LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 8320
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Professional Guides Since 1982
Ken Wrote “The Books” on Regional Fishing.
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Expert Fishing Instructors for:
Tidal Potomac River <> Upper Potomac River <> Susquehanna River
Juniata River <> Upper Bay <> Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers
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There is no such thing as “Life Outdoors Unlimited-Indian Head” and we do not use booking companies such as “FishBooker.”
I purposely delayed this report to see how “Iseeyouseeme” would affect this week’s fishing. Like most weather related events, each network tried to sound more dangerous and caring than the other—for ratings. Our entire media network is like that anymore. There are too many sources without near enough talent so being reckless with the truth is the new norm. That I C u C me dumped a lot of coastal rain but our interior seemed unscathed.
“I C U C Me’s” effect on regional rivers.
Upper Potomac River @ Point of Rocks: 1.5 Monday rising to 3.3 Wednesday
Susquehanna River at Harrisburg: 3.2 Tuesday rising to 3.8 Friday
Juniata River at Newport: 3.5 Tuesday and steady
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER (Seneca to Brunswick): *; look for some color—and that’s good. A jump of less than one foot by Thursday. Temps in the 80s.
There’s no getting around it—2008 floods decimated smallmouth bass populations and recovery will take a few years. This is still a good time for wading and float trips but avoid contact with the water as much as possible because the bacteria level is very high. Waders should not get river water in their mouths or eyes—and never on skin wounds.
I’ve seen these same conditions several times over my career—and this one isn’t the worst one. A smart angler can still catch bass but you must choose your “spots” much more thoughtfully than when fish-were-everywhere.
Campground tubes, Case Magic Stiks, Zipper Grubs on 6 pound test Excel monofilament is your all-day offering but try those Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits in the early morning. Submersed ledges and shady=shoreline after the sun comes up.
Best areas include Whites Ferry to Edwards Ferry; Lander to Point of Rocks and Brunswick to Lander.
More than ever though-your “gear” becomes important. Poor quality rods and reels account for most “poor” days than any other factor. Gear-up with a medium action Ardent “Edge” spinning rod and C-Force (2500) reel.
“Put ‘em back within 60 seconds guys”
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: Tribs will stain-up but don’t expect much color and debris from the upper Potomac; 80s.
Remember when local “experts” and media were warning Potomac River users that snakehead fish would soon eradicate all other species and then, hang around school bus stops to eat kids? Remember them?
Well, just like “hydrilla” was going to destroy the river, the snakehead has actually become a great sportfish and the target of fish-hungry people that brag aloud of the culinary value. It hangs out in bass habitat, eats the same things bass eat and loves the lures that bass seek such as: buzzbaits; frogs; spinnerbaits; flukes; Magic Stiks etc. They “fight” better than a largemouth. It’s ok to keep “dead” ones. Your usual rods aren’t adequate and they will fight you—and bite you.
This summer has been tough for bass fishing—not because of scarcity but rather because of the abundance of food-and that’s fairly common. Let there be no doubt however—the snakehead has become to target of many and most for now.
Now, you wouldn’t take a knife to a gun fight so heed my advice: 7-foot, MH, Ardent baitcasting rod with an Ardent C-Force reel, spooled with 40-50 pound test braid.
Go where they go—and that’s thick grass matts; spatterdock edges; marshy shorelines and SAV edges. In other words—where bass live.
In the DC area, rip rap on both sides of the river hold a smorgasbord of fish and they are eating crankbaits, Big Shaky vibrating jigs, Case Magic Swims and Whopper Ploppers and Penrod Special spinnerbaits.
\The WASHINGTON CHANNEL is full of catfish along the 10-15 foot contour but no so for bass. Look to the railroad bridge foundations, marina entrance, Key Bridge foundations and submersed foundations of the C&O Canal Aqueduct. I like Case Magic stiks for most but its hard to beat the Campground tubes in the KP Series attached to RAB jig heads. The Case Magic Swim has because a go-to lure also, on an RAB Swim Jig or attached to a Big Mouth spinnerbaits or Big Shaky.
Don’t stop here—keep going and pretend you are fishing the upper Potomac.
HYDRILLA has taken over the WWB sector—and that’s not all bad. Fish the edges with Magic Stiks. Penrod Cove and Smoot Bay hold lots of bass—getting them to eat is the problem.
I like Hog Island and portions og Brad Creek not—and the Fort Washington lighthouse point is a good stop.
MATTAWOMAN CREEK harbors the NAVY facility and many vessels of many fishermen that is like an invasion some days. MD DNR police must have weekend off because boats are racing about in the 6 MPH zone as if it’s main stem. Actually, it’s been years since I saw a DNR Policeman on this water and the Grinders love that.
Snakeheads everywhere, and bass not-so-much. Smallwood to main stem improves. Spatterdock and grasses between Slavins and the Steel wall a good bet.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS: **; minimal rises with minimal coloring; low 80s
There is 440 miles of North Branch (main stem)—and 243 Miles of West Branch (longest tributary) Susquehanna River—and that’s not counting other tributaries such as the 104 mile long Juniata-SO remember that MY report deals with a very minimal amount of the drainage. Our area of expertise lies between Harrisburg and Montgomery Ferry on the North Branch—30 miles of the Juniata at the lower end and several tributaries and West Branch in Clearfield, Cameron and Clinton Counties.
No matter how tough you think the bass fishing has become—it’s still the BEST smallmouth river in the Eastern United States.
Don’t count on much of a “bump” in level from the latest rains—but do expect to “bump” if you venture into unknown waters in inadequate boats—or inadequate experience.
Like any river system, especially clear and shallow—get-out-there-early. Johnny Cunningham will rent you float boats and shuttle you upriver for various-length drifts.
Be sure to buy some Campground Special tubes and RAB jig heads from him.
Morning topwater is everyone’s favorite so Whopper Plopper, Poppers; buzzbaits and Zara Spooks do the deed when floating grass isn’t present.
LOU Guides for 2020
Captain Ken Penrod: (National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame) Cell: 240-447-2206; email@example.com; 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,
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; AlumaRyder; (Dave Kerrigan); Guidefitters; NRA; Maggie Penrod.