What a difference a few 80-degree days can make. Dale Knupp, who lives in La Plata, Md., and who fishes the upper tidal Potomac River as often as possible, launched his boat at the Smallwood State Park boat ramps in Mattawoman Creek this week and, thanks to his electronic depth sounder, discovered that the surface water temperature had reached almost 60 degrees.
Under such welcome water-warming conditions, Knupp, using broad-tailed soft plastic grubs and even some shallow-running crankbaits, landed 17 largemouth bass, including a fat-bellied female that tipped the scales at seven pounds. All the bass were released. Knupp also found a number of willing crappies and a few spawned-out yellow perch.
Let the spring fishing commence even if spring is still a week away.
Reports have reached us concerning good bass and crappie catches in Virginia's Aquia, Quantico and Occoquan tributaries to the Potomac. The same holds for Maryland's Mallows Bay, Chicamuxen Creek, the main stem's Fenwick stretch (near the Marshall Hall launch ramp), and the upper river's Spoils Cove, as well as the Fox Ferry Point area.
White perch spawning under way: I visited the Allen's Fresh (Route 234) sector of Charles County's Wicomico River at midweek and found half a dozen shoreline anglers waiting for the tide to recede. By midmorning, the water began to ebb and, almost simultaneously, catches of spawning white perch began.
One of the regulars at the "Fresh," Pat Capps of Bryantown, Md., used a tandem, high-low rig of red-and-white 1/16-ounce shad darts that he cast into the middle of the river and then slowly, erratically, began to retrieve the little lures. They never made it back to land because during nine casts, Capp caught nine white perch.
Other anglers, some of whom simply tied on a single shad dart, then tipped the hook with a small minnow, would fish their bait under a bobber. They scored as well. Bill White drove over from Calvert County's Port Republic and he caught white perch and a few spawned-out yellow perch. Hughesville's John Kern also hooked the tasty fish.
Freshwater Potomac gives up musky: Kevin Wilson of Boyds, Md., spent a day fishing the Williamsport, Md., mountain section of the freshwater Potomac along with his Fairplay, Md., friend Bob Barber and Barber's son, Carson. While Barber wanted to hook a few walleyes, Wilson intended to catch a muskellunge with a large lure and stout equipment. It paid off. Wilson caught a 39.5-inch-long musky — his personal best. Yes, we know that a near 40-inch-long musky might not raise eyebrows in Ontario or Minnesota, but in Maryland it's a fish worth talking about.
Patuxent River shows action: From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park comes word that blue catfish are taking chicken livers and cut bait past Chalk Point in the Patuxent. The waters above Jackson's Landing clear up to and beyond Hills Bridge on the Prince George's/Anne Arundel counties line deliver white perch and some yellow perch. The Western Branch feeder creek has been good for tiny bass and fat crappies.
Catfish and perch in Breton Bay: Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box reports that catfish were caught this week at Abel's Wharf in Breton Bay, off the Potomac, along with some pan-sized white perch.
Fishing show in Solomons, Md.: The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association's Southern Maryland chapter will conduct its 19th annual Fishing Fair at the Solomons, Md., Firehouse, March 24 and 25, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 80 vendors will be on hand with fishing tackle and supplies. There'll be used and new boats and charter fishing captains that can be booked for the spring trophy rockfish season. Food and drink is available. Admission is $3 (kids age 12 and under are free). More information: www.mssasmc.com.
How about this trophy bass: An 11-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass was hooked in early March by a Virginia trout fisherman using an inline spinner lure. Did it come from one of the large reservoirs in the state? No way. The huge bass was caught in the 60-acre Douthat Lake in Bath County by Chris Vess of Nicelytown, Va. A small Mepps spinner tied to 4-pound test line did the job. Douthat Lake is not all that far from the West Virginia state line.
For more outdoors news, check out www.genemuellerfishing.com.
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