EXTREME heat and drought conditions caused water temperatures to rise dramatically in all bodies of water throughout the mid-Atlantic region. In some areas, particularly in shallow coves and small tidal creeks, record high temperatures have caused fish kills. According to Maryland's Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fish kills have primarily been found in sub-tributaries of the Magothy and Patapsco Rivers and involve more than 200,000 fish. To report a fish kill or fish with sores, call Maryland Fish Health Hotline at 888/584-3110.
What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity
POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited said, "The river is desperate for water, however we continue to catch impressive numbers of smallmouth bass and more walleye than ever." Penrod fished Whites Ferry, Edwards Ferry and Seneca, and said the secret to success is to find a deeper pool with a nearby grass bed. The District segment of the Tidal Potomac did not yield large numbers of chunky largemouths over the holiday weekend. The best largemouth bass action took place downriver in Pomonkey Creek, Hallowing Bay and Pohic Bay, where spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits and plastic grubs all proved effective.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "If you want to catch good numbers of smallmouth bass and stay cool in the process, wet-wading is the only way to go. Just put on a life jacket and a pair of wading shoes and step into the river. Water temperatures are near 80 degrees and it feels like bath-water, but fishing in the deeper pools is great."
TRIADELPHIA & ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- WSSC patrol officer Ray Hohl said good numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass were caught in both impoundments during the holiday weekend. Domenic Musotto of Finksburg, Md., hooked and landed a 5-pound smallmouth at Triadelphia and Craig Walrath of Catonsville, Md., boated a 4-pound, 14-ounce largemouth at the same location. Jeff Andrus of Eldersburg, Md., caught a 5-pound largemouth at Rocky Gorge. Scattered catches of northern pike were reported at Rocky Gorge, while lots of small walleyes were reportedly caught and released at both reservoirs. Hohl said catfish are plentiful on both lakes, where bottom-fished chicken livers and night crawlers produced excellent results.
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Loch Raven Fishing Center manager Kevin McComas said white perch are plentiful throughout the impoundment, with the best action taking place at Hampton, School House and Dead Man's coves. Aquatic grasses cover the bottoms of most coves, which translates into fantastic largemouth bass fishing for anglers casting cork poppers with fly rods. Chain pickerel also haunt the coves and panfish action was excellent to outstanding.
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Several impressive fish were weighed at Johnny's Bait House over the holiday weekend. Ellicott City resident Dave Booze landed a 3-pound, 6-ounce chain pickerel. Brad Trunnell of Clarksburg boated a 5-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bass.
LAKE ANNA -- Monster largemouths have migrated back into the shallows, feeding heavily early and late in the day when water temperatures are a bit cooler. Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina weighed largemouths up to 7 pounds, 4 ounces, most of which were taken on plastic worms and lizards. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said the best striper catches have been made by anglers trolling deep-diving crankbaits in the lake's upper reaches. Bill Black of Goochland caught four stripers that had a combined weight of 26 pounds.
JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Dozens of monster blue catfish were weighed at Chester Ice House last week, the largest a 41-pounder taken on a live eel. Most of the catties were caught downriver of Richmond's Benjamin Harrison Bridge.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "The river is extremely low, but fishing is red hot." Noel said every pool seems to hold impressive numbers of smallmouth bass, channel catfish and panfish and they're hitting just about any lure or bait that gets within range.
UPPER BAY -- Herb Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said striped bass fishing is a bit slow in the North East and Susquehanna Rivers, but catfish seem to be everywhere you drop a line. Benjamin said small white perch are lingering in the lower Susquehanna River and there are fair numbers of tidewater largemouths in the grass beds near Garrett Island. Bill Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore said a pair of 21-pound stripers was caught by an angler chumming near Love Point over depths of 37 feet. The bay side of Love Point was the area's bottom-fishing hotspot, with big croaker and weakfish being caught by anglers dunking squid strips and chunks of peeler crab.
KENT ISLAND AREA -- Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store said, "Croaker arrived in large numbers and sizes near Swan Point and there were three black drum hooked, and one weighing 60 pounds was landed. What a weekend!"
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- John Lambert at the Angler's Sport Shop said, "There are some really nice croaker at Thomas and Hacketts points and they're mixed with white perch. Chummers caught good numbers of stripers near the Dumping Grounds and the northern end of Kent Island."
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods said most everyone is fishing at night from the U.S. 50 Bridge, where croaker and white perch are taking bottom-fished squid strips and bloodworms. Scattered catches of weakfish were reported downriver at Chloras Point and a few stripers were caught by plug casters working the shorelines.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- Headboats reported fantastic croaker catches, while the charterboat fleet trolled near the mouth of Parkers Creek with bucktails and caught limits of stripers to 20 pounds.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, said, "There is no end to the croaker, trout are plentiful, spot are increasing daily, rockfish are cooperating, as are bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Capt. Lou Tippet on Steven-D was bottom fishing on the mud leads and one of his clients hooked a 60-pound red drum that was landed after a 25-minute battle."
POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center went chumming about a mile south of the target ship American Mariner, where he loaded up on stripers to 22 inches, then switched baits and bottom-fished for croaker. Captain Paul Kellam on the Patty Lee chummed at the Southwest Middle Grounds where his clients caught a mix of bluefish to 3 pounds, stripers to 24 inches, croaker to 18 inches and similar-size weakfish. Anglers fishing the sheltered waters of Cornfield enjoyed great flounder, trout and croaker action. Further up the Potomac, croaker dominated the action at the mouth of St. Marys River, Piney Point, Ragged Point, Bushwood and Cobb Island.
HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters said, "We're doing a little bottom fishing near Hooper Island Light at night where we're catching good numbers of weakfish and croaker." Murphy said the best action kicks off about an hour prior to sundown. Murphy said a local netter found two tarpon measuring approximately 4 feet in length and two cobia in his net last week. The tarpon were released unharmed.
TANGIER SOUND -- The Crisfield charter and headboat fleet found excellent bottom-fishing action in upper Tangier Sound near Buoy number 9, where bottom-fished squid strips produced huge numbers of croaker, weakfish and flounder.
CAPE CHARLES -- Cobia and red drum continue to dominate the big fish action near Lattimer Shoals, with several 50- to 70-pounders of both species landed on days when the wind was not howling from the southwest. Anglers fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel's manmade islands found large flounder, monster spadefish up to 12 pounds and Spanish mackerel up to 4 pounds lurking near the submerged boulders.
OCEAN CITY -- High winds hampered small boat anglers from running offshore, however, the inshore waters behind Ocean City's barrier islands produced excellent bottom-fishing action for croaker, weakfish and flounder. The larger charter boats running from Ocean City Fishing Center ran to Poorman's Canyon, where most captains reported good to excellent catches of yellowfin tuna and mid-size dolphin.
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Headboats running from Virginia Beach Fishing Center reported excellent bottom-fishing for croaker while dunking squid strips near the CBBT and just inside the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Offshore, a few boats ventured out to Norfolk Canyon's southern tip, where most landed limit catches of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and an occasional wahoo.
WACHAPREAGUE -- The offshore fleet running from Wachapreague Marina fished the Parking Lot. Most chunked for bluefin tuna with butterfish and reported good catches of tuna to 50 pounds. Inshore, flounder action continues to hold up well behind the Coast Guard Station and large numbers of croaker were found at various locations along the channel edges.
OUTER BANKS -- Hatteras-based boats had a tough week, and most stayed tied to the docks for several days due to strong winds and rough seas. The Miss Hatteras headboat was able to fish in the sound and reported fair catches of puppy drum. Surf fishing is typical for summer, with catches of snapper bluefish, speckled trout and puppy drum dominating the action. Several large cobia were found lurking just outside the inlets, the largest a 55-pounder that slammed a chunk of cut bunker.
Hear updates on this week's hottest fishing spots by calling Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and entering category 3474 (FISH). Fishing columnist Gary Diamond files audio reports weekly. The call is free wherever 202 area codes are free. From Prince William County call 690-4110.