- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

Two days ago, fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski and I looked for large numbers of white perch that we were told stayed alongside a certain Chicamuxen Creek marsh bank. The Chicamuxen, if you’re new to the area, is a tributary to the tidal Potomac in Charles County.

After we fished for a while, it became painfully obvious that the white perch weren’t “at home.” But in the tidal Potomac’s feeder creeks there are days when some fish species won’t bite and others that can’t wait to jump on the hooks. The bass and resident yellow perch in the Chicamuxen wouldn’t leave our tiny Beetle Spin and Silver Buddy lures alone. The same thing occurred later in the morning inside the Mattawoman Creek. Those fish weren’t the least bit bashful. So we forgot about the white perch and instead kept enough of the yellow species to provide us a fine supper. Some of the yellow “neds,” as the locals call them, were large, well-fed specimens.

Elsewhere, in the lower ends of the Chesapeake Bay’s rivers, many of the resident striped bass (aka rockfish) are found in shallow layers of water. Lure casters, using lipless rattle baits, bucktails and topwater chug baits, are catching fish in the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, while trollers also do well in the deeper channels. Some of the stripers can weigh as much as 10 pounds. Much the same type of action can be expected in the mouth of the Choptank River on the Eastern Shore, or Virginia’s Rappahannock River.

If heavy rains stay away, the weekend will be good for going after smallmouth bass in any of the middle Atlantic’s mountain rivers. Sure, there’ll be some floating grass and leaves, but hang in there because the bass will bite.

(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), Ray Fletcher said: “We’re beginning to see more bass — smallmouths and largemouths — and once in a while somebody will hook a walleye. Of course, those big old blue catfish are here as well.”

As you head downstream, from the District to western Charles County the bass fishing can be spectacular one day, lousy the next. Do what everybody else does, blame the full moon that we’ve been under for a while. The bass we’ve caught have liked a 1/4-ounce Rattlin’ ThinFin lure, also Baby 1-Minus crankbaits, 4-inch finesse worms and, occasionally, a smartly worked surface popper or grass frog.

We’ve also done fairly well on bass and yellow perch in the feeder creeks, using a 1/8-ounce and even a 1/16-ounce Beetle Spin lure. Big blue catfish are available in the channel ditches out from Marshall Hall, Greenway Flats and down near the Chicamuxen Creek mouth. As you head downriver, the rocks that surround the various buoys anywhere downstream of the Nanjemoy Creek hold rockfish that will go after RedEye and Rat-L-Trap rattle baits. Farther down, from St. Clements on down, trollers start picking up a few keeper rockfish. Capt. Billy Pipkin (see more from him in the Virginia Chesapeake Bay report) says the chumming on the Potomac River has been good with the stretch between buoys 7 and 9 offering the best catches of rockfish.

“Sizes remain small in the river, yet through careful catch and release, limits of two fish over 18 inches are attainable,” he said.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (**) — The only fair action for rockfish that we’ve heard about concerns the rock ring at the buoy in the river mouth. Rattle lures and Sassy Shads will do the job.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (***) — If all the tournament boaters we saw on Tuesday — obviously practicing for an event this weekend — stay in the creek, this place will be a madhouse. When things quiet down, the bass have been taking small spinnerbaits and topwater lures along marsh banks, spatterdock fields and in shoreline wood.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (***) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) shows some small bass and fat sunfish, while the crappies at St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) are beginning to cooperate. The bass fishing has been fine, as well.

LITTLE SENECA LAKE: 30 miles (***) — At the Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117 near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and the nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127), sunfish and catfish are taking various baits — worms usually. That much is guaranteed, but the bass fishing has had its ups and downs this week.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (***) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County.) This is ripe for the picking. The bass are on the prowl, and if you concentrate on lake points and the drop-offs, or brush piles and fallen logs, the bass can often be found in less than 4 feet of water. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms are called for. Crappies should start schooling now.

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