Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- The drop-off in Washington Channel along Fort McNair's wall always has some bass and stripers. Sometimes they are on the shelf, and at times they are suspended over the drop-off. Cast spinnerbaits to the center of eel-grass beds and quarter-ounce crankbaits along edges and you'll undoubtedly catch a mix of both species. Nearby bridge foundations hold both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The best bridges have been Key, Roosevelt and Long. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge can be highly productive one day and boring the next. Bridge foundations, sunken barges and submerged concrete chunks at the Spoils all held a few bass that slammed tubes or crankbaits. Smoot Bay, especially South Point and south of the construction area, also produced a few fish for weekend anglers. Coves south of Belle Haven, Hog Island and boat docks, and the mouths of Piscataway and Broad creeks, offered topwater activity in the mornings and evenings. Pomonkey Creek is loaded with algae but during mid-tides we find some nice bass with Case Magic Sticks and Mizmo tubes. Grass beds at Bulltown Cove, Marshall Hall and below Dogue Creek have been fairly consistent for anglers casting crankbaits and tube lures along the edges of the beds. Lots of big catfish were caught both by shorebound and boating anglers near Fletcher's Landing, where bottom-fished chicken livers, night crawlers and cut herring baits lured catties to 14 pounds. Scattered catches of small white perch and mid-size crappie were also made in the same area, mainly on live minnows suspended beneath small floats in deeper pockets. An occasional striped bass to 20 inches was taken using the same technique.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- If the weather remains dry, look for good smallmouth bass action in the fast water areas of Whites and Edwards ferries, and also downriver at Lander, where tube lures and small spinners cast in mid-river backwater eddies lured bronzebacks to two pounds. Live minnows and hellgrammites produce somewhat larger fish, particularly early and late.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- The river has cleared to the point where smallmouth bass fishing ranged from fair to good, but with water levels at Harrisburg not at four feet, boating anglers will find it tough to navigate through some of the boulder-strewn areas. Downriver near Three Mile Island, smallmouth and largemouth bass were taken on live minnows fished along the shaded shorelines. Conowingo Lake anglers found a good mix of both bass and panfish that were willing to hit live minnows and tiny crankbaits fished near the mouth of Muddy Creek and among the cuts between Big Bear and Little Bear islands.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Jerry Sauter of Baltimore caught a 6-pound half-ounce largemouth bass at Triadelphia that measured 213/4 inches long while casting a Pop-R. Catonsville's Craig Walrath got a 6-pound 9-ounce largemouth, 23 inches in length, while fishing Triadelphia with a plastic worm. Clarksville resident Peter Congedo was fishing with live crayfish when his bait was slammed by a 22-inch smallmouth bass that weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- If you're looking for white perch -- lots of them, eight to 12 inches in length -- Loch Raven is the place to go. Trollers in rental boats returned to the fishing center with huge catches of white perch caught while trolling small, inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler. Plug casters caught a mix of chain pickerel and largemouth bass while casting the edges of grass beds and along the rocky shoreline in most of the deeper coves. Lots of big carp in the lake's upper reaches, where bottom-fished, whole-kernel corn lured specimens to 20 pounds.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Anglers fishing from the decks of Nicodemus Bridge caught a mix of small white perch and crappie while dunking live shiners from the structure. Walleye seem to be everywhere, and any spinner baited with a night crawler proved effective on fish to four pounds. Largemouth bass were found lurking in the shallows of spring-fed coves, where small crankbaits and spinnerbaits cast to depths of two to four feet were effective. Rockfish to 17 pounds were taken from deepwater haunts just above Route 26 bridge from the depths to 25 feet off shoreline points. Most were taken on large shiners drifted along the drop-offs just south of the launch ramp.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- A slow weekend for anglers, mainly because of heavy boating and jet ski traffic. Those who were willing to get out of bed and on the water before sunrise managed to sink their hooks into a mix of big bluegill, mid-size yellow perch and a few largemouth bass, all taken on small, live minnows and night crawlers fished in the mouths of coves.


LAKE ANNA -- A great week for bass anglers with lots of five-pounders weighed in at local marinas. Most were taken on large, dark-colored plastic worms fished near boat docks, submerged stumps and grass beds. There was a fair amount of topwater action early and late in the day, mostly in the shaded areas of larger coves. Striper action was pretty limited to trolling and deep-jigging during much of the day, but anglers fishing at the crack of dawn managed to score on large stripers using topwater plugs fished near Jett Island, the Splits and Dike III. Crappie remain plentiful, but seem to be seeking deeper areas. Most have migrated to the vicinity of deepwater bridge pilings and drop-offs, where live minnows and tiny jigs were effective.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Smallmouth bass and panfish action have improved considerably during the past week, with fair catches of both made by anglers fishing with live minnows, hellgrammites, crayfish and night crawlers in deeper pools near grass beds. Water temperature in the Bentonville Bridge area is 77 degrees, which is perfect for anglers that want to drift the river in float tubes and cast to open pockets of water with ultralite spinning and fly fishing gear.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The upper bay is finally beginning to clear, but striped bass fishing remains extremely slow for this time of year, especially north of Pooles Island. Fortunately, channel catfish to 10 pounds seem to be everywhere you drop a chunk of cut herring or drift a piece of chicken liver. Big catties were caught in the lower Susquehanna, North East, Elk, Sassafras, Bohemia, Bush and Gunpowder rivers through most of the week. Chummers managed to sink their hooks into some keeper-size stripers just south of Rock Hall at Hickory Thickets, where rockfish to 28 inches were boated. Good catches of small to mid-size white perch were reported at the mouth of Chester River and upriver to the entrance buoy to Kent Narrows, where bottom-fished bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab were effective during the first two hours of ebb tide. Across the bay, the mouth of Bodkin Creek holds a few keeper-size stripers and small white perch. Crabbing just kicked off at the mouth of the Gunpowder and Dundee rivers, where sport crabbers using collapsible traps baited with small white perch managed to catch a couple of dozen blue crabs for weekend picnics.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Croaker arrived at Brick House Bar, most measuring 12 to 16 inches and taken in crab pots fished along the bar's drop-off. Recreational catches have been sparse at best, but as water temperatures rise the action should pick up, mainly at night. The fish are holding in depths of 25 to 30 feet and will hit squid strips and bait shrimp drifted over the drop-off. In Eastern Bay, croaker and white perch are scattered along the channel edge up to Kent Narrows Bridge. The largest concentrations of croakers seem to be from Bloody Point up to Parson's Island, where bait shrimp and razor clams have been the best baits. Bottom-fished bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab accounted for the best perch action, with the largest fish taken near Kent Narrows Bridge. Bay Bridges anglers managed to catch lots of small white perch and throwback stripers while fishing among the pilings with bloodworms and bait shrimp.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- A few croaker were caught at the river's mouth, but the action was slow. Near Castle Haven small bucktails trimmed with a chunk of peeler crab and cast into the river's shallows produced stripers to 27 inches and an occasional croaker to 17 inches. Route 50 bridge anglers caught a mix of small white perch, big channel catfish and throwback stripers.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- While most boats returned to the docks with limit catches of stripers to 20 inches, at least one 30-incher was taken last Saturday by an angler fishing aboard a local charter boat. Headboat anglers had another tough weekend for croaker, but spot action seemed to improve, especially at night. Most of the keeper-size stripers were taken while trolling small bucktails along the bay's channel edges near the Gas Docks and across the bay at the Gooses.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Lots of croaker near the river's mouth and upriver to the Route 4 bridge, mainly along the channel edges, where squid strips and bait shrimp lured specimens to 17 inches during the day. A few flounder were found near Cove Point Light and just south of Cedar Point Rip, where minnow/squid sandwich combos lured flatfish to 20 inches. White perch seem to be holding strong at the mouths of creeks, with fish to 12 inches lurking in the shadows of piers and smacking chunks of peeler crab. Stripers to 20 inches have been breaking at Cedar Point Rip and inside Cedar Point Hollow. Use small jigging spoons.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Croaker and flounder can be found along the bay's eastern channel edge north of Hooper Island Light and up to Punch Island Bar. While bait shrimp produced croaker to 19 inches, live killfish lured flatties to 22 inches when fished just after sunrise. By 11 a.m., the action shifts to croaker only, with most of the fish only measuring 12 to 14 inches that are caught midday. Chummers near Buoy 72A caught good numbers of striped bass to 20 inches and lots of throwbacks.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Anglers fishing dozens of locations throughout Tangier and Pocomoke sounds caught a mix of large spot, croaker and an occasional weakfish while drifting a variety of baits. A few flounder were caught near Watts Island, most measuring 17 to 20 inches. Throwback flounder were found in lower Pocomoke Sound. They were frequently mixed with snapper bluefish to two pounds, an occasional keeper rockfish and good numbers of small weakfish.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Weekend anglers loaded their coolers with a mix of monster croaker to 21 inches, striped bass to 24 inches, bluefish to three pounds, spot to 10 inches, an occasional keeper-size flounder and even a few weakfish. Nearly all were taken at the bay's eastern channel edge south of the U.S. Navy target ship American Mariner. Shorebound anglers fishing from the pier at Point Lookout State Park and the adjacent causeway caught a mix of croaker, spot, flounder and snapper bluefish, most taken during late afternoon and early evening. Upriver, spot and croaker dominated the action near the mouths of the Wicomico and St. Mary's rivers, where limit catches of croaker to 17 inches were made while drifting squid strips and bait shrimp.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- The river's mouth continues to provide good catches of spot, croaker and an occasional flounder. A few Spanish mackerel were sighted free jumping near Windmill Point.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- The Cell is still the place to catch lots of fish. Good catches of spadefish to eight pounds were made on small pieces of clam floated into a slick of clam juice, while nearby anglers drifted live minnows and squid strips to flounder up to six pounds. At Lattimer Shoals and the Inner Middle Grounds, cobia to 70 pounds were boated by anglers chunking and chumming with bunker. CBBT anglers caught a mix of snapper bluefish, Spanish mackerel and big spadefish. Similar catches were also reported at Chesapeake Tower and the Tower Reef on days the winds cooperated.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Last week's tuna bite was fantastic. On days when the weather cooperated, anglers trolled Green Machines and rigged ballyhoo between Baltimore and Poormans canyons, where they battled yellowfin tuna to 45 pounds, an occasional gaffer dolphin to 25 pounds, and a few billfish, which were caught and released. Closer to shore, trollers found huge numbers of bluefin tuna ranging from 10-pound throwbacks to 50-pound keepers lurking southwest of the Hambone. Some captains said they caught almost three dozen fish, mostly on light trolling gear, before calling it a day. Shorebound anglers caught a mix of keeper-size striped bass and weakfish from the Route 50 bridge at night, while small boat anglers foundlots of flounder at the Thoroughfare while drifting live minnows along the back bay's channel edges.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Offshore, bluefin tuna to 70 pounds slammed trolled cedar plugs and rigged ballyhoo at the Parking Lot, Lumpy Bottom, 21-Mile Hill and 26-Mile Hill. Flounder catches in the back bays ranged from good to excellent, but only about one fish in 20 is large enough to keep.

OUTER BANKS -- Surf and pier anglers caught a mix of snapper bluefish, croaker, sea mullet and pan trout in the stretch of beach between Nags Head and Hatteras Inlet. Most of these fish were relatively small, but there were some exceptions. They included an occasional cobia, Spanish mackerel and a number of sheepshead, most taken from the ends of piers just after sunrise and just before sundown. Offshore, the charter fleet continues to find good numbers of yellowfin tuna to 90 pounds, fair numbers of small to mid-size dolphin, a few wahoo and several white marlin and blue marlin.