- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009

As local temperatures climb, here’s betting that a yellow perch run will be under way this weekend. The annual spawning run of the perch is overdue, and the roe-laden females will hold on to their eggs only so long.

Off-and-on catches of perch have been made at Charles County’s Allens Fresh, but no serious, massive upstream movements were noted. In fact, the Wicomico River on either side of the Fresh’s Route 234 bridge showed sheet ice this week. With promises of warmer weather, the ice will disappear quickly, and the yellow perch should be taking small shad darts that usually are fished three or four feet under a bobber. Also try live minnows, grass shrimp and even garden worms.

Just before the big snow arrived, my colleague James Drake of the Maryland Independent said a few anglers were getting hits from small white perch - the next fish species to begin a spawning run in local waters.

Among the tidal Potomac’s tributary creeks, the perch should cooperate in Charles County’s upper Nanjemoy, Mattawoman and Chicamuxen creeks, as well as Virginia’s Aquia and Occoquan feeders. Also add the Patuxent River around Hills Bridge on the border of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties along Route 4. If you can gain access by boat or on foot, try the Mattaponi and Western Branch creeks.

As far as finding bait is concerned, an online Bait Shop Locator from BoatU.S. can be of great help. Enter www.BoatUSAngler.com/bait on your computer’s search line and a map will come up; click on your state and provide a zip code and click on fresh or salt water or both. Bingo! A list of bait shops appears. Click on any of them and details appear.

Lake Anna, Va., outlook - Lake Anna fishing guide Jim Hemby ([email protected] or phone 540/223-0850) said this month will see some of the largest fish of the year in the nuclear impoundment west of Fredericksburg.

“Many citations should be recorded,” he said.

As far as largemouth bass, plenty of 8-pounders will be caught in waters less than 16 feet deep.

“Primary and secondary downlake points will hold big bass, and they can be caught on suspending jerkbaits,” Hemby said. “As the water warms up in the afternoon or later in the month, they will move back into the pockets and coves up onto stumps and rocks,” he said.

Also downlake, a good pattern is targeting the gravel banks that have cover on them. Use crankbaits or swimbaits, he urged visitors. Cast big-bladed spinnerbaits around main-lake coves, such as Hackneys, Boggs and the coves in Dukes Creek, Hemby added.

Hemby said the landlocked striped bass of Anna are scattered all over the lake now, from the dam all the way uplake. Hemby said on good days, his clients have averaged well over 20 fish a day.

“Large schools of stripers are downlake in the Third Dike area and may start to spawn in the [underwater] current this month just before the full moon arrives,” Hemby said. “Pencil Poppers thrown into the current will draw explosive strikes on the surface as well as Redfin lures fished over the nearby flats.”

Hemby said even fishermen who use the public fishing bridge and banks nearby will catch plenty of stripers if they use live herring baits.

Off-and-on catches in lower Bay - Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association down in Virginia Beach said: “Cold and windy weather has kept us on land most days, [but] there was a beautiful weather window midweek. All of the boats which headed offshore came back with big catches of bottom fish from sea bass to tilefish to grouper. Tautog catches have picked up on the inshore wrecks.”

However, Neill said rockfish in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay have been hit-and-miss. He believes the stripers are heading into some of the spawning rivers as was shown by big catch-and-release numbers recently in the York River area.

By the way, Virginia’s flounder regulations have been set. There will be no closed season this year; the bag limit will be five flounder with a minimum length of 19 inches.

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

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