Gene Mueller’s Fishing Report

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BURKE LAKE: 29 miles – A handful of bass is nailed on topwater lures early in the day. Then the johnboaters switch to fishing slowly with plastic, scented worms, such as Berkley PowerWorms. Don’t expect too much, though. Times can be tough now.

CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – Everything depends on the weather. If strong, sustained rain storms suddenly arrive, it can alter the fishing outlook. But currently, the fishing is fine for fly fishermen casting streamers for smallmouth bass, as well as conventional tackle users who prefer tubes, grubs, spinners, small topwater poppers and 1/4-ounce crankbaits anywhere from Taylor’s Landing in Washington County down to Point of Rocks, Lander, Dickerson, etc., in Montgomery County.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Lake guide Brent Nelson (captbrentnelson@gmail.com) reports, “Smallmouth bass, although not very big, will hit prop and chugger baits on the surface during low light hours adjacent to rocky main-lake points and flats. When the sun shines, go to small tubes and 1/8-ounce spider jigs. A few largemouth bass will find shade under pontoon boats and in offshore submersed aquatic vegetation. Wacky-rigged soft stick baits and spinnerbaits take the largemouths. Night fishing will find fish shallower and a black spinnerbait or chatterbait with trailer will take both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Walleye fishing is slow but savvy anglers report taking a few on leeches and slow trolled Hot ‘n’ Tot crankbaits in perch colors. Bluegills will take small poppers and rubber spiders on a fly rod, especially near Sky Valley.”

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – The Susquehanna Flats are good for catfish and some decent stripers, even largemouth bass. The insides of the river can deliver a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass in the Port Deposit area, but the fishing has not been the best ever,

CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles – Live-lining small Norfolk spot in hopes of catching a keeper rockfish is all the rage currently. It’s being done successfully from the waters above the Bay Bridges down to the Virginia state line. For example, our friend Ken Lamb recounted how St. Mary’s County angler Tom Tippett went to the Gas Docks (not far north of the Patuxent River mouth) where he dropped live spot to catch stripers. Tippett quickly caught a 34-incher and others measuring in the 20-inch class. Then comes charter fishing captain Greg Buckner who fished Tippett left. He live-lined with spot at the same Gas Docks’ north side, as close the the boundary makers as possible, and did great. He had four rockfish over 30 inches and lots of smaller specimens. The afternoon bite on the falling tide has been best. Similar reports come from the upper Bay’s Chester River mouth, the Hackett’s Bar area, also the waters near Bloody Point and Eastern Bay, as well as many channel edges and deep holes from the Gooses down to the Middle Grounds. Of course, trollers using small spoons, surgical tubing or bucktails also connect. With the current heat, croakers aren’t always easy to get, but the Middle Grounds are still reliable. Not only that, that area and the Mud Leads see the arrival of schools of whopping-size channel bass. Capt. Buddy Shue, according to Lamb, has found 40-inchers several times. “Big spoons trolled in front of the fish are the key, and the ability to smell them (I am not making this up),” said Lamb. Lamb is not joking. I’ve been with several charter fishing captains who say they can smell fish. What happens is this: the big redfish and other species concentrate on a school of bait, attack and start ripping the little baitfish apart. Many pieces of these baitfish float to the top and do emit an odor. The experts thus “smell the fish.”

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Closer to our area, croakers, rockfish and spot head the list in Northern Neck waters, but watch out for some redfish, as well. The big “reds” are beginning to show up in 25 to 35 feet of water, especially along channel edges and sharp depressions. Down in the lowest parts of the Bay, flounder are still the main attraction, said Dr. Julie Ball. “Doormats up to 10 pounds have been seen,” she added. “Anglers working structure with jigs, adorned with artificial baits such as Gulp Jerk Shads are coming out on top, with live baiters coming in second,” she reported and also said that the Bay Bridge-Tunnel pilings and the third and fourth island tubes are the best flounder hotspots this week. Cobia catches still aren’t up to snuff, but some in the 20- to 30-pound range are taken on the Latimer Shoal and the Inner Middle Grounds. Ball said that Spanish mackerel trollers can score at Cape Henry, although some boaters score also at the Bridge-Tunnel. “The best catches are in 20 to 25 feet of water, with planers working better than in-line sinkers,” she said. By the way, a few black drum have been hooked at the third and fourth islands of the popular Bridge-Tunnel and locals anglers say some red dum (channel bass) are around, as well. Look also for spadefish and sheepshead and use a variety of baits, including fiddler crabs, blue crabs, clam, and sand fleas.

EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Once again this week the majority of fish catches are made in the mouth and the insides of the river for a few miles. Small rockfish, with occasional keepers, are the rule along with croakers and spot. White perch and catfish are all over the river way up beyond the Cambridge fishing bridge.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles – From Snow Hill down to Shad and Milburn landings, the chances for bass are quite good, but you have to tie a moving tide (preferably outgoing) to the earliest hours possible. Crankabits, topwater chug baits and poppers do well in spatterdock and sunken wood.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – Marshyhope Creek on the Maryland side continues to be your best bet. But I had a call from a local fisherman who read our advice about throwing Rat-L-Traps to flooded river points early in the day anywhere from Vienna downstream. “I had five rockfish,” said Artie Miller, “and I kept two of them in the 20-inch range.”

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – My lakeside fishing pal said that lots of thunderstorms and showers have kept the lake level within inches of full pool. That makes it more difficult to target largemouth bass way back under some of the docks. You’re just going to have to practice your skipping techniques, for that’s been a very reliable pattern recently. As for the stripers, trollers are connecting across the lake from the state park, around the mouth of Contrary and Mitchell creeks and downlake from Dike 1 to the dam. Surface temperatures are now in the 90s all over the lake. The catfish have moved into deep water haunts.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – VDGIF biologist John Odenkirk said in spite of heavy rains Monday, the main stem of the river looks good. In fact, it is so low that he recommends wade-fishing if you’re above the Rapidan junction, but some float fishing is possible below the junction. “Wade fishing is what we ought to be doing now anyway,” said Odenkirk. “The water feels good.” He’s right and if you throw tubes or small crankbaits you’ll hook enough smallmouth bass to keep you coming back.

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