By Charlie Taylor
OVERVIEW - Throughout the entire state, waters are seasonally cold and roiled. In addition, most waters,
particularly those with current or tidal movement, have lots of floating debris. All anglers and boaters are cautioned to
be extremely careful and WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKETS. Hypothermia is the leading cause of water-related deaths during this season
of the year.
BEST LOCAL SPOT - Anglers looking for a good time and plenty of action should head for Blue Plains
Sewage Treatment Plant Outfall. Using ultra-light tackle with 4-6# line and a 1/4 oz. Silver Buddy, numerous species may be
taken by casting into the outfall plume and allowing the bait to settle to the bottom. It may take a while as the outfall
will cause it to suspend in the flow and move outward. As it falls through the water column, it may attract a largmouth bass,
striper, catfish, yellow perch or gizzard shad. If it reaches the bottom, take up the slack and drag the bait across the bottom
about 6-12 inches. Drop the rod tip, take up the slack and repeat. The action here should be the same as fishing a plastic
worm on the bottom. All the aforementioned species will hit the bait as it starts moving across the bottom. Although you would
think that you would be snagging the shad, they will take the bait in their mouths. Make sure your drag is set light, as these
fish put up a good fight.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Largemouth bass are being caught by diehard anglers throughout the city. The
bass are orienting to steep dropoffs. Fish the shallows early in the morning. As the sun comes up, shift to fishing the base
of the dropoff, in 10-15 feet of water. In late afternoons, switch to the sun-warmed shallows, preferably along sand or gravel
banks. When fishing the shallows, select small, dark colored plastic grubs or jig 'n pig combinations. The base of the dropoff
should be fished with jig 'n pig or Silver Buddy. Better areas include the Spoils, Washington Channel, Washington Sailing
Marina, 14th Street Bridge pilings, mouth of the Anacostia River, Blue Plains, Oxon Cove, Belle Haven Cove and Fox Ferry.
Crappie are found around the artificial islands in the Spoils and along the seawall in Washington Channel. Try live minnows
or tiny chartreuse power grubs around the floating docks. Adjust the depth to coincide with the bottom of the docks. Crappie
appear to hang just under the docks, searching for minnows feeding on algae on the docks. Channel catfish are being caught
at the discharge from Blue Plains. Both bass and crappie are being caught in the "Duck Pond" (Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary),
with minnows taking the greatest number. The bass are feeding in the trough between the warm water outlet pipes and the viaduct
under the G.W. Parkway, while the crappie are suspended along the bank adjacent to the railroad tracks. Check the trough from
the viaduct to the main river for walleye.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are taking small, slowly fished baits, on the bottom,
adjacent to steep dropoffs, from the middle to the back ends of the creeks. Main river points are also giving up some good
largemouth bass, in addition to white perch, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. Fish across the point from uptide to downtide
sides, in water from 15 to 25 feet deep. Watch the line carefully as the bait drops off the downtide side of the point. This
is where the hit should come. If the line moves at all, set the hook. Some of the better creeks are: Aquia, Mattawoman, Nanjemoy,
and the mouths of Little Hunting and Swan Creeks. Crappie are schooled up around submerged brush piles.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Yellow perch are showing up in the river in force, with only a few large ones at
present. More fat females are showing up every day. Bass may be caught on the bottom on small plastic worms and grubs, fished
very slowly along the rock wall and around the wood structure. Flipping boat docks with tiny grubs and live minnows will produce
livewells full of a wide variety of fish. Patience is the key, along with very slowly fished, small baits. Bass and yellow
perch will be found on the bottom and on humps in the middle of the river, while the crappie will be adjacent to cover or
suspended in open water over humps, etc. Check your depthfinder for schools of fish suspending on the lip of the dropoff into
the river channel. These fish are suckers for Silver Buddies, Shakey Head lures and Drop Shot rigs.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass have moved into deeper water in this lake. Near the dam, the
bass are holding in 15-20 feet of water, off main lake points and secondary points near creek channels. Jig 'n pig, plastic
grubs and live bait are the most successful baits. Uplake, the more successful anglers are taking bass from blowdowns in 12-18
feet of water, on plastic grubs, jig 'n pig, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and live bait. Crappie anglers are fishing live minnows
and tiny jigs in flooded brush, standing timber and over creek channels. Good numbers of crappie are being caught, but sizes
vary widely. Once a school of large crappie is found, stick with it as the school roams around. Most of the fish in the school
will be about the same size.
FARM PONDS AND SMALL LAKES - These small waters, when not iced in, are still giving up bass, crappie
and bluegill to the patient angler. Live baits are best, with minnows being the top choice. Small plastic worms, grubs and
jig 'n pig will produce well for farm pond bass, while tiny jigs and nightcrawlers will take the crappie and bluegill. Don't
neglect the flyrod for presenting small streamers and terrestrials to the middle of a farm pond.
BURKE LAKE - No reports available.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some smallmouth bass are being taken by patient anglers, fishing small bottom-bouncing
baits and live minnows or crayfish. The smallmouth are being found in the deeper holes and on points throughout the river.
For larger fish, try jumbo minnows or small jig 'n pig in the areas around Edwards Ferry or the Seneca Flats. Holes in these
two areas have been producing good smallmouth bass, but nothing in the citation class. Largemouth bass are taking small, slowly
fished artificial and live baits along the banks and around cover in the creeks off the main river. The mouths of Goose Creek
and Broad Run are producing well. Occasional walleye are being taken in the early morning and late evening in the deeper water
off the Maryland shore, just below Edwards Ferry. Drift a small white grub just off the bottom, along this dropoff. Allow
the grub to drift with the current. Do not add any motion to it. When a definite pull is felt, set the hook lightly and bring
the fish in. The mouth of the Dickerson Power Plant warmwater discharge canal is holding good numbers of large channel catfish
as well as some smallmouth bass. Nightcrawlers and live minnows will take both species, while plastic grubs bounced along
the bottom will also take the smallies.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Tidal sections of the river are giving up some good catfish on bottom-fished
cut bait and nightcrawlers, and bass on bottom-fished minnows, jig 'n pig or plastic grubs. Most of the bass are concentrated
in schools on the outside bend dropoffs, adjacent to blowdowns or other structure, while the catfish are located in the deeper
holes of the river. Crappie schools are positioned near submerged brushpiles and will take small minnows or jigs. Yellow perch
are beginning to appear in the river in force, but most of the fish are still small. Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking
minnows, crayfish and bottom-fished artificials. These baits should be fished in the deeper holes and below current-breaking
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Those few anglers out on the river this past week were reporting some smallmouth
bass from the deeper holes below riffles. Most of the anglers were using live minnows, madtoms, crayfish and plastic grubs.
Reports of occasional sunfish and catfish taking madtoms and nightcrawlers.
LAKE ANNA - Fishing is excellent at this nearby impoundment. Schools of shad are roaming the lake
and all the gamefish are feeding heavily upon them. Finding the shad will almost guarantee fish. Start at the Route 208 bridge
and head either way for 100-300 yards. This area should yield at least one large school of shad. Fish under the shad for the
gamefish. Medium to jumbo minnows and Swimbaits are working best for stripers and larger bass. Smaller fish are taking smaller
minnows, small plastic grubs and small Hopkins jigging spoons. Lots of jumbo white perch, yellow perch, and crappie are to
be had in the creeks on jigging spoons, grubs and minnows. Large catfish are still being taken on nightcrawlers, cut bait,
and chicken livers throughout the lake. Trophy bass fishermen should concentrate on main lake points from mid-lake to the
dam. These points should be fished with jumbo minnows, large plastic worms or jig 'n pig baits in deeper water.
JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass are being caught on live minnows in the city and above. Below the city,
the tidal section is producing good numbers of crappie, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Best success is on live minnows,
drifted along the steep dropping banks. Patience is necessary, but good stringers are common. Blue catfish are THE fish for
anglers. The Dutch Gap area is the scene, and cut shad baits, fished on the bottom of the outside bends of the river channel
is the method. Large gar are also being taken.
LAKE CHESDIN - Anglers fishing this lake are reporting few bass, but lots of crappie and a bunch of
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Small bass, catfish, crappie and yellow perch are the fare here. Best action
is centered on the upriver creek mouths, with live minnows on a moving tide, being the best method. Trollers are still catching
stripers throughout the river. Crappie anglers around Walkers Dam are filling coolers on live minnows and tiny jigs.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Anglers are catching lots of bass, crappie and pickerel around the submerged brushpiles
on points. Live minnows are producing well, although crappie jigs are taking numbers of fish after they are located. Large
bass, pickerel and bowfin are being caught deep-jigging.
BACK BAY - Anglers fishing the creeks are catching some bass, stripers and white perch. Crappie anglers
are rewarded with large catches of good sized fish. Yellow perch are moving in, but the majority are small.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Stripers to 15 pounds are being taken in Western Branch Reservoir. Largemouth bass
to eight pounds are also being caught on jumbo minnows. A couple of large gar were also caught last week. Remainder of the
catches included some large yellow perch and a few crappie. Lake Prince reports some large crappie, although numbers are not
there. Nice crappie are also reported at Lake Cohoon, along with some pickerel and small bass. Lakes Smith and Whitehurst
report small bass, a few crappie and some pickerel.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are taking lots of bass on jerk baits, crankbaits, slow rolled
spinnerbaits and live minnows, fished in seven feet of water on grass edges and points. Crappie and yellow perch are showing
well in the catches. Try fishing small minnows in the Beaver huts and other hard cover. Crappie anglers, fishing from the
pier, have done well.
LAKE GASTON - Excellent crappie fishing. Most of the catches are being taken from schools suspended
over creek channels around mid lake. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the key. Some success by striper fishermen using live
bait and large bucktails in the main river channel and below the dam. Some good white perch are reported from the main lake
and from Pea Hill Creek.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Stripers are hitting trolled crankbaits and bucktails in the vicinity of Bluestone
Creek and Clarksville, while the mouths of Rudds and Grassy Creeks are producing stripers on live shad, Storm swim baits and
four inch Sassy Shads. Crappie are thick around bridge pilings and brushpiles. No reports of bass catches this week.
BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Anglers are catching bass in the 4-6 pound range on jumbo
minnows at Briery Creek. In addition, lots of crappie are being caught on small minnows, along with 3-4 pound bass.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper action is in full swing. Lots of good fish are being caught on topwater
baits and live shad throughout the lake. Try the back ends of coves with standing timber on the bottom. When schools of shad
are found, the stripers will be under them. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also being caught on live shad and jig 'n pig
baits, fished on the rocky points throughout the lake. Some white bass, in the two pound class, were caught this past week.
Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish on small minnows.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Live crayfish are taking a few smallmouth bass in the 3-4 pound class, along with
a few walleye and some big crappie. Lots of trout are being caught in the Smith River, on Berkley Power Baits and nightcrawlers.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing for smallmouth bass and stripers is fair to good. Most of the bass are being
taken on live minnows and jig 'n pig, in Dublin Hollow. Crappie fishing is excellent throughout the lake.
LAKE MOOMAW - Bass activity and resulting catches are improving. Jigging Silver Buddies or Hopkins
spoons, and fishing with jig 'n pig and live minnows are the better methods. Crappie and yellow perch activity is also on
the increase, mainly on live minnows. A few trout in the 3-4 pound class have been caught, deep trolling.
TROUT STREAMS - Water levels are ideal but conditions are mixed. Sticking to the larger streams will
result in trout catches. Be careful as banks are fairly slick due to the earlier rains.