- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Today’s fishing report will be the final one of its type for the season. It will return in March. But the fishing never stops. Starting next Thursday, you will see a weekly column-style fishing report with an illustration. As the weather turns colder and boat liveries close down for the year, the most productive local and distant fishing spots during the late fall and winter months will be pointed out so don’t put away your rods and reels.

Currently, large ocean stripers are coming into the Chesapeake Bay. Many already have been caught around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in the lower Virginia parts of the bay, but some also are hooked in the Smith Point and Hooper’s Island Light areas. Many more will show up, and locals say the striper fishing will continue unabated into the middle of December.

Congratulations to Crofton’s Douglas Neary, 9, and Alex Thomas, 14, who won their respective divisions in the Bassmasters CastingKids Maryland State Finals at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World near Baltimore on Saturday.

The Maryland BASS Federation said it mailed invitations to nearly 50 regional CastingKids winners, and many of them competed. The competition, open to young people in two age groups, 7-10 and 11-14, is intended to get America’s youth involved in fishing and to foster an appreciation for the outdoors. The competition calls for the children to flip, pitch and cast a lure to a target. Scoring is based on a points system.

In January, Douglas and Alex will be in Florida to compete in a contest to determine who will qualify for a championship event during the Bassmasters Classic fishing championship in February.

E-mail Gene Mueller at [email protected]

(RATINGS KEY: …. =EXCELLENT FISHING; … =GOOD; .. =FAIR; . =POOR.)

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (…) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461), the rental boats have been pulled and put onto dry land. This is it for the season, but they will be back next spring. Meanwhile, large channel and blue catfish are being caught in the river at Fletcher’s. There might be a few more weeks of C&O; Canal Towpath boat rentals but none for the river itself. Downstream from Georgetown, bass guides Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) and Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) are fishing from the Chopawamsic Creek in Virginia up toward the Wilson Bridge, along the way visiting the Occoquan, Gunston Cove, Piscataway and Broad creeks and Belle Haven and Spoils coves, as well as the Fox Ferry rock line. Bass catches have been good during the lower ends of a receding tide. They use crankbaits, slowly fished spinnerbaits and 4-inch finesse worms and have begun to cast Mann’s Sting Ray grubs in avocado color wherever they find an open or rocky portion of water that doesn’t have a dense mat of weeds. Occasional catches of rockfish and fat catfish are bonuses for the grub users. Downriver, from the mouth of the Port Tobacco River south to the Wicomico River, trollers are picking up a few keeper stripers. Most of them are taken on bucktails, their hooks trimmed with a soft, plastic Sassy Shad. If you want to check the insides of the Wicomico River, it hasn’t been red-hot but call Quade’s Store in Bushwood in St. Mary’s County (301/769-3903) for the latest. Farther down, Ken Lamb reminds us that the big ocean stripers should show up in the Potomac at Stewart’s Pier, the rocks at Herring Creek and at St. George Island by mid-November. He also said he had a report of 40-inch-long rockfish caught trolling near Smith Point. Smith Point is a favorite hangout for big rockfish because plenty of bait is there all winter.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — The fish are there, but some days are absolutely confounding. Still, if you use soft plastics, grubs, crankbaits and slow-rolled spinnerbaits, you’re bound to find some action along the drops near marsh banks and also on sunken wood. Catfish bites have been slow, but a few crappies are starting to cooperate in fallen trees and sunken brush.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) hasn’t been all that great for bass, but St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5 south of Leonardtown, on Camp Cosoma Road) is giving up bass and crappies to shoreline walkers.

LITTLE SENECA LAKE: 30 miles (…) — Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117, near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127) are fine for late-season bass, panfish and some whopper catfish. The bass still will snatch up a 4-inch scented worm but also will look for a tube or curly tailed grub, as well as hard jerkbaits and crankbaits.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — Now is the time for better bass in Triadelphia (off Route 97 or Route 650, in Montgomery County) and Rocky Gorge (off Route 29 in Montgomery County). Even shoreline walkers can score with crankbaits, worms and jig’n’pigs along lake points and sharp drops. Remember, as nights cool the water, the bass might wander off a little toward deeper water, but when the sun warms a few layers, they will travel back into water that is three to five feet deep.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — Reader Andy Croley says, “Went surf fishing at Goose Creek [Naval Air Station] until it got dark. I had caught nothing except a 5-inch spot. But between 7 and 10:30 p.m. I caught six bluefish, a 16-inch puppy drum, 19-inch rockfish, 15-inch croaker and a 14-inch rockfish. Five of the blues were from five to eight pounds.” Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park adds, “Trollers are getting good-sized rockfish up the Patuxent at Sheridan Point, Broomes Island and other points and wrecks all the way south to Point Patience. The favorite lures are white bucktails, usually trolled in tandem on the bottom using 16 ounces of weight with either wire line or braided line. These rockfish will be schooled up in the Patuxent all winter, and most are a respectable 18 to 27 inches long.”

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — In the Fountainhead Park area (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis reports: “The late fall crankbait bite for bass, as expected, has really come on strong. Many two- to three-pound bass, including two smallmouths that weighed over three pounds, were caught this past weekend. Most of these fish were hooked on shad or crawdad color crankbaits in three to five feet of water on flats or in the backs of long coves. Several citation crappie were brought in, but the catfish bite has slowed. The reservoir is full and slightly stained with surface temperatures in the low 50s.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) It’s a grand time of the year for bass and crappies in brush piles and along rocky points and ledges.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (…) — Fisheries biologist John Mullican says the river is in excellent shape and “very fishable.” Smallmouth bass have been jumping on fringed tubes, grubs, small plastic worms and 1/4-ounce crankbaits from above Knoxville down past Point of Rocks. In the upper river there’s a good chance of latching onto a tiger muskie or a walleye. For muskies, keep a stout rod handy with its 12- to 15-pound testline tied to a 1/2-ounce spinnerbait. Cast it toward any sunken tree or deep rock formation that lies next to the river’s flow.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Guide Brent Nelson (410/799-9326 or check out fishdeepcreek.com) and other lake anglers are wearing their long underwear some mornings, but the bass fishing isn’t over yet. Better yet, the walleye fishing is just getting started.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — Reel Bass Adventures fishing guide Karl Bunch (410/459-7445) reports: “The bass bite has been a little off on the Susquehanna Flats and in the mouth of the river, but the fish are there; they just haven’t decided yet to fatten up for the winter. My best fish have come from sunken wood, and I’m fishing very slow with a junebug color Baby Brush Hog and white/chartreuse spinnerbaits. Crankbaits have been the ticket when fishing river dropoffs or shoreline rip-rap and points. I highly recommend that you use a fish attractant on all of your baits.” Bunch added that fishing for bass was productive in the Dundee Creek and Gunpowder River area of the upper bay, with the Middle River also giving up quality bass.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — From Buzz’s Marina (301/872-5887, www.buzzsmarina.com) on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson reports: “The wind has been blowing a lot down here, [but] the rockfish are getting bigger, for sure. We have seen plenty in the 30-inch range, and there are still huge schools of smaller ones everywhere. One group went out Sunday, bottom fishing with squid, and caught 6-pound blues and, believe it or not, many jumbo croakers. The chummers are fishing all the usual spots and the fishing has been hit or miss. According to charter captain ‘Walleye’ Pete Dahlberg [410/586-8340], the shallow water bite in the Honga river area stopped as cooler temperatures arrived. The fish have been under the birds from the Richland Buoy to Buoy 72 along the ship channel edge. Up in the Hooper Straits, watch for ‘working’ birds and be patient. Walleye Pete has been getting 10 to 12 throwbacks for every keeper, but the keepers have been about 30 inches long. He said he hasn’t seen any trout. The crab pots have been loaded with 12-inch sea bass this week. The wind has really been crazy.” Meanwhile, Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said: “Juan Argueta and Josh Quinn went trolling Sunday afternoon and brought in the first big, ocean-run rockfish of the fall season. Using umbrella rigs, they hooked and landed three rockfish in excess of 40 inches. The biggest was 48 inches long, weighing 44 pounds. [Another was] 44 inches long, and it weighed 38 pounds. The third fish topped out at 40 inches. These fish had sea lice [in their gills, indicating they came from the Atlantic] and were found at Hooper’s Island Lighthouse on the edge of the ship channel. Serious fishermen will be in the ship’s channel trolling big lures for big rockfish until mid-December.” Elsewhere, the rockfish catches will slow down a bit in the upper bay now that so many of the fish are heading south. But trollers are still doing quite well from above the Bay Bridges down toward Deale and Calvert County’s nuclear power plant area.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com or call 804/580-7292) says: “Striped bass fishing in the upper bay has slowed as many rockfish have begun moving south. Fishing is heating up locally and has no signs of cooling off in the near future. Chumming continues to provide easy limits of 19- to 25-inch fish. The Northern Neck Reef remains a popular location for chumming. The Asphalt Pile Reef also has been productive during the past few weeks. The AP reef has a longer profile and can accommodate more anglers than the Northern Neck Reef. A few anglers have reported successful outings both trolling and chumming on the new Windmill Point Reef as well. The channel edges from the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel up through Cape Charles are holding schools of menhaden and have yielded some jumbo rockfish up to 38 inches. It is still early for this action. We have noticed a few more fish this week that were carrying sea lice. This is a sign of movement from the ocean side. Bluefish have dropped off. The best bet for landing blues is to seek out the breaking fish. There have been surface feeding schools near Buoy 62 most mornings. The lower Rappahannock river below the bridge has also been home to breaking fish. Other locations offering surface action are Windmill and Smith points. There are a mix or striped bass and blues in those locations.” Down the bay, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has been fine for large rockfish, as has the entire lower bay sector.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) A few rockfish are hooked in the mouth, but good reports are hard to come by because of recent winds and much lower boat traffic. However, the bass fishing above Denton has been good. Some say it has been outstanding.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Rig a 4-inch blue fleck worm onto a small offset hook and a 1/16-ounce slipsinker, then cast it into waterlogged tree roots and marsh banks where the water drops from three to 10 feet or more. The bass will do the rest. Crankbaits also do well now.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (…) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or the Federalsburg ramp on Marshyhope Creek) Word has it that Marshyhope has been great for bass as shallow crankbaits, small spinnerbaits and plastic worms continue to do well. Some rockfish have been hooked on Rat-L-Trap lures along marsh points in the Vienna area.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) A fine local angler, Ernie Rojas, says, “I fished Anna on Friday for the first time, and I was skunked. According to a couple of locals, the lake was in turnover mode.” Ernie adds that he saw some fishermen catching crappie under a bridge. However, local experts insist that rockfish are surfacing to feed every day, early mornings or late evenings at Rose Valley and the Splits. Plastic worms and grubs get the bass along grassy patches and lake point dropoffs.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (…) — (Fredericksburg to Leedstown) Catfish catches in the tidal portions from below Fredericksburg to Leedstown can be good if you have fresh cut fish or live white perch or spot. Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps are finding bass in the creek mouths and around fallen trees. Upper river smallmouth bass are expected to be active this weekend.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Bass, crappies and sunfish are on the feed. Take advantage of it. Short plastic worms work on the bass. So do crankbaits.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (..) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Bass like medium-depth crankbaits in crawfish colors, but plastic worms also turn the trick around brushy areas and lake points. Crappies like small minnows or tiny white jigs under a bobber.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Boat houses, docks and rocky rip-rap have the bass. Use crankbaits or plastic worms to catch the largemouths now in any of the feeder creeks.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) The Bluestone Creek sector and downlake area have been holding stripers. The crappies are schooling, and the fishing can be so fine. Bass like crankbaits or jig’n’craws around creek mouth points and sunken brush.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 160 miles () — (Williamsburg area) Trollers in the middle portions of the river are catching rockfish up to five and six pounds now and then. Bass numbers haven’t been good, but the catfish are hungry for cut fish pieces.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Plenty of blue catfish are available, but some of the fishermen in the Dutch Gap vicinity also are finding rockfish. The stripers tend to run on the small side. Bigger ones will be here soon.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (…) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas show good bass action even if the sizes of the fish aren’t the greatest. Small crankbaits, tubes, grubs, jigs or spinners will get the job done.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (..) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Striper action is fair to good for trollers using Redfins or Sassy Shad rigs. The largemouth bass continue to populate around docks and boat houses, as well as lake points where a rattle bait or soft plastic worm can do the job.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) This is the right time of year to find a trophy smallmouth. Get going. Tubes, worms, crankbaits, streamers of various types — all will do the job.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (…) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) The DNR’s Keith Lockwood says: “Offshore fishing has really been hampered by driving winds for the last several weeks. Many boats have been hauled for the season, others have headed south and still others find it difficult to come up with parties this time of the year. The wind finally laid down on Monday for a few boats to venture out to the offshore grounds. At least two boats fished the Baltimore Canyon and came back with one to two bluefin tunas and longfin albacores each.” Headboats have been finding seabass. Surf anglers are connecting on a few rockfish. At the Ocean City Inlet are some nice tautog. The flounder fishing has had it.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association said the best tuna fishing now is had in North Carolina waters, but Poor Man’s and Norfolk canyons ought to deliver the goods if the wind lays down. Closer to shore and into the mouth of the Chesapeake, large striped bass are hooked by trollers and bait drifters. For charter boats, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center at 757/422-5700.

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