Warm weather, rising water temperatures, hungry fish, light tackle and a short distance to travel could well be the ticket for good angling this week end. Bass, crappie and bluegill fishing will improve as warmer water boosts fish metabolisms and starts them moving again into the shallows.
Bass are attracted to structures that provide cover. Look for them under overhanging branches or near submerged rocks, trees or debris.
When the fish come into the shallows it's time to think about light tackle - fly rods and light spinning outfits. Light tackle has the advantage of letting the angler work more delicately and with less disturbance. We have all seen instances where heavy gear puts wary dish off the feed. And light tackle gives more sport; the fish can run, dive and dance all over the water because you can't horse them in.
Many anglers doubt big fish can be taken effectively on light tackle, but Mike Farnham of Laurel is one who for years has proven otherwise.
"Everyone thinks of a fly rod as a trout rod," Farnham said. Last weekend he nailed a 7 1/2 - pound great northern pike at Rocky Gorge on a streamer fly. The fish about dragged him around the lake.
For fly fishing a lake you need a long rod, at least 8 1/2 feet, that will cast an eight or nine weight line. Such tackle is necessary to punch out long casts to cover the water, particularly when the wind picks up. If you want a light tackle spinning outfit, you generally look for a shorter, softer rod.
Farnham said improved water conditions will make a big difference at large area reservoirs, which have been a bit cold for fishing recently.
There are plently of "backyard" bass as well as other game fish in the Washington area. Tridelphia/Rocky Gorge, Liberty, Loch Raven, Burke Lake, Occoquan, Lake Manassas and Lake Anna all offer good bass fishing that should be picking up.
On top of that there are countless small ponds that warm up faster than the larger lakes, so the fish move into the shallows a little sooner.