Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- The river is high, muddy and loaded with flotsam. Fishing during the past week has been slow at best for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Just before the onset of high, muddy water, good catches of smallmouth bass and channel catfish were made from the shores of Fletcher's Landing, and both species smacked live minnows and night crawlers fished in back eddies close to shore. Downriver, there were improvements in largemouth bass catches near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, particularly from among the pilings and submerged chunks of concrete. Downriver, Mattawoman Creek provided hit-or-miss largemouth bass action. Powell, Neabsco and Chopawamsic creeks' bridge foundations all held a few tidewater largemouths early in the week, but as the week progressed, catches seemed to fall off.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- High, muddy and unfishable. Call 703-260-0305 for up-to-date water conditions. Water temperatures should be in the upper 60s by the weekend, ideal for smallmouth bass action.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA) -- Call 888-881-7555 for up-to-date river conditions.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Craig Walwrath of Catonsville, Md., was fishing Rocky Gorge Sunday when he sunk his hooks into a behemoth largemouth that tipped the scales at 6 pounds 5 ounces. Several smaller bass were caught in the upper reaches of both impoundments, most taken by anglers dunking live minnows. Channel catfish remain plentiful throughout both lakes, where chicken livers and night crawlers proved effective.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- White perch action continues to hold up well with some fish measuring up to 14 inches. Small, red, inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler and trolled at low speeds produced huge quantities of perch when fished over the lake's deepest locations. Plug casters caught a fair number of largemouth bass while plugging the rock-strewn shores with shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Crappie fishing remains slow from Dulaney Valley Bridge, but there have been a few isolated schools of fish found beneath Loch Raven Drive Bridge, where live minnows suspended beneath small floats produced slabsides to 12 inches. It is illegal to fish from the bridge, but boating and shorebound anglers were able to get in on the action because most of the fish were schooled within casting range of shore.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- White perch and small crappie were found beneath Nicodemus Bridge, where live minnows and tiny shad darts lured perch to 10 inches and similar-size crappie. Downlake, bottom-fished crawfish lured smallmouth bass from the edges of drop-offs near the end of Oakland Mills Road, some weighing up to three pounds.


LAKE ANNA -- Cooler nighttime temperatures enticed the impoundment's largemouth bass into shallow water to begin feeding for the upcoming winter. Several bass to six pounds smacked topwater plugs, shallow-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished near pier pilings, stumps and submerged brush piles. Crappie are stacking beneath the lake's bridges, where live shiners lured slabsides to 15 inches. Striped bass action remains good in the lake's upper reaches, with the best catches made early and late in the day while trolling channel edges near Jett Island, the Splits and Rose Valley.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Another high, muddy weekend for anglers, but a week of dry, cool weather should provide ideal conditions for boating and wading anglers alike in search of smallmouth bass.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Floodwaters surged down the Susquehanna River, inundating the streets of Port Deposit and wiping out any possibility of fishing the river's lower reaches. Before the onset of high, muddy, debris-laden water, the lower Susquehanna Flats were enjoying some of the season's best striped bass action. Relatively clear waters adjacent to grass beds held stripers to 28 inches that slammed Bass Assassins cast in depth of two to four feet during high and ebb tides. The North East River's lower reaches also provided good to excellent striped bass action for anglers casting topwater plugs near the partly submerged boulders at Rocky Point, Red Point and the submerged logs across the bay near Batter Island. White perch to 10 inches smacked bottom-fished bloodworms and bait shrimp fished along the channel edges of the North East, Elk, Bohemia, Bush and Gunpowder rivers, but there were so many channel catfish at the same locations that it became difficult to catch perch. Trollers and chummers found fair numbers of stripers lurking over the upper bay's lumps and bumps, and while most measured less than 18 inches, there seems to be an increasing number of keeper-size fish in the chum slicks as well. Among the hot spots were Craig Hill Knoll, Man-o-War Shoal, Gales Lump, Peach Orchard, Love Point Rip and Hickory Thickets.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Lots of small stripers and snapper bluefish lurking among the bridge pilings near the bay's main shipping channel. Most of the blues were 12 to 15 inches in length and smacked tiny jigging spoons and bucktails tossed in their general direction. Deep jigging with Stingsilvers lured some keeper stripers from along the channel edges, with some rockfish measuring up to 22 inches. White perch can be found in the shallows on both sides of the twin spans, mostly in the shadows of the structure's pilings in depths of 12 to 15 feet, where bloodworms and clam snouts lured perch to 10 inches.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The Choptank's middle reaches are beginning to show signs of good fall white perch and striped bass action, especially in the stretch between Castle Haven and the Route 50 bridge in Cambridge. Bottom-fished bloodworms lured perch to 12 inches from along the river's channel edge, while bucktails trimmed with four-inch, chartreuse twister tail lured striped bass to 24 inches. Schools of breaking rockfish and snapper bluefish erupted through the river's surface near Cook Point.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Local charter captains spent much of the weekend tied to the dock because of the remnants of Hurricane Ivan. Before nasty weather hit, trollers using small silver spoons caught large numbers of snapper bluefish to three pounds and similar-size Spanish mackerel. Chummers found good numbers of striped bass at the Gooses, where fish ranging from throwbacks to 22 inches smacked cut spot and menhaden baits fished in the chum slicks.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- The fall flounder run seems to be in high gear, but as the season progresses, these fish are being found in increasingly deeper waters. Good catches of flatfish were made between Buoys 74 and 76 along the bay's eastern channel edge, mainly from depths of 35 to 50 feet using live minnows and squid strips. Cut spot reportedly works equally as well early and late in the day. Flounder were also found in the Patuxent River's mouth near the Three Legged Marker, while at the Chinese Muds, large numbers of spot to 12 inches were caught on bottom-fished bloodworms. Trollers using Clarke spoons found a mix of Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish at Point No Point Light and the Targets, while most of the striper action took place across the bay near Buoy 72A, where chummers reported limit catches of fish to 20 inches.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Speckled trout measuring up to 20 inches have returned to the river's shallows; the species was not seen during the spring run. While these often elusive fish will remain in the area only for a few weeks, they present light tackle and fly rod anglers with a real challenge. Just outside the river mouth near Hooper Island Light, mixed schools of stripers to 20 inches, bluefish to 18 inches and mackerel to 20 inches churn through schools of fleeing anchovy on the calmer days. Just look for flocks of diving gulls and the fish will be right beneath them.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Most of the area headboats are switching over to chumming for striped bass and bluefish along the bay's eastern channel edge. But there are still fair numbers of big spot and some keeper weakfish lurking in Tangier and Pocomoke sound's lower reaches. Additionally, the shallows of Smith, Tangier, Watts, Janes and Fox islands hold striped bass to 20 inches and a few similar-size speckled trout.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- "Just before the storm hit, we caught limits of 22- to 26-inch rockfish at the Middle Grounds, and good numbers of bluefish to two pounds were mixed with the rockfish in the chum slicks," said Capt. Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center. Most area charter captains said they had no trouble catching their limit of stripers before 10 a.m., but by 11 they were headed back to the docks as winds were rapidly increasing.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER AREA -- Small spot and croaker can be found just outside the river's mouth. Bottom-fished bloodworms proved effective for catching spot to 10 inches and croaker to 14 inches.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Ivan's winds and waves curtailed all weekend fishing activity at Cape Charles, but just before the storm good catches of flounder were made at the Cell, Kiptopeke Flats and the CBBT's Fourth Island.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- The week preceding Ivan was incredible for offshore anglers who opted to search the canyons for yellowfin tuna, white marlin, mid-size dolphin and even an occasional blue marlin and wahoo. Shorebound anglers reported catching several throwback red drum from Assateague's surf, fish that topped 40 inches in many instances. The slot limit for red drum is 18 to 28 inches, and all fish smaller or larger must be released.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Tuna action at the Parking Lot was great until the last day of bluefin season, with many fish tipping the scales at 80 to 100 pounds or more.

OUTER BANKS -- No reports because of weather conditions.