- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2009

All it took was a couple of days of above-average temperatures, and some local fish began to open their mouths. They were looking for food even if such food was fake.

It started with La Plata’s Dale and Nancy Knupp, who’ve steadily found willing yellow perch in the deep creek bends of the upper Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County.

“We had 18 keepers on Monday,” Dale Knupp said.

But be reminded that the yellow perch spawning run has not yet begun. It will happen later this month, yet some small, tightly packed schools are waiting for the right water temperature before they begin their journey into the shallow upstream waters to spew forth their ribbons of roe that will be fertilized by the milt of the usually smaller males.

The same deal is found in other tidal Potomac River feeders, including the Occoquan and Mattawoman.

Earlier this week, local bass guide Andy Andrzejewski and I went up into Spoils Cove, just upstream of the Wilson Bridge, where we caught a small number of largemouth bass and also lost several nice crappies on our dropshot rigs that contained 3-inch Berkley Power Bait shiners in emerald green or the 2-inch-long Power Bait in the black shad pattern.

A day later we checked on the yellow perch in the Nanjemoy and, sure enough, found some females with bulging bellies and the inevitable skinny and smaller male perch. All were caught on scented dropshot shiners or Mann’s Sting Ray grubs.

Lake Gaston produces - Fisherman Marty Magone, who lives on the shores of south-central Virginia’s Lake Gaston, said: “A slight drop in water levels has moved the bass out to the junction of creek channels and the lake’s river channel. Morning hours have been highly productive. The pattern has been to drop a buoy marker at the 26-to-12-foot drop, then casting and retrieving jigs or Silver Buddy lures through those depths.”

Magone added that in two outings he scored on 30 or more largemouth bass a day, some of them weighing up to 4 pounds. A friend, Mike Davis, caught a 4 3/4-pound walleye at Holly Grove.

Shenandoah catches slow - Dick Fox from Front Royal, Va. ,said the Shenandoah River is fishable in some areas.

“However, the bite for us has been slow,” he said. “Use caution because there can be a few ice chunks floating down the river here and there.”

Sea bass are hungry - Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association member Ken Neill wrote: “We made a sea bass trip [south out of] Rudee Inlet. Several boats were hitting the wrecks down there with us. We ended up keeping nice sea bass in the 2- to 3-pound range, with a number pushing 5 pounds. I got some photos of Bob Manus and Steve Martin with jumbo sea bass. We will head back out after tilefish/grouper another time.”

Neill said when he returned to the dock, a 44-pound rockfish was being weighed that was caught near False Cape.

And tilefish are too - Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball (drjball.com) said the blueline tilefish were biting well in the Atlantic a few days ago.

“We had a good day, with our first drop giving up hefty bluelines and big sea bass,” she said. “We used squid and a variety of cut bait. There was no current to speak of, it mostly went against the wind, which worked out well.”

Ball said all hands aboard her boat caught citation bluelines.

“We ended up with bluelines up to 13 1/2 pounds, [including] 10 citation-sized tilefish and a cooler full of big sea bass up to 7 1/4 pounds.

Price rises at nearby reservoirs - Reader Joe Fabian said the price to fish at the Suburban Sanitary Commission’s Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs has gone up. Day use permits cost $5 ($60 for a season-long permit which is good for everybody in the boat).

“The permit is also used for horse riding,” Fabian said. “I wonder if that covers more than one person on a horse?”

Look for Gene Mueller´s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Visit Mueller’s Inside Outside blog at washingtontimes.com/sports.

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