What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited reported excellent smallmouth bass action in the river's upper reaches. He attributed much of this to slightly lower water temperatures and some increase in river flow, which resulted from recent releases from Jennings Randolph Dam. "The last release actually cleaned the river of thick algae and its pungent aroma. Smallmouth bass fishing was superb this week, slowing a little by week's end." Penrod said most of his catches were made with Cabin Creek tubebaits rigged to 1/8-ounce leadheads. However, on one occasion, bottom-fished cocktail shrimp produced impressive results. Striper fishing improved slightly in the river's District segment, particularly in Washington Channel and over the submerged lumps near the railroad bridge. If you're looking for largemouth bass, you'll likely find them congregated among the chunks of concrete at The Spoils or lurking in the dense grass beds near Belle Haven, Hog Island, Broad Creek Rosier Bluff, Fort Washington Marina and the mouth of Piscataway Creek. Penrod recommended a variety of lures including buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, shallow running crankbaits and plastic worms.


SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said smallmouth bass action continues to hold up well in areas where anglers find deep pools. The river flow is currently at the lowest point in recent history, averaging less than 3,000 cubic feet per second, this despite recent heavy rains at several locations upriver of Harrisburg.


LOCH RAVEN AND LIBERTY RESERVOIRS -- John Forbes at Loch Raven Fishing Center said white perch dominated last weekend's action, but there were a few largemouth bass and chain pickerel caught by anglers casting spinnerbaits along the outer edges of grass beds. Most of the crappie are currently suspended among bridge pilings, where live minnows and tiny shad darts lured slabsides up to 10 inches.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House reported good weekend catches of largemouth bass by anglers casting a variety of lures near partly submerged trees and beneath piers. Downlake, live minnows suspended 20 feet beneath small floats produced rainbow trout to 3 pounds and similar-sized brown trout. Though large numbers of walleye were caught, most were undersized.


LAKE ANNA -- Large numbers of big bass were tough to find during the past week, however a few 5-pounders were caught in the lake's middle reaches. Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina said the combination of low water and higher than normal water temperatures limits bass action to early morning and late evening only. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said striper fishing met with mixed results. Wood said trollers seem to catch the most fish when slow-trolling DD-22s and Redfins.

JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Blue catfish ranging from 20 to 40 pounds were weighed at Chester Ice House last weekend. The vast majority of the catties were taken on bottom-fished cut herring baits fished downriver of Richmond's I-95 Bridge. Anglers fishing above Richmond found fair numbers of smallmouths lurking in the river's deeper pools.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "We're still catching huge numbers of smallmouth bass on just about any lure or bait you throw at them," said Noel.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said, "We have croaker in the North East River and they're all the way up to Red Point." Benjamin said croaker arrived early in the week, most averaging 14 to 16 inches. "They're not here in large numbers, but at least they're here. We also have some good sized rockfish feeding on the surface." Local angler Amos Jones caught a 20 1/4-inch walleye at the base of Conowingo Dam on a twister tail intended for rockfish. Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store in Rock Hall reported good striper action with breaking fish near Swan Point and the Love Point. Most of were undersized, but bluefish up to 3 pounds were frequently mixed with the rockfish. Beneath the breaking blues and stripers were weakfish up to 2 pounds and fair numbers of legal flounder. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore said most of the upper bay's lumps and bars currently hold good numbers of croaker and a few legal weakfish.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop said bottom-fishing for croaker and weakfish was outstanding at several locations near Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Croaker up to 16 inches were caught from among the bridge pilings, Hacketts Bar and along the bay's eastern channel edge near Kent Island. Anglers fishing just inside the mouth of Eastern Bay and Kent Narrows reported good croaker and flounder action, with some flatties measuring 22 inches. Stripers to 20 inches were caught by anglers casting bucktails at night near the Kent Narrows Bridge.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- David Elzey at Tommy's Sporting Goods reported good catches of croaker and weakfish at several locations downriver of the U.S. 50 Bridge at Easton. Elzey said bottom-fished squid strips lured croaker up to 16 inches and weakfish to 20 inches when fished near Buoy #12, Sharps Island Light and along the river's southern channel edge. The largest fish were caught just after sundown.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker and Lady Hooker fished near Sharps Island Light, where patrons caught a mix of croaker, spot and an occasional flounder. The Rod 'n' Reel Dock charter fleet trolled the bay's western channel edge where they caught a mix of bluefish and Spanish mackerel on small spoons. A few legal stripers were mixed with the bluefish.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said, "Schools of rockfish are breaking everyday in the middle Chesapeake. The usual pattern is for a school to surface at Cedar Point Rip at daybreak and head southeast toward Hooper's Island Light or go due south toward the Targets and eventually end up in the shallows of Cedar Point Hollow. Most stripers measured 22 to 26 inches and were mixed with medium-sized blues and Spanish mackerel. Sassy shad, Sluggos, Rapala Husky Jerks and surface plugs were all effective." Lamb said spot, croaker, weakfish and flounder were all caught near the river's mouth, with the best action beginning just after sunset.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Patty Lee skipper Captain Paul Kellam said, "We caught good numbers of rockfish and bluefish inside the Potomac River's mouth last weekend. Fishing was great and there were good numbers of Spanish mackerel mixed with the breaking fish closer to the Virginia side of the river." Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center located several schools of breaking stripers and bluefish mixed at the Southwest Middle Grounds. "The blues were available in mixed sizes from 3 to 7 pounds," said Scheible. "Most of the rockfish measured 18 to 22 inches, but a few larger fish were caught early in the morning."

HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Henry Gootee on the Striker chummed near Buoy 72-A last weekend, catching limits of stripers up to 24 inches and similar-sized weakfish. Gootee said bottom-fishing with squid strips over the flats located a mile east of the buoy produced good flounder action and several croaker up to 16 inches.

TANGIER SOUND -- The headboats Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III battled high winds throughout most of the week while fishing near Terrapin Sands, where they caught a mixed bag of croaker, weakfish, spot and an occasional flounder.

SMITH POINT AREA -- "There are good numbers of grey trout (weakfish) along the western channel edge. They can be caught on baited hooks or by jigging metal spoons such as the Sting Silver," said captain Ferrel McLain on the Red Osprey. "Croaker are still plentiful and we caught all we needed on a full moon night trip using squid strips. Spanish Mackerel are jumping out of the water (they really do that!) from Windmill Point to north of Smith Point. Trollers using small spoons are having no trouble hooking into the Spanish." Bluefish were mixed with the mackerel with some tipping the scales at 5 or more pounds. If you want to add stripers to the cooler, you'll find them a few hundred yards north of Smith Point Jetty.

CAPE CHARLES -- Several huge flounder were weighed at Chris's Bait & Tackle, the largest an 8-pounder caught at The Cell on squid strips. Two citation winning fish, a 47-inch red drum and a 51-pound, 10-ounce cobia were landed near Buoy 36-A. Croaker fishing remains good to excellent near Kiptopeke, while just a bit to the south at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel's High Rise span, Captain Eric Burnley of Ebb Tide Charters limited out on flounder to 22 inches, then fished the CBBT's Fourth Island where he boated several bluefish up to 3 pounds while casting topwater plugs.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Captain Craig Ziegler, skipper of the Box Lunch fished the lower end of Poorman's Canyon and caught several white marlin and a few dolphin. Captain Craig Mercier, skipper of the Wrangler said, "The white marlin bite has been unbelievable. We're seeing up to a dozen whites a day and putting the hooks in four to six. We went one for four on blue marlin this week and the inshore tuna bite at the Hambone, Jack Spot and Chickenbone has been great for chunkers. Fishing's real good." Inshore and backbay anglers caught large numbers of croaker and weakfish along the channel edge between the U.S. 50 Bridge and Route 90 Bridge.

WACHAPREAGUE -- Wachapreague Marina's bluewater charter fleet fished southern end of Washington Canyon, catching a mix of yellowfin tuna ranging up to 60 pounds, dolphin to 20 pounds, white marlin and wahoo.

OUTER BANKS -- Beach and pier anglers at Nags Head battled Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish early in the day, then as the sun rises, pompano, sea mullet and speckled trout migrate into the surf to feed. A few big cobia were hooked and decked at the ends of the piers, while offshore, the Oregon Inlet fleet reported limit catches of dolphin, some yellowfin tuna and fair numbers of billfish.

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.