Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- In Washington, largemouth bass and stripers were caught in the confines of Washington Channel on fire-tiger crankbaits fished near Fort McNair Wall and the outer edges of nearby grass beds. The main river bridge foundations held fair numbers of largemouth bass, but no smallmouths were caught by weekend anglers. Pentagon Lagoon has been very productive for largemouths, but anglers struggled in the murky waters beneath Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Good numbers of mid-size bass were hauled from beneath boat docks and the edges of grass beds in Piscataway and Broad creeks. The dropoff between Dogue Creek and Gunston Cove was also productive for largemouths. Mattawoman Creek's spatterdock, and grass beds in Chickamuxen and Aquia creeks, are still producing fair numbers of mid-size largemouth bass for shallow-running crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- Smallmouth bass to 18 inches were caught at Point of Rocks, Lander, Whites Ferry and Edwards Ferry. Most of the past week's catches were made by anglers casting small tube lures rigged to quarter-ounce leadheads and fished in the heads of deeper pools.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- The river is high, a bit murky and unseasonably cool. This put a damper on weekend smallmouth bass action.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- It was a quiet weekend at both impoundments.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- This Baltimore County impoundment continues to amaze anyone that fishes its waters. White perch to 12 inches slammed trolled spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler in the deeper waters, while the shallows provided excellent catches of chain pickerel, largemouth bass and some carp. Any lure resembling a 17-year cicada is quickly hit.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Heavy rains muddied the impoundment's upper reaches, curtailing white perch and crappie fishing action above Nicodemus Bridge, but good reports did come from downlake anglers fishing sheltered coves with live minnows and small shad darts suspended beneath floats. Most caught a mix of crappie, white perch and big bluegills, plus an occasional bonus largemouth bass. One big striper was taken just below the Route 32 bridge while trolling a deep-diving crankbait along channel edges.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Big bluegills are still in the lake's shallows, and nasty weekend weather kept water skiers and jet skis to a minimum, so most of the larger coves provided good to excellent catches of bluegills for anglers dunking night crawlers and live minnows. A good mix of chain pickerel and yellow perch was also found at the same locations. Trout fishing remains slow, but should improve when summer conditions return.


LAKE ANNA -- Many anglers not even trying to catch catfish came up with big numbers, most caught on live bait while striper and bass fishing. Linda and Earl Devers of Spotsylvania, Va., had seven fish with a combined weight of 29 pounds. Largemouth bass are in the shallows holding close to any type of structure, docks, stumps, submerged brush, etc. Bass are also starting to cruise shorelines in depths of just two to five feet. Fish topwater plugs in the early morning and late evening using Storm Chug Bugs, Topwater XPS and Pop R's in chrome/black color combinations. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits will also work during periods of low light. Lots of stripers at the splits, where warmer water made trolling a desirable option. Topwater action has been good early and late in the day, but during midday, stay in the main lake and use Redfins, Zara Spooks and sassy shads, mainly in silver and pearl colors. The Deverses had three fish averaging five pounds apiece.

KERR RESERVOIR -- Nasty weekend weather muddied the impoundment all the way to Clarksville. Fishing will likely remain slow until conditions improve.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river is again muddy, temperatures are a bit below normal, and smallmouth bass action was only fair at best for those fishing downriver of Bentonville Bridge.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The upper bay remains muddy, and striped bass action is nearly nonexistent in the Susquehanna River and Susquehanna Flats, but there are loads of big channel catfish everywhere. The Susquehanna River's lower reaches near Lapidum Landing provided weekend anglers with channel catfish to 10 pounds, most caught on large, live shiners intended for striped bass. Cut herring baits fished downriver of Conowingo Dam also produced good catfish action as well. Live white perch fished near the river's mouth lured a few keeper stripers measuring up to 20 inches, but limit catches of two fish per angler were indeed rare. Channel catfish to eight pounds were found lurking in the deeper waters of the North East, Elk, Sassafras, Bohemia, Bush and Gunpowder rivers, and the C&D Canal near Chesapeake City. Nearly all were taken on bottom-fished cut herring baits and night crawlers. Trollers found a few keeper rockfish just south of Pooles Island at the Peach Orchard, Belvedere Shoals and Love Point.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Small white perch, spot and an occasional croaker were caught from the decks of Mattapeake Pier on Sunday, while trollers and chummers caught lots of throwback rockfish just a short distance to the south at Brickhouse Bar and Bloody Point. Inside the mouth of Eastern Bay and northeast to Parson's Island, scattered catches of croaker to 17 inches and white perch to 10 inches were made by anglers drift fishing with bloodworms and squid strips. A few white perch and throwback stripers were found lurking among the bridge pilings and jetty rocks of Kent Narrows at night.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river's lower reaches continue to provide good catches of croaker late in the day and into the evening, but daytime anglers have been hard-pressed to find good concentrations of these fish. Striped bass to 20 inches were found in the shallows of Cook and Chlora points, where small bucktails trimmed with chunks of peeler crab produced the best action during the first few hours of ebb tide.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- It was a slow weekend for charter boat anglers, mainly because of weather conditions. During last Thursday's Emerald Society Tournament, everyone returned to the docks with good numbers of stripers to 24 inches, most taken while chumming at The Gooses and other locations south of Sharps Island Flats. Headboat anglers caught a mix of croaker and spot while dunking bloodworms at the Choptank River's mouth, and bottom fishing is improving.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Bad weather curtailed much of the bottom fishing in the river's lower reaches, but shorebound anglers fishing at night from the Patuxent Naval Air Station continue to catch good numbers of croaker, a few spot and an occasional keeper flounder.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- The river's shallows continue to provide anglers with fair numbers of mid-size stripers, most of which seem to lurk among the bridge pilings of Lower Hooper Island Bridge. Small bucktails trimmed with chartreuse twister tails and trimmed with a chunk of peeler crab were the most effective baits. Croaker can be found at the river's mouth near Richland Point Buoy and to the south at HS Buoy, where squid strips and bait shrimp lured fish to 18 inches.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Charter and headboat anglers had a rough weekend, mainly because of windy, rainy weather. Those who opted to fish on Sunday found good numbers of big croaker along the sound's eastern channel edge between Puppy Hole and Fox Island buoys. Bottom-fished chunks of peeler crab, bait shrimp and squid strips were best for the croaker, while bloodworms lured good numbers of big spot and a few kingfish.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- On days when the wind's not howling from the northeast or northwest, chummers are scoring well on stripers to 22 inches while fishing the bay's eastern channel edge just south of Buoy 72. When the sun goes down, croaker to 20 inches school over rock piles at the Southwest Middle Grounds, Northwest Middle Grounds and Mud Leads, where drift-fished squid strips produce limit catches. A few weakfish and snapper bluefish were caught from Point Lookout Pier during the day, while at night anglers loaded their coolers with croaker, spot, and a few keeper flounder and stripers, all taken on bloodworms and squid strips. Anglers fishing the mouth of Wicomico River caught limits of croaker and significant numbers of big spot while dunking bloodworms in depths of 20 to 30 feet.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Medium-size croaker and small spot are available in shallow waters from piers and beaches, while larger spot are available off Parrot Island in the Rappahannock River, and in deep holes in the Piankitank River. Local charter captains continue to cross the bay to find consistent deep-water croaker action east of The Cell. These fish are measuring 18 inches or more. A citation croaker measuring 21 inches and weighing 3 pounds 8 ounces was taken from that area earlier in the week and checked in at Queen's Creek Outfitters. Bloodworms, followed by peelers and squid, are the favored baits.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Trollers caught fair numbers of keeper-size stripers south of Buoy 42 along the bay's eastern channel edge. Similar-size stripers were also found at the CBBT's Third and Fourth islands, where topwater plugs and bucktails trimmed with twisters lured mixed sizes of stripers from the submerged boulders. Croaker are plentiful throughout, with the largest fish coming from the bay's eastern channel edge. Flounder to 20 inches were found on the flats near Kiptopeke, and fair numbers of snapper bluefish to three pounds were seen breaking on days when the winds were calm.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Friday was the only day that the weather permitted the charter fleet to venture offshore, and most of the captains who opted to run to Washington Canyon found a mix of yellowfin tuna, mid-size dolphin and some monster mako sharks to 250 pounds. Similar-size blue sharks were also available a bit closer to shore, but the largest sharks caught were threshers, some of which were estimated at 450 or more pounds. The threshers were found lurking along the 20-fathom curve between Delaware Light Ship and DB Buoy. Anglers bottom-bouncing live minnows above Route 50 bridge found flounder to six pounds willing to gobble down their offerings. "If you can't catch flounder this time of year at Ocean City, it would probably be a good idea to seriously consider taking up golf," said Lynn Jarmon at Delmarva Sports Center. "We're seeing lots of big flounder come in every day, and the folks that are persistent usually end up with good catches of bigger fish."

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Flounder catches were good at both ports, but the size of the fish caught here seems to be smaller than just a week ago.

OUTER BANKS -- When the weather cooperated, fantastic catches of cobia were made by trollers fishing just east of the Nags Head surf line, often within casting distance of the piers. Pier anglers caught a mix of spot, croaker, Spanish mackerel, a few cobia and lots of sea mullet. Snapper bluefish are abundant throughout the area, while just inside the inlets, fair numbers of sheepshead, spot and speckled trout were landed. Offshore, dolphin and big wahoo dominated, but there were a few blue marlin and white marlin tagged and released. Morehead City's headboats returned to the docks with sea bass, snapper, grouper and triggerfish.