- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2009

From the Tackle Box store in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb said trial outings on the Chesapeake Bay and the lower rivers in anticipation of the start of trophy rockfish season April 18 have resulted in plenty of stripers.

“The size and quantity of fish caught and released has been terrific,” he said. “The reports come from the mouth of the Patuxent, Point No Point, Point Lookout in the Bay, [also] Piney Point and St. George's Island in the Potomac.”

Lamb said lots of bait is available in the form of alewifes and herring. The stripers that will soon find suitable spawning waters in the tributaries and the Bay's northern portions are feeding heavily.

By the way, St. Mary's County waterman Tommy Courtney found the first croaker of the year in his pound net at Cornfield Harbor in the lower Potomac. Word has it a few others have been seen in nets on the Virginia side of the river. However, the cold snap earlier this week might slow down the migration of the “hardheads,” as Marylanders call the Atlantic croaker.

Tidal bass bite good even in cold - Upper tidal Potomac bass hunters have scored nicely even though the nights have been colder than normal. Firetiger or blue/red crankbaits and soft “craws” in dark green have done well over 3- to 5-foot-deep flats that show emerging marine grasses. Try it in the Chicamuxen, Mattawoman, Pomonkey, Aquia and Powell creeks, Pohick Bay and Gunston Cove.

Occoquan bass and crappies willing - Fountainhead Park ranger Smokey Dais sent the following message: “A number of trophy-size bass were caught [and] the fish are starting to get serious about spawning. Buzzbaits, white spinnerbaits and shad-colored crankbaits have taken bass over 5 pounds. If the wind, rain and cold weather stay away the weekend should be good for anglers trying to hook a citation bass.”

Davis also said that the crappie bite has finally fired up off the park's pier and boardwalk, with medium-size minnows under a bobber working well. The water is stained with surface temperatures in the mid-50s.

St. Mary's crappies hungry - Good crappie catches are coming from St. Mary's Lake. Live minnows, tiny jigs, and a small pieces of night crawlers will bring strikes. Use a bobber and a short leader.

Shenandoah could be slow - Our friend Dick Fox, who fishes the Shendandoah River in the Front Royal area, said: “The river has been almost unfishable what with all the dead grass floating around in the high water. The levels are now dropping, but there's a heavy stain. It might be in fair shape for the weekend.”

Lake Gaston bass active - Chuck Murray of Louisburg, N.C., won the BASS Federation Nation Southern Divisional tournament with an overall live bass weight of 44 pounds, 11 ounces.

Murray, the North Carolina BASS Federation Nation president, caught most of his fish with a crawfish color Bomber Fat Free Fingerling crankbait that he cast along the rocky points and flats of the lake.

Waiting for the drumfish - From Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association comes word that the lower Chesapeake's water temperature has reached 55 degrees and there's a full moon. That can signal a slow arrival of black and red drum. There haven't been any caught just yet, but there will be within two to three weeks. Some large channel bass are found in the Hatteras Island, N.C., surf.

However, Neill said there are willing flounder.

“Flounder are being caught along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, especially at the curve near the third island,” he reported. “Flounder have also been caught at [Buoy] 36A, on the Hump, and at Back River Reef.”

c Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Also check out Gene Mueller's detailed Web site weekend fishing report and his Inside Outside blog on washingtontimes.com/sports.

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