- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2004

In these parts, there will be little if any fishing done this weekend. Blame the massive icing in creeks, rivers and reservoirs that is too thick to break apart with a boat, and too thin for anglers to stand on without risking injury or possibly drowning.

We did hear from a Southern Maryland fanatic who found a private farm pond in Charles County that had thick enough ice to support his weight. He drilled a hole, then dropped tiny jigs tipped with “maggies” into the hole and soon came up with slab-sided bluegills. Oh, you don’t know what maggies are? They’re live maggots, sold by some mail order houses for winter fishing.

I do not recommend you try the same unless you know with 100 percent certainty the ice is strong enough to hold your weight.

Normally during this time of year, a group of us down in Charles County visits various local creeks to check for yellow perch. We usually find some resident perch in creek bends, or even early arrivals of soon-to-spawn migrating perch that are staging in deep holes of the Potomac River and such feeders as the Nanjemoy, Aquia, Occoquan and Mattawoman, to name four. The same also happens in the Patuxent, Choptank and Rappahannock rivers. But currently, we can’t get a boat into the water. This waiting is driving me crazy.

Meanwhile, if you must fish, head south — even if it’s just 80 or 90 miles.

For example, in Virginia’s tidal James River a few hardy anglers occasionally find a blue catfish on bottom-fished, large chunks of cut-up fish. There’s also a chance of happening into a small school of striped bass around the warmer waters found in the Dutch Gap stretch of the river, south of Richmond. Remember, rockfish can’t be kept now, but catch-and-release fishing is permitted.

Last week as I drove south on I-85, I crossed a portion of Lake Gaston and saw that the water was wide open. In fact, two bass boats could be seen in the distance. Word has it, however, that very little action is now had at Gaston or its sister lake, Kerr Reservoir.

A little closer to home, the waters of Lake Anna (west of Fredericksburg) can be fished if you’re careful. High Point Marina says there’s icing on portions of the shoreline, and you’ll find ice inside some of the creeks, which also means that there’s a chance of finding the slippery stuff on a boat launching ramp. Need we say more?

However, Dick Fox, of Front Royal, Va., sent an e-mail to tell me he caught a 7-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass in Duke’s Creek at Lake Anna. He promised to send a picture. When he does, we’ll share it because that’s a fine winter bass.

In the discharge lagoons of Lake Anna, which are warmed by the water released from the nuclear power plant, there’s easier fishing but tougher access. Some anglers connect on stripers and bass with plastic Sassy Shads, but metal Silver Buddy lures do well also on bass, perch and crappies.

N.C. surf can deliver — From the Outer Banks of North Carolina comes news that if you bide your time, especially during the full moon period we’re about to be in, there’ll be stripers caught in the surf at Buxton, on Hatteras Island.

Striper specialists will try to fish in the dark when the moon sits above. Whole finger mullets or cut mullet bait will work if the stripers decide to chase a school of bait into the shallows. But because of the cold weather, it will be touch and go this time of year, no matter what. For the latest catch information, call Dillon’s Corner Tackle Shop in Buxton, 252/995-5083.

EVENTS

• Bass fishing flea market — Saturday, 8a.m. to 1p.m., Hillendale Firehouse, Dale City, Va. New and used fishing tackle.

• 43rd Washington Boat Show — Feb.18-22, at Washington Convention Center. More than 500 boats and more than 200 display booths. Information: 703/823-7960 or washingtonboatshow.com.

• Trout Unlimited chapter meeting — Feb.18, 7:30p.m., at Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, Silver Spring. The Potomac-Patuxent chapter of Trout Unlimited will have outdoors writer King Montgomery present a slide show and talk about flyfishing in the Mid-Atlantic region. Information: pptu.org or 301/593-5889.

• CCA/Southern Maryland Winter Barbecue — Feb.21, 6p.m., at Izaak Walton League Hall, Waldorf. Information: Donald Gardiner, 301/645-3323 or 301/843-3719.

• Fly Fishers buy, sell, swap meet — Feb.21, 9a.m. until 4p.m. at Davidsonville (Md.) Recreation Center. (Rain or snow date: Feb.28.) Information: Mike Price, 410/320-0080.

• Wilderness first aid — March6-7. Alexandria. An 18-hour class results in a two-year certification. The cost is $160. Information: 703/836-8905 or wfa.net.

• Fishing and Outdoor Show — March13, 10a.m. to 4p.m., at Izaak Walton League, Waldorf, Md. Free casting lessons for children by Coastal Conservation Association members, rope splicing lessons, sales of discounted new and used fishing tackle. Visit with guides of the Reel Bass Adventures group and learn where, how and what the bass are biting. Check out archery and blackpowder gear. Information: Don Gardiner, 301/645-3323, or donaldggardinerhotmail.com.

• 50th Baltimore Antique Arms Show — March20-21, at Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The show opens at 9a.m. both days and features exhibitors from 42 states and seven foreign countries. No modern handguns will be permitted. Information: baltimoreshow.com or 301/865-6804.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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