Fish varieties increase as we March into spring
There’s no way to hide it. March is here, and even if day and night temperatures still can be on the cold side, the numbers of fish species that local and distant anglers now go after are increasing daily.
It begins, of course, with the current run of spawning yellow perch that are caught on shad darts, jigs, plastic grubs, real grass shrimp and live minnows in Maryland’s Wicomico River in Charles County (Route 235, Allen’s Fresh). Some white perch are showing up there as well. Add the Nanjemoy Creek (off Route 425, Friendship Landing Road, Charles County) where yellow and slowly increasing numbers of white perch are present. Ditto for the Patuxent River upstream of Jackson’s Landing near Western Branch in Prince George’s County, also upstream of Hill’s Bridge. By now, the perch also should be in the middle and upper Mattawoman Creek in Charles County.
Yellow perch can be caught in Virginia’s Occoquan River, upstream of the Interstate 95 crossing, also in the backwater coves below Belle Haven Marina in Alexandria. In the Northern Neck of Virginia, check out Nomini Bay and Nomini Creek (off the tidal Potomac south of Colonial Beach). Farther down the Routes 301/2 corridor in Hanover County, the Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers can hold plenty of spawning yellow perch if they can get through the many fallen trees and branches that choke these little waterways. A Virginia road map can show lower areas of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi where you might launch a johnboat.
Trout stocking in Charles County — Tom Roland, the man in charge of fishing facilities and green spaces in Charles County, passes along word that Friday, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is scheduled to deliver 960 golden and rainbow trout to the county-owned Wheatley Lake in Gilbert Run Park on Route 6, east of La Plata. For Southern Maryland residents who mostly go after tidal-water species, this is a wonderful freshwater fishing opportunity. To join the action, anglers will need a Maryland freshwater fishing license and a trout stamp. During March, the park gates are open on weekends, but walk-in visits are permitted weekdays during daylight hours.”
Tidal Potomac bass are willing— More than one bass boater in the general Washington area has been scoring nicely on the largemouth bass in the upper tidal waters of the Potomac River. It begins with the Fox Ferry Point and Spoils Cove waters above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, where plastic grubs, jig’n’pig lures, even deep-running crankbaits have scored on bass. The same stretch of river also gives up slab-size crappies.
Bass will look at an avocado-color Mann’s Sting Ray grub or deep-running ounce crankbait from the edges of Hog Island and down at Fort Washington Light as well as the deeper insides of every cove and feeder creek below the Piscataway Creek.
Blue catfish go after bottom baits — If it’s blue catfish you’re after, slabs of cut fish stuck on 7/0 circle hooks and dropped into 20 and 30 feet of water bottom with 3 or 4 ounces of weight will attract the “cats” just outside the Piscataway Creek, also in the big river bend opposite the Fenwick and Greenway flats as well as the stretch of river from the Vepco Possum Point Power Plant down to the Quantico Marine Base’s marina.
Lake Gaston’s stripers active— Dez Rubesch, who lives along the shores of Virginia’s Lake Gaston, sent us several photos of landlocked stripers that he’s caught. In fact, he’s been hooking the freshwater rockfish all winter long. “Lately, I’ve been catching them at the mouth of Great Creek in 15 to 25 feet of water, mostly on white bucktails,” Rubesch said. The water temperature generally stays around the 50-degree mark.
Tautogs are tasty catch in ocean waters — From Virginia Beach, the fishing dentist, Dr. Ken Neill, has been hooking tautogs in Virginia’s offshore waters. Several days ago, Neill sent a message that began, “We went back out after ’togs today. It was rough early [but] the ’togs didn’t care. We ended up catching 43. Six of them had previously been tagged.” The fish bit clam, blue crab and fiddlers. One of the tautogs, caught by Roger Burnley, weighed well over 9 pounds.
Lower Bay gives up stripers— The best lady angler in Virginia, Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com), said things have been too windy for relaxed fishing in the lower Chesapeake and adjacent Atlantic Ocean. Along with the blustery weather, she adds that most ocean striped-bass reports now are less than glamorous. “Persistent anglers are coming across a few fish on the troll from Cape Henry down to False Cape,” she said, but added, “Within the Chesapeake Bay, plenty of school-sized fish are [found] along with fish up to about 30 pounds.” It’s hard to believe, but top-water lure casters are finding action at the Hampton Roads Bridge-tunnel and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-tunnel.