- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 10, 2009

It doesn’t matter who brags about being able to catch fish: No matter what, I’ll predict that the weekend fishing will not be very good. Blame quickly changing temperatures in the air and water; also add the tremendous amount of rain that fell Tuesday night and through much of Wednesday.

You can bet the mountain rivers of Virginia won’t be fun places to be. In fact, fishing friend Dick Fox said, “The Shenandoah River rose up a couple of feet.” With temperatures that occasionally are below freezing, smallmouth bass anglers have seen better days. Ditto for the James, Potomac and Susquehanna rivers.

Things will perk up again - it simply won’t happen right now.

In the Chesapeake Bay - Ken Lamb of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box insists plenty of rockfish are available for trollers.

“The charter captains are limiting out easily, [but] the only problem is weather,” he said.

Lamb said he’s receiving plenty of reports from boaters who tie into 17- to 25-inch rockfish that are mixed in with the 40-inchers.

Charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (ingrambaymarina.com), who works the waters of Virginia’s Northern Neck, said increasing numbers of rockfish are seen in his waters, many of them measuring up to 45 inches.

Further down, past the Rappahannock River mouth where plenty of 18- to 24-inch stripers are caught in addition to the trophy-size specimens, the boaters who drift live eels around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel are whacking the big rockfish. Speckled trout are the catch of the day a little farther up, in the Elizabeth River.

Lake Manassas to open? - Lake Manassas, the 810-acre water supply reservoir for the Virginia town, has not been open to the fishing public for the past 10 years, but that may change.

The Manassas Public Utility Commission and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have put together a plan that calls for the construction of an access road, parking lot and boat ramp on a 25-acre parcel of land to be donated by the Saranac Development Company.

That’s great news, but the drawback for many visiting anglers will be the possible need for an annual use permit, along with a daily launch fee. The permit income would go to the city to offset trash removal and maintenance costs.

The work might take two years to complete. Either way, a lot of Northern Virginians will be pleased with the chance to fish this fine lake.

Fluke or flounder? - A reader left a phone message taking me to task for calling a fluke a flounder in last week’s caption that accompanied the fishing report.

“I’d like to discuss this with you,” he said, then went on to say that the photo showed a fluke. “It wasn’t a flounder.”

Well, sir, a fluke is just another word for a summer flounder. You could look it up, as Casey Stengel used to say.

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. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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