'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The rains finally arrived, and even though we prayed for the wet stuff, a lot of anglers feared a lengthy downpour would raise and muddy water levels. It didn't happen.
In some parts of our region fishing could not be better, but biologists are concerned that the shortage of precipitation might affect spawning activities of certain fish, including smallmouth bass in such rivers as Virginia's Rappahannock and Maryland's Potomac.
April is a time of year when most fish species begin to think of reproducing. Piscatorial love is in the air, or rather in the water.
The upper tidal Potomac River currently delivers unbelievably great bass fishing. The past week has seen a veritable explosion of largemouth bass that are willing to strike a variety of lures. It's the talk of the day among tidal river fishing fanatics.
As local anglers face a variety of autumnal options, they can begin by choosing to fish in the mountains or the tidal Potomac and Rappahannock rivers in the Maryland and Virginia flatlands this week.
Generally speaking, the weekend outlook for local anglers of all stripes appears to be good in spite of renewed rains in some areas. Much of the precipitation has been strongly localized. For example, a cloudburst in parts of Frederick County on Tuesday muddied a Potomac feeder. But the Monocacy, the waters above the rain-soaked area, was in good enough shape for smallmouth bass fishermen. In fact, the Washington County portions have given up good numbers of bass, even a few heavy walleyes.
Magic is about to happen for the fresh- and saltwater anglers in the Washington area. Never mind occasional days of rain; they'll go away. Never mind that odd 85-degree day that shows up now and then during September. Just as sure as steamed, spiced crabs and venison steaks are Mueller household staples, the hot days are decreasing; cool weather is on the way, and along with it some of the best fishing since spring.Magic is about to happen for the fresh- and saltwater anglers in the Washington area. Never mind occasional days of rain; they'll go away. Never mind that odd 85-degree day that shows up now and then during September. Just as sure as steamed, spiced crabs and venison steaks are Mueller household staples, the hot days are decreasing; cool weather is on the way, and along with it some of the best fishing since spring.
We have mostly good news for weekend anglers in the Washington area. The heavy rains that fell throughout the region, which ruined many basements and even house foundations, are quickly receding and clearing. Even the mountainous portions of the Potomac, Rappahannock and James rivers will be very fishable in a day or two. In fact, you could visit them now and probably hook a few smallmouth bass. On Wednesday, the Point of Rocks section of the upper Potomac stood at a little over three feet. It had been as high as nine feet last week.
As slightly lower temperatures beckon anglers of all stripes over the coming days, bass fishermen have asked if there's a problem in the upper tidal Potomac River regarding the apparent disappearance of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAVs) — the fish-hiding weed beds that are a necessary part of a bass hunter's day.
The proliferation of large blue catfish in the upper tidal portions of the Potomac River is astounding. In a river that not too many years ago wasn't even home to this tough piscatorial adversary, the Potomac already has given up several in the 60-pound range and, a few days ago, an angler up around Fletcher's Cove in Georgetown came to the concession building to show off a 55-pounder. It is believed that these catfish could have migrated north from Virginia's James and Rappahannock rivers.
It wasn't all that long ago when New Orleans super chef Paul Prudhomme came up with his famous blackened redfish and seafood lovers everywhere loved the dish.
Much is happening in all the waters near and far from Washington. It begins with the clearing of the mountain rivers and the resumption of smallmouth bass and channel catfish catches from the upper Potomac to the Shenandoah and on to the Rappahannock rivers. But if heavy rains again arrive as they have all too often in recent weeks, all bets are off.
We'll stick our neck way out and predict that the recent rain and wind (even tornado warnings) that visited the Washington area will not affect the weekend fishing.
"Everybody complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it," a tongue-in-cheek Mark Twain said long, long ago. The sad fact is that our area's anglers would love to change the weather, but, alas, they can't.