. If it’s rockfish you’re after, there have been legal-size stripers hooked by trollers and lure casters from outside the Port Tobacco River mouth downstream to St. Clements and beyond. Reader Rick Roselle said the flounder fishing was fantastic around Piney Point’s Steuart loading pier before Hanna blew into town, but there is no reason why they should not still be there. The same holds for the rockfish, blues and flounder from Tall Timbers to Point Lookout. I believe the weekend will be fine if the wind allows a small boat out onto the water.

WICOMICO RIVER:** — A few rockfish are taken by slow-trollers using relatively small bucktails and light weight just outside the mouth of the river. White perch are plentiful inside.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: *** — Wacky-rigged or straight Texas-rigged plastic worms will find bass along marsh bank dropoffs during outgoing tides. Try also grass frogs and surface popper lures when the sun is hidden in the clouds.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: ***Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) and St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) will provide decent sunfish catches, but also a few good bass.

LITTLE SENECA LAKE: ** — Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117 near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127). If there’s water discoloration it should be good and fishable by the weekend — unless more heavy rain comes along. Either way, bass and catfish will be hooked by skilled anglers.

WSSC RESERVOIRS:**(Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) There’s some murky water in the upper ends of the lakes, but bass will take plastic worms, medium depth crankbaits and occasionally even topwater lures in the backs of deep coves and around lake points, as well as sunken wood.

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