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BURKE LAKE: 31 MILES – Much the same story as above in Occoquan Reservoir. Pre-spawn and spawning bass are the rule and the fishing can be good one moment, lousy the next. The wind hasn’t helped. That’s for sure. Crappies can be caught in the sunken brush on live minnows or small jig-and-bobber rigs. The park’s phone number is 703/323-6601.


UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – Smallmouth bass are a good possibility now, but the water is low and clear, which doesn’t help mountain boaters and it’s a bit too chilly for wading. Weather forecasts promise better conditions lie ahead. Walleye catches are slow in the Washington and Frederick counties area, but they’ll perk up in the days to come.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Smallmouth and largemouth bass have been taken along the few available dock pilings, but also rocky points and deep-water coves where fat crappies and yellow perch also hang out. Wear your woolen longjohns; it gets cold up this way.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Male rockfish have been noted on the Susquehanna Flats and they’re hammering 3- and 4-inch Sassy Shads, cast-and-retrieve Hopkins spoons and hard or soft jerk baits. Recent strong winds have been a problem for small-boaters. The big female stripers should be here by the weekend. Inside the river, the American and hickory shad (catch-and-release only) in Deer Creek are wild about shad darts and tiny gold spoons.


MARYLAND: 25-65 miles – Spring trophy rockfish season begins April 21. The Susquehanna Flats and adjacent catch-and-release area has seen plenty of male rockfish and the females will follow. The rockfish are also found in the Bay’s Choptank, Nanticoke and Potomac tributaries. If you plan to do some trolling to see where the fish might be right now, drag your parachute or umbrella rigs in waters up to 35 feet and hang on. The water temperatures have been hanging around 52 to 54 degrees. The state reminds all fishermen that the tidal spawning rivers are off limits to any kind of catch-and-release fishing for striped bass until June 1.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Northern Neck croaker fishermen find a few hardheads, but things have not busted wide open just yet. Give it a few sunny, warm days and — even more important — warm nights. The fishing dentist, Dr. Julie Ball ( said flounder action in the lower Bay is improving in the usual spots, such as the curve near the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the Baltimore Channel and Buoy 36A. Ball said one boat came in with limits of flatties that measured up to 23 inches. Tautogs continue to bite around bridge abutments and wrecks.


CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Rockfish are running up and down the river, but those are males looking for spawning sites. It’s best to leave them be. Upper river beyond Greensboro sees some shad action, but bass anglers are not doing very well.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — Snow Hill to Shad Landing boaters have not done very well this week, but in the remote side pockets of the river there’ll be some spawning bass.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – The Marshyhope Creek has given up a little bass action, but things could and should be better. The river currently is home to a good number of rockfish that are looking for spawning flats. Do not actively fish for them.


LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – Many largemouths are on their spawning beds, my lake insider said. “If sight fishing isn’t your particular sporting style, try nearby staging areas with crankbaits and spinnerbaits and give the next bass generation a fair chance,” he added. A boat dock pattern will also produce. Crappie are holding on shallow structure and taken best with small minnows or little plastic curly-tail grubs. Look for stripers from The Splits up to the first bridges. Catfish are caught throughout the lake. Use chicken liver baits.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – State fisheries biologist John Odenkirk says the water is too low and clear to provide super shad fishing, but the shad are around. Unfortunately, many of them are just outside of town in tidal water, waiting for things to improve so they can make a decent upriver run. Some are caught in town, but there have been better years. Tidal water bass hounds can score just as we reported last week: From Port Royal to above Hicks Landing. Upper river smallmouths are caught, but in the extremely shallow water the fishing can be taxing.

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