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Gene Mueller’s Fishing Report
Fine time of year to fish for crappies
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 33 miles — If the crappies won’t take a live minnow, plastic grub or shad dart, fished under a bobber, I’ll eat my fishing hat. Creek mouths and main-lake sunken wood are good place to hunt for the speckled fish. The largemouth bass, meanwhile, are hanging around around lake points that show adjacent, quickly dropping water. Use crawfish color crankbaits, plastic craws and jerkbaits. Catfish like clam necks almost anywhere on the bottom.
BURKE LAKE: 31 MILES — A friend told me that he caught crappies practically within stone’s throw of the concession building. “I used a 1/16-ounce white Dollfly jig with a bobber about four feet above the lure,” he said. Haven’t heard much about decent bass catches.
CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – The weekend will produce smallmouth bass and a few walleyes from Washington County down to Montgomery County. The water is in great shape, but don’t expect large numbers of fish. However, what you will catch usually is of a good size. Grubs, small crankbaits and regular inline spinners.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Bass hookups have slowed for many anglers, but long-lipped crankbaits and slowly fished Sting Ray grubs and such will find action around creek mouths and lake points. Live minnows on drifted spinner rigs can draw strikes from walleyes. Yellow perch like minnows, as well. But they can be fished from hook-and-bobber setups in the deep coves.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources says there’s excellent fishing for lunker smallmouth bass in the lower Susquehanna — and that’s a fact. We’ve taken some exceptionally fine smallmouths around the stone ledges and rocks along the Port Deposit shoreline, but reports of good catches of largemouth bass are not as optimistic. Catfish are hooked below Conowingo Dam by anglers using previously frozen cut herring baits.
MARYLAND: 25-65 miles — At Buzz’s Marina on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Leonardtown fisherman Ron Drinkwater returned to the dock with a rockfish that showed sea lice in its gill rakers, which is supposed to be proof that it came from the ocean. Drinkwater brought the 43-inch-long rockfish into the Tackle Box in Lexington Park on Monday. “The big fish was not put on a scale, but probably had a weight of close to 30 pounds,” said proprietor Ken Lamb. who added, “The huge striper had plenty of sea lice, indicating migration from the Atlantic in the last few days.” Drinkwater used a downrigger, with the line holding a single bucktail lure, trimmed with a white plastic curlytail “bait.” Lamb said the steady flow of big rockfish has begun and will continue until about the second week of December. The Maryland season ends Dec. 15, but the Potomac River and Virginia seasons continue until December 31. Either way, if you can’t hook an ocean striper, all the fish-chasing boaters agree that there are plenty of 18- to 24-inch rockfish in the Bay (and feeder rivers) in the 18- of 34-inch range. They can be cast to during feeding sprays when they erupt on the surface, but also are caught while trolling or jigging most any time. One hotspot this week has been the broad entrance mouth of the Choptank River. By the way, keeper rockfish have been taken on jigging lures around the Bay Bridges’ stone abutments, with white perch in the upper Bay found on oyster bars and adjacent dropoffs.
VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – In the waters of the Northern Neck, trollers and sight casters are hooking rockfish without any problems as the fish have been quite cooperative from Smith Point down to the mouth if the Rappahannock River’s Windmill Point. The fishing dentist, Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) said that speckled sea trout are found all over the lower Bay and the striped bass action is picking up, with mostly schoolies dominating the scene. If the wind blows and boats can’t make it out into the Bay proper, “Plenty of action is available within the lower Bay’s inlets, rivers, and off fishing piers. At the Bay Bridge Tunnel, anglers are enticing big rockfish while casting 6-inch Storm lures at the rocks of the first island, with some fish pushing to nearly 40-inches this week. Wire liners are also faring well.” Ball also said anglers find limits of nice rockfish over the Fourth Island tube, with many fish measuring to around 36-inches. Tautog action is very good in Bay waters, said Ball, whenever the wind slows down enough to let boats reach them. “When anglers can sneak out, most any structure is providing nice sized ‘tog averaging from three to eight pounds. Fiddler crab [baits] are becoming harder to come by, but blue crabs are working, too. A few sheepshead are still a possibility in the same vicinities,” she added.
CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – The vast, wide mouth of the river has turned up good numbers of keeper rockfish, usually hooked on jigging lures or trolled soft and hard baits.
POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — The bass fishing has been very slow over the past several days, but there are spots up and down the river, particularly near Snow Hill where crappies can be caught on darts and grubs.
NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – White perch are found in deep holes south of Vienna, while rockfish often slam into Rat-L-Traps early in the day around grassy river point during high tides, as the stripers chase baitfish. Near the mouth, most of the local boaters troll with bucktails and spoons to catch rockfish.
LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – Our lake insider said, “Because of the earth quake here back in August, the [nuclear] power plant still isn’t back in operation. That means there’s not much current down-lake around the dam or Dike 3. Right now, the word is out that mid-lake and up-lake regions are the places to be fishing. Crappie fishermen are having a ball catching fish in relatively shallow water around main-lake points. A dock pattern is good for the bass. Throw crankbaits, spinnerbaits or slow down and skip Gulp! plastics back under the docks.”
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