Fish Lines

What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- Anglers caught very few bass in Piscataway Creek, Mount Vernon, Greenway Flats and Pomonkey Creek. Mattawoman Creek provided fair bass action, however some form of beetle has been destroying spatterdock growths. Fish within the 6-mph sector and target the grass edges and wood cover with soft plastics and spinnerbaits. Channel catfish to six pounds are everywhere you drop a night crawler or chunk of cut herring. Many have been caught from the shores of Fletcher's Landing and Washington Channel, and some monster carp can be found mixed with the catties. Whole kernel, yellow, canned corn lured carp to 20 pounds from the same locations, particularly early and late in the day. The secret to catching the carp is to chum the area by broadcasting a small handful of corn where you intend to fish. It won't take the carp very long to find the corn, and eventually they'll pick up your corn-baited hook. Use only enough sinker to hold bottom in the river's current and you should have lots of fun battling these bruisers.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- Smallmouth bass action remains slow throughout much of the river's upper reaches. Anglers reported catching fair numbers of smaller fish at Whites Ferry, Edwards Ferry, Point of Rocks and Lander from the river's near 90 degree waters. Most were taken on small tube lures and tiny, stream-size crankbaits fished near deeply submerged ledges.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA.) -- The river is low, warm and difficult to fish, especially from a boat. The best week's action came from Conowingo Lake's upper reaches and Holtwood Pool, locations where live minnows lip hooked to tiny shad darts and cast at the base of riffles lured bronzebacks to three pounds. Most of these fish were caught at dawn, and again just before sundown. Channel catfish remain plentiful near the mouth of Muddy Creek, inside Broad Creek and the mouth of Conowingo Creek, locations where bottom-fished night crawlers and live minnows were effective. Lots of big carp in both lakes, some in the 30-pound category.


TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Westminster, Md., resident Brian Rupp was fishing Triadelphia Reservoir last week with a plastic worm when he hooked and landed a 5-pound 8-ounce largemouth bass. Earl Burdette of Laurel tried his luck casting a crankbait at the same location and bagged a 5-pound 9-ouncer last Saturday.

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Perch fishing remains good throughout the lake's middle reaches, with many fish ranging from 10 to 13 inches. Most smacked inline spinnerbaits trimmed with a small piece of night crawler, but a few were taken on small streamer flies cast near the edges of grass beds. Lots of largemouths caught during the past week's tournaments, with winning weights approaching 30 pounds for five-fish limits. Crappie fishing remains slow, but should improve when water temperatures begin to fall.


LAKE ANNA -- Lots of largemouths lurking in the lake's shallows early and late in the day, times when water temperatures can be down as much as 5 to 8 degrees below daytime highs, which is still in the low 90s. This is the time to plug depths of three to seven feet with soft plastics, shallow-running crankbaits and pig-N-jig combinations. Louisa, Va., resident Trey Perrin hooked and landed a 4-pound 7-ouncer during the past week, while local resident Darren Bache and Larry Meadows returned to the docks with a 10-pound 10-ounce stringer of chunky bass. Striped bass action was good for trollers. The fish are in the main lake, scattered from Dike I to Stubbs, and along the channel edges near Holiday Bridge. The best concentrations were reported from The Splits to Rose Valley, and Jett Island. Lots of schools everywhere, most holding in waters of 20 to 30 feet. Crappie to 12 inches continue to lurk in the shadows of bridges and deepwater piers, where tiny shad darts trimmed with chartreuse twister tails produced great results.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river is in excellent shape for float fishing, lots of very small bass around, most measuring five to eight inches long. Tiny, stream-size crankbaits, tube lures and shad imitations produced the best action early and late in the day in deeper pools near submerged ledges. Fair numbers of small catfish in the Bentonville Bridge area, but panfish action has been slower than usual this time of year.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- The Susquehanna River's lower reaches produced good catches of tidewater largemouth bass, despite water temperatures that limited the action to very early in the day. Bass to four pounds smacked Bass Assassins, shallow-running crankbaits and tube lures rigged to quarter-ounce leadheads and fished tight against submerged boulders and grass beds near Robert, Spencer and Garrett islands. Striped bass have been scarce in the Susquehanna River, but the numbers seem to be increasing at the Susquehanna Flats. Local charter captains attribute this to two factors, the emergence of a variety of aquatic grasses, and excellent water clarity created by the abundance of freshwater clams. Most of the stripers caught during the past week were 18 to 24 inches and smacked small topwater plugs, Bass Assassins and shallow-running crankbaits cast near the edges of grass beds in the middle of the flats. This area can be fished only from the decks of small boats during high tide. When the tide begins to recede, there's a good chance you'll run hard aground unless you move to deeper water. Tidewater largemouth bass to six pounds were also found in the same location, fish that frequently smacked lures intended for stripers. The nearby channels of the North East, Elk, Sassafras, Bohemia and Bush rivers hold lots of channel catfish to five pounds, fish that readily gobbled down chunks of cut herring, night crawlers, clam snouts and night crawlers fished on the bottom. Trollers and chummers alike reported limit catches of striped bass ranging from 12-inch throwbacks to 35-inch monsters while fishing Hickory Thickets, Belvedere Shoal, Mud Flats, Dumping Grounds and the mouth of Chester River.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- White perch to 10 inches were found among the old span's pilings on the eastern shore side of the bridge between pilings No. 34 and No. 57. Bloodworms, imitation worms, clam snout, squid strips and chunks of peeler crab all were effective for perch when fished during the first few hours of ebb tide. Eastern Bay's white perch action was good for weekend anglers drifting strips of razor clam and imitation bloodworms along the channel edges between Kent Narrows and Parson's Island. Recreational crabbing catches were outstanding, especially for early morning crabbers using trot lines and collapsible traps baited with chicken necks.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river's shallows continue to hold good numbers of stripers ranging from 12 to 22 inches, fish that readily smacked small bucktails trimmed with four-inch twister tails, chunks of peeler crab and shallow-running crankbaits worked in depths of two to five feet. The best action was found at Cook and Todd points, and upriver along the river's channel edges near Chancellor Point. White perch remain plentiful near the old Airplane Wreck and upriver at Castle Haven.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Charter boat anglers returned to the docks with mixed bags of striped and bluefish while trolling Herring Bay and Parker's Creek, with tandem bucktails and surgical hose tube lures. Most of the stripers were 18 to 26 inches long, while the bluefish were 12 to 18 inches. A few weakfish were caught using the same rigs.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- The river's lower and middle reaches continue to produce excellent numbers of white perch and spot, both of which smacked bottom-fished imitation bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab fished during periods of moving tide. Just outside the river's mouth at the Chinese Muds, Cedar Point Hollow and Cedar Point Rip, scattered pods of breaking bluefish and small stripers provided lots of light tackle and fly fishing action for those willing to chase the flocks of diving gulls foraging on the leftover scraps.

HONGA RIVER AREA -- Rockfish, weakfish and snapper bluefish accounted for the best weekend catches near Richland Point and across the bay near the Targets. Most of the weakfish were throwbacks, but a few fish to 17 inches were found along the bay's channel edges.

TANGIER SOUND AREA -- Spot, small croaker and a few keeper weakfish dominated the bottom-fishing action in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds where bottom-fished chunks of peeler crab, squid strips and imitation bloodworms were effective. Some of the charter boats running from Crisfield continue to catch limits of striped bass to 22 inches while chumming at the Northwest Middle Grounds, and there have been bluefish to 28 inches showing up in the slicks with the stripers.

POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- Shorebound anglers fishing from Point Lookout State Park at night caught a mix of small croaker, spot, snapper bluefish and a few rockfish while fishing with cut menhaden, chunks of peeler crab and imitation bloodworms. Bluefish to 31 inches slammed surgical hose eels fished near the Southwest Middle Grounds, and there have been good numbers of Spanish mackerel mixed with the blues. The bluefish run in this part of the bay has been a bit later than usual, and the fish have been exceptionally large, averaging five to seven pounds. There are still a few croaker and spot at the Southwest Middle Grounds, and schools of mackerel have arrived at Smith Point Bar.

CAPE CHARLES AREA -- Still lots of big flounder being caught at The Cell and Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel's manmade islands, many of which tipped the scales at five to eight pounds. Local angler John Wandrick hauled in the week's largest flattie, a 30-inch, 12-pound 2-ounce behemoth that was caught at the bridge-tunnel's high-rise bridge. Still lots of one- to two-pound croaker around with an occasional fish topping the three-pound mark. Cobia seem to be exiting the bay, but a couple of 50-pounders were hauled from Lattimer Shoals and the Inner Middle Grounds.

Atlantic Coast

CAPE HENLOPEN/INDIAN RIVER -- A 20-pound barracuda was caught on lightweight spinning tackle by a local angler plug casting near Delaware Lightship Buoy last week, and the same location also produced a half-dozen king mackerel. Closer to shore at Site II and DB Buoy, good catches of 12- to 16-inch sea bass and some keeper flounder were made while drift-fishing with squid strips during ebb tide.

OCEAN CITY -- The bluewater fleet reported incredible white marlin action at all the canyons, some with up to four fish tagged and released on a single trip. The fish boxes are then filled with a mix of bigeye tuna to 150 pounds, yellowfin tuna to 30 pounds, king mackerel, and at least one swordfish was brought back to the docks last weekend. Headboat anglers boated a mix of big flounder, sea bass and some broad shouldered tautog, all taken on bottom-fished squid strips.

CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Bluefin tuna to 100 pounds continue to haunt the Lumpy Bottom and Parking Lot where cut butterfish baits produced hour-long battles for anglers using stand-up tuna outfits. Trollers using rigged ballyhoo and spreader bars returned to the docks with a mix of bluefin tuna to 115 pounds, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mid-size dolphin, fish caught at the Rock Pile and Washington Canyon.

OUTER BANKS -- Pier anglers reported a couple of big cobia were decked at nearly every pier from Nags Head south to Hatteras Island during the past week, but the best action has been offshore where huge numbers of white marlin were tagged and released by both the Oregon and Hatteras inlet charter fleets. Several boats reported tagging up to a dozen whites, and a couple of blues on a single day. Yellowfin tuna to 30 pounds and bigeye tuna to 120 pounds were also among the past weekend's offshore catches.