It was a year ago, almost to the day, when gray sea trout surfaced within a stone's throw of Buoy 52 in the Chesapeake Bay _ and we were there. Dozens of eight- and nine-pounders were hooked on plain white jigs that wonderful day; back in St. Jerome's Creek an oldtimer was heard to say that things like that happen only once in a fisherman's life.

The old man was right. Curse the rains and the resulting heavy freshwater runoff that's been entering the Chesapeake from its tributaries for a number of weeks now, or blame it on a run of bad luck. Either way, cooperative trout have been few and far between in the past week. Perhaps that will change this weekend.

As far as freshwater chances are concerned, never mind the murky waters. Get out there and try it anyway. If a lure makes enough noise, or a bait has enough scent, the fish will bite sooner or later. In the interest of conserving gasoline, this week we'll list a number of close-by Northern Virginia public lakes not always mentioned here. They ought to keep you newcomers busy for the rest of the year.