SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles – Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) is fine for catching sunfish, maybe a bass now and then. Stocked trout have been hard to find. I guess most of them have been caught and eaten. At St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5, south of Leonardtown to left turn on Camp Cosoma Road) johnboaters and shoreline anglers are pleased with bass, crappie and bluegill catches. The fishing has been fine.
WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles – Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge lakes in the Prince George’s/Montgomery/Howard counties corridor is turning up catch-and-release largemouth bass, plenty of crappies and sunfish, also a few hefty catfish that like bottom baits. Try clam necks just once and see if you won’t like the results. Catfish love clam necks.
PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles – Haven’t heard much about decent catches of anything around Hill’s Bridge, although crappies and remnant yellow perch have cooperated in Western Branch. However, as you get toward the mouth there actually are some anglers fishing from Hog Point’s beach who catch a rockfish now and then. When the water warms again, the croakers will be there, as well. Word has it that the white perch have started coming into the feeder creeks where small spinners or Beetlespin lures will catch them around docks, piers and grass line edges.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 33 miles – Weekend johnboaters will do well on bass in the deep-water coves where secondary points jut out into the water and often are the ambush spots preferred by bass hoping an unsuspecting minnow or young sunfish comes along. Crankbaits, soft plastic worms and “craw” baits will do the job. Crappies have not been the most cooperative critters, but that will change when more settled weather arrives.
BURKE LAKE: 31 MILES – Have you tried a 1/16-ounce white Dollfly jig or a bucktail dart tied perpendicular to 8-pound-test monofilament, with a bobber snapped to the line some 3 or 4 feet above the lure? Cast the rig around sunken brush piles, tree branches in the water, or a shady shore where water drops from 2 and 3 feet to double that amount very quickly. Jiggle the rod tip to give the little lure some life-like action and see if a fat crappie won’t inhale it. Bass are possible around points and shallow flats if you use short-lipped crankbaits, jerkbaits, or small “craw” baits and plastic worms.
CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – Water conditions are okay in spite of the rain. You will find willing smallmouth bass in the riffles and deep pockets on the downstream side of large boulders anywhere from Washington County down to the Darnestown and Edwards Ferry in Montgomery County. Tubes, jigs, inline spinners and such will do the job..
DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – The walleyes are biting if you slow-troll an Eerie-dearie lure with a minnow or a whole nightcrawler along channel edges and around rocky points. It has been way too cold up here to do any decent bass fishing. I mean, six inches of snow in late April? Are you kidding me?
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Many fishermen say catches of catfish and a few stripers are indeed possible when water is being released through Conowingo Dam, but things are not so good when there are no discharges. Meanwhile, shad continue to please flyrodders and users of spinning tackle in Deer Creek. The Susquehanna Flats are home to many rockfish although a large percentage now consists of males that are ready to spawn. Bigger females are on the way. Some are hooked as you read this.
MARYLAND: 25-65 miles – From St. Jerome’s Creek, close to St. Mary’s County portions of the Bay, Christy Henderson, of Buzz’s Marina, said, “We had our best [trophy striped bass] opening day ever. Everyone was saying they caught the most fish in 15 years. No skunk trips, that’s for sure. Many of the trophy rockfish came from around the Point No Point Light waters. We saw hundreds and hundreds of fish come in here. Lots of happy people.” That feeling is echoed by Ken Lamb, of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box, who said, “A steady stream of rockfish came into the The Tackle Box on opening day for photos and citations. Trollers found the fish in the lower and upper bay taking umbrella rigs, tandem rigs, daisy chains, big spoons and surgical eels. Many put their lines over and had their limit (one 28-inch-and-over fish per person) in a matter of minutes.” Lamb said the area of the ships channel near buoy 72A was especially hot. Boats using planer boards had multiple fish on at the same time. Lamb said most of the stripers he is seeing measure from 32 to 37 inches. “Of the 50 or so rockfish we saw on Saturday, only two were in excess of 40 inches,” he said. What is interesting is that very few of the trophy stripers had sea lice in their gill rakers, which leads many anglers to believe that the big stripers stayed in the warm waters of the Bay this winter and did not venture out into the Atlantic. “We may see a big run of larger ocean fish coming to spawn in the next two weeks,” said a hopeful Lamb. On the other side of the coin, we’ve heard from a number of trollers who didn’t catch anything. Go figure.
VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Northern Neck boaters are coming into Maryland for the trophy stripers and they’re doing very well, but the croaker fishing has been poor. Down the Bay quite a ways, tThe Virginia Beach area’s Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) said that the flounder action has been spotty in the Bay. The best chances are found at Back River, also the bend at the third island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and along the Baltimore Channel in water ranging up to 45-feet. Scattered flounder can also be found in the Lynnhaven Inlet. Although a few black drum have been hooked near Cape Charles and the Cabbage Patch, there is some concern about a lack of the fat bottom feeders in the lower Bay, but since the cold snap arrived the big brutes probably are holding back a little. They’ll be here by the first days of May.
CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Lower river downstream of Cambridge might show some catch-and-release stripers, but don’t expect much. The upper river also has not been a “go-to” place. As a fishing pal said who visited the Martinak State Park ramps to launch his boat and fish for bass, “If the bass are biting, they must be biting each other – certainly not anything I cast toward likely looking spots.”
POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles – Snow Hill to Shad Landing shorelines that show flooded tree roots and small inlets with water-logged brush can deliver bass and crappies, even white perch.