Fish Lines The following fishing seminars will take place within the next two weeks:
* Saturday from 8:30 to 3:30: Eastern Shore fishing, taught by outdoor writer Keith Walters, author of five fishing books. The seminar is designed for anglers who want to know where, when and how to find the Eastern Shore's best fishing. Tackle selection, knot tying and rigging up to help you enjoy fishing Eastern Shore hot spots will be covered. The $49 tuition includes lunch. To register, call Chesapeake College's Continuing Education Department at 410-822-5400.
* April 12 from 8:30 to 3:30: Catching rockfish and trout in the spring, conducted by outdoor writers Bill Burton and Walters. Techniques for catching striped bass will be discussed, including trolling, chumming, casting and bait fishing. The $49 tuition includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register, call Chesapeake College's Office of Continuing Education at 410-822-5400.
What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity POTOMAC RIVER -- Until the passage of the frontal system this past Saturday, bass fishing was great almost anywhere you tossed a lure. By this weekend, fishing conditions should be good to excellent if the weather remains relatively warm. The hot spot continues to be the Woodrow Wilson Bridge area, where anglers caught and released huge numbers of largemouth bass on March 24. All fish were caught on green/pumpkin tube lures fished on spinning tackle. Bass can also be taken from Washington Channel on tubes and crankbaits. Pentagon Lagoon is also providing nice bass, as is the Washington Sailing Marina and Belle Haven. Mattawoman Creek, both the 6 mph zone and the rocky points near the mouth, are productive with tubes and Sugar Shad.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- Lander and White's Ferry produced the best action, with a few smallmouth bass caught from deepwater eddies on tube lures.
Maryland LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Just prior to the cold front's passage, anglers reported good catches of crappie from the shores near Dulaney Valley Bridge and just below Warren Bridge using live minnows. Large live shiners produced a few northern pike for anglers suspending them beneath floats in Pierce's Cove.
LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- A few striped bass were caught above Route 32 bridge.
SAINT MARY'S LAKE -- Just prior to the weekend storm, anglers caught fair numbers of crappie while suspending live minnows beneath floats. Scattered catches of largemouth bass were also reported, all of which were released.
Pennsylvania SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- The river is still ice-cold, high and muddy, but conditions are slowly improving. Check water conditions by calling 888-881-7555.
LAKE ANNA -- Largemouth bass fishing remains slow throughout the impoundment, but there have been a few mid-size fish caught during the past week from the mid-lake shallows. Time Harne of Wolfsville, Md., caught a 6-pound 4-ounce largemouth, and Kathy Harding of Louisa, Va., sunk her hooks into a three-pounder. Schools of stripers are starting to pop up between Dukes Creek to Stubbs Bridge. Most of the activity takes place inside Sturgeon Creek, the mouth of Contrary Creek and the Splits. These fish continue to migrate toward the impoundment's upper reaches, where they'll feast on gizzard shad. Sassy Shad, bucktails and live bait all are effective this time of year. Stripers were also caught on large, XPS-suspended jerkbaits, with blue and black the best colors. Crappie are migrating into the shallows and should begin spawning within the next few weeks. Live minnows and tiny shad darts trimmed with a one-inch twister tail produced the largest stringers last week.
JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- The river is high, muddy and cold, but a few crappie and catfish were taken last Friday on live shiners.
UPPER BAY -- Cold, muddy water greeted anglers through most of last week at the Susquehanna Flats, where Maryland's catch and release striped bass season is underway. While a few exceptionally large rockfish were caught and released, most were taken on cut bait intended for other species such as channel catfish and white perch. A few large white perch were caught from the shoes of Elk Neck State Park near Turkey Point by anglers dunking grass shrimp and bloodworms. A few five-pound stripers were found lurking in the relatively clear waters of the North East River near the mouth of North East Creek, and these fish slammed Bass Assassins fished slowly close to the bottom. The creek is loaded with branch herring, some measuring up to 14 inches, but it's still too early for blue back herring and hickory shad. A bit farther south, the warmwater discharge of Carol Island Power Plant was the best location for white perch in the Baltimore area. White perch, yellow perch, channel catfish and an occasional tidewater largemouth bass were caught near the discharge canal's mouth, and nearly all were taken on bottom-fished grass shrimp, bloodworms and live minnows. Near Rock Hall, white perch arrived in the Chester River's upper reaches near Crumpton, Millington and Saint Paul's Church Creek.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- The upper reaches of the Magothy and Severn rivers continue to provide anglers with modest catches of white perch and a few yellow perch, but chain pickerel have again become somewhat scarce. Live minnows and bottom-fished grass shrimp were the ticket to success.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- White perch up to 13 inches were caught at Tuckahoe Creek, Red Bridges, Transquaking River and several smaller tributaries to the Choptank River. Most were taken on bottom-fished bloodworms and grass shrimp. Scattered catches of rainbow trout were also made in Tuckahoe Creek, where Cambridge, Md., resident Kenny Hill caught a 22-incher on a shad dart.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- A few private boats ran south and fished the warmwater discharge area of Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, where a few exceptionally large stripers were caught and released. Sheldon Arey of Oakton caught the catch of his life when he set his hooks into a 50-pounder. The fish was quickly weighed and immediately released.
HONGA RIVER AREA -- While there have been a few big croaker caught in shallow-water pound nets, hook and line anglers continue to come up empty. However, there have been some good catches of white perch at Blackwater River Bridge.
TANGIER SOUND AREA -- A few large croaker and mid-size striped bass have been migrating in and out of the shallows of Tangier Sound near Smith, Janes and Fox islands, mainly in depths of just two to four feet during the first few hours of ebb tide. The water is still extremely muddy here, and the only reported catches were on bottom-fished bloodworms.
SOLOMONS AREA -- Most of the charter boats are still tied to the docks, awaiting the arrival of warmer weather. A few boats ventured out to the nearby power plants and reported scattered catches of striped bass, which were subsequently released.
POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Local pound-net fishermen reported scattered catches of croaker, a few flounder and even an occasional speckled trout, but the weather has been too nasty for boats to venture out.
LOWER RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- The lower reaches of the York and Rappahannock rivers provided anglers with good catch and release action on small to mid-size striped bass, while anglers bottom-fishing with bloodworms at the same locations found fair numbers of mid-size white perch and croaker.
CAPE CHARLES -- Flounder season opened in Virginia last weekend, but the weather at Cape Charles was too windy to permit small-boat anglers to launch their craft.
Atlantic Coast OCEAN CITY -- A few tautog were caught midweek. The biggest was five or six pounds.
CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Only a handful of keeper flounder were caught on opening weekend.
OUTER BANKS -- Big red drum finally moved into the Outer Banks surf. Following a couple of warm days and rising water temperatures, a small number of big drum were beached at both Cape Point and the south end of Ocracoke. The action is still slow along the northern beaches, but blowfish, small bluefish and good numbers of puppy drum were caught along the South Beach of Hatteras Island. Most of the activity was between Ramp 55 and Hatteras Inlet. Some relatively large sea mullet and mid-size weakfish were also in the mix. Striper fishing has been fair for anglers fishing with live eels around the bridge pilings in the Manns Harbor area. Some keeper croaker were reportedly caught from Kitty Hawk Pier, and the Avalon Pier had a mix of croaker, shad, blowfish and an occasional black drum up to four pounds. Windy and rough weather continues to hamper offshore anglers at both Hatteras and Oregon inlets, but the charter boats have been reporting scattered catches of yellowfin tuna, a few dolphin and a rare wahoo. The Hatteras fleet reported yellowfin tuna up to 40 pounds.