What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited said smallmouth bass action has been red hot on the Upper Potomac. Penrod said the bronzebacks and slamming Cabin Creek tubebaits at Brunswick, Lander, Whites Ferry and Edwards Ferry, with most fish ranging from 12 to 20 inches. There were fair numbers of walleye caught in the same areas, most of which averaged 17 inches in length. Penrod said, "You can still catch some stripers in Washington Channel by trolling firetiger crankbaits along the 12-foot drop-off adjacent to Fort McNair wall." Grass beds located just above Woodrow Wilson Bridge produced good numbers of largemouths as did Fox Ferry Point and the concrete slabs at The Spoils. The most productive locations were all down river, mainly the Occoquan River, Chickamuxen Creek, Aquia Creek and the milfoil beds of Nanjemoy Creek. Ray Fletcher at Fletcher's Boat House said channel catfish, crappie and stripers dominated last weekend's action. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "The hydrilla beds are emerging in several areas downriver of Woodrow Wilson Bridge. We're finding good numbers of largemouths just about any place we find grass growing."


SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "The river level is 3.5 feet at Harrisburg, a bit higher than last week . . . but there's not sufficient water to fish above the Juniata Bridge. We're still catching lots of smallmouth bass, some to 3 pounds, but most of the action is limited to the deeper pools."


LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Kevin McComas at Loch Raven Fishing Center said "White perch fishing has been red hot, yellow perch are schooled in 30 feet of water and some measured up to 15 inches. We still have a few largemouths spawning in the shallow coves and chain pickerel fishing has been great in the grass beds."

TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- WSSC patrol officer Ray Hohl said scattered catches of largemouth bass have been made by early morning anglers casting live minnows and plastic worms close to shore in the deeper coves. Crappie are beginning to school beneath the bridges where live minnows lip hooked to small shad darts lured slabsides to 12 inches.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House reported great bottom-fishing action for big bluegill. Marple weighed a 1-pound, 5-ounce bluegill caught by Hagerstown resident Larry Franks. Marple also weighed in brown trout to 3 pounds, rainbow trout weighing in excess of 2 pounds and a 10-pound, 12-ounce walleye over the past weekend.


LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina weighed in several exceptional largemouth bass last weekend, the largest a 6-pounder caught by a Charlottesville resident while casting a plastic worm. Fauntleroy said striper action improved for anglers fishing early and late in the day near Stubbs Bridge with live, jumbo minnows or blueback herring. Crappie are plentiful beneath the bridges and near deeply submerged brush piles, locations where live minnows produced outstanding results. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said bass anglers should try casting around the submerged stumps and brush piles at the crack of dawn using a Pop-R, Tiny Torpedo or Devil's Horse.

JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Jimmy Fields at Chester Ice House weighed monster catfish up to 30 pounds. However, upriver smallmouth bass fishing is somewhat slow.

KERR RESERVOIR (Buggs Island Lake) -- Hugh Hamby at Castle Heights Grocery reported scattered catches of stripers by anglers trolling the mid-lake channel edges with a variety of lures. Crappie fishing remained good in the deeper brush piles and among bridge pilings; live minnows suspended beneath floats lured slabsides to 12 inches.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Trace Noel at River Rental Outfitters at Bentonville said, "We had an incredible weekend of fishing. Everyone caught lots of fish." Noel said cricket hoppers, yellow grubs and yellow streamer flies lured large numbers of slot limit smallmouth bass. Along the shores of deeper pools, anglers found good panfish action while casting tiny cork poppers with fly rods. Channel catfish to 12 pounds slammed madtoms fished in the deeper pools.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said, "There were a few legal-size rockfish caught on the Susquehanna River, Turkey Point and the lower Susquehanna River, mostly caught on surface plugs. Chummers managed to hang a few legal size (18-inch) fish while fishing the drop-off near Turkey Point, but the action was not fast and furious." Benjamin said channel catfish of all sizes are plentiful throughout the entire upper bay.

KENT ISLAND AREA -- Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store said chummers found a few legal-size stripers near Love Point, while anglers fishing inside the mouth of Chester River caught a mix of small stripers and white perch. Anglers bottom-fishing with squid strips near Bloody Point Light in depths of 25 to 35 feet caught croaker up to 15 inches and a few keeper flounder.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- A spokesperson at Anglers Sport Center reported Love Point and Thomas Point Light were the hotspots for chummers hoping to catch legal stripers ranging from 18 to 28 inches. However, until Tuesday only a single fish of this size may be kept. If you're lucky enough to catch a striper measuring 28 inches or larger, you may also keep one of this size. After Tuesday, anglers may keep two fish measuring 18 inches or larger. Croaker were caught beneath the Severn River bridge while drift-fishing with chunks of peeler crab and squid strips. Across the Chesapeake at the mouth of Eastern Bay, a mix of croaker and flounder were found lurking along the channel edge in depths ranging 25 to 35 feet. Some of the flatties tipped the scales at 4 pounds.

DEALE -- Captain George Prenant, skipper of the Stormy Petrel, said, "Rockfish action has been excellent along the bay's western shore in depths of 24 to 38 feet. Bottom-fishing action is improving every day with catches of spot and croaker made on bloodworms and chunks of crab."

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods said anglers fishing from the U.S. 50 Bridge Fishing Piers at night caught a mix of croaker, spot, white perch and a few stripers. Downriver, near Chloras Point and Castle Haven, bottom-fished squid strips produced good to excellent catches of croaker, a few weakfish and even an occasional flounder.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- Fred Donovan at the Rod 'n' Reel Dock said, "Night fishing for croaker dropped off a bit last Saturday evening, but it seems to be picking up again. We still have lots of smaller stripers, mostly in the 18 to 28-inch slot, feeding on the surface between the mouth of Parkers Creek and the Radar Towers."

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said, "Rockfish are plentiful for chummers at the gas docks, Point No Point, the Middle Grounds. Many catch their limit of small fish in a matter of minutes, but landing the striper over 28 inches can be challenging." Captain Steve Majeski caught a 37-inch cobia near the Virginia border while chumming for stripers. Rockfish were also reported at near the river's mouth at Drum Point, where trollers caught fish to 40 inches just after sunrise. Scattered catches of big stripers were made at the sand bar at Point Patience while dunking chunks of crab along the drop-offs. Perch fishermen using bloodworms off their piers in the creeks have been surprised by rockfish up to 20 inches in the Patuxent. Lamb said croaker fishing is excellent., with many 18- to 20-inchers were caught.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center said, "Everyone caught limits of stripers, then caught limits of croaker, lots of sea trout and a few flounder. Bottom fishing has never been this good." Scheible said the best action takes place at the Southwest Middle Grounds, where bottom-fished squid strips lures croaker and weakfish. Chummers caught the lion's share of flounder, some weighing up to 3 pounds. Anglers fishing from the Point Lookout Fishing Pier caught a mix of croaker, spot, small flounder and snapper bluefish, with the best action taking place early and late in the day.

HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Henry Gootee, skipper of the Striker, fished near Hooper Island Light last weekend, a location that provided a mix of croaker, weakfish and stripers. Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters found large numbers of stripers up to 25 inches lurking in the shallows of Lower Hooper Island and Bloodsworth Island. Murphy said the best catches were made early and late in the day, particularly when periods of low light coincided with ebb tide.

TANGIER SOUND - Anglers fishing aboard Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III enjoyed hot bottom-fishing action for croaker, weakfish and spot at Island Rock, located in Tangier Sound's middle reaches. Karen Ray skipper Curtis Johns fished near Terrapin Sands in Upper Tangier Sound, where his clients caught a mix of croaker, weakfish, spot and even an occasional flounder.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Fred Ames was fishing aboard the Yankee Babe last Friday when he hooked and landed what could possibly be a new state record thresher shark. The monster shark tipped the scales at 586 pounds. Barbara Baker at Delmarva Sports Center says there were several exceptional weakfish caught during the past week. A 9-1/2-pounder was caught by 6-year-old Ben Esham of Ocean City while fishing with a chunk of peeler just above the Thoroughfare. An 8-pounder was caught by Bob Spetzler of Baltimore, while fishing from the decks of the U.S. 50 Bridge at night with a yellow bucktail.

VIRGINIA PIERS -- Croaker continue to dominate the fishing action at most piers, however, the seaside piers are beginning to see a few Spanish mackerel, flounder and sea mullet decked on a regular basis.

OUTER BANKS - The bluewater fleets from both Hatteras and Oregon inlets reported good yellowfin tuna, dolphin and billfish action on days when the weather cooperated. Inshore, surf temperatures are a bit chilly, but good action on sea mullet, snapper bluefish and spotted sea trout were reported just inside the inlets and from the Oregon Inlet catwalk. Pier anglers found a few willing cobia and Spanish mackerel last weekend, however, prolonged southwest winds may impact the daytime action.

Hear details on this week's fishing hot spot by calling Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and entering category 3474 (FISH). Fishing columnist Gary Diamond files updates weekly. The call is free wherever 202 area codes are free. From Prince William County, call 690-4110. A map of the mid-Atlantic region that identifies locations (including Loran coordinates) often mentioned in the Fish Lines column is available for $2.50 by fax or by mail. For a fax copy of the map, phone 800/945-5190 from a touch-tone phone. You will be asked to enter the number of your major credit card and the article number, which is No. 455. You will also be asked to enter the number of your fax machine. For delivery by mail, call 800/666-9329, Ext. 121, between 9 and 5 weekdays.