What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited fished from Seneca to Brunswick during the past week and said, "Higher water scattered the river's smallmouth bass population, but we did manage to catch fish to 20 inches." Penrod advised that this time of year, anglers call 703/260-0305 to obtain up to the minute river conditions before venturing out. Downriver, water temperatures in the river's District segment have dropped below 70 degrees and much of the hydrilla has started its annual die-off. Consequently, some areas can be a bit difficult to fish because of floating mats of vegetation. As the grass diminishes, the river's largemouth bass population will quickly migrate to other forms of structure such as bridge pilings, partly submerged trees, pier pilings and those chunks of concrete at The Spoils. Penrod said largemouths to nearly 4 pounds were taken from among the pilings of Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Long Bridge and the C&O Aqueduct foundations. Penrod said there were lots of stripers at the same locations and they slammed small crankbaits cast near the structures. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service enjoyed excellent fishing while casting a variety of topwater plugs near the remaining grass beds. Kramer said, "Fishing was just awesome at the grass beds south of Woodrow Wilson Bridge and down to Nanjemoy Creek. We hammered fish nearly all day long and some weighed nearly 5 pounds."

Pennsylvania

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "The river is a bit high and off color, but by the upcoming weekend, conditions should be great near Duncannon. We had lots of smallmouths in the 12- to 18-inch category hitting grubs and spinnerbaits before Monday's rain, and if the weather improves during the week, there's no reason not to expect the same action this weekend."

Maryland

TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- WSSC patrol officer Ray Hohl said both reservoirs are currently producing good to excellent catches of bass for anglers casting crankbaits, plastic worms, pig-n-jig combinations and live shiners close to shore. Hohl said tiger muskies and northern pike are also on the prowl and will hit the same lures. Live shiners produced good numbers of catfish up to 12 pounds, while yellow perch up to 13 inches hit small leadheads trimmed with a chunk of night crawler.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House said fishing ranged from good to excellent at some locations. Marple weighed a 7-pound, 5-ounce northern pike caught by a Greensburg, Pa., resident and dozens of big yellow perch.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Kevin McComas at Loch Raven Fishing Center said water levels are again falling and some of the shoreline is currently visible. Anglers casting large crankbaits and plastic grubs among the shoreline debris caught largemouths up to 4 pounds last weekend, while bottom fishermen using night crawlers and live shiners continued to catch white perch to 12 inches.

Virginia

LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina said Silver Spring resident Greg Cronin landed a 5-pound largemouth bass that slammed a crankbait and Mike Wilburn of Lothian, Md., weighed in two bass, the largest a 6-pound, 10-ouncer that inhaled a spinnerbait. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said the best striper action took place at Rose Valley and Jett Island, where trollers using Redfins and DD-22s caught linesiders up to 5 pounds. Crappie are still plentiful at the bridges and beneath piers, where live shiners produced excellent results. Guide Glenn Briggs said stripers seemed to have changed feeding habits since water temperatures dropped. Briggs said anglers should look for them in the shallow stump fields early and late in the day, locations where they're actively feeding on gizzard shad. Briggs said most soft plastics resembling shad are slammed like a freight train during periods of low light.

JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- The river remains muddy and high, only a handful of big catfish were caught from areas downriver of Richmond's I-95 Bridge and smallmouth bass action above the bridge was slow at best.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "The river is high, off color and smallmouth bass fishing came to a standstill over the weekend." Noel said it will take a week of dry weather before conditions improve and fishing resumes.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Eleanor Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said no one has caught a legal striper in the upper bay since hurricane Floyd. The only catches reported in nearly two weeks have been channel catfish and small white perch, which are schooled in the shallows of the North East, Elk, Bohemia and Sassafras rivers. Bob Phillips at Sarge's Market was casting the shallows of the Elk River with Rat-L-Traps where he caught several small stripers and landed one measuring 24 inches, He said he hooked a few fish that he just couldn't turn and broke off after a brief battle. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop said the best striper catches were made at Love Point and Belvedere Shoals by anglers chumming with ground menhaden using chicken livers for bait.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Jeff Sansburry at the Angler's Sport Shop said weakfish to 24 inches were beneath breaking schools of bluefish ranging from 2 to 3 pounds. The weakfish slammed feathered leadheads fished in depths of 18 to 20 feet. Scattered catches of stripers were made among the bridge pilings with live eels, with some of the stripers measuring up to 22 inches. The mouth of the Magothy River was a good bet for white perch and a few perch were also reported in the Severn River, mainly lurking beneath piers.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods in Cambridge reported large numbers of seatrout, bluefish and stripers scattered throughout the Choptank River, mainly between the U.S. 50 Bridge and the river's mouth. Turner noted that channel catfish recently returned to U.S. 50 Bridge area of the river, and there were lots of small white perch at the mouths of most creeks.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- Anglers fishing aboard the headboat Tom Hooker enjoyed good bottom-fishing action for a mix of perch, spot, weakfish and stripers. The boat's captain, Tom Riales, said he is now fishing for stripers at night, however, he will continue bottom-fishing for spot until the middle of the month. The charter fleet has been chumming for stripers at The Hill, The Diamonds and Gas Docks.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said breaking schools of stripers are mixed with snapper bluefish, both of which are relatively small. Most of the blues measure 12 to 15 inches as do the stripers. Lurking deep beneath the surface feeding activity are schools of small weakfish of the same approximate size. Larger stripers were caught at Cedar Point Rip, the Gas Docks, Cedar Point Hollow and The Targets by anglers live lining spot in their chum slicks.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center said the weekend's striped bass action ranged from good to excellent, with everyone catching their limit of stripers ranging from 18 to 22 inches. Scheible was chumming at the Southwest Middle Grounds over depths of about 25 to 32 feet. Captain Paul Kellam, skipper of the Patty Lee, fished Point No Point Light where he found similar-size stripers, then traveled across the bay to the Mud Leads, where weakfish to 18 inches, large spot and 10- to 12-inch croaker were schooled in large numbers.

TANGIER SOUND -- The Crisfield charter fleet has been chumming for stripers two miles south of the Target Ship American Mariner, where stripers of 18 to 24 inches and weakfish to 22 inches were taken from depths of 25 to 35 feet. While most of the stripers were caught on cut menhaden baits, the weakfish slammed small jigging spoons worked slowly close to the bottom.

CAPE CHARLES -- Captain Jim Jenrette on the Buccaneer said both red and black drum can still be found lurking along the bay's eastern channel edge. Jenrette said tautog, big croaker and weakfish are also schooled in the same area. Several citation-size flounder and speckled trout were caught from Hungars and Plantation creeks. Anglers fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel found good numbers of tautog up to 4 pounds taking refuge among the structure's manmade islands. Chunks of crab proved extremely effective when fished among the island's rocks during ebb tide.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Ocean City's bluewater fleet enjoyed the best yellowfin tuna action they've seen during the entire year. "We all caught limits of yellowfins weighting 35 to 50 pounds and the weather was fantastic," said captain Joe Riley. "We also had a number of big wahoo mixed with the tuna, a couple weighing nearly 50 pounds." Inshore, scattered catches of red drum were made in the Assateague Island surf by anglers casting cut spot and mullet baits, while in the back bay, bluefish to 18 inches seem to be everywhere you cast a chunk of bait or lure.

OUTER BANKS -- Schools of finger mullet are now migrating southward along the Outer Banks which triggered great surf fishing action over the past weekend. Puppy drum, speckled trout and bluefish were all caught in good numbers on chunks of cut mullet. Offshore, the bluewater fleet enjoyed fair catches of yellowfin tuna, wahoo and an occasional dolphin.

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.