- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 18, 2004

Can things get any worse for local fishermen? Just when we thought we’d made it ‘round the bend and spring had arrived, cold weather returned. Heck, it even snowed in some areas, and a lot of fishing plans were put on hold — again.

What an ugly year this has been. The yellow perch run we all waited so patiently for never materialized. And now when the white perch should be showing up, it’s blustery and uncomfortable on the water.

However, a few white perch are in the tidal rivers from the upper Choptank and Chester rivers in Maryland to the Potomac and Virginia’s Rappahannock in Fredericksburg, where scattered perch, some shad and herring also are found.

A white perch will strike just about anything. Light spinning outfits and tandem rigs of 1/16-ounce shad darts, or a lone ⅛-ounce shad dart in white, chartreuse, or green will be attacked if you fish slowly, with occasional jerks of the rod to make the little lure gain a brief burst of speed, then settle down again.

The perch also will take worms or grass shrimp on bottom rigs, inline spinners of any kind like the Mepps or Roostertail. Also try a shiny 1/4-ounce Silver Buddy lure. All will work.

In the District, the Fletcher’s Boat House stretch of the Potomac River (off Canal Road in Georgetown) usually gets a strong run of white perch. Call 202/244-0461 before heading to the river.

In the upper Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna Flats catch-and-release rockfish season began Monday, and early reports mention cold, stained water, cold anglers and very few fish. But that will pick up as soon as the weather settles down a bit.

Lower Bay shows action — From Ken Neill of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fisherman’s Association in Tidewater Virginia comes word that the tautog fishing has heated up. Said Neill: “Multiple citations were brought in last week, with most coming from the Tower Reef and the Cape Henry Wreck. The Atlantic’s offshore wrecks continue to produce boatloads of jumbo seabass.”

Neill also reminds that catch-and-release fishing for stripers in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay, including the waters around the Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnels, is providing sport for boaters who don’t mind the recent weather.

Tuna action has been good out of Oregon and Hatteras Inlets.

Virginia trout heritage day — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will hold its fourth annual Trout Heritage Day on Saturday, April3. A group of 16 waters will be freshly stocked with trout to allow anglers and communities to plan activities around a stocking date. The Department has worked with the U. S. Forest Service, local communities and private landowners to provide the opportunity.

If you visit any of the state’s fee fishing areas, remember they’ll be closed to angling from March29 through April2. Heritage waters will be closed April2 for stocking.

Some of the waters in the program:

• Bath County, Douthat Lake’s Fee Fishing Area.

• Bedford County, Liberty Lake.

• Botetourt County, Jennings Creek.

• Carroll County, Crooked Creek Fee Fishing Area.

• Franklin County, Pigg River.

• Madison County, Rose River.

• Roanoke County, Tinker Creek.

• Scott County, Bark Camp Lake.

• Shenandoah County, Passage Creek.

Visit us — Local guide and bass expert Andy Andrzejewski and I will be at Dick’s Sporting Goods store in the St. Charles Town Plaza in Waldorf, Md., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday during its chain-wide turkey hunting celebration. Stop by to talk fishing and hunting. Meanwhile, Reel Bass Adventures guide Dale Knupp will be at Dick’s in Glen Burnie same day, same time.

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

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