Reel Report: Not a bad location to wet a line this weekend

Dove and early resident Canada goose seasons open on Saturday, but with the kids going back to school next week, you’ll probably want to spend as much time on the water this weekend as the weather allows.

There are plenty of places to wet a line and, honestly, there’s not a bad location in the bunch.

Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, there’s a very good chance you’ll be doing some catching when you’re fishing this weekend.

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — According to Anthony Hancock, manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, conditions haven’t changed much with the heat wave we experienced this week.

Hancock recommends getting to the park when it opens (7 a.m. weekends, 8 a.m. weekdays) or fishing in the evening just before the park closes (7 p.m. starting Sept. 1).

The bass are biting well on topwaters early in the morning, but soon after the sun rises above the tree tops the bass and even the other panfish swim for cover. Fish are hiding near low-hanging trees, under laydown logs and around docks and piers.

Fishing near a steep drop-off is a good idea (hint: the side of the lake where the boat ramp is located has the deeper drop-offs).

During the heat of the day, you might be able to entice a bass to attack a slow-moving plastic lure in a natural color.

Patuxent River — Bottom fishermen are catching the summertime trio of croaker, spot and white perch with bloodworms being the bait of choice, although peeler crab and shrimp will work too.

I spent a few hours crabbing with the kids on Cuckold Creek a few days ago and we couldn’t keep up. The crabs were heavy and plentiful.

Some decent rockfish mixed in with shorts can be found by lure casters in the early morning and at sunset.

Potomac River — Scott Johnson of SJ Fishing Adventures (240-625-2550, said the upper Potomac continues to run above typical summer levels and fishing has been fair.

Johnson recommends trying spinnerbaits near grass beds, shallow riffles and the tops of ledges and islands or crankbaits around submerged ledges and flats of chunk rock that have current. When the bite slows, wacky-rigged Senkos keep the activity going.

Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) reports that higher-than-normal water levels mean many of the lures you wouldn’t normally be able to use because of the grass are now in play. You’ll need to cover lots of water because fish are spread out.

For the tidal region, Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) said sparse grasses on flats along the main river or in bays have bass that respond to slowly-worked plastic worms. Look for bait activity or diving birds picking up crayfish to indicate active grass beds.

Boat docks unencumbered by thick grasses are places larger-than-average bass like to dwell. Plastic worms or jig-and-craw combos will get their attention. Marsh run-offs in creeks continue to produce bass that will strike a floating jerk bait or jig worm.

LOU guide Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) said the best fishing lately has been on a low tide since it pushes all the fish out to the edges of inaccessible grass fields.

It’s been tough fishing when there’s high barometric pressure as evidenced by clear, cloudless days, even affecting the snakehead bite. A change in weather should stir things up.

Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Both rivers are running higher than normal, according to Johnson.

This week, grass beds and ledges near shorelines have been producing a lot of fish on a variety of lures. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits provided higher numbers and bigger fish.

With a river complex as large as this one, if the fishing is slow he recommends trying a different section.

See Johnson’s recent catches on Facebook or Instagram @sjfishingadventures.

Lake Anna (Va.) — According to McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Service (540-894-9144), the summer pattern for bass has remained relatively unchanged. With lake temperatures in the high 80s, early mornings and as the sun is setting are the best times for topwater fishing.

From now until November is a good time to catch white perch, a tasty fish that schools heavily. Use a 1/4-ounce spoon or small crankbait in 10 to 18 feet of water when the depth finder lights up or you see them breaking.

Take note that the Dike III Fishing Access site will be closed Sept. 10 to 14.

Chesapeake Bay — A buddy of mine took a couple of kids out fishing earlier this week to enjoy a day on the water before they go back to school, and the Target Ships didn’t disappoint.

They caught quite a few nice-sized bluefish along with one Spanish mackerel trolling with spoons. It was such a good time they headed back out the next day, this time closer to the Virginia side off the mouth of the Potomac near Smith Point Marina and had similar luck.

Live-lining is a good way to catch rockfish with the rockpiles just north of Point Lookout and the vicinity of Point No Point the places to be.

Atlantic Ocean — Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle at the Cape Henlopen State Park (Del.) fishing pier (302-645-2722) reports that the spot bite has been hot. They ran out of bloodworms earlier this week but are restocked and ready for the weekend.

Capt. Monty Hawkins on the headboat Morning Star (410-520-2076) has had several anglers limit out on flounder lately. The fish weren’t picky as squid, clam, Gulp and cut bait all caught fish on an artificial reef.

Many boats are finding lots of white marlin action out in the canyons.

Tip of the week

With temperatures returning to typical late-August conditions, anglers should fish the shallow waters early and late and target deeper, cooler, more oxygenated waters during the heat of the day.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has a new online resource to help anglers find the most productive areas to fish. For more information, go to


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