Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending August 17, 2020

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 81620

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

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I’m a big fan of “stability, barometer fluctuation, wind control and predator-food availability” but admit that summertime is and will be more confusing than other seasons. On the premise that most rivers and impoundments are flush with food bass because of the spawning spring—but if you are not fishing where bass-food thrive, you are doing a lot more casting than catching, That works two ways. See, “timing” is everything. A bunch of fat bass that are gorged will be dormant much of the time. They are gorged because they are living/resting in a grocery store. Find the food and you have found the fish-so patience and a little experimentation is in order. A well fed fish isn’t a chasing fish. She has two faults though: bad disposition and snack-friendly. Attack them in their bedroom with obnoxious lures (crankbaits) or snacks (Case Magic Stik, grubs, Stik-Rigs and drop-shot.
Remember, I always “preach” that most anglers fish too fast or change lures too often. Find the food and slow the hell down-with sensible modifications.
This was a weather-volatile week, again—but a good fishing week because of the low barometer periods. I’d rather fish a rainy day than a clear-sky day anytime, and clouds are a bonus. A stable barometer is good, but a falling barometer is better and a rising barometer is a turn-off.
There were many falling barometer periods last week. Now, that being said—it’s still summer and it’s never as good as spring and fall. Adjust your expectations and enjoy your efforts.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS: 81/2’ high 70s; little color; 3.4 @ the Harrisburg Gauge and 3.3 at Newport on the Juniata.
The river levels are still “ok” but not conducive to free-roam. The various storms that move through do very little to add volume but the accompanying barometer dips help a bunch. The area between Montgomery Ferry and Harrisburg rate a “tough” tag but target prime habitat helps a bunch. Topwater Whopper Plopper, buzzbaits and Spooks will draw bigger bites but always, always have a Big Mouth Spinnerbaits, Case Magic Stik and Campground Special tube handy. Those Ltl Magic Swim on an RAB swim jig head is dandy for ledges.
Johnny at Riverfront Campground will rent you a boat and shuttle you upstream for downriver floats that can be productive and fun. Get most of the baits we recommends from his well-stocked store plus fishing license, live bait, drinks and snacks.
FIRST—some issues that need angler-attention so get on the phone and do some bitchin.
Sampling confirms Harrisburg’s sewage overflow is polluting the Susquehanna River with E. coli
A related report finds Pennsylvania has ‘gone backwards’ in its effort to curb river pollution
• Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health
AUGUST 17, 2020 | 7:20 PM
(Harrisburg) — Scientists found unsafe E. coli bacteria levels in the Susquehanna River during a third of the days this summer that samples were collected, according to a report from the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper.
annual testing, coordinated by the York County-based environmental nonprofit, also confirmed what it had suspected last year—that the city’s combined sewage and stormwater overflow system is adding significant pollution, according to Riverkeeper Ted Evegeniadis. Levels downstream of the city were almost triple what they were upstream.
“It’s a serious problem, and we’re calling on the city of Harrisburg to fix it,” Evegeniadis
said. The office of Harrisburg Mayo r Eric Papenfuse did not respond to a request for comment. The city’s combined system dumps sewage into the Susquehanna River during periods of heavy rain—something Ilyse Kazar has seen first-hand.
Kazar lives in Harrisburg and is one of the volunteers who collected water samples for the project. She said, while collecting samples she often saw “a scum of sewage” along the river—sometimes in the same areas where children were playing or people were fishing.
“Meanwhile I’m seeing the results come back with horrific levels of E. coli and fecal contamination,” Kazar said, referring to the potentially dangerous pathogen that can be transmitted through human and animal waste.
The water quality update was made public along with a new report, titled “Stormwater backup in the Chesapeake Region,” from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project. That report says Pennsylvania has “gone backwards” in its efforts to reduce runoff that flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
Environmental Integrity Project spokesperson Tom Pelton said the Pennsylvania state government owns 40 percent of the property in Harrisburg and should fund a sewage and stormwater modernization project.
Pelton said he recognizes that the economic fallout from the coronavirus leaves states with less money to spend. However, infrastructure spending adds jobs at a time when many people are out of work.
“It’ll go to construction workers,” Pelton said. “It’ll go to engineers. It’ll go to construction firms right here in Pennsylvania.”

Environmental Integrity Project spokesperson Tom Pelton stands for a portrait in front of the state Capitol, which, he points out, routes its sewage into the Susquehanna during periods of heavy rain.
Without a fix, the problem is only expected to get worse. The Environmental Integrity Project report notes that higher average annual rainfall related to climate change is expected to increase annual nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by about 3.5 percent. The state of Virginia has adopted pollution-reduction policies in response to that, the report states.
“In contrast, Pennsylvania and Maryland retreated in their proposed efforts to reduce urban and suburban runoff. This is significant because Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia account for about 90 percent of the urban and suburban runoff pollution fouling the [Chesapeake] Bay.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing the report and declined to comment on its recommendations for statewide changes. In Harrisburg’s specific case, the situation is partly the responsibility of Capital Region Water, said DEP spokesperson Neil Shader. The company, which manages the city’s drinking water, is in a partial consent decree with federal agencies and is required to reduce stormwater runoff.
The state agency, along with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, “have been discussing long term control plan issues with Capital Region Water related to the requirements of the existing partial consent decree that is currently in effect,” Shader said.
Capital Region Water spokesperson Rebecca Laufer said the company “is committed to reducing combined sewer overflows that impact our waterways and is working towards a significant reduction that works within the financial constraints of city residents.”
“The challenges of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure that is more than a century old are difficult,” Laufer said. “We recognize the lack of past actions had detrimental impacts on the system, and Capital Region Water has been proactively addressing deficiencies.”

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: *1/2; high 70s-low 80s; some color; lots of up-and-down. 3.6 at Point of Rocks. Down from 4’ last Wednesday and falling to 3-feet Thursday.
Bill Giles fished Lander on Saturday and his report says it all: “launched at sunup and was the only boat on the river till I pulled the plug at noon. We had seven bass all on tubes or Neds.”

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **; low 80s; some color in tribs
Just remember—IT’S SUMMERTIME; TONS OF FOOD; MUCH HYDRILLA so finding hungry fish is a hit or miss event. You can fish a “spot” or a section for two hours without a bite—then WHAM, they either got hungry or new residents moved in. My philosophy is “attack them in their bedrooms” and “finesse them in the grocery store.”
When you can, fish the really heavy grass mats with frogs. Don’t hurry that offering though. Early light is topwater time but don’t fish any habitat where you aren’t seeing baitfish flittin (new word) around. Another forgotten technique is to cast Big Mouth swim jig way-into-the-pads and point your rod at the lure and keep crankin. Don’t do this with sissy tackle though. MH Ardent rods and 30-60 pound test braid is the ticket.
I’d never think about summer fishing the grassy Potomac without using Case Magic Stiks—and I’m not “heavy-lineing” either. Ardent Edge spinning rods with Ardent C-Force reels with Bass Pro’s Excell, 8# mono. Do the edges of everything—and DON’T hurry this presentation.
DC’s still the place to be if you work-the-tide. Rip rap on both sides of the river (airport and military) with square bills, Campground tubes, Penrod Special spinnerbaits and Case Magic Swim. Look for pods of baitfish.
The Washington Channel is fickle but stay off of the dropoff and dredge some out with Bomber “Firetiger: crankbaits.
I love the bridge foundations, from Long Bridge to Key Bridge but be careful of construction.
I’m really at home in the WWB area but do different things: Sunken barges with plastics; old bridge foundations with crankbaits; Smoot Bay drop-offs with Carolina rigs. Do that new rip rap near Mt Vernon and crankbait the drops at Fort Washington Lighthouse.
I love Pomonkey Creek in the summer but if there’s more than two boats there-go elsewhere. Grass edges and spatterdock for sure but hidden wood is the cash box. Use the Big Mouth, Big Shaky but use it like a jig—with three-foot pulls. Fish the main river downstream too, especially the water pumping station.
MATTAWOMAN has been under siege by kayakers, snake hunters and bass hunters—but don’t let that discourage. I’m doing better outside the 6-MPH, all the way to the river with flukes, Stiks and Big Mouth spinnerbaits.
Snakes everywhere but thee thicker cover is their favorite. Way too many blue catfish in this creek. It’s time for catfish tournaments that’s catch and eat—or kill.Mallows Bay will surprise you and a nice group of rockfish on Aquia points.
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 and trout streams in Cameron County, PA-near Sinnamahoning..
Captain Dave Kerrigan, VP of Smallmouth Operations @ 301-252-5322;

Captain Brian Barnes @ 302-745-4668,

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