- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2007

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (…) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461), river fishermen say they catch mostly catfish, and there might be a chance for a bass now and then. Downstream, things aren’t much better. The bass fishing is not the best, but some bucketmouths are caught on soft plastics or early-morning topwater lures. Weed beds and sunken wood are the hiding spots for bass. With cooler days and nights forecast, the bass catches should improve. Catfishing can be quite good, actually. The best baits are pieces of fish, clam snouts or liver strips. Double-hook bottom rigs with a sinker are standard in the main-stem of the river or in the deep channels of any feeder creek. Below the Route 301 Bridge, you’ll find mostly small bluefish and stripers, but the fish sizes increase farther down the river. Northern Neck charter captain Billy Pipkin said, “Anglers trolling the mouth of the Potomac from Point Lookout up to St. George’s Island are finding a good mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass.”

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (..) — Not much has changed since last week. Croaker successes are better after sundown, but overall catches should be better. Perch and spot are possible. Rental boaters should check with Quade’s store in Bushwood (301/769-3903).

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (..) — The back of the creek, from Horstman’s Run and Hancock’s Cove up to the railroad tracks can give up a few quality fish, but this creek needs rain and much cooler weather.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (..) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) shows bluegills and small bass, with much the same offered by St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5, past Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road). However, St. Mary’s Lake has a better bass population. Cooler weather might wake up the crappies.

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) will turn up largemouth bass, sunfish and catfish. If the water cools down some, the fishing will be fine.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (..) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97, or Route 650, in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) For a Rocky Gorge maintenance work progress report, call the Brighton Dam’s visitor center, 301/774-9124. Meanwhile, Triadelphia Lake’s bass should perk up a bit this weekend because the nights will be cooler and the bass will be more active.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (…) — From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb says, “There are gigantic [Norfolk] spot on the Chinese Muds in the mouth of the Patuxent. The spot are up the river too, all the way to Benedict, but they are small to medium size. Spot love bloodworms and will seek them out over all other bait.” It’s true about bloodworms, but FishBites artificial bloodworms also work. The stripers and blues continue to show up at the Cedar Point lighthouse rocks, while white perch love small spinnerbaits and Mini Traps in the creeks and coves inside the river.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (..) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis reports that the lake still shows low water levels and that the bass fishing can be a bit on the slow side. However, the weather forecasters say cooler nights and days are coming. That will perk up the fish, maybe even wake up the crappies.

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (..) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Fly-rodders with popping bugs or slow-sinking Bumblebees and Black Gnats are scoring on fat sunfish. Bass catches are down, but things will get better within the week as fall is approaching.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (..) — More rain is needed to make the smallmouth bass fishing perk up more. To be sure, some are caught in the rock beds, usually caught on tube jigs and small grubs or crankbaits if you can find open, weedless pockets anywhere from below Harper’s Ferry down to Montgomery County.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (…) — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) and his best pal, Otis Oakum, have been catching early hour bass around the edges of weed beds and under floating docks. The best lures have been junebug and green watermelon tubes, but some jerkbait action is possible and a deep diving crankbait might hook up with a walleye or two.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (…) — From St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) reports, “The big thing this week are the Spanish mackerel and quality bluefish. Boaters are getting the mackerel by trolling through the balls of bait [seen almost] everywhere. Chummers are getting into bluefish and rockfish on the Southwest Middle Grounds. Saturday night, a 24-inch red drum fish was jigged up along with blues, stripers and a flounder at the Target Ship. The croakers are still on Middle Grounds and the Mud Leads. Saturday, the mouth of the St. Jerome’s Creek was turning up big mackerel and blues. Lexington Park’s Ken Lamb said, “Bluefish are slashing the water almost everywhere and they’re getting bigger every day. The deeper portions of the Chesapeake contain bluefish brutes up to 10 pounds. Big surgical tubing and large spoons are the favored lures.” What Lamb says applies to most of the bay. Trollers find blues and some rockfish up and down the Chesapeake, and dozens of eruptions by surface-feeding stripers and bluefish are seen during most outings. The topwater action usually results in small fish only.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (…) — In the Northern Neck, charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) finds blues and large Spanish mackerel while trolling. The mackerel have been providing good morning action from the Dividing Creek up to the Great Wicomico River. The Smith Point bar continues to hold a mix of mackerel and an abundance of snapper bluefish. Spot fishing has been good outside the Yeocomico and Coan rivers. From the Virginia Beach area, Dr. Julie Ball reports that flounder are gathering along channel edges, shoals and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. “Drifting along Cape Henry and near buoy 36A generates large fish mixed in with keepers,” she said. Cobias are seen in the bay’s mouth as they prepare to migrate south.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles (…) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) Pretty much the same as last week. There’ll be scads of snapper blues and small rockfish in the mouth and close-by insides of the river. Upper river bass fanatics aren’t happy because the catches are way down.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (..) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) You’ll catch a bass now and then. Plastic worms and shallow crankbaits are always a good choice.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (..) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313, or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside Federalsburg) Slight improvements are noted in the bass fishing, especially upriver toward Seaford, Del. One report came from a boater fishing the railroad bridge abutments where he latched onto several bass as he used plastic worms.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (…) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) If you can get out on the water before daylight, you could run into a school of up-lake feeding stripers within a quarter mile of Anna Point Marina, one angler said. Hard or soft jerkbaits or loud topwater poppers can see action. The bass fishing will perk up this weekend with the arrival of cooler weather.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (..) Slower than normal smallmouth bass action in the upper parts, a good ways above Fredericksburg. In the tidal water below town, only fair bass and catfish success is reported.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (..) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Cooler night temperatures are sure to perk up the bass, maybe even the crappies. Catfish are biting.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (…) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake specialist Marty Magone reports, “Nice catches of bass and stripers are taking place in the morning at the mouth of Hamlin Creek. The water depth goes from five to 70 feet but topwater lures and hairy jigs will do the trick. Up the lake, the bass are still active in the many grass beds above the I-85 bridge. Now and then a bonus striper is hooked.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (…) — (Route 58, Clarksville) The bass catches have improved. Four-inch finesse worms worked around sunken wood or lake points do the job. The catfish love bottom-fished perch or sunfish.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (..) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Some large blue catfish are hooked, but largemouth bass catches are way down.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (..) — (Williamsburg area) Bass club tournament anglers say they’re doing fair — sometimes even good — with soft plastics the top lure. Catfish are more than willing.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (..) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) It’s still slow as far as bass fishing is concerned. Some fat sunnies bite.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (…) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) A mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass action is reported by lake anglers who concentrate on rock beds, rocky points and the like, casting Zoom Flukes or early-hour topwater baits, followed by short plastic worms.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (..) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Cooler nights should help the smallmouth bass fishing quite a bit.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (…) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore marlin bites are possible at Washington and Baltimore canyons, but tunas are suddenly hard to find. Bluefish are closer in, but predictable catches are rare nowadays. Inshore boats find seabass, some croakers and occasional flounder. The Ocean City backwaters show flounder and snapper blues, but flounder sizes leave a bit to be desired.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (…) — Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball reports that king mackerel are possible from Cape Henry to False Cape and around coastal wrecks, while nice Spanish mackerel are hooked at the Chesapeake Light Tower and the wrecks and reefs in the area. False albacore are showing up in these same areas. The birds will give away their location. under “working” birds. Ball says that the Chesapeake Light Tower still holds amberjack, crevalle jacks, maybe a big barracuda. Billfish action now is at its peak. The best marlin bite has been north of the Norfolk Canyon in water up to 1,000 fathoms. Wahoo are caught inshore of the Canyon and near the Cigar. Dolphins and tunas are scattered. For more information, go to www.drjball.com. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center at 757/491-8000.

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

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