Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- District of Columbia water, Mattawoman Creek and bridge structure near Leesylvania State Park provided the best tidewater largemouth bass action during the week. A few hefty largemouths were caught and released at Key Bridge and Long Bridge, mainly by anglers tossing tube lures and deep-diving crankbaits close to pilings. Washington Channel's drop-off near Fort McNair and the old underwater piers between the Anacostia and Bolling have been fairly productive as well for chunky largemouths. In the Woodrow Wilson Bridge area, deep-diving crankbaits fished in front of the Spoils, parallel to the barges and at South Point in Smoot Bay were effective at high and ebb tides. Boat docks south of Belle Haven Marina are inundated with milfoil and hydrilla, but some big bass are available when you can access the area, primarily during peak periods of high tide. Piscataway Creek has been pounded by anglers through much of the summer, but you can still take some quality bass during high tide while casting stickbaits. Mattawoman Creek was very good, although the spatterdock stands are ill-looking. The grass and wood cover within the 6 mph zone provided excellent largemouth bass action, particularly early and late in the day during high tides. If you're looking for big channel catfish and monster carp, this is the time to catch them. Bottom-fished chicken livers, cut herring, night crawlers and squid strips lured catties to 13 pounds from the river's channel edges near Fletcher's Landing and Washington Channel. The same locations also provided anglers with carp to 30 pounds, behemoths that slurped down bottom-fished night crawlers and hooks baited with canned, whole-kernel yellow corn. While the carp are not good to eat, they put up an incredible battle on medium action spinning gear.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- The river is low, some segments are a muddy green from algae blooms and nutrient overload, and overall, smallmouth bass fishing was slow. Several anglers fishing traditional smallmouth hotspots at Whites Ferry, Edwards Ferry, Lander, Point of Rocks, Brunswick and Dam No. 4 said catches consisted mainly of fish measuring five to seven inches, and very few of them.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- Scattered catches of smallmouth bass were made by casting tiny leadheads trimmed with one-inch chartreuse twister tails and live minnows in Conowingo Lake's upper reaches. Most fish were found at the mouth of Muddy Creek upstream to Holtwood Dam, and the majority were taken after sunrise and before sundown. Lots of channel catfish in the same vicinity, most weighing one to three pounds. Bottom-fished night crawlers lured larger catfish and fair numbers of fat bluegill.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- It was a relatively quiet week at both impoundments, with catches consisting mainly of white perch, sunfish, channel catfish and an occasional bass. A week or two of cooler, drier weather would go a long way to improve fishing conditions.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- The past weekend's bass tournament provided some impressive stringers of broad-shouldered largemouth bass, most averaging three or more pounds. The majority were taken from steep drop-offs and near the edges of dense grass beds while casting spinnerbaits and tube lures. White perch remain plentiful throughout the impoundment's middle reaches, but most of these fish measured just six to eight inches. Very few larger fish have been available since warmer weather hit. Bottom-fished night crawlers lured some bullhead catfish and carp from the deeper coves, while beneath Dulaney Valley Bridge, live minnows produced an occasional crappie to 10 inches.


LAKE ANNA -- Most of the lake's largemouth bass have migrated to deeper waters, and uplake areas where cooler water from Pomonkey Creek and Anna River enter the impoundment. Most of the larger fish caught during the past week were found along the lake's channel edges and mouths of creeks, locations where depths rapidly fall to 25 or 30 feet. Striped bass catches remain impressive, particularly for trollers using deep-diving crankbaits and trolling the lake's channel edges. Crappie are still stacked beneath bridges and deepwater piers, where two-inch grubs rigged to one-eighth-ounce leadheads lured slabsides to 12 inches.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river is providing relatively good catches of small smallmouth bass -- most measuring four to six inches -- fish that are lots of fun on ultralite spinning and fly fishing gear. Water flows at Bentonville Bridge were above seasonal levels, providing good conditions for both rafting and float-fishing.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The Susquehanna River's lower reaches provided anglers with good numbers of channel catfish, but striped bass are as scarce as hen's teeth. Most of the catties range two to four pounds and smacked bottom-fished night crawlers and chicken livers in the deeper waters near Lapidum Landing and across the river near Port Deposit. Downriver, plug casters founder a few tidewater largemouths lurking among the submerged boulders and trees at Garrett Island's northern end, and grass beds along the southern shore. Channel catfish to 12 pounds smacked cut herring and chicken liver baits near Red, Rocky and Turkey points, while imitation bloodworms lured white perch to 10 inches at the same locations. Trollers had good catches of striped bass to 34 inches while dragging tandem rigged Tsunami bucktails near Pooles Island, Peach Orchard, Mud Flats, Hickory Thickets, Love Point Light, Belvedere Shoals and Swan Point Bar. Fair numbers of bluefish to four pounds were also caught at the same locations while trolling small, red, surgical hose eels rigged with a four-ounce inline sinker and 20 feet of heavy mono leader.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- White perch to eight inches remain secluded among the submerged boulders of the twin span's manmade islands, where imitation bloodworms and bait shrimp produced fair catches for anglers. A few keeper stripers and blue can be found at the same location, mainly north of the bridges near the main shipping channel edges, where they're foraging on schools of menhaden and bay anchovy. Small jigging spoons such as Stingsilvers tossed into the schools of baitfish usually draw strikes as they fall toward bottom. White perch remain plentiful in Eastern Bay and Kent Narrows, where bottom-fished bloodworm imitations and strips of razor clam lured perch to 11 inches during the past few days. Perch ranging eight to 12 inches were found at the mouth of Wye River, Crab Alley Bay and along Eastern Bay's channel edge from Kent Narrows south to Parson's Island. Recreational crabbing in the same area was good, with many crabbers reporting limit catches in just a few hours.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- While there were a few croaker caught near the river's mouth during the day, at night the same location provided bottom fishermen with great action on larger croaker, spot, snapper bluefish and a few keeper-size weakfish. Flounder catches are still slower than normal at the river's mouth, but this should improve as the season progresses. Upriver, anglers fishing from the decks of the Route 50 bridge fishing piers caught a mix of small white perch, spot, an occasional croaker and even a few keeper-size rockfish. Nearly all were taken on bloodworms and bloodworm imitations late in the day and at night.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Local charter boats returned to the docks with limit catches of striped bass and loads of bluefish to four pounds, all of which were taken while chumming with ground menhaden. Headboat anglers fishing at night filled their coolers with a mix of croaker, spot, a few weakfish and snapper bluefish. It has been a good week for anglers fishing from this port.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Spot are plentiful in the Patuxent River from Benedict to the river's mouth and in the bay at the Chinese Muds. They're mixed in size and will take bottom-fished bloodworms or Fishbites' Bag 'O Worms substitute. Top locations include Hawk's Nest in the mouth of Cuckold Creek, Drum Point, Seven Gables, Town Creek, Green Holly, the Three Legged Marker, Point Patience and most of the river's shallow shoals. White perch remain plentiful in the river's small to medium-size tributaries, where Beetle Spins trimmed with bloodworms and imitations lured some hefty perch. Trollers and chummers alike caught lots of bluefish and fair numbers of keeper-size striped bass while working schools of breaking fish along the bay's channel edges. The largest fish seem to be a bit to the south near Point Lookout.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Mixed schools of breaking rockfish and bluefish dominated weekend action along the bay's eastern channel edge, mainly in an area stretching from Hoper Island Light south to the U.S. Navy target ship American Mariner. Most of these fish were 16 to 22 inches and slammed tiny surface plugs, jigging spoons and small bucktails tossed among the melee.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Headboat and charter-boat anglers bottom fishing in Tangier Sound late in the day came back with coolers filled with a mix of small croaker, mid-size to jumbo spot, snapper bluefish, a few weakfish and even an occasional flounder.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- The charter fleet had a great week of chumming for bluefish along the bay's eastern channel edge near the Southwest Middle Grounds. While there were fair numbers of striped bass caught at the same location, the more aggressive bluefish outnumbered them by a 10 to 1 margin and catching a limit of keeper-size stripers has become increasingly difficult. Spot continue to be plentiful in the Potomac River at Ragged Point, Cornfield Harbor, Piney Point and most everywhere in between. Spot and perch are the mainstay in the mouth of the Wicomico. Boat rentals at Quade's in Bushwood were brisk during the past week, and anglers loaded up on a mix of spot, perch and croaker while dunking squid strips, bloodworms and bloodworm imitations.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Lots of smaller croaker everywhere you drop of piece of squid or clam; most, however, measure only eight to 12 inches. Flounder to eight pounds smacked live minnows and squid strips drifted inshore or Buoy 42 near The Cell, while a short distance to the east, fair numbers of red drum to 38 inches were caught and released. Cobia to 70 pounds were boated at Lattimer Shoal and the Inner Middle Grounds by anglers chumming with ground menhaden and floating chunks of cut menhaden in chum slicks. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel anglers found good numbers of big spadefish at the manmade islands, the largest topping 10 pounds.

Atlantic Coast

CAPE HENLOPEN/INDIAN RIVER -- Lots of striped bass in Indian River Inlet, most measuring 28 inches or larger, and the majority were taken on live eels and Tsunami bucktails fished just east of the Route 1 bridge during late afternoon and early evening.

OCEAN CITY -- This is the week of the White Marlin Open, the nation's highest dollar fishing tournament. The right combination of entries can easily put a $1 million paycheck in the hand of the angler that brings in the largest white marlin. During the past week billfish action at the canyon edges and along the 50 fathom line was good, with both white marlin and blue marlin tagged and released every day. Yellowfin tuna action has been hit-or-miss, but if you can find a weedline or patch of floating debris, the odds of catching lots of bailer dolphin are good. Bluefin tuna to 150 pounds slammed cut butterfish baits drifted in chum slicks at the Parking Lot and Lumpy Bottom, while at the Jack Spot bluefin tuna to 60 pounds and slammer bluefish to eight pounds dominated the action for chummers. Headboat anglers caught fair numbers of chunky sea bass, but limit catches were rare during the past week.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Still good numbers of croaker at both inlets, most measuring eight to 12 inches and slamming bottom-fished squid strips drifted during periods of moving tide.

OUTER BANKS -- Surf fishing remains slow, with mixed catches of sea mullet, spot, croaker, snapper bluefish, flounder and a few pompano. Pier anglers fared a bit better with catches of larger croaker, Spanish mackerel, a few cobia, and even an occasional king mackerel. Offshore, billfish action was good for both the Oregon Inlet and Hatteras Inlet fleets.