Perch quite the catch despite cold spell


The paths to the creek are well-worn this time of year, when the white perch are running and a bucket brigade of fishermen are chasing.

And even in this broad, shallow Anne Arundel County backwater fed from the Chesapeake Bay by an entrance channel 5 feet wide at high tide, fishermen have been catching white perch and walking out with buckets heavy or stringers full.

"Little slow today, though," retiree Darryl Clough said yesterday, as he fished a sheltered cove. "Windy. Cold. Might make a short time of it today."

Clough sat on a picnic table set out in the shallows, away from the shoreline bramble. A rickety bridge of stumps, logs and planks led to the end of a path on shore, where a five-gallon bucket held a half-dozen perch and a cooler held the day's six-pack of drinks and cold chicken.

"But if that wind'll go down a little, wouldn't be bad out here 'tal," Clough said, as the float on his line sank and he set the hook on another white perch. " 'specially if the perch will keep cooperating."

Around the point, along a wind-swept stretch of creek that had been studded with fishermen through the weekend, the shoreline was empty.

The unusual mid-week cold snap has put a damper on perch fishing in some areas, and through the weekend temperatures are expected to be below normal with showers in the early forecasts.

Still, from the Susquehanna to the Nanticoke, white perch fishing has been good in state tidal waters, and reports indicate that catfish action has turned on in many tributaries.

Among the good areas for white perch are the Denton and Red Bridges areas of the Choptank, the Tuckahoe Lake below the spillway, the Susquehanna downstream from Conowingo Dam, lower Patapsco and Patuxent in the Waysons Corner area.

The lower Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, Choptank and Chester rivers all have been good for catfish.

According to Ken Penrod, who runs the Life Outdoors Unlimited guide service, bass fishing in the upper Potomac River from Hancock to Seneca has been fair to good depending on the weather.

"When the weather has been stable we catch 40 to 50 bass per trip," said Penrod, noting that water temperatures are nearing 50 degrees. "About 40 percent are keeper size."

Until June 15, however, bass fishing in non-tidal waters is allowed only as catch-and-release to protect the stocks of spawning-age fish.

Best areas of the upper Potomac, Penrod said, are Lander, White's Ferry and Pennyfield.

On the tidal Potomac, Penrod said, bass are ready to move into the shallows and water temperatures above 50 degrees in some areas. The most reliable area at this point, Penrod said, is Mattawoman Creek to Chopawamsic Creek, where bass, herring, white perch and crappie can be taken in stages working from the fronts of creeks to the backs.

Striped bass also are being taken in many tributaries, but in Maryland waters fishing for rockfish is catch-and-release only.

Reservoir action also has been picking up, with crappie, bluegills, yellow perch and pickerel hitting at Loch Raven and crappie the mainstay of the action at Liberty and Piney Run.

The run of mackerel continues off Ocean City, and flounder are moving in at Wachapreague, Va.

Pub Date: 4/10/97

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