Forget last week's promise of great fishing near and far. That was before the rain gods made water on us. Torrential downpours ensured many ruined outings. But don't despair; all is not lost.
With any sort of luck the thundershowers will be scarce over the next few days and, if nothing else, the Chesapeake's sea trout and bluefish will cooperate. White perch are moving into the creeks and rivers of Southern Maryland. Baby spot are starting to show. Flounder and black drum are available on Virginia's lower Eastern Shore.
Freshwater rivers and ponds may be a muddy mess in some areas, but bass hunters can score just the same.
MARYLAND RIVERS AND LAKES
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Early and late hours of the day have been best for bass fishermen working surface plugs or plastic worms in the heads of deep coves and at landpoints.
POTOMAC RIVER -- Rains did their share of damage, but a clearing may occur if new downpours stay away. Now, catfish and carp are the best bet in slow-water coves. Bass are harder to locate. Rockfish have been milling around the buoys of Washington Channel here in town and they're crazy about chartreuse crankbaits.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Strong runoffs from rain have slowed bass fishing somewhat, but plastic worms and spinnerbaits still manage to find a few below Conwingo Dam.
EASTERN SHORE PONDS -- Tuckahoe (off Route 480, Caroline County) shows keeper bass and bluegills on popping bugs early in the day. Urieville (Route 213, Kent County) looks like coffee with cream. Unicorn (Route 313, Queen Anne's County) has been great for slabsided sunfish and some bass. Leonard and Johnson (Salisbury area, Wicomico County) are cloudy but productive for bass and sunfish anglers.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND PONDS -- Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6 east, Charles County) is slightly cloudy, good for large sunfish on flyrod bugs or bait. St. Mary's Lake (Route 5 south to Camp Cosoma Road, St. Mary's County) shows discolored water in upper shallows. Big sunfish, small bass by the hundreds. Myrtle Grove Lake (Route 225/west, Charles County) has lots of sunnies and a few bass, but nothing to write home about.
NANTICOKE RIVER -- Sharptown waters down to Marshyhope Creek mouth can produce fine largemouth bass off Firetiger crankbaits, plastic grubs or early morning topwater lures.
PINEY RUN RESERVOIR -- This Carroll County beauty has turned up consistent catches of bass and fine sunfish around shallow or deep dropoffs at landpoints.
CHESAPEAKE BAY Starting in the lower sectors, Captain Doug Carson of Crisfield says his Tangier Sound sea trout outings have been most productive, but it's the chance for evening channel bass, even black drum, he's excited about. Ask him for details: 301/968- 2212. Or kill 'em yourself in Kedges Straits. Sea trout and chopper bluefish will be there for trollers or chummers as long as the fickle weather permits. Trollers score also from the mouth of the Patuxent on out and up the Chesapeake, past the Power Plant, The Gooses, Crystal Ball, Herring Bay and points north as well as east. Surfcasters from the beaches at Point Lookout State Park connect on trout and blues now and then, but be prepared to come home emptyhanded. Too much depends on proper tides and weather.
VIRGINIA RIVERS AND LAKES
BACK BAY -- Before local thundershowers arrived some of the bass hounds claimed they hadn't seen lunker fishing that good in years. Nine bass over eight pounds were checked into one marina in two days. The lures: Weedless spoons, topwater buzzers, plastic worms.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Large- and smallmouth bass fishing is very slow, but stripers often make up for it. Bucktails or minnow imitators score early and late in the day.
LAKE GASTON--Muddy in the creeks, but fair water conditions in main lake. Bass catches are down, but crappies and sunfish are willing, with some stripers occasionally taken.
KERR RESERVOIR--Many of the creeks are discolored. Brushpiles produce bass and crappies in good numbers. Buoy No. 6 on the main lake has been a striper hotspot. Kerr Dam striper catches are fair to good with early evenings producing some topwater rockfish.
LAKE ANNA -- Landlocked striped bass and resident largemouth bass are willing. Live bait will draw rockfish in deepwater channel bends. Plastic worms or topwater lures do their share to bring in largemouths while temperatures are reasonable.
LAKE ORANGE -- Continued fine bluegill, crappies and catfish catches. Keeper bass are available on broken-back Rebels or plastic worms.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- May stay muddy until after you've read this. Rains have done a job in Fredericksburg and elsewhere. Water is swift.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR -- Some bass and crappies, as well as sunfish. Get there early for best results. Midday heat dampens fishing and fishermen.
BURKE LAKE -- In good shape despite rains. Weekdays are best for peaceful outings after sunfish with flyrod bugs or bass on plastic worms. Don't overlook the huge catfish available here.
OCEAN AND INLETS
MARYLAND -- Offshore bluefish are reasonably plentiful and can the first white marlin of the year be far away? It will happen very soon now. Flounder drifters from behind Ocean City through the Thoroughfare, past Route 50 bridge, score mostly on small flatties. Assateague Island surf anglers find bluefish on cut bait, with occasional kingfish taking bloodworms.
VIRGINIA -- The black drum run at Cape Charles was a success for chartermen, but the fish are starting to leave and may be gone by next week. Some drum still are available at Oyster on the Atlantic, where flounder also bite well. Wachapreague boaters say flounder are very willing, but John Shields of Snug Harbor Marina in Chincoteague is more honest when he says, "Those who know how and work hard will get enough for dinner. It's off-an-on here." Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel sea trout and bluefish catches have been fantastic. Offshore Virginia beach boats score on bluefish, even a few dolphin and false albacore.