Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending October 13, 2019

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 101319.

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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LOU Fish of the Week: Largemouth:

Carla, with KP3 on Mattawoman

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: *, 60s; clear; 1.2 at Point of Rocks—and bumpy.

The “cooling bite” is “on” but it’s not much. The explanation for the loss of fish species is simple, “2018 Flooding” but there’s more including pollution and sexual malfunction, which has been “known” for a long time but spoken-of seldom.

I asked MD DNR Director of Freshwater Fisheries a few questions including: “what happened to the proposed stocking plans for 2019” and “were fish used to spawn in hatcheries tested for unisex issues/”

Tony Prochaska responded: “Good morning Ken,


As you know, DNR’s Freshwater Fisheries Program monitors the nontidal Potomac River smallmouth bass (SMB) population, both yearclass strength and adult indices, annually; we are fully aware of the current status of smallmouth in the upper Potomac River. The results and analysis of these efforts are available as summary reports on our website. The Potomac River Supplemental Stocking Plan includes the latest data and covers the justification, objectives, protocols, challenges and limitations of the plan. This management action was undertaken to address population trends and recruitment declines revealed by the data and angling reports such as yours.


The results from the 2019 seining survey to assess smallmouth yearclass strength can be found here under the October 7 update: The 2019 seining survey also documented declines in some nongame species as well, attributed to the extensive high water throughout 2018, and support your observations as well. The 2019 electrofishing surveys of the adult population are getting underway now and will continue through October. Once the data has been fully QA/QCd and analyzed, the results will be available and added to the website. I can let you know when they are posted.


There are a number potential reasons why the smallmouth bass were unsuccessful at spawning in the hatchery. Smallmouth bass are more difficult to produce than largemouth bass in general and Potomac smallmouth have not always performed well in hatchery ponds. Anglers were used to collect brood fish during a permitted tournament. Freshwater and Hatchery personnel were on hand to assess the fish and choose 18 pair (36 total fish) for production and felt these fish were in excellent condition. Despite our efforts to prepare the hatchery ponds with suitable spawning conditions, the bass showed no interest in spawning and were returned to the river. Pathogens and intersex could definitely be factors that could have impacted reproduction. We have and continue to discuss how pathogens and intersex may impact SMB reproduction in the Potomac River with our colleagues at USGS. We will continue to pursue other options, approaches and locations in 2020 to produce fingerlings to supplement natural reproduction in the Potomac River. Any approaches we take will be vetted through our Aquatic Animal Health Program and risk assessment process to safeguard the Potomac population.”

I think it is in order, and urge DNR to implement emergency regulations that creates “Catch & Release” for black bass in the entire free flowing Potomac River until such time that populations improve dramatically. I hold no hope out, because “if it’s not the Bay, it’s not making Hay.” They have no problem changing rockfish limit to one.

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **1/2; mid-60s but fluxuating up and down by 5-6 degrees; FULL MOON tides were extremely high

The Hunters Moon, October’s full moon, was a dandy causing near-flood conditions at most launch sites—and removing vegetation and grass mats with a vengeance. Fishing success was mixed from day to day but “down” somewhat based on previous weeks. I spent a day in Mattawoman that reiterated my “heaven or hell” descriptions in past accountings. Meanwhile, DC has kicked in and there seems to be stripers everywhere.

KP3 reports: Captain Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) provided the following tidal Potomac report – This past week’s weather, full moon, and off shore storm resulted in big tides, inconsistent water temperatures, and drastic changes in fish habitat. I saw water temperatures drop 10 degrees from 72 to 62 and then by end of week stabilize around 67. On Saturday the high tide covered the fishing dock at Slavins. The results of these tides were swift currents that ripped out much of the “cheese” mats that I love to fish. These conditions combined to make fishing tough for guys who fish the grass edges. However, little schooling stripers were abundant on the main river and this will only get better over the next weeks. Also, I enjoyed a pretty good week catching largemouths by fishing a pattern that I see very few fishing. This coming week there will be another large FLW tournament out of Smallwood (Thursday – Saturday) so get ready for reckless boat handling, violations of the 6mph zones, guys going out of slavins to avoid ramp fees and crowded boat ramps.


The more I’m out on the water – the more I realize that fishing comes down to basic fundamentals and the most basic is “food”. The cooling water resulted in molting crawfish on top of grass which created a smorgasbord for big bass. This is about over and if you missed it – you missed a lot of fun. Now there are hordes of baitfish entering the creeks and has resulted in increased activity from all varieties of fish. In DC – I look for baitfish schools traveling against the bank. I look for seagulls down south to show me crawfish and baitfish. Every species of fish – saltwater or freshwater- set up in very similar habitat because it allows access to food. In the morning and evening I look for baitfish and on sunny afternoons I concentrate on crawfish. The dropping water temps and the resulting changes in fish locations are really more about food access then anything else.


The majority of grass is dead so any living grass will have fish. The mats are washed away but any remnant will still have fish. The creek drops will have more fish as temps go down. The rocks will start to heat up and hold fish. The stripers have started coming into the creeks and bigger ones are coming. Use your lowrance to find bait and look for streaks on your screen that indicate feeding fish. The crappie will be concentrated on drops. Use your lowrance and look for schools of crappie suspended off bottom that look like they are stacked on top of each other like a Christmas tree – those are crappie. The snakeheads are still active on sunny days and will be around grass or marsh edges.


As the month wears on -the baits become simplified primarily because the areas where fish are located are minimized. The Campground Tube will be a big player in the Spoils, Fox Ferry and DC hard cover. It will also be a producer on creek turns and drip offs. The Boing topwater is going to pay off whenever fish are chasing bait. The dropshot is a go-to bait that not only catches numbers but big fish. Also, it’s crankbait time.

As I mentioned earlier, your lowrance will become a bigger player. I use it in the Spoils – not to locate bass but to see baitfish activity. I can use it to locate crappie suspended – crappie stack up on top of each other. I also use my Lowrance around bridge pilings to find fish and “video” fish for them. I find bait and then stripers below – streaks on the screen show me that they are chasing. It’s a good time of year to get better with your Lowrance and mark cover, channels, drops and hard spots. Remember in the spring – these channels will not be outlined by grass or pad edges.


Its a fine time to be on the river and I guide for a variety of fish. Stripers are biting. Big bass bite and concentrate. The Potomac has huge crappie. My rates are 400 for full day and 300 for half day.


SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS, PA: *; 60ish; clear; 3.7 at the Harrisburg reporting station—and 3.6 at Newport on the Juniata.

Tough sledding these days as water levels remain in “summer” mode and as temperatures drop more bass are being caught—if you can get around—and wet-wading is out of the question.

It’s not just smallmouth that seem scarce—even the catfish are hard to find. There are sections in the North Branch and West Branch that are preforming well.

Johnny Cunningham of Riverfront Campground is still renting float boat and will shuttle you upstream—and John says that his regular guys are catching enough bass to keep them happy.



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.