- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Largemouth bass can be caught from the District down to the Virginia shores at Pohick Bay and the Occoquan River, then back across on the Maryland side in Mattawoman Creek — and this time it’s not just our beloved Sting Ray grubs that will do the job.

Professional river guide Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) has been catching bass on medium-depth crankbaits in red and orange color patterns. Productive areas include the rock-laden Maryland shorelines from Smoot Bay into the Wilson Bridge vicinity and up into Spoils Cove, where crappies were abundant all week.

At Occoquan Reservoir, ranger Smokey Davis said the bass slowly are beginning to leave deep blowdowns and long, deep points. They are staging, getting ready to look at bedding sites. The water temperature had been 45 degrees but will increase quickly now. A 6-pounder already has been caught. Good lures include jigs and Senko-type worms. Davis also mentioned a 41/2-pound smallmouth bass was caught.

Keith Lockwood of the Maryland DNR says the first hickory shad showed up at the mouth of Deer Creek in the upper Chesapeake on Tuesday, so this weekend you might see happy catch-and-release anglers. Lockwood says a variety of small shad darts or spoons, 1/32-oz. crappie jigs and even weighted flies in a Mickey Finn pattern can deliver the goods if the weather holds. If cold snaps arrive, the shad will have lockjaw.

Striper fishermen are glad water temperatures are approaching the mid-40-degree range on the Susquehanna Flats. Can good catch-and-release fishing for the big stripers be far behind? Currently, boaters are finding some small rockfish around the Northeast River.

Trout fishing in Maryland — Anglers are preparing for the start of the Put-and-Take-Trout season Saturday at 5:30a.m. All the streams are in great condition, and all the Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Areas have been stocked. State biologists float-stocked Western Maryland’s Casselman River and Town Creek with the help of a Trout Unlimited chapter. Also, the North Branch Potomac River Delayed Harvest Area was stocked throughout its entire length thanks to a cooperative effort with the CSX Railroad, which placed a trout-filled tank on a rail truck that allowed stocking in remote locations.

Trout waiting in Virginia — Don’t forget Virginia’s Trout Heritage Day on April2. Specially designated waters will be freshly stocked with trout. Fishing begins at 9a.m. Included in the list of specially stocked waters are the upper Pedlar River in Amherst County, Douthat Lake Fee Fishing Area (Bath County), Liberty Lake (Bedford County), Jennings Creek (Botetourt County), Crooked Creek Fee Fishing Area (Carroll County), Pigg River (Franklin County), Rose River (Madison County), Tinker Creek (Roanoke County), Bark Camp Lake (Scott County), Passage Creek (Shenandoah County), Middle Fork Holston River (Smyth County at Marion), Lakes Whitten and Lincolnshire (Tazewell County), Beartree Lake and Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area (Washington County) and Cripple Creek (Wythe County).

Upper Potomac walleyes bite — DNR Fisheries biologist John Mullican says the upper Potomac has been unusually low and clear. That calls for anglers to apply different tactics, and boaters currently have the edge over shoreline fishermen. With water temperatures holding around 45 degrees, the use of colorful jigs and crankbaits do well early and late in the day. Bonus catches include well-fed smallmouth bass. Occasionally, a tiger muskie is hooked, but it’s almost always more by accident than design.

Eastern Shore rivers — Crappies and a few bass are active in many areas, including the upper Choptank River around Greensboro and above. White perch are staging in the lower regions of the rivers. In fact, commercial gill netters are getting them by the thousands. We hope there will be some left for sport anglers when the perch invade the upper spawning portions of the Chester, Choptank, Pocomoke, Tuckahoe and Nanticoke rivers. A size 1 white Roostertail spinner or a tiny Hopkins jig or Kastmaster spoon can draw hits from perch.

White perch success — Southern Maryland anglers Fred Passarelli and Tony Maddox have been using a variety of small lures — anything from in-line spinners to curly tailed grubs and shad darts — to catch white perch in the Allen’s Fresh stretch of the Wicomico River in Charles County (Route 234 east, off Route 301 south). Most of the white perch are small, but occasional keepers are hooked.

Ocean fishing — Ocean City headboats are traveling to near-shore wrecks to find sea bass and tautogs, but there have been no Boston mackerel catches yet.

In Virginia, Ken Neill, of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fishermen’s Association, fished with friends at the Triangle Wrecks east of Virginia Beach. The fishing wasn’t good and the ocean was calm, so they ran on out to the 44-fathom wreck and found willing sea bass, including some in the 5-pound range. They also hooked a tasty tilefish.

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

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