Fish Lines

The remnants of Hurricane Jeanne will have a negative impact on this weekend's water-related activities. Several inches of rain hit the mid-Atlantic region and caused flooding.

Boating anglers should exercise extreme caution in debris-laden rivers and the Chesapeake's upper reaches north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, where partly submerged logs, pier pilings and other flotsam pose hazards.

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- While the river still resembles coffee with cream and sticks, there were a few tidewater largemouths caught during the past weekend by anglers near Woodrow Wilson Bridge at the Spoils, Smoot Bay, Fox Ferry Point, barges near the bridge, and coves south of Belle Haven Marina.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- High, muddy and unfishable.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- The river rose to 20 feet last week, causing significant flooding in many areas. While water levels have fallen, conditions are still hazardous, even in many of the tributaries. Call 888-881-7555 for up-to-date river conditions.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Jeff Smith of Jefferson, Md., caught a 4-pound 12.5-ounce largemouth bass at Triadelphia Sept. 23. There were several smaller bass caught and released from Triadelphia as well. Crappie are still not active.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- White perch to 10 inches continue to smack trolled, inline spinners fished near the entrance marker to Loch Raven Fishing Center at the mouth of School House Cove. Lots of chunky bluegills were also caught by trollers, some measuring more than 10 inches. Live minnows suspended beneath floats lured crappie to 12 inches from the mouths of several mid-lake coves, while uplake, plug casters enjoyed good catches of largemouth bass at rocky shorelines and log jams.

LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Nicodemus Bridge anglers continue to catch a mix of crappie, white perch and an occasional walleye while dunking live minnows from the structure late in the day. Downlake, trollers dragging large crankbaits and big, live shiners caught a few striped bass, the largest tipping the scales at just over seven pounds. Smallmouth bass are beginning to feed up heavily in preparation for winter and can be found near any rocky point. Bottom-fished live crayfish were effective.


LAKE ANNA -- Falling water temperatures made largemouth bass fishing somewhat difficult, but striper action continues to hold up well in the impoundment's upper reaches near Lake Anna State Park, Jett Island and Rose Valley, locations where four-inch Sassy Shad rigged to half-ounce leadheads lured stripers to 12 pounds over the weekend. Crappie are beginning to stack up beneath bridges and deepwater piers, where live minnows lured slabsides to 12 inches. Channel catfish smacked bottom-fished night crawlers at dozens of locations throughout the lake, many of which tipped the scales at five pounds or more.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river is still a bit high and muddy.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The Chesapeake's upper reaches, especially north of Pooles Island, are unsafe for recreational boating. The region is loaded with debris, some of which lurks just beneath the surface. A 50-foot section of floating dock was spotted drifting down the bay by a group of anglers fishing from Eastern Neck Island Bridge. Relatively clear water was found in the North East River's upper reaches, apparently the result of clean, fast-flowing currents exiting from North East Creek. Consequently, this was one of the few locations that provided recreational fishing action in the bay's upper reaches. Scattered catches of crappie, white perch, tidewater largemouth bass and small stripers were all reported from the docks of North East River's Town Park, and all were taken on live minnow. Bottom-fished night crawlers produced a few channel catfish from the dock as well, but most were quite small. Anglers dunking bloodworms from Eastern Neck Island Bridge caught a few white perch and an occasional, keeper-size striped bass to 20 inches, but overall, muddy water produced lousy fishing conditions.

BAY BRIDGES AREA -- Muddy, debris-laden water curtailed much of the action beneath the twin spans, but the mouth of Eastern Bay did provide chummers with good light tackle action last Sunday. Several anglers reported catching a mix of bluefish to 14 inches and lots of throwback stripers while chumming the channel edge near Bloody Point Light. Inside Eastern Bay, white perch to 12 inches continue to dominate the action. Bottom-fished bloodworms were effective when fished during ebb tide at the mouth of Wye River, Crab Alley Bay and the southern end of Kent Narrows near the jetty boulders.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- White perch now make up the bulk of the river's fishing action, especially in areas upriver of Chloras Point. Downriver, deep jigging with Stingsilvers in depths of 25 to 30 feet lured a few keeper stripers to 20 inches, while bucktails cast to the shallows of Cook and Black Walnut points proved effective for the same size fish.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Area charter boats continue to chum at the Gooses, where they're catching lots of small stripers and bluefish. While most captains reported limit catches of rockfish to 20 inches, the throwback ratio this season has been very high. Most of the bluefish taken from the chum slicks ranged 12 to 15 inches, but a few in the three-pound category were mixed with them. Trollers caught somewhat larger stripers and bluefish, plus a bonus of Spanish mackerel to three pounds. Nearly all were taken on small spoons trolled about four feet beneath the surface.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- The river's lower reaches, downriver of Route 4 bridge, continue to provide good numbers of big spot, but in the next few days, these fish will begin migrating south. Upriver of the bridge, white perch to 12 inches smacked bottom-fished bloodworms. Just outside the river's mouth at Cedar Point Rip, swarms of snapper bluefish, most ranging just 10 to 12 inches at best, ripped through pods of bay anchovy. Deep beneath the surface action were striped bass measuring up to 20 inches, fish that nailed jigging spoons worked tight against the bottom during periods of moving tide. Across the bay a few flounder were caught by weekend anglers, some measuring more than 24 inches. The flatfish were schooled along the bay's eastern channel edge in depths of 35 to 45 feet and were mixed with small weakfish measuring 12 to 15 inches.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Speckled trout to 20 inches slammed small bucktails and bright colored streamer flies fished in the river's shallows near Bentley Point and a few locations downriver near Lower Hooper Island Bridge. Just outside the river's mouth near Hooper Straits Buoy, schools of snapper bluefish and mid-size stripers churned the surface while gorging themselves on schools of bay anchovy. Across the bay at the Targets, larger bluefish, some measuring 18 to 20 inches, ripped though pods of baitfish. The blues were frequently mixed with Spanish mackerel to 3 pounds. Both species slammed small jigging spoons cast among the breaking fish and retrieved at high speeds.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- While there are still some spot and white perch in Tangier Sound's upper reaches, bottom fishing was not very good. However, a few anglers tried their luck casting bucktails in the shallow sloughs and guts of Smith, Tangier, South Marsh and Janes islands, where they found a mix of striped bass to 26 inches and speckled trout to 20 inches. Area charter captains opted to fish west of Smith Island at the Middle Grounds, where they chummed for stripers and limited out on fish to 22 inches. Most reported excellent catches of bluefish to 18 inches as well as a few mackerel.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Four dozen charter and large private boats lined up along the bay's eastern channel edge this past weekend, all chummed with ground menhaden, and all caught a mix of snapper bluefish and striped bass. While the bluefish ranged just 12 to 16 inches at best, the stripers measured up to 22 inches. The secret to success was to use a short length of lightweight, coffee-colored, stainless steel leader armed with a 1/0, wide-gap hook. This prevented bite-offs from the bluefish, yet the wire was thin enough not to deter the stripers from biting. Cornfield Harbor continues to hold a mix of spot and flounder, especially in the area just west of Point Lookout Bar, where live minnows, squid strips and bloodworms proved productive.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Flounder to eight pounds were caught at the Cell by anglers drifting large, live minnows sandwiched between squid strips and fished in depths of 35 to 40 feet. Good catches of flounder were also reported at Kiptopeke Flats, Plantation Flats and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel's Fourth Island. Swarms of mackerel ripped through pods of baitfish schooled near the CBBT's manmade islands, where Clark spoons trolled at relatively high speeds lured macks to four pounds, snapper bluefish and a few small stripers.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Most of the resort city's charter captains had a great weekend of offshore action, catching large numbers of longfin tuna, yellowfin tuna and an occasional bluefin tuna. The longfin and yellowfin were caught along the 100-fathom curve in a lengthy stretch of water between Poormans and Washington canyons. Most of the bluefin were found just a short distance southeast of the Hambone, and tipped the scales at 80 to 130 pounds. A few dolphin, billfish and wahoo were also found along the canyon edges and all were caught on trolled ballyhoo. Headboat anglers loaded their coolers with large numbers of chunky sea bass, some topping four pounds. Significant numbers of croaker to 16 inches were found a bit closer to shore, keeping the action going for small boat anglers just a few miles east of the inlet. Shorebound anglers caught a mix of stripers and flounder from beneath Route 50 bridge while casting bucktails and live minnows from the structure at night.