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Fishing report

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The locations

Piney Run: Tomorrow is the eighth annual fall fishing tournament, from 6 a.m. to noon. Call 410-795-5165 to reserve a spot. Anglers can arrive at 4:30 a.m. to launch boats. They should have plenty to catch. Bass are taking spinners and plastics at the edges of the hydrilla. Channel cats, running 3 to 5 pounds, are taking chicken livers, worms and minnows. Pan fish are hitting worms in about 15 feet of water.

Prettyboy Reservoir: Fish the gravel bars for smallmouth bass, says guide Duke Nohe. Pigs and jigs at 25 feet are the weapon of choice. Water temperature remains in the low 70s.

Loch Raven Reservoir: Rains have raised the lake level about a foot, says the fishing center's Kevin McComas. The weed beds are starting to break up, making it easier to throw top-water lures. The water gets muddier the farther north you go. White perch are concentrated from Dulaney Valley Road to Merryman's Bottom, especially on the edge of the grass beds to the right-hand side as you go north. Fish a single-blade spinner with a trailing night crawler.

Susquehanna River: An abundance of juvenile shad has helped boost fishing activity this week, says Capt. Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop in North East. Rat-L-Traps and Tony Accetta spoons are taking nice-sized stripers. Smallmouth bass action has been good, with fish taking spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and medium to large shiners on a float. White perch are being caught in the Elk River on bottom-fished bloodworms. Catfish are biting on bloodworms, clam snouts and shrimp.

Gunpowder River: The water is clear and in the mid 50s, says Pete Street at On the Fly in Monkton. The trico hatch continues from Falls Road down to Monkton, with spinner fall between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Cast small midges, CDC emergers, bead head nymphs and Clouser minnows. There are still some caddis coming off in the afternoon. Ants and beetles are a good choice.

Middle River: Temperatures have dropped and fishing has improved, says Bill Horstman at The Fishin Shop on Pulaski Highway. Rockfish are cooperating if you chum the eastern side of Pooles Island along the channel edge. "It's pretty fast action once you get a slick going, but take a lot of bait with you, because the little rockfish and the blues will get it." Anglers are finding trout at Pooles Island, as well. Trolling in 3-6 feet of water at the mouth of Back River with Rat-L-Traps and small white bucktails also works. At Dundee Creek, bass fishermen are succeeding with Rat-L-Traps and spinnerbaits.

Patapsco River: Muddy water from recent rain should clear up by the weekend, says Howard Wode at Fisherman's Edge in Catonsville. Smallmouths seem partial to woolly buggers, Joe's crystal buggers, PK40s and b-damsels. Trolling the main channel of the river is producing stripers and trout.

Patuxent River: At the mouth of the river, rockfish, croakers, and spot are active, say the guys at The Tackle Box in Lexington Park. Rockfish are scattered above and below the bridge at Solomons. Best baits for rockfish are peelers and cut spot; best baits for the croakers and spot are squid and bloodworms. Blues are schooling just outside the river and anglers are finding trout under breaking rockfish. On the upper river, catfish and perch are biting on bloodworms and squid, says Ed Johnson at C&EJs; in Lothian.

Chesapeake Bay: Almost everyone who reported in this week mentioned that lowering water temperatures mean fish soon will be exiting. Just above the Bay Bridge, anglers are catching Spanish mackerel. Right at the bridge, anglers are catching weakfish and stripers by vertically jigging near the pilings. Live lining spot will get you some nice stripers at the LNG gas docks.

Eastern Shore: Last week's rains and fronts moving through really made fishing on the lakes and ponds tough, says guide Gene Kane at Tochtermans. Fish stayed tight to cover, "and if you didn't drop it right on their heads, you didn't catch them," he says. Look for the action to really pick up in the next four days or so. Anglers say bass are in the spatterdock lilies on the Pocomoke River; you can get them out with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. In the Wicomico River, you'll find good-sized bass around the boat docks and lilies. Go with spinnerbaits.

Ocean City: Flounder - big ones - are showing their flat faces everywhere, reports Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle. The main east channel between Ninth Street and the U.S. 50 bridge is producing the biggest fish, but you can also try fishing from the bridge, in the bay behind Assateague and the Oceanic Pier. Shiners, squid, live mullet or live spot are all good baits. The bridge and the Oceanic Pier also are good night fishing places for sea trout. Live eels, Got-cha plugs and white bucktails with a chartreuse worm are all effective.

Potomac River: In the tidal river, fish the foundations at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge with crankbaits and plastics, says guide Ken Penrod. Also try the grass along the airport and the dropoff along the Kennedy Center. In the nontidal river, fish at Violette's Lock in Montgomery County for catfish and smallmouth bass. At Conococheague Creek, smallmouths are taking crayfish. At Hancock, bring chicken livers, worms or cut bait for catfish. - Candus Thomson

Crabbing report

Slim pickings: Crabbing continues to be fair to good in the Upper Bay, which seems to be the only place where crabs are cooperating. The Bush, Bird and Gunpowder rivers are yielding one to two bushels of heavy males with one crabber reporting two 8-inch crabs in his catch last Saturday. Creek mouths off the Patapsco are yielding up to a bushel. Crabbers are averaging about a bushel of mixed males and females at the cut between Hart and Miller islands. The Wye and Miles rivers remain about the same with half- to one-bushel catches. A crabber in Crab Alley caught a half-bushel in 6 hours. The Lower Bay continues to be slow with spotty crabs. For more, visit my Web site at members.home.net/thecrabman. - Mike Kobus

To hear the fishing or crabbing report, call SunDial and enter category 5378 for fishing or 5379 for crabbing on your touch-tone phone. The phone number is 410-783-1800 in the Baltimore area; 410-268-7736 in Anne Arundel County; 410-836-5028 in Harford County; and 410-848-0038 in Carroll County.

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