- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Maryland and Virginia portions of the Chesapeake Bay will provide the best weekend fishing, but a couple of “ifs” enter the picture that can quickly alter the outlook.

If it gets rather windy, it will not be good for boaters trying to find slowly but steadily arriving ocean-size striped bass. If it doesn’t howl, you might be able to copy what one lower Potomac River troller reportedly did. I don’t have a name, but the word is out that a 49-inch-long, 52-pound rockfish was caught near St. George Island.

That fish could be the vanguard of hordes of large stripers that should begin to show up in Maryland waters as they leave the Atlantic, enter the Chesapeake to fatten up on baitfish, in the process delivering memorable trolling and lure jigging trips that can last until mid-December.

My St. Mary’s County contact, Ken Lamb, said rockfish abound in the Bay and in the rivers. Even the shallow parts where shoreline anglers can cast a bucktail, trimmed with a wiggly trailer, deliver the goods.

“The bay has breaking fish all up and down the ship channel with most measuring 20 inches or better, and some are up in the mid-30s,” said Lamb, the proprietor of the Tackle Box store in Lexington Park.

Schools of legal rockfish and some bluefish continue to roam practically all of the Chesapeake, from its upper ends near the Susquehanna Flats down to Virginia’s Northen Neck. Many are surfacing now and then chasing bait. If the weather is kind, this will be a super weekend for the Bay’s anglers.

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


TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (***) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) there’ll be hungry blue and channel catfish, even some bass. After a wild week of rainy, sunny, windy weather the river’s largemouth bass population wasn’t always in the mood to look at an artificial lure. We caught some on Rattlin’ Thin Fin crankbaits, various soft plastics, even a Mann’s Sting Ray grub, but the fishing has seen better days. That will change, however, as more settled weather is forecast for the weekend. Slowly dying marine grasses can make lure retrieval a chore now and then.

In the more saline waters below the Route 301 bridge in Charles and King George counties, some of the local trollers have done well on 18- to 23-inch stripers, but few as good as one boater who reportedly caught a 49-inch-long, 52-pound rockfish near St. George Island this week.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (**) — There are a few legal 18-inch stripers in the river close to the mouth, but the fishing has been slow.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (**) — The creek was an absolute stinker this week, but that should change as the weather settles down. Still, some bass were caught on spinnerbaits, Rattlin’ Thin Fin crankbaits and small craw tails.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (**) — 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) didn’t show any action earlier this week as far as I can determine. The rain is to blame.

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) also suffered from people staying away because of the cold rain. Things will perk up for bass and catfish anglers this weekend.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (**) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Start seriously hunting for slowly schooling crappies. They’ve been widely scattered, but it’s time. When the deer enter the rut, it’s time to look for the crappies with small darts and jigs, maybe some tipped with a tiny minnow and fished under a bobber. I have not heard of any decent size bass that were caught, but that will change soon.

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