The first white shad of the season have started showing around Fletcher's Boat House on the Potomac off Canal Road. Mind you now, there isn't an abundance of them anywhere but Washingtonians could find a few tacklebusters on smartly bounced shad darts. Remember, Maryland waters are closed to shad fishing.
Wachapreague, Virginia is off to a great flounder season. Local charter captains who've been forced to stay in protected waters during seasonably high winds have found up to 100 flatties per outing in Wachapreague's back bays. You can too.
Bluefish are tearing into cut baits from Oregon Inlet, N.C., to Virginia Beach -- whenever the wind slacks enough to permit a bit of lazy fishing. Bluefish also are scouring the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay, but at midweek no catches had been reported around the Maryland/Virginia line. MARYLAND RIVERS AND LAKES WSSC LAKES -- Rocky Gorge (off Route 29) has seen catches of largemouth bass up to 6 pounds. Black pork strip/jig combinations or spinnerbaits are the proper lures. Much the same can be said of Triadelphia Lake (off Route 97) where at least one 6-pound, 11-ouncer was weighed in. POTOMAC RIVER -- Fletcher's is the place to start. Rental boaters are finding plenty of white perch on worm baits, white spinners or jigs. The first white shad of the season have been hooked. Not many, mind you, but enough to make it interesting. The Chain Bridge sector is good for herring dipping, as is the sea wall along Hains Point. Catfish are striking cut fish or worm baits throughout the river. Carp are starting to cooperate and bass fishermen can connect from above White's Ferry down to Washington Channel. EASTERN SHORE PONDS -- Wye Mills (Route 213) offers more crappies and bass now. Urieville (Route 213, near Chestertown) is cloudy, but large sunfish and some crappies are taking baits or small spinners. Leonards and Johnson ponds (Salisbury) are best for bass hunters. Tuckahoe Lake (Route 480) has been a disappointment thus far. PINEY RUN LAKE -- This Carroll County beauty (near Westminster) has stocked trout and hungry, smallish bass. Sunfish will please the nippers. POCOMOKE RIVER -- White perch, crappies, occasional keeper bass, pickerel and catfish are available for jonboaters out of Shad Landing, Milburn or Snow Hill. Try to catch the tides. NANTICOKE RIVER -- Sharptown (Route 313) boat ramp is the place to start. Then head upriver toward Delaware and try for largemouths during outgoing tides around docks and weedlines with grubs and crankbaits. Marshyhope Creek trades crappies for live bait or small white jigs. CHESTER RIVER -- Millington sector (off Route 291) has been great for crappies and perch. Better bring a few minnows for the crappies. SOUTHERN MARYLAND PONDS AND CREEKS -- Nanjemoy Creek (off Route 425) may give up a bass or two, but it hasn't been red-hot. Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6 east of LaPlata) shows bluegills, catfish and some fine bass. St. Mary's Lake (Route 5, near Leonardtown) offers crappies, sunfish and 1-to 2-pound bass. But the 200-odd acres of St. Mary's Lake are tough to fish when the wind blows. CHESAPEAKE BAY -- Last year in April we reported the first bluefish of the season out of the Stone Rock area of the middle bay and one from the Patuxent Naval Air Station in the Patuxent River. By the time you read this they may have started to inhale trolled hose or spoons, but at midweek there was no word of any chopper catches. Rockfish deep-trollers have had a miserable time, what with the wind and such. But they're trying and some big fish will be hooked only to be released. VIRGINIA RIVERS AND LAKES SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Slow going for bass hunters. Catfish and sunnies are taking worms. RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- Fredericksburg sector still shows some hickory shad, but remember you must cast your darts at first light for best results. Herring are plentiful for dippers. White perch and catfish are willing in the tidal parts below the city, but bass anglers are singing the blues from Port Royal to Leedstown. LAKE GASTON -- Speed Shad lures, spinnerbaits and jig'n'pigs have drawn fine largemouth bass out of Peahill Creek, says Delbridge's Jerry Burley. Jimmy's Creek and Songbird Creek also give up keeper fish. Crappies are available if you can locate a sunken brushpile. Wind has been a problem. KERR RESERVOIR -- Stripers are taking bucktails or herring baits below the dam. Aaron's Creek is still the place to beat when it comes to crappies. Bass like slowly worked spinnerbaits or pork lizards in flooded willow brush. OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR -- Fountainhead Park manager Bob Linn says come on down and try the bass. Crappies are schooling better every day. LAKE ANNA -- Delmas Moon of the Sportsman One Stop store (Route 208) has a contest that ends in May; the biggest bass and striper will win $50 each. On the lake, bass fishing now is confined to throwing Speed Shad or Bomber Model A lures along landpoints and creek structure. The big fish are hard to find. Crappies are everywhere. ATLANTIC OCEAN MARYLAND -- Earlier this week the mackerel boats had a tough time locating schools, but tautog can make up for the lack of other fish. VIRGINIA -- Wachapreague skipper Jimmy Wallace stayed inside the backwaters, worried about disappearing mackerel schools. Good thing, too. He drifted for flounder and came up with 110 flatties from 1 to 4 pounds each. Virginia Beach and lowest parts of the Chesapeake have yielded bluefish.