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BURKE LAKE: 31 MILES — The crappie fishing is getting better in the lake’s brush piles, especially if you use live minnows, although small darts or grubs do okay when fished under a bobber. Bass have gone after Chatterbaits, medium-diving crankbaits and plastic worms.

CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – Washington County smallmouth bass fishing is just dandy. The water is up, but fishable and the smallmouths, as well as some of the river’s walleyes, know that lean times lie ahead. Some fair fish are taken in Frederick and Montgomery counties as well. Fringed tubes in black and junebug colors will be looked at.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Lake expert Brent Nelson said, “Colder nights have water temperatures dropping and the suspending jerkbait bite is kicking in. Aggressive topwater prop baits and Pop R’s will work on the bass now all day over grass beds, especially on overcast days. Burning [that means ‘fast retrieve’] a big white spinnerbait is another option. It’s getting cold up here and the leaves are down.”

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Most of the catches are made up toward Conowingo Dam among rocks and deep-water channels where fat catfish and sassy stripers frequently show up. The tidal bass fishing can’t compare to the Potomac, but some fish are caught on shallow-to-deep crankbaits and soft plastics near Havre de Grace.

CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles – Charter fishing captain Eddie Davis (301/904-3897) says that catching plenty of rockfish has been no problem in the Bay, northeast of Point Lookout. “There are also some 3- and 4-pound bluefish mixed in with the stripers,” he said, “but I expect them to leave any day now. The rockfish, however are just getting started.” Elsewhere in the Bay, Ken Lamb reports the big ocean stripers have not shown up just yet, but it should happen soon. Not to worry, there are plenty of 18- to 27-inch stripers running about. Meanwhile, small bluefish are breaking the surface over wide Bay areas. “Chummer are doing well on the Middle Grounds early in the day,” he said. The area gets crowded quickly, so if you’re a late arrival, forget it. The first three boats with chum in the water can score on blues and rockfish, but if you’re a late arrival, forget it.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – In the Northern Neck between Smith Point and the Great Wicomico there’ll be striped bass and some bluefish for trollers, lure casters, even topwater plug users. In the lowest portions of the Bay, the fishing lady dentist, Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) said since the water temperatures continue to cool, striped bass are becoming more active. “Casters are scoring with schoolie-sized rockfish between 18 to 22 inches along the Monitor Merrimack, the James River Bridge, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel,” she said and added that the bite is especially good during the nighttime hours along the edges where light breaks the darkness. “A few larger fish [measuring] over 34 inches are responding to live bait at the Bay Bridge-Tunnel. “Wire liners are also boating fish ranging up to about 21 inches from the tubes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel this week [and] lots of snapper bluefish are rounding out catches,” Dr. Ball said. By the way, the Bridge-Tunnel’s third and fourth islands have given up some hefty red drum.

EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Don’t pass up chances of keeper rockfish in the mouth, which is very large, so a bit of scouting is required. Some days are very productive; others are stinkers.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — Largemouth bass action between Snow Hill and Shad Landing State Park can be quite good for crankbait casters during outgoing tides, especially in flooded shoreline stumps and brush.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – Rockfish are taken below Vienna clear down to the mouth, but upper river bass catches are anything but great.

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – Lake Anna, Va., fishing guide, Chris Craft and his boat partner, Brian Oxendine, competed in a Virginia Outdoors (VAO) tournament recently. They ran into Anna’s Contrary Creek to see if the bass held on some rip-rap at the bridge. That’s when thunder struck! As Craft was retrieving a Rat-L-Trap lure he felt resistance – a lot of it. Craft had snagged a 54-pound, 10-ounce grass carp in the top of its tail and landed it on 10-pound testline. If you’re planning to come to the lake, my lake informant says the crappie fishing remains fairly solid around deep water docks and many bridge pilings. Bass are caught in the creeks’ shallows and the striper fishing continues to be below par.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries biologist John Odenkirk talked to us while he was aboard an electro-shock boat above Fredericksburg. “The river is a little high, but clear, and very fishable,” he said. In fact, smallmouth bass anglers will find a higher quality of their favorite fish, but current numbers are slightly down. In the tidal stretches below Fredericksburg, small-club bass tournament anglers say they’re definitely doing better on the largemouths above Port Royal. Catch rates steadily decline as you head downriver. Why, no one knows, but it’s a fact, say the state fisheries biologists.

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