Washington & Vicinity
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- Tuesday and Wednesday's heavy rains produced high, muddy water throughout the basin. However, this didn't seem to affect largemouth bass fishing much. The bass are still in post-spawn mode, foraging heavily at some locations. In the District, Washington Channel, Pentagon Lagoon and most bridge foundations were productive locations to cast various, dark-colored and noisy lures for largemouth and stripers. In the Wilson Bridge vicinity, bass are abundant in The Spoils gravel pit where tube lures and stick baits were effective. Coves and barges south of Belle Haven have been productive, grass beds in Broad and Piscataway creeks held good numbers of chunky largemouths, as did Bulltown Cove and Marshall hall area. Mattawoman Creek, provided good bass action for anglers, while Chickamuxen Creek's grass beds have been sporadic. Channel catfish to huge proportions can be found throughout the District segment of the river, many of which top the 10-pound mark. Bottom-fished, cut herring baits produced the best results, even when fished from shore. Some of the best catches were reported near Fletcher's Landing, Washington Channel and several upriver locations just a short distance from Great Falls. Good catches of keeper-size stripers ranging four to eight pounds were made on cut herring baits, bloodworms and shallow-running crankbaits fished from shore and small, rental boats.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- By the end of the weekend the river's upper reaches had returned to near normal levels and smallmouth bass fishing resumed in the vicinity of Whites Ferry, Edwards Ferry, Point of Rocks, Brunswick and Lander, locations where bronzebacks ranging from eight to 12 inches smacked tube lures, live hellgrammites and live minnows fished behind underwater ledges in the heads of deeper pools.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA) -- River levels have fallen to seasonal norms, which is a bit too shallow for jet-boats, but perfect for anglers fishing from canoes and kayaks. Good catches of smallmouth bass to four pounds were made at the mouth of the Juniata River, mainly by anglers casting dark patterns of tube lures rigged to half-ounce leadheads. Downriver, smallmouth bass action in the upper reaches of Conowingo Lake near the mouth of Muddy Creek was good, particularly just inside the creek's mouth where tiny shad darts trimmed with live minnows lured bronzebacks to three pounds from undercuts in the creek's banks.
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Great weekend for crappie anglers, particularly in the upper reaches of both impoundments. Crappie to 14 inches smacked live minnows lip-hooked to the back end of small shad darts and cast near partly submerged trees and boulders, locations that also held fair numbers of mid-size largemouth bass.
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- White perch and chain pickerel dominated the weekend's action, particularly in the impoundment's middle reaches where trollers using small, inline spinners trimmed with a morsel of night crawler caught perch to 12 inches, bluegills to 10 inches and pickerel to four pounds. Most of the perch were suspended just a few feet beneath the surface over depths of 25 to 45 feet, while the pickerel seemed to prefer hiding inside the edges of grass beds near the mouths of major coves. Good catches of largemouth bass were reported by plug casters tossing shallow-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits close to the lake's rocky shores uplake of Dulaney Valley Bridge. Bridge anglers did not fare well on crappie during the holiday weekend, but those venturing upriver to the fast flowing waters above Paper Mill Bridge caught a mix of rainbow trout, fat bluegill, a few crappie and good numbers of smallmouth bass.
LAKE ANNA -- Early morning anglers casting shallow-running crankbaits and tube lures beneath piers and near bridge pilings in Contrary, Sturgeon and Pigeon creeks caught largemouth bass to six pounds. By 11 a.m., however, the jet skis and boats were out in force and fishing came to a halt. Later in the day, just prior to sundown, the bass again turned on and catches resumed. Uplake, Jett Island, The Splits and a half-dozen nearby locations all proved productive for striped bass to eight pounds. Nearly all were taken on four-inch Sassy Shad rigged to half-ounce leadheads. Crappie remain plentiful, but have migrated to deeper water. Look for the larger fish in depths of 12 to 20 feet.
SHENNANDOAH RIVER -- Smallmouth bass action near Bentonville Bridge was reported as fair for most anglers float-fishing this stretch of river. Bronzebacks to 14 inches smacked a variety of multicolored lures with stark contrasting color patterns. While red and white combinations seemed to produce the most fish, some of the darker colors produced larger fish.
UPPER BAY -- Cooler than normal water temperatures seems to be holding large concentrations of river herring in many of the upper Chesapeake's creeks and smaller tributaries. This is now providing some of the best striped bass action seen at the Susquehanna Flats and Susquehanna River in several years. Stripers to 30 inches slammed Bass Assassins, shallow-running crankbaits and topwater plugs fished in depths of just three to five feet in the lower North East River near Rocky Point, Red Point, and on the north side at Carpenter Point. The same locations provided tidewater largemouth bass to seven pounds, which is extremely large for the species in this particular area. Channel catfish to 12 pounds were found along channel edges in the North East, Elk, Sassafras, Bohemia and Susquehanna rivers, locations where cut herring, night crawlers, clam snout and chicken livers produced excellent results. Most of the larger white perch have migrated down the bay and taken up residence along the shallow segments adjacent to the main shipping channel's eastern edge. Good catches were reported at Tollchester Beach, Swan Point Bar, Eastern Neck Island Bridge, and across the bay near the Patapsco River's mouth from among the submerged boulders at Fort Carroll. Bottom-fished bloodworms, grass shrimp and strips of razor clam were the most productive baits.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Trollers managed to sink their hooks into rockfish to 29 inches while fishing east of Hacketts Bar near the bay's western channel edge, and to the south near Thomas Point Light. Tandem-rigged, parachute bucktails trimmed with pearl twister tails was the preferred combination, but a few legal-size stripers were also taken on mid-size silver spoons and black surgical hose eels. White perch to 10 inches were found among the pilings of the old Bay Bridge span mainly in locations where rocks surround the pilings.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- From Cook Point upriver to Route 50 Bridge in Cambridge anglers reported varying degrees of success on big croaker, some of which measured up to 21 inches. Most were found in depths ranging from 20 to 35 feet where bottom-fished bloodworms, bait shrimp and squid strips were effective. The shallows of the river's lower and middle reaches provided some keeper-size rockfish for plug casters tossing shallow-running crankbaits and small bucktails trimmed with a chartreuse twister tail, fish up to 24 inches that were foraging in depths of just two to four feet near Black Walnut and Cook Points.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Most of the area's charter boats trolled the bay's channel edge between Breezy Point and the Gas Docks with an array of large lures, and the majority had no trouble catching their limit of striped bass from 18 to 36 inches. Some captains, however, also tried their luck chumming near The Diamonds, The Gooses and a few other middle bay lumps, which produced larger numbers of rockfish, many of which measured just under the 18-inch minimum.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Big stripers are numerous and trollers scored on a few exceptionally large fish while dragging an array of lures near the mouth of the Patuxent River. However, the best action is south of The Targets. The bigger fish were taken at the beginning of ebb tide early in the afternoon. Trolling in the mid bay from Buoy's 72-A to 72 is very good, but those venturing further south to Smith Point discovered larger schools of bigger fish. Smaller stripers invaded the lower Patuxent River's shallows, locations where bucktails trimmed with twisters can cast near points and drop-offs lured rockfish to 20 inches during the first few hours of ebb tide. Croaker fishing improves daily, particularly at the mouth of the Patuxent near the three-legged marker. Local angler John Fuchs landed 18 croaker at this location in one morning. Croaker catches were excellent also at Green Holly, Seven Gables, and between Fishing Point and marker No. 7.
HONGA RIVER AREA -- The river's shallows continue to produce good catches of croaker and small stripers. Most of the stripers ranged from 14-inch throwbacks to 22-inch keepers, and the majority were found from Bentley Point downriver to the pound net stakes. Similar catches were reported by anglers fishing bucktails trimmed with twister tails in the shallows of Bloodsworth and Holland islands.
TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Red drum to 35 pounds and black drum to 50 pounds were found in the guts and sloughs of Smith, South Marsh and Tangier islands, locations where chunks of peeler crab hooked to half-ounce bucktails produced modest numbers of both species during high and ebb tides.
POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Most of the area's charter and private boats have switched from trolling for rockfish to chumming, and most of the activity takes place at the same locations. Chummers caught a mix of striped bass from 18 to 25 inches and bluefish from 12 to 18 inches from chumslicks established just above Smith Point Light at The Triangle, and across the bay along the bay's eastern channel edge near the U.S. Navy Target Ship American Mariner. Anglers fishing from Point Lookout State Park's pier and causeway caught croaker to 20 inches while fishing with squid strips and bait shrimp after sundown.
CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Croaker from 12 to 22 inches remain plentiful at Plantation Flats and down the bay to Kiptopeke Flats, locations where huge numbers of monster croaker were taken while drifting squid strips and pieces of clam early and late in the day. Several monster black drum were caught over the weekend, the largest a 92-pounder taken near buoy C-16 on a sea clam. Several huge red drum to 50 inches were also caught and released along the bay's eastern channel edge, most taken on chunks of peeler crab and cut bunker baits. Flounder to six pounds arrived near Buoy 36A and The Cell, locations where minnow/squid combinations proved highly effective when worked slowly close to the bottom. Flounder to 26 inches were caught at the CBBT, mainly from the submerged boulders of the Third and Fourth Islands, and from to the west from along the edges of the Small Boat Channel. Weakfish to 12 pounds were also found at the same locations.
CAPE HENLOPEN/INDIAN RIVER -- Good catches of flounder were reported at several locations inside Indian River Inlet, mainly just above the Route 1 Bridge where minnow/squid combinations drifted with the ebbing tide lured flatfish to six pounds. Similar size flatties were caught at the mouth of the canal near Cape Henlopen, from the decks of Cape Henlopen Pier, and by small boat anglers fishing both sides of Delaware Bay's mouth.
OCEAN CITY -- Striped bass to 36 inches were taken both from the surf and Route 59 Bridge at night. Those caught from the bridge were taken on Tsunami bucktails tossed near the bridge pilings, while surf caught rockfish were beached using cut bunker baits. Bluefish to 33 inches were caught from Ocean City and Assateague's surf, and somewhat smaller fish to five pounds were found in the back bays. Flounder fishing remains good at The Thoroughfare, where live minnows produced flatties to four pounds. Offshore, headboat anglers loaded their coolers with limit catches of chunky sea bass to more than five pounds. Trollers caught huge numbers of slammer bluefish ranging 10 to 13 pounds at the Jack Spot, First Lump and Bass Grounds.
CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Flounder fishing remains good just inside most inlets, particularly along channel edges where live minnows and squid strips drift-fished during ebb tide lured flatties to eight pounds. A few small stripers were also found in the inlets as well, but keepers were a bit rare. Lots of snapper bluefish both in the nearby surf and the back bays of both locations, while offshore headboat anglers loaded their coolers with a mix of sea bass and tautog.
OUTER BANKS -- Pier and surf anglers caught fair numbers of snapper bluefish, a few speckled trout, sea mullet and some throwback flounder over the holiday weekend. Offshore, on days when the weather cooperated, mixed bags consisting of yellowfin tuna, gaffer dolphin and an occasional wahoo made up much of the action.