- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2005

After a productive day of largemouth bass fishing in the tidal Potomac’s Mattawoman Creek two days ago, we concur with the Maryland DNR’s Keith Lockwood, who says, “Fishing is beginning to show promise in many areas.” Local anglers indeed are finding better opportunities despite continued lower-than-normal temperatures.

For example, the spring catch-and-release fishery on the Susquehanna Flats in the northern Chesapeake Bay finally appears to be getting under way. Strong winds have hampered efforts in these exposed waters. The Flats’ water temperature is around 41 degrees but is expected to reach the magic 45-degree mark that seems to trigger feeding responses. When it reaches 50 degrees, you can expect to get a topwater bite.

Farther down the bay around the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant’s discharge area, a few rockfish can be caught and let go. Don’t forget that this area is strictly catch-and-release until April 16. The hook barbs on jigs and bucktails must be pinched to keep from injuring stripers you are setting free.

Virginia stripers on the move — From the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Ken Neill of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fishermen’s Association reports stripers do not seem to care how cold it is. They are on the move, heading into the bay.

“The longer days have told them that it is time to spawn,” he said. “When it warms up a bit, flounder will be added to the mix, but right now you are pretty much limited to fishing over the wrecks. Sea bass are offshore, tautog inshore.”

Yellow perch quandary — Some of our region’s yellow perch experts are starting to believe many of the spawning perch have not released their roe because of cold water. One thing is certain: We’re finding lots of buck perch still filled with milt, and two days ago we had some Mattawoman Creek yellow perch females whose egg sacs weren’t hard as a rock, but they weren’t about to let them go yet, either. Sometimes, when you hook a perch female and it’s time to release the roe, she will do so the moment you pull her from the water or touch her. These Mattawoman females did no such thing.

Does that mean we’re still in for some kind of action? Could be.

We did hear that some decent Eastern Shore yellow perch were caught on small green/yellow grubs, minnows, grass shrimp or tiny spinners in the Chester River around Millington in Kent County, at Crouse Mill Dam on the Tuckahoe River, the Choptank River at Greensboro and Red Bridges in Caroline County.

Yellow perch also have been caught in Virginia’s Northern Neck and in the upper Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. The good news with all these rivers and creeks is if the yellow perch are gone, chances are the white perch run will get under way or already are there.

Elsewhere in freshwater fishing — The DNR mentions that the upper Potomac, upstream of Taylor’s Landing in Washington County, shows a good walleye fishery now. Sadly, too many freshwater anglers hereabouts are ignoring it. Lockwood recommends that if you want walleyes, you should hunt for them throughout the deeper stretches from Dam 4 to Dargan. Jigs fished near the bottom have been the best option even for shoreline anglers, he says.

In Virginia’s Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, our frequent fishing partner, guide Andy Andrzejewski, said with a laugh that he fished the lake and had three sunfish and one bass. What he meant by that was he caught three largemouth bass, which actually belong to the sunfish family, and one striper, which is a true bass.

Florida tarpon will hurt you — Our lower Chesapeake Bay specialist, Ken Neill, returned from a tarpon fishing trip in Key West with Capt. Paul D’Antoni last week. It appears the fishing was good.

“The first eight [tarpon] were a lot of fun, in the 40- to 70-pound class, with a lot of jumping and not a lot of pain for me,” he said. “We were anchored in the harbor, free-lining chunks of fish back in the current. The last three drifts all resulted in tarpon over 100 pounds. My pain factor went up considerably.”

EVENTS

Maryland Bowhunters Society fete — Saturday, 7 p.m., at Snyder’s at Willow Grove in Linthicum, Md. Banquet auctions and raffles run from 8 until 11 p.m. Information: [email protected] or for tickets call 410/643-6966.

m Antique arms show — Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m., at Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium. Features exhibitors from 41 states and eight foreign countries. No modern handguns. Information: baltimoreshow.com or 301/865-6804.

m Reservoir secrets revealed — Sunday, at Bass Pro Shops at Arundel Mills in Hanover, Md., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Members of the Electric Bass Anglers fishing club will reveal fishing secrets of area reservoirs — Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy.

Trout Unlimited banquet — April 2, 5 p.m. (dinner at 6:45), at Westpark Hotel in Tysons Corner. Tickets at the door or can be ordered online at phoneflies.com/nvtu/ until March 26.

Trout Unlimited meeting — April 7, program starts at 7:30 (fly tying at 6:45), at McLean VFW Post 8241. The Northern Virginia chapter of Trout Unlimited invites the public to “Tactics and Tips for Trout Fishing,” hosted by biologist Jay Sheppard. Information: nvatu.org.

m Decoy sell-swap meet — April 8-9, at St. Michaels (Md.) Motor Inn. Information: Jim Trimble 703/768-7264 or 302/539-4606, or John Clayton, 410/756-2955. E-mail: [email protected]

Bay Country Boat Show — April 9-10, Hollywood (Md.) Fire Department. Meet outdoors writer Gene Mueller of The Washington Times on April 9, noon to 4 p.m., at the Guy Bros. Marine section. Information: Russ Millar, 301/373-5468.

Bay Bridge Boat Show — April 21-24, at Bay Bridge Marina, Stevensville (Kent Island), Md. Opens daily at 10 a.m. Information: 410/268-8828.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman — April 22-24, Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center, Appomattox, Va. Event focuses on learning outdoors skills through hands-on courses, including shotgun skills, rifle, archery, fly fishing, kayaking, wilderness survival, wild edibles and animal tracking. Information: Jimmy Mootz, e-mail [email protected] or call 804/367-0656.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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