- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Local and distant fishing have been tough for the past several days because of strong easterly winds. It was especially hard for ocean anglers who managed to find some decent catches of tuna, dolphin and billfish despite the blow. By the weekend, things will be back to normal, and everybody will wear a smile because the fishing will be oh so fine.

First, here are several announcements that arrived a bit late:

Crews are needed for tomorrow morning’s Leukemia Cup Regatta, starting at the Washington Sailing Marina. The promoters say there are still a few boats available for the regatta. They’re trying to line up crews for the race and people to help with the schooner American Spirit, which will be one of the spectator boats for the race.

Cost is $25 a person based on a crew of four a boat. Call 202/547-1250 and reserve a boat today. Registration begins at 8:15a.m. Saturday. Contact Mike Wilkinson, 703/960-1100.

Meanwhile, if you have dreamed of fishing the wild, wonderful trout rivers of Argentina’s Patagonia region, be at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Service Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, at 7:15p.m. Wednesday, when the National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited invites the public to a rare program that features internationally renowned Patagonian fishing guide Ramon Aranguren. Come and enjoy a free evening with this former president of Trout Unlimited/Argentina, who also is that country’s national fly-casting champion with a cast of 119.7 feet. Aranguren will feature how to fish world-class Argentinian streams. For information and directions see the chapter’s Web site, ncc-tu.org, or call 202/363-0437.

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 (…) — Ray Fletcher of the Boathouse at Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; 202/244-0461) reports low water conditions and typical late-summer fishing for catfish, some bass and occasional walleyes — all in easy-style outings. There is no hectic fishing action here like you normally get in spring when the shad, perch and rockfish come upstream to spawn. Bass guides Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) and Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) say, “Patterns have changed little during the past week. We are still having great success with poppers, such as Ricos or Berkley Frenzy, during low-light periods and soft plastics, crankbaits or spinnerbaits during other times. Wackos or other soft plastic stickbaits in pumpkin hues, blue fleck or junebug produce well, and 4-inch Zoom finesse worms work well on highly pressured bass. Crankbaits worked around hydrilla edges catch quality bass, and spinnerbaits are producing in the milfoil beds. Low tide is best for hydrilla, but for some reason the bass bite throughout the tides in milfoil. Wood is beginning to show quality bass, though most fish remain around grass.” Down river, trollers and bait drifters find a few keeper stripers from the Route 301 bridge south toward St. George’s Island and beyond. In the Wicomico River, rental boaters out of Quade’s Store in Bushwood (301/769-3903) connect on white perch, spot and even some catfish, as they use Fish Bites artificial bloodworm pieces, real bloodworms or small pieces of peeler crab.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (…) — Even in windy conditions this week, the creek turned up bass on small plastic worms and some decent largemouths on shallow- to medium-depth diving crankbaits. Catfish are in the creek channel up and down from Smallwood to Slavins ramp and beyond.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) offers bluegills, a few bass and plenty of beauty and sun. Go and visit this 67-acre jewel. St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5 south of Leonardtown, then left on Camp Cosoma Road) has shoreliners picking up a bass now and then, plus plenty of sunfish and some small catfish.

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) have shown increased good fishing because of cooler temperatures at night. Bass respond to 4-inch scented worm or spinnerbaits and even some medium-depth crankbaits.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (…) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) can be a real bass producer if you slowly and carefully work a plastic worm (try garlic-flavored Zero worms) around stickups, sunken logs, lake points and brushy spots. Now that night temperatures have fallen a bit, start thinking of using crankbaits in crawfish colors.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — White perch and early morning rockfish will make your day. Arrive early at a local boat ramp and head straight for a river point. Cast loud topwater poppers and buzzbaits as long as the sun hasn’t really touched the water. A feeding rockfish probably will oblige you. The perch and channel cats are in the coves and feeder creeks, and they will hop on a small Beetlespin or other types of spinnerbait. Bait will find Norfolk spot from Benedict south to Solomons.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (…) — From the area of Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), park ranger Smokey Davis reports, “Wes Donnelly of Manassass, Virginia, while fishing for bass in the Bull Run arm of the reservoir, caught a 27-inch northern pike on a crankbait. He released the fish. Meanwhile, bass have moved into structure and can be hooked on mainlake blowdowns and rock walls with soft stickbaits, such as Senkos or Yum Dingers, in 12 to 15 feet of water. The early morning topwater bite has been good in the mouths of deep coves. Catfish are hitting cut baits and chicken livers. Crappies like small minnows under a bobber, fished in deep brushpiles or beaver huts. The water is slightly stained with surface water temperatures in the high 70s.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (…) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Some bass are taken on early hour topwater poppers, and as the sun climbs you should switch to plastic worms. The crappie fishing has been poor.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (..) — DNR biologist John Mullican reports low, clear water in Washington County, and there’s no reason to believe it’s a whole lot better elsewhere. Mullican has been catching some smallmouth bass on tube lures and surface lures. “There’s a phytoplankton bloom downstream,” he says and adds that they give the water some color. The water temperature has finally fallen below 80 degrees. Night fishing is best if it’s walleyes you want. Try casting Rapala jerkbaits and such in shallow shore waters after sunset.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Guide Brent Nelson (301/596-5712, evenings) says he’s doing well on largemouth and smallmouth bass as he uses spinnerbaits around grassy edges and tube lures under floating docks. Big sunfish and yellow perch are found in deepwater coves.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (…) — Some Conowingo Dam water is being released, but it comes in short spurts. Still, locals in the know are catching stripers. They cast loud surface poppers into the waters below the dam and frequently score. Bass fishing hasn’t been good, but that is because the recent windy weather hampered boaters.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — From Buzz’s Marina (301/872-5887, buzzsmarina.com), on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson reports, “Bluefish in the 5- to 6-pound range are plentiful in the chum slicks on the ledge between buoys 70 and 68. Chummers have also been successful on the Southwest Middlegrounds. This week there have been increasing numbers of Spanish mackerel mixed in with the bluefish, and the trollers have had much success. Bottom fishing is good for spot in 23 feet of water from St. Jerome’s Creek all the way to Point Lookout and also the Mud Leads. The Point No Point lighthouse has been hit or miss for keeper rockfish, but there are a lot of throwbacks. Always have a rod ready with a spoon or Rat-L-Trap because of sudden surface-feeding fish schools.” Our friend Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301/863-8151) says, “Trollers are catching some fine bluefish up to 6 pounds in the lower bay from Point Lookout to Point No Point. Spoons and surgical eels are top producers. The bluefish extend out to the ship channel. Rockfish trollers are still doing well from Cove Point to the nuclear plant. Some fish approaching 30 inches were taking spoons and bucktails off Punch Island this week. Keeper rockfish can be chummed and live-lined on the edge at 72A and 72. In the middle and upper bay, trollers find bluefish and some keeper rockfish, even a scattered Spanish mackerel now and then. Bottom fishing around the Holland Point and Diamonds areas are good for a mixed bag of croakers, sea trout and spot. Occasionally, Spanish mackerel are taken on slow-trolled near-surface spoons.”

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — Northern Neck charter captain Billy Pipkin (captbillyscharters.com or call 804/580-7292) says, “A high-pressure system brought cooler temperatures and breezes over the Labor Day weekend, but it disappointed boaters with bumpy conditions on the open waters of the bay. Spanish mackerel fishing continues to go well with anglers. The 20- to 35-foot depths from Windmill Point up to Dameron’s Marsh have offered consistent catches of mackerel mixed with small snapper blues, especially during morning hours. Mackerel continue to bite well on Drone spoons, but the new Clark spoon that has chartreuse or hot pink flash scale is doing a great job as well. Another widely used trolling lure is the gold Tony Accetta spoon. Bluefish are available for chummers and trollers. The Northern Neck Reef is offering good catches of 2- to 4-pound blues particularly during a flood tide. Red drum are showing up in greater numbers, and they’ve been caught while trolling small spoons for mackerel and blues. The edge above Buoy 62 has yielded a few of these large redfish this week. Bottom fishing results in gray trout, spot and croakers.” Down the bay, Ken Neill of the Pensinsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association reports, “The big spot bite is showing signs of starting. Decent numbers of large spot are being caught in the Rappahanock, York, and James Rivers. The bay’s striped bass season is just right around the corner.”

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 MILES (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Expect to hook a few sea trout, spot and croakers in the mouth, with similar action up toward Cambridge. Bass catches have improved in the Denton area. Shallow crankbaits in crawfish appterns have worked in various types of fish-hiding cover.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (…) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Bass catches are perking up. What a difference cooler nights can make. Use plastic worms, Baby 1-Minus lures and chartreuse/white spinnerbaits.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (…) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313) The Marshyhope Creek turned on a bit over the past few days as boaters had to hide to get away from the wind. Bass liked 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits and finesse worms.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Cooler nights have awakened some of the bass. Now topwater poppers receive strikes early in the day or at sunset. Plastic worms are recommended during sunny hours of fishing. Cast to lake points or old wrecks.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (..) — (Fredericksburg to Leedstown) The smallmouth bass are pretty much the only fish here that don’t mind looking at a lure. Tidal water largemouth bass, according to some river rats, are just not willing, but catfish are.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (…) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Bass will look at a Pop ‘R lure early in the day, but it’s mostly plastic worms or a shiner below a bobber for most of the action. Sunfish are in ample supply.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (…) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) One angler who e-mailed us said he caught five bass, all on Rebel or Rapala jerkbaits that had a black-back and white belly section. Sunfish are always willing.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) We couldn’t get a decent report on Gaston, but I’ll bet a week’s pay there are bass to be caught that would enjoy a blue-fleck or green pumpkin with red flake. Sunfish and stripers are generally caught by locals.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Catfish are the main fare. Use cut fish baits on the bottom, and a fat flathead or blue cat can be yours. In the backs of creeks and around creek points, the bass catches can be fine. Plastic worms, jig ‘n’ craw combos and spinnerbaits are all you will need.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 160 miles () — (Williamsburg area) Bass catches aren’t any better than last week. The top catch these days is catfish.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (…) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Hefty blue catfish were hooked on bottom-dunked herring baits up and down the river. The bass fishing leaves a lot to be desired, though.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (…) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville stretch will give up young smallmouth bass. Water is low and clear.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (..) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Bass and striper catches improved with cooler night weather. Jigged spoons resulted in rockfish, while the bass looked at surface poppers and plastic worms. Early hours can bring bass to the surface, so be prepared.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (…) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) The river is low and clear, and the few deepwater pockets and rock pools hold plenty of smallmouth bass that simply love a small, white Zoom Fluke, tube baits or spinner-type lures.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (…) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) The offshore regions east of Ocean City were a windy mess for the past several days, but the fishing will be fine by the weekend. Tuna, billfish and longfin albacores will be on hand for distant boaters who want that, along with wahoos and dolphinfish in the Poor Man’s Canyon, Washington Canyon and Baltimore Canyon. Wahoos in the 50-pounds-plus range have been weighed at local Ocean City marinas. The wrecks give up sea bass. Inside the barrier land, behind Ocean City, some flounder and stripers will be hooked.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association says, “Persistent north winds and high gas prices have kept many anglers in port. For those who have braved the blustery weather, fishing has been decent. We ran out to the Cigar in spite of some heavy seas and caught small dolphin and some false albacore, including a 43-incher. The best catch of the day was made by one of our dock mates, the Island Girl. They’d spent the night out at the Norfolk Canyon and then headed off east at daybreak. They chunked up a couple of tuna overnight and then had a great day trolling. They had a big wahoo eat one of their teasers; they caught two white marlin and loaded the boat with dolphin, including one that weighed 50 pounds.” For charter boats, call Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/422-5700.


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