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OCCOQUAN RESEROIR: 33 miles — Better chances for bass this week. If the rain doesn’t come, you’ll do well from Fountainhead’s lake points and sunken wood up to Bull Run where plenty of underwater wood can hold the largemouths. Catfish and bluegills are hungry, but what happened to the crappies? They’re not cooperating.

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles – Expect improved bass chances what with the water temperatures having dropped a bit. Even a small decline in the water temps can change your fishing success. Soft plastics and shallow to medium depth crankbaits can bring strikes around brush piles and points.

CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – The water from Washington County to Montgomery County is low, clear, and willing to turn up smallmouth bass as long as you’re willing to wade or bump along some of deeper water in a drifting johnboat. I talked with a DNR biologist stationed in western Maryland, asking him if threats of Hurricane Irene might bring rain into the far western parts and he said, “You never know. It can happen, but there are so many ways she can move, no one knows until it actually happens.”

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Lake boaters find increased smallmouth and largemouth bass activity. Water temperatures have cooled quite a bit and the fish are showing more life than in recent weeks. Skipping jigs, grubs and worms under boat docks still is a good way of getting a largemouth, while tubes and small jig’n’pig combos dropped around lake point rocks and dropoffs can find smallies. Yellow perch and fat sunfish are always possible for bait users.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Catfish are hooked on clam necks or cut baits at the base of the Conowingo Dam, just as we said last week. A reader of our reports landed a number of fat channel “cats.” Bass fishing between Port Deposit and Havre de Grace has been only fair, but the Susquehanna Flats give up a largemouth now and then.

CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles – Continued good catches of stripers are made by boaters who are live-lining Norfolk spot at the Gas Docks in Calvert County. But the Gas Docks aren’t the only place for rockfish. They are widely scattered in the Bay, with fair to good catches coming from the Chester River at Love Point where chummers score. The Bay Bridge’s pilings have been giving up keeper rockfish to jig and bucktail users. The False Channel above the Choptank mouth has been good for rockfish, but there’ll be days when you’re lucky to get only one bite. So when it’s slow, a lot of boaters troll bucktails along the various channel edges and over humps and rises in 30 feet of water. The DNR says if you want spot, try the Hackett’s Bar, the mouth of the Choptank and Eastern Bay where jumbo spot are hanging out that are too big for live-lining, but perfect for a frying pan. The best croaker fishing is found after the sun sets and the baits are dropped around Buoy 72A, the Middle Grounds, also the Tangier Sound. We haven’t heard much about new Spanish mackerel catches, but there small schools of them in the Bay, especially along the Marland/Virginia state lines. No need to remind us all what will happen if hurricane rains and strong winds come visiting.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) said the flounder fishing is going great guns in the lower Bay’s deep channels, drop-offs, and sunken structures. “Good reports are coming from the 3rd and 4th islands of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Back River Reef, and near Buoy 42,” she said. Ball adds that cobia catche are practically a sure thing. “Pods of fish appear on the surface in the lower Bay and along the ocean front as they prepare to depart local waters. Many fish are pushing to well over 50-pounds,” she said. Schools of large red drum are in the lower Bay, especially near the 3rd and 4th islands. Ball also mentioned that speckled trout are biting on the Poquoson flats and Hungars Creek, with smaller fish coming from the Bayside creeks on the Eastern Shore.

EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – One day the spot and evening croakers bite well, the next day they appear to have disappeared. It’s an up-and-down fishery here. Upstream, at the Route 50 fishing bridge in Cambridge, some white perch and occasional croakers or spot are found, but the fishing is not red-hot.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — A belated tip of the fishing cap to Maryland angler Justin Kelly who fished near Pocomoke City recently and caught a state record 17-pound, 49-inch, longnose gar. Apparently, he was after gar because he used a live bluegill as bait and a steel leader on the hook to keep the line from being chewed in two. However, bass fishermen have had a tough time in the usual places upstream at Shad Landing and Snow Hill.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – The fishing has been super slow if it’s bass you’re after, although the lower river’s salty waters gives up croakers, some stripers, even a speckled sea trout now and then.

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – My lake reporter said, “Hurricane Irene could change things quickly, but current conditions have the lake level down more than a foot. Skipping your lures under boat docks has been relatively easy. The largemouth bass like that shade although some schooling is starting to happen in mid-lake regions as the bass cruise around and chase baitfish. Stripers have been active breaking on the surface but at Anna, this starts and ends seemingly in the same instant. Trollers connect now all over the lake.” He also offered an earth quake update, saying, “It was shaking so badly here, our ceiling fan blades struck the ceiling; pretty much every egg in the refrigerator was broken and most of the pictures fell off the walls; many closets and my wife’s pantry were emptied. Thank God the bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen didn’t break, but I’m seriously worried about my plumbing.”

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