What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- A few small stripers were caught in Washington Channel, while tidewater largemouth bass were found lurking among the pilings of Key Bridge, the mouth of Pentagon Lagoon, and from among the submerged riprap boulders at Bolling Air Force Base. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge area improved somewhat, with tidewater largemouth bass coming from the adjacent gravel pits, barges in Smoot Bay and from among the structure's bridge foundations. Grass beds below Belle Haven, near the back of Broad Creek and Bulltown Cove held a few bass, while Mattawoman, Pomonkey and Chickamuxen creeks have been the most consistent producers. Still, lots of anglers are reporting large quantities of blue-green algae and high levels of bacteria in the river's main stem. If you encounter obvious pollution violations or problems, contact the Maryland Department of the Environment at 800-922-8017.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- The stretch of river between Edwards Ferry and Whites Ferry provided anglers with somewhat improved smallmouth bass fishing, larger fish and reports of several keepers being caught. The most productive locations were ledges below Edwards Ferry, the Maryland side of Harrison Island, and mid-river pools above Whites Ferry. At Lander, anglers said that though they could smell sewage at times, smallmouth bass were biting.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- The river remains high, muddy and unfishable in many areas. The only option was to concentrate efforts in the mouths of smaller tributaries that were unaffected by recent rains.
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Another quiet week with little or no fish checked in at the Brighton Dam office.
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- White perch dominated the action during the past week, but there have been several anglers returning to Loch Raven Fishing Center with bonus catches of chain pickerel to four pounds as well. Nearly all of the pickerel were taken by anglers trolling inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler, a rig primarily intended to catch white perch. Plug casters caught good numbers of largemouth bass from the impoundment's upper reaches, mainly while casting the rocky shorelines early in the morning. The fishing center will be closing Tuesday and Thursday beginning the day after Labor Day until October, when the schedule will switch to weekends only. For additional information, call 410-887-7692.
LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Vince Shoemaker of Reisterstown, Md., caught a 12-pound rockfish while dunking extra-large shiners. The fish were taken from depths of 80 feet in the impoundment's lower reaches. Nicodemus Bridge anglers reported sporadic catches of white perch and crappie, most made on Bettle Spins trimmed with a piece of crappie meat. Walleye action dropped off a bit, but there were good numbers of smallmouth bass taken from throughout the lake.
LAKE ANNA -- Most of the impoundment's waters between Pigeon Creek, the Splits and Jett Island hold small pods of striped bass to 10 pounds. The vast majority have been taken while trolling deep-diving crankbaits early in the day. Early morning anglers caught largemouth bass using topwater lures cast to the edges of grass beds in the upper lake, but when the sun gets up, the fish take refuge beneath boat docks, where plastic worms and live shiners prove effective. Crappie action is still limited to deepwater haunts, mainly in depths of 15 to 25 feet near bridges. Small, live minnows and tiny shad darts lured slabsides to 14 inches during the past week.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Not much has changed during the past week, water levels are still a bit low, and aquatic grasses near Bentonville Bridge have been a problem for anglers that float-fish the segment of the river and cast shallow-running crankbaits. Anglers wading the downriver riffles reported modest catches of both panfish and smallmouth bass while casting a variety of streamer flies and nymphs.
UPPER BAY -- While most waters of the Chesapeake's upper and middle reaches remain quite muddy, the North East River's are relatively clear. Apparently, the abundance of aquatic grasses provided sufficient filtration that scrubbed much of the river's suspended particulate matter, thereby providing both improved water quality and fishing. "You don't have to travel very far out of the North East River to find muddy water, but inside the river we're finding underwater visibility down to four feet and great striped bass fishing," said Capt. Mike Benjamin. "We had several days of excellent topwater action during the past week, and most of the fish we caught were keeper size," he added. Channel catfish remain plentiful in the lower Susquehanna, Elk, North East, Sassafras, Bush, Gunpowder and Bohemia rivers, locations where cut herring baits, chicken livers, clam snouts and night crawlers lured catfish to eight pounds. Recreational crabbing seems to have improved in the Gunpowder River's lower reaches, where sport crabbers using collapsible traps baited with small white perch returned to the docks with limit catches of crabs to seven inches. Chummers and trollers alike caught large numbers of small rockfish while fishing a half-dozen locations south of Pooles Island. The Peach Orchard, Gale's Lumps, Belvedere Shoals, Hickory Thickets, Love Point Light and Swan Point Bar all proved productive for weekend anglers. The secret to catching keeper-size rockfish at all locations was to arrive on the site just before dawn; that's when the larger fish seemed to be most active. White perch to 12 inches were also found at the same locations, and most were taken on bottom-fished bloodworms and bait shrimp.
BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Increasing numbers of keeper-size rockfish were hauled from among the bridge pilings and submerged boulders of the structure's manmade islands. While most of the keeper fish measured just a shade over the 18-inch minimum, there were a few to 22 inches taken as well. White perch remain plentiful in the confines of Eastern Bay, lower Kent Narrows, the mouth of Crab Alley Bay, Wye River and the channel edges between Parson's Island and Bloody Point Light. Bottom-fished bloodworms, bait shrimp, razor clam and clam snout accounted for most of the action. Chummers found good numbers of throwback stripers and snapper bluefish to three pounds at the Diamonds, Sharps Island Flats and the Stone Rock.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river's channel edges between Cook Point and Castle Haven continue to provide anglers with fair numbers of white perch to 13 inches, lots of small striped bass, and an occasional keeper rockfish to 20 inches. Route 50 bridge anglers caught a mix of white perch, throwback stripers and lots of channel catfish to four pounds.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Most of the area's charter boats are heading across the bay and chumming at the Gooses, where rockfish to 28 inches were caught by weekend anglers. Good catches of bluefish to three pounds, and mackerel to 18 inches, were also hauled in from the slicks.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said spot and croaker are plentiful, and told of one local fisherman who reported a catch of 43 fish -- spot, croaker, rockfish, bluefish and trout -- near Hog Point. At Cedar Point on the naval air station, anglers are catching keeper rockfish on surface poppers, sassy shads and swimming plugs in the evenings, many 20 and 22 inches, with plenty of bluefish mixed in. Lamb added that white perch, croaker and trout are active up the Patuxent from Captains Point to Broome's Island.
HONGA RIVER AREA -- Local charter captains have been heading directly across the Chesapeake and fishing the bay's western channel edge, where mixed schools of breaking rockfish, bluefish and Spanish mackerel produced nearly nonstop action for those willing to chase them.
TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Most headboat and charterboat anglers reported good catches of large spot, fair numbers of croaker to 12 inches and a mix of flounder, weakfish and snapper bluefish. The vast majority of these fish were caught while bottom fishing with bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab. Plug casters found a few legal-size striped bass among the submerged boulders that make up Smith Island's western jetties, fish that smacked small bucktails and Rat-L-Traps retrieved along the jetty's edge during high and ebb tides.
POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- While the weather was quite windy, anglers that took shelter from the prevailing winds inside the Potomac River found good numbers of spot, croaker, mid-size striped bass, Spanish mackerel and white perch. Most of the panfish (spot, croaker and white perch) were caught by rental boat anglers around the Wicomico River's mouth near Bushwood. The best striper action took place at the Triangle, where chummers caught rockfish to four pounds, bluefish of similar size and a few weakfish.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Small spot and croaker dominated the action inside the river, but the river's mouth was loaded with schools of breaking mackerel and bluefish. Similar reports were echoed by anglers trolling small, silver spoons through pods of breaking fish just north and east of Smith Point Light.
CAPE CHARLES AREA -- While most of the larger spadefish seem to have deserted the Cell and Buoy 42 area, there are still lots of big flounder lurking near these structures. Flounder to 24 inches slammed minnow-squid combos fished in depths of 25 to 30 feet. Swarms of small croaker were found near the concrete Liberty Ships at Kiptopeke, while just a short distance to the west at the bay's eastern channel edge, croaker to three pounds smacked drifted squid strips. Trollers caught a mix of snapper bluefish and mackerel at the CBBT's Fourth Island while dragging tiny silver and gold spoons.
OCEAN CITY -- The offshore fleet reported excellent bluefin and yellowfin tuna catches at Massey's Canyon, and to the south at the Parking Lot and Lumpy Bottom. While most of the tuna were taken by chumming and chunking with butterfish, trollers fishing the same area with rigged ballyhoo also caught some mid-size dolphin, wahoo and an occasional billfish. Headboat anglers loaded up on a mix of sea bass to four pounds, plus a bonus of croaker to 18 inches. Shorebound anglers found kingfish in the surf of both Ocean City and Assateague, while back bay anglers found lots of small flounder along the bay's channel edges. Route 50 bridge anglers caught a mix of stripers to 33 inches, weakfish to six pounds and fair numbers of keeper flounder to three pounds.
CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Croaker action at both inlets seems to have fallen off quite a bit, but there were a few keeper flounder found lurking along the channel edges of the adjacent back bays. Offshore, the 26 Mile Hill and north tip of Washington Canyon were the hot spots for yellowfin tuna and dolphin.
OUTER BANKS -- Offshore, when the weather cooperated, good hauls of yellowfin tuna to 90 pounds were made by both the Oregon and Hatteras inlet fleets. The tuna were frequently mixed with schools of gaffer dolphin to 36 pounds, which is exceptionally large for this part of the world. Inshore, headboat anglers caught a mix of French grunt, sea bass and sea mullet while drifting squid strips and bait shrimp. Surf and pier anglers caught lots of small spot, fair numbers of croaker, a few mackerel and a mix of pompano and sea mullet. At Cape Point, a 42-inch red drum was beached.