Water temperatures inching up, fishing improving -- Gazette.Net


Reel Report

James Drake

Before I get into the fishing report, did you see that Joey Logano won the rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race held at the Texas Motor Speedway last weekend?

Well, he didn’t win it until Monday, but he crossed the finish line first just the same.

What was remarkable about this event is that it wasn’t sponsored by STP, Fed Ex, Toyota or Quaker State Oil. This most recent NASCAR event was properly called the Duck Commander 500 and while folks waited for it to start last Sunday, they were entertained by watching old episodes of “Duck Dynasty” on Big Hoss, the huge LED video board there at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The Robertson family, stars of the popular A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty,” was all over the speedway. Sadie, Willie Robertson’s daughter, delivered the invocation. Jase Robertson introduced the top 10 starters and his wife Missy sang the national anthem. Uncle Si was dressed in some kind of fancy firesuit and was to give the command to start engines but the rain put a stop to that.

The concession stands did sell his private brand of iced tea throughout the day. Si also wanted to drive in the race. Willie, the CEO of the Duck Commander Company, said he’d allow Si to drive only after he figured out how to open the car’s door. I can’t make this stuff up.

If you missed it last weekend, worry not for you’ll have at least two more tries. Duck Commander signed a three-year sponsorship deal last year with NASCAR.

Unbelievable. Who would figure you could make a gazillion dollars putting together duck calls? OK, let’s get into the fishing.

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — The main story continues to be the recently stocked rainbow and golden trout in many local waters. By the time you read this, all the following waters should have received two deliveries from the hatchery trucks this spring.

In Calvert County, that’s Calvert Cliffs Pond and Hutchins Pond. In Charles County, that’s Hughesville Pond, Myrtle Grove, and Wheatley Lake at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville. In Prince George’s County, that’s Allens Pond, Cosca Lake, Greenbelt Lake, Lake Artemesia, Laurel Lake and Melwood Pond.

Anthony Hancock, assistant park manager at Gilbert Run, told me the average size of the second delivery was about 12 inches and that’s the same as the first dose they received. Powerbait continues to be the most popular way to catch them, although many anglers are throwing small spoons and in-line spinners with success.

The crappie at Gilbert Run are just beginning to bite and they find a small minnow hung under a bobber hard to resist. A slip bobber might be necessary to get your offering down deep enough.

Hancock said the bass are also becoming active there and he recommends that you try fishing larger baits looking for the really big monsters. Remember, it’s catch and release only for largemouth bass at Gilbert Run all year long. In most all of Maryland’s non-tidal waters, largemouth bass are likewise protected from March 1 to June 15. You may actively fish for them, but you must immediately release any you catch.

Down at St. Mary’s Lake, Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said the crappies there too prefer minnows under a bobber, but a 12-inch drop is usually enough. Lamb also said that jig trollers working the middle of the lake did pretty good last weekend and plenty of little bass are already on the prowl.

Mattawoman Creek — This area of the Potomac River has been generally stingy, but it is improving, according to Ken Penrod with the Life Outdoors Unlimited guides (301-937-0010). He recommends spinnerbaits and Magic Stiks up in the 6-mph zone and rattling lures or Big Mouth spinnerbaits in the grass between the state park and main river. Those rattling lures are also getting bass to bite in the nearby Chicamuxen, Occoquan cover and Aquia coves.

Upper Potomac River — The water has been high and fast and not recommended for novice boaters or newcomers. I’d recommend you all wait another week before making the drive.

Tidal Potomac River — Andy Andrzejewski with the Reel Bass Adventure guides (301-932-1509) reported that the water temperatures are well into the upper 50s now for the first time this year and the bass have responded accordingly. Shallow bays in the creeks were very productive when fished with a finesse worm rigged Texas style with 1/8 ounce sinkers. Fish tight up against the banks. A Mann’s Baby 1-minus crankbait or small, white spinnerbaits make a good option, as well.

Andrzejewski has also had luck throwing lipless rattle baits bumped across the bottom around main lake rocky points and gravel banks. Lots of crappie are moving into creek bays and a tiny 1/32-ounce crappie tube with a touch of added Smelly Jelly attractant is all you need to know.

Up in town, the LOU pros said that there are bass to catch in the Washington Channel, especially from the new growth grass on the Fort McNair shoal. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge vicinity will be getting better with a touch warmer water. Catfish are getting more active and some of those really huge blue cats are ready to rumble. The river near Fort Washington is a grand place to begin the search.

Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, Pa. — The LOU guides have been slaying smallmouths around the Juniata River, and Penrod recommends you “Drive a little and catch a lot.” This is mainly tube fishing and the very best of the best pre-spawn action should be happening in the next two week period. Twenty-inch, 4-pounders are not all that uncommon.

Chesapeake Bay — The warm water discharge at Calvert Cliffs continues to be a magnet to attract big striped bass. This wasn’t a great week to get news from trollers. Either many weren’t fishing, they weren’t catching or they sure weren’t talking.

The keeping season opens up April 19 and Lamb is predicting the best of it isn’t going to happen until the second week of the season. Fishermen can also expect more productive days well into May. That’s all because of this past horrible winter.

Atlantic Ocean — Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City reports still generally cold water but a few fish are being caught. Short stripers have been taken from around the U.S. 50 Bridge and at Indian river Inlet, and the first legal tautog of the season was taken a few days ago from the bulkhead between Second and Fourth streets.