- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2007


POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (**) — At Fletcher”s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; call 202/244-0461) anglers will find a catfish or two but little else right now. Things aren’t much better downstream. The tidal river and its tributaries are extremely stingy as far as bass catches are concerned. The bass fishing is lousy. Blue catfish are available in the deep holes and drops between the Piscataway and the Chicamuxen creeks. They like slabs of fish on the bottom, but anglers need plenty of sinker weight to keep the bait in one spot.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (**) — It’s slow going with the croakers, but some nice catches of perch and spot are possible. The spot will move out when even cooler weather arrives. Rental boaters can check with Quade’s store in Bushwood (301/769-3903).

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (**) — Bass fishing has seen better days — much better.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (**) — Gilbert Run Park”s Wheatley Lake (Route 6 east of La Plata) has sunfish, and that’s pretty much it right now. St. Mary’s Lake (south on Route 5 past Leonardtown to Camp Cosoma Road) offers sunnies, a fair number of bass and a few 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) showed bass fishing improvement as cooler night temps arrived. Jerkbaits and soft plastics are best.

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 Brighton Dam’s visitor center at 301/774-9124. Triadelphia’s bass got a little shot in the gills as cooler nights and days dropped water temperatures. Grubs and crankbaits work.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (***) — Local angler Andy Croley says he fished Goose Creek at the Naval Air Station on Monday. He used bloodworms and cut spot. The worms didn’t work well, but the cut spot resulted in a number of bluefish, a croaker and some undersized rockfish. Blues, rockfish and spot are indeed active also in the river mouth, while white perch are in all the creeks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (**) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County), ranger Smokey Davis reports, “The bass bite remains tough, but quality fish (3- to 5-pounders) are possible on Shaky-Head jigs and drop-shot rigs in the upper river parts above the splits. With water levels being abnormally low, anglers should be very careful while navigating this area. Crappies are beginning to school up now on brush piles and deep blowdowns.”

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (***) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Cooler weather has helped bass anglers. Soft plastics and hard jerkbaits work. Crappie catches are still iffy.


UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (**) — It’s still low here, and the grass will drive anglers crazy. Weedless tubes or flukes can bring some vicious hits from smallmouths. Department of Natural Resources biologist John Mullican says as fall approaches and the water chills down, the summer’s phytoplankton blooms will die and the water will become clear, which will make for tough fishing. We know it can be done with long casts, small topwater lures and tube jigs. Mullican says, “Great fall fishing is just around the corner.”

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (***) — Lake guide Brent Nelson (240/460-8839) says cooler water has improved bass, crappie and walleye chances.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (**) — Anglers might hook a striper on the Flats. Cast weedless-rigged white or chartreuse Zoom Flukes or Bass Kandy lures. Some stripers are taken on topwater lures near the Conowingo dam.


MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (***) — From St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County, Christy Henderson (www.buzzsmarina.com) reports, “There are still a few Spanish mackerel around the Point No Point fishing reef and vicinity. Bluefish and rockfish are starting to school up and break at the mouth of the Potomac River up to the Targets, north of Point No Point. Flounder are still being caught at the mouth of our creek. Jumbo croakers are hooked at night and one angler caught a spadefish that was mixed in with the hardheads. Occasional red drum are seen.” Heading up the bay, channel edges from the Cove Point sector to the Bay Bridges and beyond will deliver trolling success for boaters hoping to catch rockfish, bluefish and scattered Spanish mackerel. This is the time of year when the blues and stripers also will be found in shallow water near shore during overcast days or nights.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (***) — In the Northern Neck, charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) said that along the Maryland/Virginia line, trollers find increasing numbers of striped bass amid schools of blues and mackerel. They are being landed on both Drone and Clark spoons. Bottom fishing has been fine for croakers and spot from the York River up to the Potomac and its tributaries. The Rappahannock River mouth also promises good action. Speckled sea trout are taken between the Piankatank and the Great Wicomico rivers. Surface poppers, bright shallow diving lures and even live bait will get them around points, drop-offs and grassy areas. Down the bay, the fall spot run is on near the ocean. Red drum are at Bluefish Rock, with Spanish mackerel taken at Cape Henry. Flounder fishing should be excellent along the Baltimore Channel at the mouth of the bay.


CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles (***) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) A mix of undersized rockfish, fat white perch and snapper bluefish is available in the mouth and inside the river, with occasional forays made by the fish clear up to Cambridge’s fishing bridge. In the upper waters from Denton to Greensboro, the bass fishing is picking up in shoreline wood and spatterdock.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (***) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Bass catches are picking up. Credit the cooler water temperatures. Plastics are best.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (***) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Marshyhope Creek ramp outside Federalsburg) It begins with early hour rockfish catches around the marsh banks in Vienna, then continues with improved bass catches in the Marshyhope and Broad creeks.


LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (***) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) What a difference those four or five days of cool nighttime weather made. The bass came into shallows and early or late hour fishermen capitalized with shallow hard jerkbaits or soft plastics. The rockfish also showed up more frequently as long as the sun had not risen yet.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (***) Rain is badly needed, but the tidal water bass boaters had better fishing whenever the tides ebbed this week. Upper river smallmouths need lots of rain to help raise river levels.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (**) — (Route 793 off Route 29) Try a shallow-running Baby 1-Minus crankbaits or a 1/4-ounce spinnerbait around fallen wood or edges of vegetation. The bass will do the rest.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (**) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) It’s a little better on the bass front this week because of cooler water, but the peak for bass won’t be reached until the end of the month and early October.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (***) — (Route 46, Gasburg) There’s continued good early hour bass fishing at creek mouth points and edges of grass. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits and surface lures can do the job.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (***) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Catfish continue to bite in the upper lake area, but land-locked rockfish have been around the dam, where they strike jigged spoons, bucktails or live sunfish. The crappie fishing is perking up now, and bass like jerkbaits or soft plastics around wood and creek points.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (***) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Blue catfish love live perch or sunfish, but cut slabs of menhaden or saltwater spot also do well.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (***) — (Williamsburg area) Lower water temperatures have helped a lot. Bass are more cooperative, and so are the catfish.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (**) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) “Doah regular Dick Fox said, “Cooler water has got the fish on the feed . Water temperature stands at 70 degrees. A friend and I caught around 25 smallmouth bass. Most were under 12 inches, but we did manage a few good ones, plus a lot of bluegills.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (***) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Check deep lake channels for schooling striped bass. Trollers connect on umbrella rigs. Bass catches are up. Fat Senko or Zero worms do well under docks and around lake points.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (***) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Smallmouth bass like short plastic worms and tubes. Water has chilled considerably.


MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (***) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Get set for a run of large red drum in the surf waters from Assateague up to and past Ocean City. Meanwhile, many sublegal flounder are taken from Ocean City’s backwaters, with decent numbers of rockfish and snapper blues available in the inlet. Nearby ocean wrecks deliver flounder and a few fat croakers. Offshore boaters find a mixed bag of on-again, off-again tuna, billfish and dolphin action.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (***) — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association said the great cobia and marlin fishing should slow down now. “There will still be some caught but not at the ridiculous pace we experienced before the blow,” he said. A run of big red drum is on at the Sandbridge Pier. Spanish and king mackerel along with false albacore are hooked at the Chesapeake Light Tower. Drop a live croaker down and you have a good chance of hooking up with a big jack crevalle or amberjack. Offshore billfish will continue to please, but more wahoos and tunas now enter the mix. More information can also be obtained by going to www.drjball.com. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/491-8000.

c 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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