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PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles – The far upper reaches of the river are home to perch, crappies, even some catch-and-release shad. In the lower parts, not much is happening right now.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 33 miles – Fountainhead Park johnboaters locate largemouth bass and fat crappies around sunken trees and branches in the lake. Some crappies and catfish are taken from the little pier at Fountainhead’s headquarters. The park’s phone number is 703/250-9124.

BURKE LAKE: 31 MILES – Crappie chances are fine over sunken brush and shoreline wood. If you have live minnows, all the better, but a 1/16-oz. hair or feather jig under a bobber can attract decent-sized “specks.” The bass are starting to go after 1/4-oz. Rat-L-Trap lures, as well as 1/4-oz. crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Catfish are cruising about. The park’s phone number is 703/323-6601.


UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – From his office in Washington County, the upper river’s top biologist, John Mullican, said the river is high, but fishable. “Tell the readers to be extra careful on the boat ramps during higher-than-normal water.” Currently, smallmouth bass are hooked now and then, but the walleye fishing has taken a temporary dip, as have the muskie possibilities. The muskies are preparing to spawn and they’re not interested in anything right now, said Mullican.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Expect fair to good angling action for walleyes, smallmouth bass and large yellow perch, but bring your warm woolies. It has been cold up here, especially in the early before sunrise and after sunset.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Tom Hughes and Doug Schopman enjoyed a day of ultra-light tackle fishing for shad on the river just north of Havre de Grace. The majority of shad were caught on chartreuse body/red head shad darts.


MARYLAND: 25-65 miles — The Department of Natural Resources says that rockfish are coming into the spawning areas of the state’s tidal rivers. Some are even found out in the bay (as has been shown by boaters who have gotten into a few at Calvert Cliffs) and in the Susquehanna Flats area. The water temperature on the Flats has been around 50-odd degrees, but that can jump quickly given a few days of warming sun and then the striper fishing begins. Spring trophy striper season starts April 21.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Local scuttlebutt has it that commercial fish netters are finding some croakers between the James and Rappahannock rivers. We have not, however, heard of any hook-and-line catches. Far down the Bay, Julie Ball says that since blue and fiddler crabs are available now to be used as bait, there’ll be lots of tautog fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel’s tubes. Some of these ‘togs average around six pounds. Tautogs have also been hooked at the Concrete Ships and lower Bay wrecks and rock piles. Flounder catches have come few and far between in the Bay, but some anglers are finding the flatties at the curve near the third island of the Bridge-Tunnel. The most effective bait has been drifted strips of squid.


CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Upper parts might turn up hickory shad and some white perch. The bass fishing around Martinak State Park and nearby river shores has not been good.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles — Snow Hill to Shad Landing continues to be a good choice for bass, perch and crappie fishermen as long as there isn’t a strong tide pushing out the water. I’ve encountered tides on this river when a lure couldn’t be kept in place longer than 2 seconds. That’s not good for bass anglers hoping to attract a bass with soft plastics.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – From the Marshyhope Creek (near Federalsburg) clear to Seaford, Del., there’s a chance of hooking a bass, but the bass catches here are not comparable to those we enjoy inn the tidal Potomac. Not by a long stretch. By the way, blue catfish are showing up in this river, proving that the blue “cats” are major league travelers, coming across the Bay from the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers.


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