Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- There's a very heavy algae bloom on the main river south of Occoquan Creek. In the District, largemouth bass and stripers are scarce, but there have been scattered reports of both in the Washington Channel. Deep-diving crankbaits can be used to probe the drop-off near Fort McNair wall, where a few guides managed to sink their hooks into the jaws of largemouth bass last weekend. Scattered catches of walleye, crappie and channel catfish were made by shorebound and boating anglers alike fishing with live minnows near Fletcher's Landing. Just above Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Fox Ferry Point, the underwater chunks of concrete in the gravel pit and South Point near Smoot Bay all produced a few mid-size bass for anglers casting tube lures and spinnerbaits along the edges of the few remaining grass beds. Boat docks and adjacent grass beds south of Hog Island, grass beds in Broad and Piscataway creeks and the drop-off between Dogue Creek and Gunston Cove also provided a few fish. Overall, largemouth bass and striper action in the tidal Potomac River ranges from poor to fair.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- The waters are relatively clear in many locations, and most anglers reported fair catches of smallmouth bass. At Lander, when the water level at Point of Rocks is below three feet, you can fish both upriver and downriver of the ramp. When the level is higher than four feet, upriver is the best and safest option. Use tubes and stickbaits in rocky areas near deeper pools and underwater ledges. Best areas this past week have been Huffman, Sawbuck and Fence ledges, the deeper waters adjacent to Catoctin Creek and Burkharts Riffles. At Whites Ferry, fish the Maryland side of Harrison Island, Balls Bluff and ledges near Edwards Ferry and Goose Creek.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- Through much of the spring and early summer, the river has been high, muddy and unfishable. The past week provided a few chances to catch fair numbers of smallmouth bass and walleye near Three Mile Island and Conowingo Lake. Most were taken on tube lures and spinnerbaits, but the largest fish were taken on live minnows fished along the river's rock-strewn shores.

Maryland

TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- The lower reaches of both impoundments provided anglers with good catches of crappie, channel catfish and a few largemouth bass. Nearly all were taken on live minnows, but a few of the bass smacked deep-diving crankbaits fished in the submerged brush piles and trees in the middle and upper reaches of Triadelphia Reservoir.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- The white perch seem to have scattered over a large area of open water between Dulaney Valley Road and Loch Raven Drive bridges. While trollers continue to catch fair numbers of perch to 10 inches using spinners trimmed with a piece of night crawler, the fish are not concentrated in their usual summertime haunts. The lake's middle reaches, uplake of the Log Jam, provided plug casters with a few largemouth bass to four pounds while casting the shallows near the mouths of small coves and spring-fed creeks.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Trollers using deep-diving crankbaits and fishing just above Liberty Road Bridge continue to catch an occasional striped bass to 15 pounds, plus a few chunky walleye. Uplake, a mix of white perch, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish were caught near Nicodemus Bridge by shorebound anglers dunking live minnows and chicken livers from the bridge and the adjacent shores. The best largemouth bass action takes place in the smaller coves just above Oakland Mills Point, where live minnows suspended beneath small floats and fished among the submerged trees and stumps lured bass to three pounds.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Another weekend of tough fishing, but weekday anglers enjoyed good catches of monster bluegill to 12 inches, yellow perch to 14 inches, walleye to three pounds and modest numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Trout fishing, which is usually good this time of year, was still slow just above Deep Creek Dam.

Virginia

LAKE ANNA -- Striped bass catches remain good to excellent for early morning and late evening anglers casting Sassy Shad along the edges of creek channels near Jett Island, the Splits and other uplake locations. When the sun gets high, most anglers switch to trolling deep-diving crankbaits and continue to catch linesiders to eight pounds from the lake's main body near Dike III and the mouth of Sturgeon Creek. Largemouth bass action was decent for most of last week, despite several days of muddy water. Most of the bass were found lurking along drop-offs where plastic worms, Bass Assassins and tube lures rigged to quarter-ounce leadheads were effective. The impoundment's crappie population seems to have migrated to deepwater haunts below bridges, mainly in depths of 12 to 20 feet, where small, live minnows and tiny shad darts lured slabsides to 14 inches.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river's smallmouth bass population seems to have just vanished. Overall, the river's water quality has been fairly good this year, but fishing for all species is dead slow.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The upper bay's waters continue to look like Bosco with sticks floating on the muddy surface. While anglers managed to catch a few striped bass in the lower Susquehanna River trolling small red surgical hose eels, most returned to the Lapidum Launch Ramp with little or nothing for their efforts. Channel catfish remain plentiful through the lower Susquehanna, North East, Elk, Bohemia and Sassafras rivers, where bottom-fished chicken livers, cut herring, night crawlers and chunks of peeler crab lured catties to eight pounds. Scattered catches of tidewater largemouth bass were made in the North East River near the mouth of Furnace Bay, Red Point, Rocky Point and from the patches of aquatic grasses found in the middle of the Susquehanna Flats. Nearly all were taken on noisy surface plugs, lures that attract fish with their splashing action when retrieved. A few keeper-size rockfish were also found at the same locations and taken on the same lures.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Anglers working jigging spoons along the bay's channel edges near the twin spans' main pilings and man-made islands caught fair numbers of throwback stripers and a few keepers earlier in the week, but the action fell off by the weekend. The best striper catches were made near the Diamonds, where chummers caught large numbers of striped bass ranging from 15 to 20 inches while chumming with ground menhaden and using razor clams for bait. Croaker were found in the mouth of Eastern Bay and along the bay's channel edges up to Parson's Island, where squid strips and bait shrimp lured fish to 15 inches. White perch to 12 inches were found in Kent Narrows and the lower Chester River, where bottom-fished bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab proved effective just after sundown. Croaker were also found at Brickhouse Bar, Hacketts Bar and the mouth of Severn River near Severn River Light. The best croaker catches were made after sundown and continued until about 10 p.m.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river's mouth provided scattered catches of croaker to 19 inches, most taken on bottom-fished squid strips fished along the channel edge between Todd and Cook points. A few stripers to 20 inches were taken from the river's shallows near Chancellor Point, where bucktails trimmed with a chunk of peeler crab proved effective in depths of just two to five feet. Anglers fishing from the river's Route 50 bridge fishing piers at night caught a mix of channel catfish, small white perch and throwback striped bass while dunking bloodworms and bait shrimp from the spans.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Headboat anglers caught a good mix of spot and white perch during the day while drifting bloodworms. At night, the mix included a few croaker and an occasional striped bass. Local charter boats spent much of the past week chumming at the Gooses, where light tackle buffs loaded up on striped bass ranging from 15-inch throwbacks to 26-inch keepers. There were a few bluefish to three pounds taken from the chum slicks as well.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Small mixed pods of breaking rockfish and bluefish were found near the Gas Docks, Cedar Point, Cedar Point Hollow and the Targets. Most of the stripers were too small to keep. Jigging spoons such as the Stingsilver, Strata Spoon and Crippled Herring were effective when worked tight against the bottom. A few big croaker were taken using the same lures. The river's mouth continues to provide good to excellent catches of spot and croaker for anglers drifting squid strips and bait shrimp, especially at the Chinese Muds and the adjacent flats just a short distance north of the river's mouth. Across the bay along the channel edge between buoys 74 and 76, anglers drifted live minnows sandwiched between squid strips in depths of 25 to 35 feet and caught flounder to 23 inches, plus some huge croaker to 20 inches.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Spot and croaker can be found just west of Hooper Island Light, near Richland Point Buoy and inside of Hooper Straits. Bloodworms, squid strips and bait shrimp were equally effective. Some of the spot measured up to 13 inches, which is exceptionally large for this species. Scattered catches of stripers were made from the river's shallows, mainly from among the pilings of Lower Hooper Island Bridge while casting bucktails trimmed with a chartreuse twister or chunk of peeler crab. Most of the rockfish measured 18 to 20 inches, and there were a few taken just after sunrise that measured up to 28 inches.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Most headboat anglers reported good catches of spot to 12 inches, croaker to 16 inches, weakfish to 15 inches and an occasional keeper-size flounder while drifting along the sound's channel edge just south of Fox Island. The shallows of Tangier, Smith and Janes islands provided light tackle and fly anglers with modest catches of striped bass to 20 inches, but so far this year, speckled trout have been scarce.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Chummers continue to catch limits of striped bass to 25 inches while fishing at the Northwest Middle Grounds, then heading a bit to the south to the Mud Leads, Southwest Middle Grounds and Shell Leads, where they drift squid strips and bait shrimp for a mix of spot and croaker to round out their days. Inside Cornfield Harbor, flounder to 20 inches slammed squid strips and live minnows fished just inside the Potomac River's mouth near Point Lookout Bar. A few big croaker and fair numbers of snapper bluefish were caught from the state park's public fishing pier and causeway by nighttime anglers using bloodworms and squid strips for bait.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Most catches centered around the river's lower reaches, where a mix of spot, croaker, flounder and small weakfish were caught by anglers drifting squid strips and bloodworms along drop-offs near the river's mouth. Trollers managed to sink their hooks into a few Spanish mackerel, but these fish have yet to materialize in large schools.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Flounder to six pounds and spadefish to eight pounds were found lurking near the Cell on days when the weather cooperated. The flounder smacked squid-minnow combinations drifted near Buoy 42, while spadefish gobbled down morsels of clam suspended beneath small floats. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel anglers caught a mix of weakfish and flounder near the structure's manmade islands, and cobia were found lurking at the Inner Middle Grounds and Lattimer Shoals. Small pods of mackerel were found breaking just outside the bay's mouth near the approach buoys, while at Chesapeake Tower and the Tower Reef, an occasional amberjack pounced live-lined spot. Large schools of spadefish can also been found at both locations.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Offshore tuna and billfish action has been great, but headboat anglers continue to struggle to catch modest numbers of sea bass at the inshore wrecks. Most of the charter fleet headed to the Parking Lot, Rock Pile, Baltimore Canyon and Massy's Canyon, where they found good numbers of yellowfin tuna to 60 pounds, several white marlin to 100 pounds, a few blue marlin to 400 pounds and fair numbers of gaffer dolphin to 29 pounds. Closer to shore, bluefin tuna to 150 pounds were found at the Jack Spot, Hotdog, Cigar, Hambone and Chicken-Bone. Shorebound anglers found small stripers and relatively large weakfish lurking beneath Route 50 bridge and in the turbid waters of Ocean City Inlet's South Jetty. Live spot proved effective for both species. CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Flounder catches ranged fair to good, but most of the flatfish are just too small to keep. Kingfish to 13 inches smacked bottom-fished bloodworms in Queen Sound and just outside the mouths of both inlets, and there were scattered catches of small croaker reported as well. Offshore, the Parking Lot, 26-Mile Hill and Ammo Wreck were the weekend hot spots. Chunkers caught bluefin tuna to 150 pounds and huge numbers of slammer bluefish to 16 pounds.

OUTER BANKS -- Snapper bluefish and croaker provided good afternoon and evening action at Kitty Hawk Pier, while at the causeway, a mix of speckled trout and flounder smacked tandem-rigged jigs trimmed with squid strips. Oregon Inlet and Nags Head anglers reported good catches of flounder through most of the week, with some up to five pounds. Squid strips fished during the first few hours of ebb tide proved effective. Oregon and Hatteras inlets' offshore charter boats continue to enjoy excellent catches of yellowfin tuna to 70 pounds and fair numbers of billfish. When you can find some floating debris or a weed line, there are lots of gaffer dolphin to 30 pounds to be had, while a bit farther east, some monster wahoo slammed rigged ballyhoo.