Gene Mueller’s Fishing Report

Good fishing returning after recent heavy rains

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CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – DNR biologist Mark Toms says that the recent heavy rains didn’t affect the upper river as much as was feared. Although water levels are up a little and are discolored, it’s not serious enough to stop you from making plans for a smallmouth bass outing. To illustrate, the Point of Rocks area of the river had been as high as 9 feet, but now is little more than 3 feet.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – There’ll be bass caught this weekend, not to mention the chance for a walleye or northern pike. Night temperatures have fallen and so has the water temperature. That means the predator species will be hunting for food. Bait dunkers in the lake coves will catch fat yellow perch and sunfish.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – This place will be off limits to fishing for another week. Way too much muddy water is charging down through the Conowingo Dam, messing up the river below.

CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles – Striped bass catches are possible up and down the Maryland portions of the Bay. From the mouth of the Potomac and Patuxent rivers and up the western and eastern sides of the Bay, rockfish are present along with good numbers of bluefish of various sizes (mostly in the 2- to 3-pound range, though) and bonus catches of Spanish mackerel. By the way, Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park says that the Honga River is turning up small spotted sea trout, but occasional 18-inchers are possible. Meanwhile, charter fishing captains, such as Greg Buckner, find breaking schools of rockfish around Cedar Point in the Patuxent. He trolled, cast lures, and jigged, landing all the fish he wanted for his customers. If you’re in the Bay Bridge area, the abutments and pilings of the span are holding rockfish that like jigged spoons, bucktails, or crab baits.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – In Northern Neck waters, not far from the Potomac’s mouth, you’ll find Spanish mackerel, bluefish and some keeper rockfish, not to mention croakers and spot that hang around channel edges closer to land. Farther south, Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) reports that well-fed croakers, many of them weighing two pounds, are active in lower Bay waters. The bigger “hardheads” are lurking in deeper areas around the channels, inlets and the Bay Bridge-Tunnel, she said. Flounder catches are not back in full swing, but some anglers find decent-sized flatties. In fact, keeper flounder, some of which weigh in the 7-pound range, have been taking bottom-fished or drifted baits around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s dropoffs and stone structure. Dr. Ball said the 3rd and 4th islands have been best. Hard-charging cobias continue to hang around the Bridge-Tunnel pilings, as well as the buoys near the mouth of the Bay. Tossed jigs and live bait are productive. If it’s big red drum (channel bass) you like, Ball said the Nine Foot Shoal area and 4th Island at the Bridge-Tunnel are the best places to look.

EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – There hasn’t been a lot of fishing success here in the past several days, but croakers, spot and white perch, not to mention the occasional school of rockfish that comes into the mouth, chasing baitfish, are always a possibility. Upper river bass fishing has been slow.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — A week of poor weather, followed by sunshine and gentle temperatures could make this river a good bass fishing choice this weekend, especially in the Shad Landing and Snow Hill stretch. This river has so much natural cover by way of sunken brush, fallen trees, flooded tree roots and spatterdock fields, you’d think there was a bass caught every two minutes. However, it isn’t happening that fast.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – Slow going for bass up and down the river, from the Federalsburg area clear up to Seaford, Del. The best chance for action might be the river points and feeder creek mouths downstream of Vienna. Get there early in the day (before sunrise) and cast loud topwater poppers or rattling lures and see if a striper isn’t around to attack the offering.

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – My lakeside friend and fishing insider reports that the striper and bass fishing continues to remain well below par for this time of year. “The largemouths are on the move and should be far more willing to bite very soon,” he said and added, “They’re heading to creek mouths and they’re cruising banks out on the main lake.” Shallow diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits would do the job. Crappies are currently saving the day. “They’ve been very active around the deep water bridge pilings and other deep structure. Pick up a couple dozen minnows and get out the slip bobbers and start your search at around 25-feet,” is his advice.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist John Odenkirk says that water conditions should be suitable for smallmouth bass anglers this weekend. The water is clearing and dropping nicely. In the tidal reaches of the river below Fredericksburg, Odenkirk has been doing electro-shock studies of the bass population and he reports good numbers of largemouths below Port Royal, but also around Hicks Landing. As an aside, he said, “You wouldn’t believe the numbers of bass we see in the mouths of creeks.”

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Easy fishing for sunfish, catfish, maybe even an errant crappie or two. But the bass fishing hasn’t been the greatest, even though the lake is home to plenty of largemouths.

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