Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending September 15, 2019

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 91519, FULL MOON

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

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

“See our Facebook Pages for Fishing Reports, Photos and “Club” Activity.”

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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Notes: Our fishing reports and client photos will be posted to Ken’s Facebook Page, “Life Outdoors Unlimited” and our website,

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Camp Sycamore at:

Just for the record. It’s archery season in Maryland and KP3 says “Dad is doing his first-love, deer hunting, so until he gets his “quota,” you best call me for fishing trips.”

KP says–so far–so good, but I wish the geese would visit the Potomac so I could do our famous Cast & Blast.

I do have a group of clients that require P&C outings so my advice on fishing is current—and oh so backed-up by experience.


UPPER POTOMAC RIVER (Seneca to Brunswick): *1/2; mid 70s; algae some days (why not every day—or is algae the evidence of pollution from farming and ancient sewage treatment): 1.2 at the Point of Rocks gauge. Find other NWS gages at our website ( Abandoned it seems.

It’s not a good story on much of this river (not meant as a consolation) but every free flowing river to the Bay is suffering from lack of bass population. I’ve seen this several times in my career, after horrendous flooding and it rebounds rather quickly if given a chance. You should and you will notice an upturn as the water temps reach the 60s (but not from your couch) as fish know what’s coming and want some extra calories to endure. Actually, there is no reason to stay home now because this recipe will make you a better angler. What are you learning when you can cast anything and catch a little fish?

Soon may change but for now and as long as water temps are above 60, it’s important to fish early in the day or late in the day. High sun and skinny water equals griping and disappointment.

As the water cools you will begin to notice a “black” look to the water, a color called a (twinge) by some older river rats. That’s simply clear water freeing itself of the green color—algae. I can’t emphasize the importance of a quality rod and reel. I see so much junk coming aboard by guys that can have anything they want—but a low-I q salesman in a box store unloaded his inventory. It’s simple: 6-6.5 feet long, graphite or composite, with ceramic line guides and of medium action: Ardent Edge rod with C-Force or Bolt spinning reel in the 2000 to 2500 class. For all finesse, bottom bumping and small crankbaits I load Bass Pro’s Excel monofilament of the green color in 6 lb. test for low/clear—and 8 lb. test for all other conditions. For spinnerbaits, topwater buzzbaits or Whopper Plopper—12 lb. test on baitcasting gear is fine.

Campground Special tubes by Riverfront Campground can’t be beat so ALWAYS have one tied on. I notice that another tackle company is using my colors but calling them different names. Imitation is flattery. Big Mouth spinnerbaits in the “Golden Shiner and Penrod Special” is the deal for ledge hopping.

Test the shallow water early, watch for small birds signaling an aquatic hatch, pay attention to where herons are dining and don’t run your boat through the good water.

The geese are not “flocking” to the river just now as farm fields offer more. I’ll “yell” when it happens.

This is a good time/condition for Whites Ferry.

Received this message from a client/reader:


I appreciate you sending the fishing reports, and want to confirm the abysmal fishing on the Upper Potomac.

I fished the Potomac inside the Beltway, first rock field bellow the American Legion Bridge very early AM yesterday on my pontoon. Over cast skies, slight color to the flow.  This is a low fishing pressure area, and definetely a ‘dining room’ with all the riffles and feeding lanes.  Threw buzzbaits and whopper ploppers early,  then crankbaits and curly tail grub jigs later, and Campground tubes the whole time. One hit on a KP Special teaser tube in 6 hrs. The fish simply aren’t there.”


TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: ***; 80ish; dying grass and traffic stain; full moon tides.

Captain Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) provided the following tidal Potomac report – the fishing improved this week on the river but it was hard to say last week marked a consistent change for the better or a change in tactics was the key. The water temperatures are in the mid 70’s and there is still some live hydrilla in certain creeks. However, it is a season of change and conditions can change drastically and very fast. An example – Last Saturday I was in the back of Pomonkey fishing grass and by the time I returned on Monday there was no grass in the back of Pomonkey. On Friday there were some very big high tides and heavy current – so I would expect that will have had an effect on certain grass beds. That’s not always a bad thing because the thinning of grass creates holes and canopy that can be very productive in the right situation.


The key this week was fishing drops at the edge of grass or pads fields during lower tides. I used two crankbaits – one that dives to 3’ and one that goes about 6’. I covered a lot of water and made longer casts to the edge of grass. The strikes came in two places – on the drop or where a patch of grass came out in a little deeper water. I used an orange or Shad colored crankbait with 12 lb Seaguar fluorocarbon spoiled on a Ardent Apex casting reel with 7-1 gear ratio. I use a St.Croix Legend Fiberglass med rod. I lost some big fish on my shallow diving bait so I changed to bigger size 4 hooks that didn’t effect the action.


A bubblegum colored swimming worm sometimes worked in the backs of creeks and a Campgrounf Tube rigged Texas with a 3/16 ounce tungsten weight caught fish on wood. Once I caught some fish on a crankbait – I always fish the area slower with a Campground Tube. I live by the axiom to never leave fish to find fish so I am more likely to stay too long than leave too early.


The higher tides allowed me to push back into the inside edges near the shore where snakeheads were hiding. The frog is still my top choice for this type of fishing. Holes in hydrilla also produced. A topwater walking bait thrown to the edge of grass flats at low tide is producing.


I am a little disturbed by the assault on recreational catch and release fisherman by government agencies as a means to explain declining fisheries. The purpose is politics and economics – recreational fishermen have little economic value in the scheme of things. Recreational catch and release fishermen are being blamed for a declining Striper population and made up mortality rates are not only an excuse but also a means of increasing quotas for commercial fishermen. In 2017 – for the first time – scientists published that catch and release fishermen killed more fish than meat fishermen. In Pennsylvania, recreational catch and release fishermen were punished for declining smallmouth populations when even their own fishery manager blamed pollution or lMBV caused by pollution as the biggest factor. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation wrote that recreational catch and release fishermen are killing fish for no “economic value” and it’s something “that needs to be worked on”. The same Chesapeake Bay Foundation that is assaulting companies that fish for menhaden while down playing the fact that it is the Virginia government that is ignoring quota reduction recommendations by coastal fishery commissions. My point is that even non-governmental agencies focus attack on those that don’t effect funding or serve their constituencies. Yes – Omega is catching 70% of menhaden on the east coast but Virginia regulates and sets the quota that allows 80% of the menhaden to be caught in Virginia waters. So who is the bad guy and what effect does Virginia’s rape of menhaden have on the Striper population compared to recreational catch and release fishermen. However, if government agencies and non-government agencies are placing such a high rate of mortality on catch and release fishing on the bay – then I wonder if they will be consistent on the effects of mortality for bass tournaments in hot weather. The recreational fisherman is low man on the totem pole of economics and the path of least resistance when it comes to declining fisheries caused by pollution or commercial over fishing. In the end that guy who got fired in PA didn’t get fired for regulating catch and release fishermen – he got fired for messing with the economics of PA by blaming pollution. The blue crab manager of MD didn’t get fired for reporting low crab population but messing with the economics of MD by proposing regulating commercial fishing. It’s sad because it will be recreational catch and release fishermen that will soon get the shaft on the bay. I find it hard to believe that in 2017 – for the first time – that scientists “discovered” that catch and release was the reason that stripers were declining.


The fishing is getting better and soon some really big bass are going to be caught.






SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS (Harrisburg to Montgomery Ferry/Confluence to Lewistown); * to *1/2; clear; mid 70s; 3.5 at the Harrisburg gage and 3.6 at the Newport gauge on the Juniata.

There are areas on the North Branch and the West Branch that are going well while the main stem from the confluence to Holtwood are “shocking” guides and long-time river rats that were totally spoiled over the years to a point that “skill” was second to “lots of casts.” Even during the “Arway Rules” era when he had most of America believing that the Susquehanna was a disease-choked sewer—bass fishing was actually quite good. His “Closure” was amusing because PFBC could not enforce it and the ONY people that honored the “intent” were, well, silly. Bass fishing during the Arway Years, was actually pretty damn good.

This is different now, and before you get your pants in a wad, remember the all-time-records torrents (rains and flood) of just last year—and you are on the way to understanding the decline of bass and other inhabitants. Let me put it another way: the record breaking rains of 2018 was the Susquehanna basin Equivalent of what Dorian did to the Bahamas. In my career, I went through the same on the Potomac after FOUR, 100-year floods—and again now. Some say that “God flushed the toilet and sent the waste into the Chesapeake Bay. This current “bottom-out” will turn around—quicker that you think. It will however, also flush a lot of guides out of the fold and that’s both good and sad. PFBC must have a “Drug Policy and Testing Procedure” for anyone that escorts paying customers on any water, especially the extremely dangerous river systems.

Just remember—even under the circumstances, the Susquehanna River is STILL the best smallmouth river west of the Mississippi.

Johnny Cunningham of Riverfront Campground is located in Duncannon, at the “confluence” where Juniata joins Susquehanna. The campground is cool as can be with some of the best people in America. John and “Rent-A-Boat” can outfit you—and shuttle you upriver for floats back to camp of varying mileage. His tackle store is more. It’s a campground store with some snacks, live baits, all the lures we use and sound advice. Rent a Boat serves both the Juniata and Susquehanna—within John’s prevue.

I feel like a broken record, BUT, get yourself GOOD equipment, and by that I mean a quality brace of rods and reels. My recommendation is the Ardent brand and you want medium action rods, 2000-2500 series Bolt, C-Force or Finesse Ardent reels—and USE mono, Excel by Bass Pro, in the green color and 8-pound test.

Campground tubes in the KP Series in KP Special; KP Badass; KP Candy and KP Rose—along with Johnny’s “RAB Jig Heads” is a lethal combo—if you remember that your bait is to resemble a wary crawfish—not a bucking bronco at a rodeo. Another tackle internet sales company is using the colors designed by KP and selling them with different names. Imitation is flattery, a wanna-be motive. lol.

The Case Magic Stik is a KP Go-To in warm water and I don’t use any weight other than the 3/0 hook. Go to and click on the Case products. Please use my personal discount (KP20) for 20% off. You are welcome.

Big Mouth Lure Company, Big Shaky vibrating jigs—and their spinnerbaits are simply the finest and designed for the Susquehanna by Ken Penrod.

My team will be back on that river this fall if we get some water but 100% for-sure in the spring—from mid-March thru May. I’ll not “train” any more guides but my “USCG Licensed Captains”; Captain Ken Penrod. Captain Dave Kerrigan and Captain Kenny Penrod 3 will be there—and I can get/borrow more when I need them.

Check-out the Ranch House for breakfast; Sorrentos for evening meals with a drink; Red Carpet Inn for overnight accommodations.

Remember, it was Ken Penrod’s Life Outdoors Unlimited that popularized cold, high water Susqy fishing and my guide Butch Ward was the “Preacher and the Teacher.”


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.