Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- Another slow week of bass fishing on this once highly productive river. Local bass fishing guides have been working the river from Chickamuxen to the District, but the Woodrow Wilson Bridge area seems to be the only location that consistently produces fish. Weekend hot spots included Smoot Bay and the Spoils, where spinnerbaits lured modest numbers of mid-size largemouths. Water temperatures are in the low 80s; algae blooms below the mouth of Occoquan River are severe, and direct contact with those waters can be hazardous. Mattawoman Creek continues to be the most productive location for tidewater largemouths; spinnerbaits, stickbaits and crankbaits proved effective above Slavin's Launch. Jetties at Leesylvania, bridge pilings at Powell Creek, and grass beds at Chickamuxen Creek held a few bass, but none of these locations has been consistent.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- The river's upper reaches look like pea soup from the massive algae blooms and scummy bottom. The weekend's best smallmouth bass areas included: ledges below the Lander launch ramp (from power lines to fish pots), and ledges below the Fence and Burkharts Riffle. At Whites Ferry/Edwards Ferry, ledges below Edwards Ferry, water intake, Balls Bluff, deeper pools on the Maryland side of Harrison Island, Virginia shore below the ferry, mid-river pools above the ferry and Virginia's shore at the Cow Fields. Lots of tiny bass, but keepers are indeed rare.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- Much of the river is beginning to take on the same appearance as the upper Susquehanna. When river levels are near normal, which has been rare this season, anglers catch fair numbers of tiny smallmouth bass in the stretch of river between Fort Hunter and Three Mile Island. Downriver at Conowingo Lake and Holtwood Pool, underwater visibility is near zero. The few exceptions where water quality was fair to good were Broad, Conowingo and Muddy creeks, all tributaries to Conowingo Lake. Each held good numbers of mid-size bronzebacks that were willing to smack live minnows, hellgrammites and tube lures rigged to quarter-ounce leadheads.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- It was a great weekend for anglers fishing both WSSC impoundments. Bryan Sirotkin of Columbia caught a 4-pound 11-ounce largemouth bass at Duckett Reservoir. At Triadelphia Reservoir, legendary bass angler Jerry Sauter of Baltimore caught a pair of smallmouths, one weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces, and the other tipping the scales at 5 pounds 2.5 ounces. Vivian Bonnell of Laurel sunk her hooks into a 4-pound 13-ounce largemouth bass at Duckett.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Lots of white perch in the impoundment's middle reaches, mainly near the mouths of the major coves. Trollers using inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler had no trouble putting dozens of 10- to 14-inch perch in the cooler while fishing the mouth of Dead Man's, School House, Pierce's and Hopkins coves. Plug casters found chunky largemouth bass to three pounds along the rocky shores uplake of Dulaney Valley Bridge, while bridge anglers managed to catch a mix of small crappie and bluegill on live minnows. Trollers fishing above the bridge caught a few walleye to three pounds and chain pickerel to two pounds while dragging shallow-running crankbaits over depths of 30 to 40 feet near the submerged wreckage of the old Dulaney Valley Bridge.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Anglers dunking large, live shiners just above the Route 26 bridge caught striped bass to 12 pounds, and while the numbers are not high, those individuals that were patient enough to wait the fish out did catch their two-fish limits. Uplake, bottom-fished crawfish produced fair catches of smallmouth bass near Oakland Mills Point and just below Nicodemus Bridge. Bridge anglers caught a few crappie early and late in the day on live minnows and chicken livers, while shorebound anglers a short distance uplake found walleye to three pounds that slurped down large, live shiners.


LAKE ANNA -- Largemouth bass are still holding tight against deep structures late in the day, mainly in depths of six to 15 feet near docks, brush piles and stumps near the mouths of creeks and coves. Slowly retrieved crankbaits such as the XPS and Norman DD-14 have been effective early in the day, but late in the afternoon switch to five-inch Yamamoto grubs, or 71/2 - to nine-inch plastic worms mainly in pumpkin, watermelon, and smoke colors. Scott Taylor and Bill Deeds of Orange, Va., caught three bass with a combined weight of 11 pounds 4 ounces. Yankee Mastrup of Fredericksburg caught two bass totaling 8 pounds 7 ounces. Big fish of the week tipped the scales at 6 pounds 7 ounces. Great striper fishing continues with limit catches reported from the Splits, Rose Valley, Jett Island and the channel edges near the state park. The best topwater action is during early morning. After 10, trolling with deep-diving crankbaits provided steady action. Steve Coleman of Fredericksburg nailed an 11-pound 4-ouncer, while Nathan Wood and Sherri Carneal of Spotsylvania had a six-fish stringer totaling 55 pounds. Mike and Jason Otting of Fairfax had a seven-fish stringer weighing 44 pounds.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Weekend anglers managed to catch a few bronzebacks while floating downriver of Bentonville Bridge, but again, the numbers were modest. Some of this can be attributed to aquatic grasses, which are now to the point where most of the deeper pools are choked with vegetation. Wading anglers fishing the base of riffles and casting a variety of streamer flies caught lots of smaller fish, most measuring just six to 10 inches. Panfish action is still slower than it should be.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Much of the upper bay above Pooles Island was in deplorable condition. Most of these waters ranged in color from chocolate brown to pea-soup green, some areas were still experiencing outbreaks of blue/green algae and fishing was slow at best for all species. The only bright spot continues to be the North East River and Susquehanna Flats, where anglers casting Bass Assassins caught good numbers of striped bass ranging from throwbacks to 24 inches from the edges of grass beds. Good numbers of tidewater largemouths to three pounds were also caught at the same locations. The secret to success was timing to periods when high tide occurred during periods of low light angles. Channel catfish remain fairly plentiful throughout the bay's upper reaches. Bottom-fished chicken livers, cut herring, cut spot, chunks of menhaden and night crawlers lured catties to four pounds from the channel edges of C&D Canal, North East, Elk, lower Susquehanna, Bohemia, Sassafras, Gunpowder, Bush and Seneca rivers. Trollers continue to catch limits of keeper-size rockfish from among the huge number of throwbacks that inhabit the lumps and bumps south of Pooles Island. Stripers to 32 inches slammed surgical hose eels, tandem-rigged bucktails and deep-diving crankbaits trolled at the Peach Orchard, Belvedere Shoals, Love Point Light, Man-O-War Shoal and Swan Point Bar. White perch to 12 inches smacked bottom-fished bloodworms and bait shrimp at the mouth of Fairlee Creek, Bodkin Point, the submerged boulders of Fort Carroll, Belvedere Shoal and from beneath Eastern Neck Island Bridge.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- White perch to 10 inches and striped bass to 19 inches gobbled down bottom-fished bait shrimp and bloodworms fished among the submerged boulders of the old span's manmade islands, while larger stripers smacked jigging spoons worked among the finger pilings of the new span on the east side of the main channel. White perch action held up well for weekend anglers fishing the confines of Eastern Bay, with perch to 12 inches taken from the mouth of Crab Alley Bay and Wye River, Kent Narrows' south jetty boulders and the bay's channel edges between the artificial reef and Parson's Island. Schools of breaking rockfish and bluefish dotted the horizon near Poplar Island, where plug casters and fly fishing enthusiasts caught lots of bluefish up to three pounds, and stripers ranging from 12 to 17 inches.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river continues to produce fair numbers of smaller stripers and a few keepers from the shallow flats situated between Cook Point and Castle Haven. Most of the keeper-size fish were taken on half-ounce bucktails trimmed with a four-inch chartreuse twister tail. Bottom-fished bloodworms fished in depths of 12 to 20 feet along the river's southern channel edge lured white perch to 10 inches and similar-size spot. Sharps Island Light anglers encountered erupting schools of stripers and bluefish ripping through pods of bay anchovy, fish that smacked tiny silver spoons as fast as they hit the water. Not many keepers, but lots of fun on light spinning tackle and fly fishing gear.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Local charter captains continue to catch increasing numbers of bluefish to five pounds and rockfish to 32 inches while both trolling and chumming at the Gooses and Gas Docks. The largest fish seem to be consistently caught early in the morning, often just after sunrise. When chumming fails to produce keeper-size fish, trolling with surgical hose eels, mid-size spoons and tandem-rigged bucktails provided an effective method of luring keeper-size stripers.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Minnow drifters working the bay's eastern channel edge from Buoy 74 to above Buoy 76 enjoyed great catches of keeper-size flounder. The flatfish ranged from 14 to 21 inches, with the majority measuring just under the 16-inch limit. The average ratio is one keeper for every five or six caught. One experienced fisherman landed around 50 last Friday, but all but 12 of them were too small to keep. Local angler Tex Turner landed 12 and kept his three on Saturday. Capt. Billy Langley caught 10 at the Three Legged Marker on Friday and came home with two keepers. All of these reports were from the Solomons area, but the fishing seems to be just as good from Hooper Island south to Buoy 72. Spot, croaker, perch and some small trout are very active in the Patuxent's lower reaches, where bottom-fished bloodworms and bait shrimp have been effective. Good reports of croaker action from Second Beach. Plug casters working the rocks around the Patuxent Naval Air Station during high tides are catching rockfish and bluefish alike. The lower river's creeks hold plenty of white perch that were willing to take beetle spins cast near piers and along the edges of drop-offs. The upper Patuxent also produced good perch fishing.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Mixed schools of breaking snapper bluefish to 3 pounds, striped bass to 20 inches and lots of Spanish mackerel were found all along the bay's eastern channel edge between Hooper Island Light and Buoy 72A. Across the bay at the Targets, Point No Point and the flats just south of the Targets, similar schools ripped through pods of fleeing anchovy. Small jigging spoons cast among the breaking fish drew instant strikes.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Lower Tangier and Pocomoke sounds were productive for large numbers of big spot, mid-size croaker to 15 inches, a few keeper weakfish and an occasional flounder. Most of Crisfield's charter fleet, however, now divides its time between chumming for stripers, trolling for mackerel and bottom fishing in the confines of Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, all of which has been productive for the several weeks.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Glowing reports of great flounder catches came from Point Lookout Bar, Cornfield Harbor, and Piney Point. Flounder to 22 inches were also caught from Point Lookout State Park's public fishing pier and the adjacent causeway, where live minnows and squid strips were quite effective. Trollers caught large numbers of mackerel to three pounds, bluefish to six pounds and stripers ranging from throwbacks to 26 inches.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Spanish mackerel dominated the action at both Windmill and Stingray points, where small gold spoons trolled over the channel edges lured mackerel to four pounds and lots of snapper bluefish as well. Spot, croaker and a few weakfish were found cruising Smith Point Bar, where bottom-fished squid strips and bloodworms lured croaker to 17 inches when fished late in the day. Flounder are again active just outside the mouth of Little Wicomico River.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Flounder catches remain good at the CBBT's Fourth Island and up the bay at the Cell. Croaker of all sizes are just about anyplace you drop a piece of bait, and there are lots of throwback weakfish along the bay's eastern channel edge. A few red drum to 35 pounds were caught and released from the Cabbage Patch and Lattimer Shoals.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Offshore, the tuna bite has been awesome from the Hambone and several other locations closer to shore. Bluefin tuna to 150 pounds and yellowfin tuna to 90 pounds are slamming butterfish baits fished in chunk slicks. Trollers using rigged ballyhoo at Poorman's Canyon caught a mix of yellowfin tuna, white marlin, blue marlin and an occasional wahoo. Shorebound anglers caught a mix of kingfish, throwback flounder, an occasional keeper rockfish and snapper bluefish.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Most of the action centered around plentiful bluefin tuna at the Parking Lot, Ammo Wreck and Lumpy Bottom, locations that provided anglers with tuna to 150 pounds every day the weather cooperated.

OUTER BANKS -- Because of the weather, little fishing took place during the past week.