Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending September 29, 2019

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 92919.

Office & Mailing Address @ 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705

Cell @ 240-447-2206 (Best Way), Office Device @ 30-937-0010.

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First-Hand Reporting Since 1982—NOT part-time guess work.

Professional Guides Since 1982

We Wrote “The Books” on Regional Fishing.

Licensed, Drug Tested, Commercially Insured, Time Tested.

Expert Fishing Instructors for:

Tidal Potomac River <> Upper Potomac River <> Susquehanna River

Juniata River <> Upper Bay <> Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers

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“If you don’t like the weather in DC and vicinity—just wait a minute,” and don’t look to previous years for guidance either. For instance-last September was one of the wettest (8.25”) and there is a good chance that this September will set a new record for DRIEST ever with just one more day to go. 2018 was the wettest YEAR EVER.

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **; mid 70s; some color some places;

There’s a lot going on but that’s pretty common for the temp-period when drought. Loss of daylight and dying grasses combine. Just keep in mind that s a v stops producing oxygen during the dark periods and dying hastens that. Bass and bait will move away until sunlight jump-starts the photosynthesis process again—so fish the drop-offs, wood and rocks in the early hours—and don’t hesitate to cast crankbaits—a lot.

Heaven knows that I appreciate the work that the DNR field personnel—and UDFW do but TWO electro shocking operations in one week is a bit MUCH. How hard would it be for those two groups to coordinate—and what wro0ng with DNR posting shocking studies on their website? Oh, yes, and there are other creeks and coves that could be studied because Mattawoman is getting “studied to death.”

KP3 is simply “kickin’ butt” here on both largemouth and snakeheads.

There are so many young bass in the creek and there seems to be more “keepers” between March Island and Stump Neck cliffs.

The DC-WW Bridge vicinity shows signs of improvement and a little more water temperature loss should “group” them up. The difference between the banner years and the last two was/is the record breaking flooding that destroyed all or most submersed vegetation.

You may be missing the boat (pun intended) by not spending more time above Key Bridge because that sector never has much vegetation and the smallmouth population is strong. I see part-people anchored-up together and adults and kids swimming near the Three Sisters area- That is so dangerous, especially during the drought conditions when bacteria is ramped. My warning extends to you boaters also, especially “line-biters” and when you eat your lunch—clean your hands thoroughly with disinfectant wipes. OH, yeah, tubes, crankbaits Magic Stiks and grubs.

Captain Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) provided the following tidal Potomac Report – The River temperatures are in the mid 70’s and many of the creeks are crystal clear. In many of the tributaries the hydrilla is still green but much of it is dying and grass mats that were there today are gone tomorrow. Except when tides are extremely high (like this past Friday) it’s still impossible to get to the bank of creeks because of the thick hydrilla. The food is abundant especially crawfish that are molting on top of the grass mats. The crystal clear water has a sight for sore eyes – lots of juvenile bass. Many boats are in the creeks and almost all of them are fishing the channel. Consequently, I suspect that these fish have seen enough Lures to make them very wary. Also, there is a lot of food in the impenetrable grass that also provides safety. The edges do produce at low tide – the lower the better – but the big bass are hiding in thick grass. The perfect scenario is a low tide and a thick, cheesy grass mat over top a drain that has created a hole beneath the mat. It takes a lot of time and a lot of casts because most of the grass is unproductive but when you do find the ideal mat – there are some big bass beneath and it will produce time and time again. This is messy, hard fishing that requires long and repeated casts, heavy rods, Seaguar braid, and the chances of getting your boat stuck. However, your going for that big buck and not the spike – so it’s work and you may not get a lot of strikes and when you miss a strike – you have missed opportunity. However, the easy fishing is out in the channel and I’m just not finding them out there and neither is anyone else from what I’m told.

There are reports of stripers in Mattawoman and guys are starting to set up in holes for crappie. I’m looking forward to trying to catch some stripers on the incoming tides. I’m even going to try some crappie fishing this week. The snakeheads are very active and are located on the inside edge at high tide and in holes and alleys as the tide recedes. I cast a Boing topwater or a Bigmouth Buzzbait (gold or black blade with black Case Buzz Toad) to hydrilla edges at low tide. Remember that I enjoy targeting snakeheads only with topwaters but the Big Shakey (the best ever Chatterbait) is deadly on snakeheads.

There are some big fish to be had but I’m not convinced that these are “guide” fish. They aren’t easy but I read an article on public land elk hunting where the author shares the mentality necessary to score. He shares the necessity of staying in a positive state of mind and that means he hunts solo because most don’t have the fortitude and that effects his happiness of the hard experience. I enjoyed this week’s fishing but then again I only hunt in Sinnamahoning because I like it when it’s tough and nothing comes cheap. If you want to learn this type of fishing – now is the time to go but if you complain that your arm is tired from casting or you haven’t had a bite – then fish a pond or stay home and watch the Redskins.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: *; very low and very clear; mid 70s; 1.1 at Point of Rocks

No good news to pass on although few would care-less since the river is rather abandoned. It’s so clear that there are no secrets. You can see everything and you are not seeing very many bass. Now, that being said—fish water where you can’t see bottom and you will find the bigger smallmouth bass. I hate to say this but the river could use a flushing now since bacteria and pollutants are at elevated levels.

SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS in PA: **; nearing 60; low and clear; 3.2 at the Harrisburg gage and 3.5 at the Newport station on the Juniata.

It will soon be to cool to safely wade so drifting, yaking and wise-use of a jet boat is your most viable options. Johnny Cunningham of Riverfront Campground is your man for rentals and shuttle service so coordinate at 717-877-2704

It seems that evening bass fishing is your best time but that’s not to mean that you can’t catch some during daylight hours. Just forget the high-sun hours or you will believe that there are no fish. Truth be known—the Susquehanna is STILL the best smallmouth river of any that send water to the Chesapeake Bay.


Meet our Guides/Fishing Instructors

Captain Ken Penrod: (National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame) Cell: 240-447-2206;; Facebook; LinkedIn; Instagram, Twitter @ken_penrod.

Tidal Potomac; Upper Potomac; Susquehanna River; Juniata River; Maryland Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers; George Stevenson Reservoir.

Captain Kenny Penrod 111, VP of Tidal Bass Operations @ 240-478-9055

Captain Dave Kerrigan, VP of Smallmouth Operations @ 301-252-5322;


Captain Brian Barnes @ 302-745-4668,


Meet My/Our Partners.

The following are our sponsors and partners. Some are all encompassing within my group—and some are personal to the guide. All are valued.

RiverPro; Mercury; Lowrance Electronics; Ardent Outdoors; Big Mouth Lure Company; Yeti; Patagonia; Case Plastics; Kuiu; Power Pole; NRA; Zipper Worms; RAB Jig Heads; Campground Tubes; Riverfront Campground; Big Bee (KP3); Columbia Design & Graphics; Guidefitters; NRA; Costa; Simms, Lance Carowick (Website Design & Consutant) & Maggie Penrod CFO & MFB


BOOKS by Ken Penrod

Pursuing River Smallmouth Bass ($25)

Fishing the Upper Potomac River (Out of print)

Ken Penrod’s Top Ten for DEMARVA ($25 short supply)

Fishing Lake Anna ($50, only 10 left)

Tidewater Bass Fishing ($50, only 9 left)

Send checks to PPC Publications at 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705. Be sure to specify the title/titles.


2020 Camp Sycamore Dates

July 6-10

July 13-17

July 20-24

July 27-31


Our summer camp for boys between the ages of 12 & 18 will fill up quickly so dn’t hesitate to contact Ken about attendance. Our website pretty much describes our 38 year old program, but most important is that we ONLY want boys that are totally into fishing, shooting and woods & water activity. This is not a camp for disabled (bless you) or undisciplined boys. We require a face-to-face interview to ensure that we are all on the same page—for the good of your son, and our camp. Ken is a well know outdoorsman, author, guide, hunter and Hall of Fame angler. Our counselors are top=of-the-line, experienced, certified and wonderful—as in Alan Mullis, Christy Mullis, Maggie Penrod and Brandie Sherry.

Seldom met a kid I didn’t like—but some parents cancel that.

There is nothing like this in the USA. Only 6-8 per session, conducted from my lodge in North PA, alongside a trout stream—adjacent to a wilderness area. We meet in Ken’s house on Sunday eve and you just promise to retrieve you son on Friday evening—unless he is staying for Two weeks.

Fee is $1000 per week and $2300 for two weeks (stays the weekend).

There is an application process. With mandatory deposit, then our interview. Once accepted—there is NO refund for any reason.