As water temperatures fall all around the region, savvy anglers resort to an old fishing trick. It has worked ever since electric generating plants have been built on the shores of lakes and rivers, drawing water to cool heated turbines, then sending the warmed water back into the body it came from.
The warm-water discharges are a magnet for fish. It begins with minnows and shiners who crave the plankton in the balmy discharge channels, also larger white and yellow perch, and ends with larger predator species who wait in ambush.
Close to Washington and accessible by boat from Northern Virginia's Leesylvania State Park, or Smallwood State Park in Maryland, is the rear section of Prince William County's Possum Point Power Plant. It's located inside Quantico Creek, a tidal Potomac River tributary.
Possum Point's Quantico Creek portion has two outflow pipes. They're not easily spotted, but watch for turbulence around several concrete outflow structures. If the water appears to be roiled, showing small whirlpools, you've found an active outflow.
Largemouth bass, catfish, perch, small stripers and crappies are found here. In our search for bass or catfish this week, a slowly retrieved Sting Ray grub, dabbed with fish attractant, and a quarter-ounce Rat-L-Trap lure did the job. Our visit brought us sub-legal stripers and a fat, young blue catfish of about 7 pounds.
Lower Potomac loaded with stripers — The salty portions of the Potomac River between Piney Point and Point Lookout has been loaded with striped bass, some of them upwards of 40 inches. Most all of them are caught trolling along deep channel edges.
Lots of saltwater action in Virginia — Lower Chesapeake Bay specialist Dr. Ken Neill said that tautogs are biting on the inshore wrecks, while jumbo sea bass are up on the offshore wrecks. Neill added that bluefin tuna and large bluefish also are available in the Atlantic, but with the current rockfish and speckled trout action going on inside the Chesapeake Bay, hardly anyone bothers with the ocean.
Dam work at Burke Lake?: — Fairfax County's popular Burke Lake (off Route 123) may be scheduled for dam repairs, says the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. When I sent an email to ask if that would impact fishing and/or lake access, Larry G. Hart, the infrastructure director for the VDGIF, wrote, "It is too early in the process to know about the impacts of construction on fishing access. The work currently under contract should have minimal impacts on use of the lake."
Famed angler Lefty Kreh honored — Maryland officially has renamed the Gunpowder South Trail the "Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail" in honor of native Marylander, Bernard "Lefty" Kreh. He is a fly-fisherman whose fishing books, video tapes, fly-tying and casting skills are known the world over. One of his flies, the Lefty Deceiver, has been recognized on a U.S. Postal stamp.
The fishing trail runs along Gunpowder Falls (north of Baltimore) in an area that stretches from Prettyboy Reservoir to Big Falls Road in Gunpowder Falls State Park.
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