Gene Mueller’s Weekend Fishing Report

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Dangerous wind greeted Chesapeake Bay fishermen on the opening day of the Maryland trophy rockfish season last Saturday.

With very few exceptions, the great majority of boaters remained ashore. But just before the Bay’s waves rose to near seven feet, charter fishing captain Greg Buckner on the “Miss Susie” managed to get his anglers hooked up on six striped bass during his first trolling pass near Buoy 77, off Little Cove Point. The young but experienced captain had the legally allowed number of fish. Each client had a trophy striper. Buckner quickly reeled in the lines and headed safely back to his Patuxent River home waters.

This course of action is never recommended for novice boaters. However, on Sunday, there were so many striper-chasing boats on the Chesapeake that the water looked as if it had measles. With declining winds and a brightly shining sun, catches of 28-inch-and-over rockfish materialized, but many of the stripers developed lockjaw. Blame high pressure weather systems on that. All the same, some happy anglers were seen returning to their home ports. For example, at Buzz’s Marina on St. Jerome’s Creek, beautifully marked striped bass were hoisted before the day ended, many coming from the channel edges near Buoys 72 and 72A. Similar scenes were repeated over many other parts in the Chesapeake.

Ken Lamb, of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box, said that the first 10 trophy rockfish that were brought to the store earned their anglers a $20 gift certificate. Oddly, every one of those stripers was caught by surf fishermen who camped out on the Hog Point beach at the Patuxent Naval Air Station. Lamb said that in addition to the rockfish, the surf crowd caught many croakers and one fisherman even hooked a huge flounder.

If you prefer to visit the fresh waters of our area’s mountain rivers, you’ll want to put off your outings for at least five or six days as high, swiftly moving, muddy water now is the norm. Allow the upper Potomac, Rappahannock, James, and all of the Shenandoah to settle down before going after smallmouth bass, shad, and other species.

The tidal Potomac River in Maryland’s Charles County and Virginia’s Prince William County will be fishable if you stick with the weedbeds and shoreline wood found in the feeder creeks. The upper, tidal parts near Washington are discolored and carry lots of debris that is coming down from the mountains. Some of the floating logs are big enough to seriously damage small boats.

D.C. AND VICINITY

(all listed distances begin in Washington)

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles — The Fletcher’s Cove area of the upper tidal parts in Washington is no good for fish outings. Muddy, swift water is the norm and things will not get better until perhaps Monday. For river conditions and such, call Fletcher’s at 202/244-0461 (or go to www.Fletcherscove.com). The main stem of the river shows a lot of debris and murky water and really is not recommended for the next several days. However, the feeder creeks — especially those in Charles County, Md., and Prince William County, Va. — will give up bass, crappies, snakeheads and catfish. If you want bass and perhaps a snakehead or two, try casting/retrieving a Chatterbait trimmed with a short Shadalicious or Sassy Shad swim bait. That, or a Mann’s Baby 1-Minus crankbait are great in shallow shoreline areas where the bass are beginning their spawning ritual.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles — Don’t be surprised if you find a rockfish near the mouth, but it has to be released. White perch are possible inside the river around steadily growing weed beds.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles — Bass guide Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) has no trouble finding willing bass in ever-growing fields of vegetation up and down the creek. His favorite lures include the Chatterbait, Strike King’s KVD-1.5 crankbait, Mann’s Baby 1-Minus, and various crawfish-clawed plastics. The water may not be clear, but it will be fishable by the weekend.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles — Gilbert Run Lake (a.k.a. Wheatley Lake) on Route 6, west of La Plata, has been very reluctant to show much bass action, but anglers have been hampered by strong winds here and at St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5 south of Leonardtown to a left turn at Camp Cosoma Road) where bass and crappies should be willing within the next two days. It’s time for good fishing. Enjoy the weekend. Only heavy additional rains can ruin it.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles — Rocky Gorge and Triadelphia reservoirs in the Prince George’s/Montgomery/Howard counties area will show bass, crappie and catfish activity this weekend, but remember that the upper ends of the lakes will be discolored from recent rain storms.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles — Upper parts of the river from Jackson Landing, past Western Branch and toward Hill’s Bridge and Queen Anne’s Bridge will be muddy and swift until past Sunday, even into next week if more rain comes down. However, down toward the river mouth, there have been croakers caught at Drum Point and the story of the week concerns 10 surf fishermen who worked their lures from the beach at Hog Point on the Patuxent Naval Air Station. Ken Lamb, of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, says the location is the mouth of Pearson Creek at a line that marks the Patuxent River’s end and the Chesapeake Bay’s beginning. The surf fishermen landed nine of the first 10 rockfish brought into the Tackle Box, earning gift certificates. In addition, one angler caught a large flounder and the whole group latched onto a good number of croakers.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles — Give it a few days before heading out onto the water of this reservoir. Conditions aren’t the best right now.

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