HURRICANE Floyd ripped through the mid-Atlantic region, and its effect on local fishing was severe in most areas. Rivers along the Chesapeake Bay's western shore were churned into a sea of mud, while those to the east rose several feet above normal, the result of wind-driven tides. Floyd refilled most area reservoirs, replacing waters lost during the past two summers of drought, but, in many instances, the impoundments remain extremely muddy.
What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity
POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited said, "Floyd did relatively little damage to much of the upper river. The water is clear and stable above Lander, the Shenandoah and Monocacy rivers are muddy and Whites Ferry looks like coffee, but water levels are falling steadily." Penrod said last weekend's best smallmouth bass action took place upriver of Whites Ferry, where tubebaits fished in the deeper pools produced excellent results. With more rain in the forecast, it is highly advisable to call Baltimore-Washington National Weather Service Forecast Office (703/260-0305) to check river conditions before venturing out. Downriver, the Montgomery County segment of the Potomac looked like Bosco with sticks. However, some of the sheltered areas, particularly those downriver of Blue Plains and inside Washington Channel, produced good numbers of largemouths. Congressman Dick Armey and American Sportfishing Association president Mike Hayden caught bass up to 4 pounds while fishing with Penrod in Washington Channel. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service found relatively clear water downriver at Arkendale Flats, near the mouth of Powell Creek and Nanjemoy Creek. Kramer says that although the storm ripped out several large grass beds, those that remained held enormous numbers of largemouth bass. "Just look for a grass bed and you'll have no trouble catching lots of bass," Kramer said.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said smallmouth bass fishing came to a screeching halt when Floyd caused the river to rise several feet above normal. It will take at least two weeks before conditions return to normal.
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House said the storm had no effect whatsoever on this Western Maryland impoundment. Bass fishing ranged from good to excellent over the weekend, several large trout were weighed and a 13-pound, 8-ounce northern pike was caught by Sam Elbers of Baltimore.
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Kevin McComas at Loch Raven Fishing Center said water levels are well above normal, but the lake remains relatively clear. McComas said anglers will find large numbers of bass and chain pickerel actively feeding close to shore where small trees and scrub brush have recently been inundated. White perch action remains good for anglers trolling inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler. Best catches were reported at Dead Man's and Hampton coves.
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- WSSC patrol officer Ray Hohl said, "Fishing has finally turned on at both reservoirs." Water levels are back to normal and largemouth bass are slamming live minnows and crankbaits fished in the shallows. Michael Allen of Glen Burnie, Md., caught a 6-pound, 12-ounce largemouth from Triadelphia. Silver Spring resident Carl Tempel caught a 12-pound, 10-ounce tiger musky from Rocky Gorge. Hohl said crappie weighing up to a pound and several large channel catfish to 8 pounds were caught over the weekend.
LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina said, "Record catches of largemouth bass were brought in Saturday during Anna Point's Fall Classic Bass Tournament. The winning 10 fish, combined weight of 30 pounds, 4 ounces was caught by Brian Green and Warren Embry of Fredericksburg. Fauntleroy said trollers continue to catch good numbers of stripers from the impoundment's upper reaches. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said schools of surface feeding stripers popped up at the mouths of most of the larger creeks, with some fish weighing up to 8 pounds. Wood said the season's top winner for Highpoint Marina's Friday Night Top 25 was the team of Trey Perrin and Carl Shade of Mineral, Va., with a season total of 97.57 pounds of largemouth bass. Twenty teams of anglers competed for $2,000 in donated cash and prizes. Guide Glenn Briggs said stripers have migrated back to the lake's shallows where they're feeding heavily on schools of gizzard shad. Briggs said the best action takes place early and again late in the day, when linesiders drive the shad toward shore and explode through the fleeing schools.
JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- The river will likely remain high and muddy for at least another week.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "The river is only a bit above normal and slightly stained, but fishing over the past weekend was the best it has been all season." Noel says most anglers loaded up on smallmouth bass ranging from 14 to 20 inches while casting night crawlers and live minnows in the deeper pools. Significant numbers of bronzebacks were also taken on motor oil-colored plastic grubs rigged to 1/8-ounce leadheads and cast to the heads of pools.
UPPER BAY -- Herb Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said Floyd churned the upper bay into a sea of mud, and he's not sure how long these conditions will last. Benjamin said the large volume of fresh water likely drove the bluefish south of the Bay Bridge and the only action during the next week will be on channel catfish and perch. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop said muddy water washing down the bay will drive the bluefish and stripers south, however, channel catfish and whiter perch action should improve locally. Blamberg said look for great bottom-fishing action for both species at the mouths of Patapsco, Gunpowder, Bush and Seneca rivers.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop said weekend fishing action was a bit slower than normal, mainly because of the weather.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods in Cambridge said snapper bluefish were still schooled between the U.S. 50 Bridge and the river's mouth, and there were a half-dozen keeper flounder caught from the bridge over the weekend. Turner said the river is still quite muddy but seems to be clearing with each tidal change.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboat Tom Hooker reported good catches of spot, weakfish and a few stripers were made while bottom-fishing in the mouth of the Choptank River with bloodworms and squid strips. The Rod 'n' Reel Dock charter fleet reported scattered catches of stripers and bluefish, however, while fishing for spot, the charter boat Bounty Hunter caught a 60-pound black drum on small gold hook baited with a chunk of bloodworm.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said, "Three weeks of hurricane activity altered regular fishing patterns. Rockfish remained stable as chummers, and shore fishermen did well over the weekend. Stripers measuring 20 to 28 inches were in chum slicks on both the western side of the ships channel near Point No Point and the middle grounds near Buoy 72. Breaking stripers were schooled near Cedar Point and lure casters caught plenty on Hopkins style lures, both throwing and jigging." Shorebound anglers caught legal stripers off the Officer's Club rocks, where Sassy Shad and surface plugs proved effective. Cedar Point and the Naval Air Station's "T" pier provided a mix of rockfish, croaker and a surprising number of weakfish for night fishermen. Weakfish measuring 20 to 27 inches took squid strips, bloodworm and peeler crab baits. Bloodworms provided good action with croaker and spot in the mouth of the Patuxent, as anglers searched out storm-spooked fish in the deeper areas beneath the Solomons bridge and at Point Patience.
POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center said the facility incurred some damage to the docks from Hurricane Floyd, however, the charter fleet was able to fish out of nearby Point Lookout Marina, which was sheltered somewhat from the winds and tides. Most of the action centered around swarms of bluefish and stripers at the Southwest Middle Grounds, where chummers and trollers alike scored well. Bottom-fishing action continued to hold up well at the Mud Leads, where a mix of croaker, weakfish and flounder were caught on squid strips, and bloodworms drifted during high and ebb tides.
TANGIER SOUND -- Schools of striped bass and bluefish were found breaking at the Puppy Hole Buoy, located just a few miles east of Crisfield. Sting Silvers and Crippled Herring lures both proved highly effective on both species when cast and jigged near the surface feeding activity. Bottom-fishing remained good in lower Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound, where a mix of spot, croaker and weakfish were caught on squid strips and bloodworms.
No fishing due to Floyd.
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.