- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Be reminded that the Maryland season for 18-inch-and-up striped bass is open in the Chesapeake Bay and the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, Chester and Choptank rivers, and the fishing can be, oh, so good.

You may keep two every day, but only one of the two can measure over 28 inches. The remaining Maryland tidal rivers and creeks will open with the same creel limits June 1.

Lexington Park’s Tackle Box passes along a message from Solomons Island, Md., charter fishing captain Greg Buckner, whose associate, captain Lee Tippett, runs the large charter vessel “Fin Finder.” Tippett, he said, had 26 anglers aboard last Sunday. Everyone on the boat caught a limit of rockfish, which included 26 trophies of 28 inches and larger, and 18 stripers that were in the 18-inch slot limit — proof that the various sizes are well represented.

Meanwhile, Buckner, on the wheel of the “Miss Susie,” went out into the Bay at 2 p.m. the same day and by 3 p.m. had 10 trophy-size rockfish and three smaller ones. Buckner said, “The [big] fish are schooled up tight and heading south. Bait is plentiful and any time you find the bait, the trolled lines fill up with rockfish.”

If it’s flounder you’re waiting for, Mike Henderson, who operates Buzz’s Marina, caught the first keeper flounder of the season in the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek — on a soft Bass Kandy lure, of all things.

In the freshwater lakes and rivers of Virginia and Maryland, the impoundments will deliver bass, crappies, sunfish and catfish, but it’s the mountain rivers we again are concerned with. John Mullican, the upper Potomac River specialist for the Maryland DNR, said, “I believe the river will be high and muddy this weekend. We’ve had quite a bit of rain, and more is forecast.” That, most likely, will mean the Shenandoah and the upper Rappahannock also will be affected.

None of that, however, will bother tidal Potomac River anglers from below the District to western Charles County. The bass, perch and blue catfish are as willing to look at your offerings as you are to present them. Go for it!

If you’re interested in a rockfish contest, the annual Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) Kent Narrows Fly and Light Tackle Striper Tournament will be held June 4 in a catch-and-release format.

The per-angler registration cost is $40 (includes a one-year membership). Registration can be made on the CCA MD website, www.ccamd.org. For more information, call 202-744-5013 or e-mail tony@ccamd.org.

D.C. AND VICINITY

(all listed distances begin in Washington)

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles – The Fletcher’s Cove area most likely will be affected by runoffs from the upper river where it’s muddy and fast. You can call Fletcher’s Cove at 202-244-0461 or go to www.Fletcher’scove.com. The area between Wilson Bridge and western Charles County is showing good bass, crappie and catfish activity with the better creeks for bass pointing to Broad, Piscataway, Little Hunting and Dogue creeks; add also Gunston Cove and the Occoquan River. If you want a bunch of Chinese snakeheads, take your boat inside the Occoquan River right up to the dam. That area is loaded with them, an insider told us. Don’t overlook the Chicamuxen, Potomac and Aquia creeks where bass, crappie, snakeheads and catfish are available in fine numbers. The Arkindale Flats and Greenway Flats turn up bass with the usual lures: Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, Paca Craws, Senko and Zero worms, and the KVD 1.5 or Baby 1-Minus crankbaits wherever you see enough open water to retrieve it properly, says bass guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509). Down in the lower parts of the river, you should find good catches of rockfish St. George’s Island clear to Smith Point. Smaller rockfish up to 22 inches have begun breaking on the surface in the Potomac near the mouth of Herring Creek, said Ken Lamb, of the Tackle Box store.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles – Expect a few croakers to take your baits between Quade’s Store in Bushwood and the waters near Cobb Island. White perch are moving into weedy shorelines.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles – Outstanding bass catches if you can find a spot not already occupied by multiple bass boats. Marsh bank edges, spatterdock pockets and sunken wood can turn up bass, some of which may still be spawning – or be in a post-spawn stage. Center channel near Mattingly Avenue boat ramp can give up fine channel catfish if you use clam snout baits.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles – At Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) you’ll find a flyrod heaven if you’re after sunfish. Small popping or sinking bugs will be attacked along shallow shorelines where the bluegills are bedding. Deeper water (5 feet or so) can turn up shellcracker sunfish if you use worm baits and a piece of split shot on the line. Bass are possible, but don’t expect record setters. At St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5, south of Leonardtown to left turn at Camp Cosoma Road) the bass, crappies and bluegills are hungry. All three species are in excellent supply. The lake is definitely fishable.

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