Guide Ken Penrod, owner of Life Outdoors Unlimited, filed his weekly bass fishing report for the region's waters.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: three stars; clear, pea green color; algae beginning to show up; 2 feet at Point of Rocks; 74 degrees.
Smallmouth bass fishing has been very good although most of our fish have been rather small. Fifty to sixty bass per guided trip is the norm and while we do find some bass with sores and stress evidence, the vast majority seem to be healthy and well fed. Most of the larger females in the 15- to 18-inch class are rather skinny as they recover from post-spawn stress.
At Edwards Ferry, the ledges just downstream, Goose Creek, the Maryland side of the river near the power lines and Harrison Island on the Maryland side offer consistent catches when Mizmo tubes are presented on 1/8th ounce RAP jig heads. A four-inch Case Magic Stik with a 3/0 VMC hook is deadly most days. It's important to use green Sufix monofilament in 6- or 8-pound test on a spinning reel.
At White Ferry, we continue to do best upriver, especially in the middle of the river, using the same lures and offerings. I hate to sound like a camp-mom but boaters MUST beware the ferry cable. Wait until the ferry is on one side or the other and navigate through the middle.
From Lander to Brunswick, we do quite well with the above mentioned schemes, especially up river. I like submersed ledges, where we overcast the structure and allow the current to deliver the tube or Stik. This water is getting low, so be careful. Best tube colors include Penrod Purple, KP Rose; KP V8 and roadkill Camo.
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: three to four stars: near 80 degrees: full moon tides; stained from wind and boats.
Largemouth bass fishing continues to be good to excellent in many areas of the river but don't count on last year's data. Many of last year's vegetation fields are much smaller but hydrilla has not dominated yet. Grass is still the go-to habitat. Shallow, submersed wood cover in and near vegetation is almost a sure thing. Last week was full-moon dominated causing very high and low tides. Case Plastics, especially Case Magic Stiks, attached to VMC 3/0 hooks on Sufix Deep Crankin' mono is a formula for success when everything else fails. Rapala DT06 crankbaits and Clackin' Raps get the job done. We do very well with 4-inch Mizmo tubes attached to a ¼ ounce Mizmo InSider for any dropoff and in sparse grass. The shallow dive Rapala square-bill crankbaits do very well over grass during high water.
In and around Washington, troll Rapala Thug crankbaits in the Washington Channel, along the Fort McNair side, in 10-15 feet of water for bass and rockfish. Don't get too close to that wall or you will be arrested. There are smallmouth bass on Long Bridge foundations and on the Kennedy Center dropoff.
In the vicinity of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, try Fox Ferry Point on low tide, submersed barges near the bridge, subtle points in Smoot Bay, coves near Belle Haven Marina, grass cover in Broad Creek and boat docks south of Hog Island.
In Piscataway Creek and south, try grass in Dogue Creek and Gunston Cove. The mouth of Pomonkey and the creek itself is well worth time. Little creeks in Hallowing Cove and main river grass near George's house are productive. Grass beds in Occoquan and Belmont Bay have really come alive and don't hesitate to cast Big Mouth Chatterbaits with swimbait trailers.
In Mattawoman Creek and vicinity, the "6-mph" zone is not so good although snakeheads abound. The grass between Snake Island and the confluence was not up to par, but wind had much to do with that. There are small, narrow grass beds between Chickamuxen and Mallows Bay that hold quality bass and it looks like Aquia Creek grass is healthy again—and abounds with snakeheads.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: two stars; high 60s; clean; normal pool. Guides Brent Nelson and Bret Winegardner are having problems locating largemouth bass and we hope it's due to post-spawn stress rather than the fairly serious fish kill of last year. Find smallmouth bass along the Deep Creek Lake State Park shoreline as well as rocky shores on the main stem toward the dam. Mizmo tubes Rapala crankbaits and drop-shot plastics work well. Look for largemouth at boat docks and grass beds in the upper portions of the lake.
SUSQUEHANNA and JUNIATA RIVERS: three stars; main river on west shore muddy without explanation; 70s; 4.38 feet at Harrisburg and steady; 4.2 feet at Newport on the Juniata and steady.
LOU guide Mike Breeding is catching plenty of bass of all sizes along the east shore above the campground as well as in the Juniata. Campground Special tubes, Case Stiks, Big Mouth spinnerbaits and Rattlin' Rapalas have been our most productive lures.