Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- Smoot Bay, The Spoils, Fox Ferry, Oxen Run, Belle Haven and Charley's Cove were all weekend hot spots for largemouth bass, with reports of some more than six pounds. Road Kill Mizmo tubes were best, but Case Majic Sticks accounted for the largest bass. Arlene Rogers (her home town was not available) caught one of the largest of the week, a six-pounder that slammed a four-inch grub. Thirteen-year-old Killian Hartson landed 20 bass between 15- and 20-inches long; all were released. Fishing to the southeast has slowed, probably the result of a post-spawn situation. Fortunately, a few larger bass were found lurking in the shallows of Mattawoman, Aquia and Occoquan creeks, and along the edges of grass beds near Mallows Bay. At Fletcher's Landing, the river is relatively clear. There are still good numbers of huge catfish being caught along the river's channel using cut herring baits. Some of the catties weighed up to 25 pounds. The same area also holds good numbers of post-spawn largemouth bass and a few white perch to 10 inches. Shorebound anglers are also catching good numbers of big catfish, both channel cats and flatheads alike.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- River levels are high, but the water quality has improved dramatically over the past week. Smallmouth bass action improved as well, especially in the Whites Ferry and Point of Rocks areas, where tube lures fished tight against the bottom proved quite effective at luring bronzebacks to three pounds.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- River conditions improved significantly, especially at the mouths of the Juniata River and Sherman Creek, where tube lures provided anglers with arm-jolting strikes from post-spawn smallmouth bass. Keep in mind this is a catch-and-release fishery only until mid-June, when Pennsylvania's bass seasons officially open.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Donald Rice of West Friendship caught a 1-pound 12.5-ounce crappie measuring 15 inches in length with a girth 11.5 inches while fishing Triadelphia Reservoir with a yellow twister. Chris Lin of Clarksville was tossing small crankbaits in Rocky Gorge for largemouth bass when he caught a 1-pound 5-ounce crappie measuring 14 inches long with a 10-inch girth. John Michael of Brookeville set the hooks of his crankbait on a 1-pound 9.5-ounce crappie measuring 15 inches long while fishing at Triadelphia. He also caught a 1-pound 10-ounce fish on the same outing. Anna Levergood of Silver Spring was fishing with live minnows in Triadelphia when she hooked and landed the season's largest crappie, a 1-pound 7.5-ouncer measuring 16 inches in length with an 11-inch girth.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Hot, sticky weekend weather produced an incredible hatch of 17-year cicadas, which in turn provided avid fly anglers with some of the best fly fishing in nearly two decades. Bass, crappie, bluegill and even carp slammed the imitations just as fast as they hit the water. Modest catches of white perch were made in the impoundment's middle reaches, particularly at the mouths of Dead Man, Pierce's and School House coves. Most were taken while trolling inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler, which also was the top bait for big bluegills as well. Both averaged eight to 10 inches in length, but a few perch to 14 inches were weighed in at Loch Raven Fishing Center. Largemouth bass and chain pickerel were plentiful early and late in the day, especially along rocky shorelines where steep drop-offs were relatively close to shore. Shallow-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits were effective for both species.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- A mix of crappie and white perch were caught from the decks of Nicodemus Bridge and several locations uplake of the span, where bottom-fished chicken livers and live minnows were productive early and late in the day. Trollers found a few stripers to 12 pounds lurking near Oakland Mills Point, Route 32 bridge and just uplake of the launch ramp near Liberty Road bridge. Most were taken on deep-diving crankbaits and large, live shiners trolled along the lake's channel edges.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- The lake is finally warming to the point where big bluegill have begun to migrate into the shallows to spawn, some measuring 10 to 12 inches in length and topping the one-pound mark. Chain pickerel and largemouth bass can be found in most of the coves as well, and both will hit live minnows cast near the lake's rocky shores. Scattered catches of rainbow trout were reported in the lake's lower reaches just above the dam.


LAKE ANNA -- Largemouth bass seem to be spawning throughout the impoundment. Several six- to seven-pound bass were caught and released, mainly on topwater plugs fished early and late in the day. Midday anglers switched to shallow-running crankbaits, tube lures and grubs rigged to quarter-ounce leadheads and reported equal success when casting near beds guarded by highly aggressive females. Striper fishing remains good at most uplake hot spots, especially in the vicinity of Holiday Bridge, Christopher Run and Hunter's Landing, where four-inch Sassy Shad, large minnows and some topwater plugs have been responsible for limit catches of fish to six pounds. Several crappie of more than two pounds were weighed in at local tackle shops, nearly all taken on live minnows.

KERR RESERVOIR -- The best largemouth bass and striper action has been between Clarksville and Ivy Hill, where largemouths to six pounds have been lured from submerged brush piles.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Smallmouth bass are on their spawning beds and panfish action is getting underway in the Bentonville Bridge area. Seasoned anglers had no trouble pulling in good catches.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Nearly four inches of rain slammed the Susquehanna River's lower reaches last Sunday evening, producing flooding conditions in several streams that ultimately churned the bay's upper reaches into a sea of muddy water. Just before the onset of muddy water, the Susquehanna River's lower reaches were loaded with white perch, big channel catfish and fair numbers of largemouth bass. White perch, channel catfish and some monster carp were caught from the shores of Elk Neck State Park's Turkey Point, where bottom-fished bloodworms, night crawlers and chicken livers were the most productive baits. Striped bass season is closed in this part of the bay until June 1. Rock Hall area anglers managed to catch a few keeper stripers on Sunday, the day the size limit was lowered to 18 inches for most of the bay's open waters south of Brewerton Channel. While some were taken by trollers using umbrella rigs trimmed with big Sassy Shad, there were several caught while chumming with ground menhaden and using cut menhaden for bait. Love Point, Swan Point Bar, Hodges Bar, Belvedere Shoals and the Dumping Grounds were hot spots for chummers and trollers alike.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Scattered catches of croaker were made at Mattapeake Pier, Hacketts Bar, the mouth of the Severn and Magothy rivers, and inside the mouth of Eastern Bay up to Parson's Island. Nearly all were caught on bottom-fished bloodworms during the late afternoon and early evening, with the largest fish taken about two hours after sundown. A few keeper stripers to 22 inches were found lurking among the Eastern Shore pilings of the twin spans, where small bucktails trimmed with chartreuse Sassy Shad proved effective.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river has been invaded by schools of big croaker, some ranging upriver as far as the Route 50 bridge in Cambridge. Bridge anglers caught croaker to 16 inches on bottom-fished bait shrimp and bloodworms last Sunday evening, and there were a few throwback stripers and white perch mixed with them. Downriver, big croaker and a few keeper rockfish were caught along the river's channel edge between Cook Point and Castle Haven, where bloodworms lured croaker to 17 inches and stripers to 20 inches when drifted during the first few hours of ebb tide.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Anglers fishing aboard local charter boats managed to catch their two-fish limits of stripers ranging from 18 to 28 inches, and a few fish measuring up to 44 inches were weighed in later in the week. Overall, trolling action has slowed, but chumming is coming on strong at most of the traditional summer haunts.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Croaker fishing was described by a local tackle shop owner as terrific in the Patuxent River. Rental-boat anglers at Solomons struck the mother lode starting on Saturday and all 15 boats returned to the docks with limit catches of croaker to 20 inches. Most were caught directly in front of the Navy base, under the Route 4 bridge on the Calvert County side of the river, and in Kingston Hollow. These fish are very big, averaging 17 or more inches, and many are close to 20. Early morning and late evening are the best times to catch large fish. Beach anglers at the Naval Air Station caught limits of big croaker in the evening at Hog Point, West Basin, TPS Seawall and the bulkhead at Goose Creek. Striped bass ranging from 20 to 36 inches were caught by trollers fishing the bay's eastern and western channel edges.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Swarms of croaker to 20 inches can be found from the river's mouth up to Bentley Point. Most are slamming bottom-fished bloodworms, but a few anglers reported equal success using bait shrimp and squid strips while fishing in the late afternoon and early evening. This time of year, Hooper Island's mosquitoes are swarming. Anglers should take precautionary measures by applying high-quality insect repellent if they wish to avoid the bites. Trollers found good numbers of stripers lurking south of Hooper Island near Buoy 72A, where rockfish to 36 inches slammed umbrella rigs and tandem-rigged bucktails trimmed with big Sassy Shad.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Bottom-fishing action kicked into high gear in Tangier Sound's upper reaches and the lower reaches of Pocomoke Sound. At both locations, headboat anglers loaded up on a mix of croaker, spot, a few weakfish and even a couple of black drum. The drum tipped the scales at 35 to 40 pounds, while the weakfish measured up to 20 inches. Most of the croaker were 16 to 18 inches.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Local charter boats recently switched over to chumming for striped bass and began fishing the bay's eastern channel edge north of the U.S. Navy target ship American Mariner. Most captains said they limited out on stripers ranging 25 to 36 inches after just an hour or two of chumming, then switched to bottom fishing and caught large numbers of croaker to 18 inches. Shorebound anglers fishing from Point Lookout State Park's public fishing pier and the adjacent causeway at night caught a mix of croaker, spot, snapper bluefish and a few keeper stripers.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Big croaker, some measuring up to 20 inches, have been caught throughout the river's lower reaches from White Stone Bridge downriver to Gwynn Island. Most were taken on bottom-fished bloodworms, but a number of exceptionally large fish were caught using squid strips and frozen shrimp.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Flounder to eight pounds were found along the shallow drop-offs inshore of The Cell, where minnow-squid combinations proved extremely effective when drifted over the edges during the first few hours of ebb tide. A bit to the south, tautog action ranged from good to excellent at the Mussel Beds, Kiptopeke and the CBBT's Fourth Island. Chunks of crab and clam lured tog to 10 pounds at all of these locations. Croaker are just about everywhere you drop a piece of squid or bloodworm, and the season's first kingfish (sea mullet) arrived near Cape Charles Light. Black drum to 80 pounds were caught at the Cabbage Patch and Lattimer Shoals by anglers drift fishing with whole sea clams.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Headboat anglers loaded their coolers with limit catches of sea bass to five pounds and a few tautog to 10 pounds. Warmer water attracted large numbers of slammer bluefish to the inshore lumps, and the few charter captains that are fishing these waters said they had no trouble limiting out on fish to 15 pounds. Shorebound anglers fishing from the Route 50 bridge at night caught stripers to 36 inches, most taken on various bucktails trimmed with twister tails. Tautog to three pounds were caught from among the inlet's jetty boulders and the submerged boulders that make up the bulkheads between Third and Fourth streets.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Offshore, bluefish to 15 pounds slammed a variety of lures trolled over lumps near the 26 and 21 Mile Hills, but still no reports of offshore shark action yet.

OUTER BANKS -- As water temps continue to warm, more fish are becoming available for surf-casters along the Outer Bank's northern beaches. Sea mullet and small bluefish were taken in the Corolla-Duck area, while spot and blues were beached near Oregon Inlet. A mix of spot, small blues, sea mullet and keeper-size flounder were reported between Salvo and Cape Point, where good catches of red drum were made by anglers fishing the falling tide and willing to wade to the offshore bar. Lots of sea mullet, small blues and an occasional weakfish were caught along the South Beach of Hatteras Island.