Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending May 31, 2020

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 53120

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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LOU Fish of the Week:
Smallmouth Bass: Mike McNeiley; 19.75” with Captain Dave Kerrigan

Guide, Honorable Mention
Golden Rainbow Trout: 18.75’; KP
I’m not sure I will miss April and May of this year, and while the last week of May was way-better than the previous 7 weeks, you can’t make up for lost time. Over all we did quite well considering we were banned from fishing in PA after TWO written “go-aheads” and THEN—here came COVID 19, you know, the China Sneak Attack. Fortunately for us, being MD Charter Boats, we were permitted to guide but some clients were terrified and declined, forfeiting their deposits and losing a good chance to be wet and windy. Our Susquehanna adventures were just totally ruined and you can bet that goofy Governor could care less. Virginia however allowed fishing while MD played games with it. Don’t you find it ironic that our state and local police/Governors/authorities would arrest you for: (1) not wearing a face mask; (2) for going to church; (3) for fishing; (4) for golfing; (5) for going to beaches; (6) for having graduation parties; (6) for boating; (7) for visiting folks in nursing homes; (8) for attending funerals—YET, those same PEOPLE allow and condone THUGS and PAID CRIMINALS to burn, loot, destroy and forever diminish city life and city business to the tune of BILLIONS of lost money and bankruptcy in many cases.
This and so much more before—is not an accident, but rather a political attempt to overthrow our government as we know it.
NOW, if you don’t like my position on this subject—just don’t read my reports.
DID YOU KNOW: May had 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays? Not going to happen again for centuries.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: **; clear; 3.6 at Point of Rocks falling to 3.0 by Wednesday; high 60s; post spawn.
Selfishly I’d like to report that fishing is poor but that’s just not the case, hey—it’s not like the good-years but it’s not like the past two either.
The water is in good shape with a nice color and temperature. You still have to fish-smart however so choose your targets and minimize noise and silhouette. Mid-river ledges and current breaks are the ticket but play the shade in the mourning and evenings. The aquatic hatch is prolific and watch where the birds feed.
Bass are starting to chew on Whopper Ploppers and other surface baits but for consistency—use Campground Tubes by Riverfront Campground and the KP Series is the hammer. Case Magic Stiks either weightless/Texas or Whacky style is go-to and are you casting the Case Magic Swim on the RAB swim Jig? Big Mouth spinnerbaits in the ¼ ounce Penrod is awesome search-bait and the NED rig, but with small pieces of Case Magic Stik is a killier.
Our new clients always have the same desires and faults. It’s our job to help them reach their dream-fish but the one major fault is equipment. See, bass fishing is brailish (new word), meaning you can’t see your goal but rather “feel for it.” Don’t just look at water surface as it it’s all the same because nothing is further from reality. Understand that fish eat live things and live things know that! Both hide from the other and you need to know the menu and the dining hall. Think of bass as ambush diners. They hide, they attack and they eat. That usually means they are either lurking behind an obstruction—or under one.
Realize what the current will do to your offering and NEVER splash down on the prime spot-but rather upcurrent, and allow the bait to naturally enter the kill zone. Your first cast to any chosen “hole” is most important because if you “blow” it, you just educated the boss.
Spinning gear is best for river smallmouth and to that end allow me once again, to recommend medium action Ardent rods with a 2000 series C-Force reel and 8# Bass Pro Excel monofilament in green. During lower, clear water, use 6#. Fill that reel to within 1/8th of an inch of the rim, and be sure your line goes on the reel from one of the faces—never from the edge. Only one face works also so turn your bail with the handle and use your finger to mimic the turn as you follow the line to the spool. It’s like rolling-up an electric chord or a hose.
If you don’t have my book titled “Pursuing River Smallmouth Bass” you are playing shortstop without a glove. Send $25 to PPC Publications, 4708 Sellman Road, Beltsville, MD 20705.
A guided trip is worth a hundred fishing reports—and you have been locked up for months so visit or call me, Ken, at 240-447-2206.
We specialize and report on the upper Potomac River between Seneca and Brunswick—but there is much more upriver. I happen to think my sector is the best. That’s 55 years and two books saying that.

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **1/2; 70ish; wind stains; debris-free, almost.
As the weather kind-of stabilized, bass fishing did also but even the fish are happy to see March thru May go-away.
From DC to Aquia, find bass in a mixed stage of spawn be it “post” or pre. The males were worked to death over the past two months as they kept trying to protect an address while the girls were fickle or prudent. It’s safe to say, now, that “summer pattern” is the norm and that means “scattered” bass in vegetation or shallow wood.
DC didn’t get much attention so far as Gravely Point was shut down but the rip rap along the airport and the Navy bases are a good starting point. I love the Big Mouth vibrating jig or the Penrod spinnerbait here but a tube and a Case Magic Swim are good options.
The WW Bridge sector is steady albeit not so much in traditional spots. There is a nice group of rockfish around the bridge, Fox Ferry and Virginia humps below Belle Haven. Magic Swims on RAB swim jigs or rattling crankbaits are suggested.
Piscataway to Pomonkey flats and coves showing signs of hydrilla growth where swim baits and spinnerbaits are good choices but SLOW DOWN and use Case Magic Stiks.
Pohick to Occoquan have been quite reliable, especially hard cover and wood—but vegetation is rather abundant and productive.
Mattawoman to Chickamuxen, Blue Banks to Mallows and Aquia grass beds are worth the time but play the tides.

SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS, PA: *** (in certain small areas) but ** in the majority of main stem; near 70; clear; 4.8 at the Harrisburg gauge; 4.5 at the Newport station and holding.
It’s not often that the rivers hold sufficient water to safely navigate most of it, but then again, it’s not often that your government halts you from fishing because of a 99.5% recoverable disease either. Speaking of disease-notice now quiet the “diseased Susqy bass” rumors have become? Our guys are getting good numbers and quality too but only is certain small areas and tribs. Take away Sherman Creek and the search for happiness is long and lonely on much of the main stem.
Captain Dave Kerrigan has been “on them” and reports:
Capt Dave Kerrigan reports good fishing on the Susky this week. River levels are stable at around 4.5′ and all options are available. Fish were found in post spawn feeding areas and taking a wide variety of baits. Our best and mist simple offering was a Case Magic Stix in watermelon red cut in half and fished on a 1/5 oz Ned style head. A little trick we are doing is rigging is on the jug hook as you would do a Texas worm. Just catch the tip of the worm and then spin it around and push the hook back up thru and pin the tip just under the skin in a weedless manner. Works great and snags up much less often. Another bait that seemed to work only at times but when the fish turned on to it the gold / silver blade shad skirt Big Mouth Spinnerbaits were crushed. River levels should remain stable to slowly dropping over the next week so fishing should continue to be good as waters warm up. This is the time of year those drift boats Johnny Cunningham at Riverfront Campground rents out can be so much fun! Give him a call to check availability!! Dave’s client Mike McNeiley caught the LOU Fish of the Week and barely missed the 20-Inch club with a fine 19.75’ beauty—and had another of 19.50”.
LOU Guides for 2020
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; Simms Fishing; Costa; Power Pole; NRA; Zipper Worms; RAB Jig Heads; Campground Tubes; Riverfront Campground; Big Bee/River Rocket (KP3); AlumaRyder; (Dave Kerrigan); Columbia Design & Graphics; Guidefitters; NRA; Maggie Penrod.