Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending Labor Day, 2023

Ken Penrod’s Fishing Reports

1997 National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame-Legendary Guide.
(Mailing Address) 1860 Robin Court, Lusby, MD 20657 <> 240-447-2206 <>
Fishing Report for Week Ending September 2, 2023
Ken Penrod 20-Inch Smallmouth Club
Sponsored by Ardent Outdoors and Riverfront Campground
Current Leader: Jay George; 6lb, 1 ounce; 21 ¼’
<>for shallows.
LOU Potomac River Largemouth Club
Current Leader: Paul Winner; 19.5”
Sponsored by Lowrance Electronics and Ardent Outdoors
LOU Fish of the Week
Smallmouth: Jeff Hahn
HOT HOT HOT: Lures of the Week
Smallmouth bass are eating a wide variety of artificial lures including topwater buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and Rico Poppers—but that Campground tube by Riverfront Campground and Case Magic Stiks and Magic Swims are still the deal. Big Mouth spinnerbaits and vibrating jigs are in play too and if it get tough—cast a 4” grub on 6 pound test monofilament.
Tidal largemouth lurk in grass matts along with feisty snakeheads where a frog invites battles so braid is best. It’s hard to beat the Case Magic Stik and always have a square bill crankbait tied on one of your Ardent Edge baitcasters.
This report is a little late and a little early so will not only have history—it will also suggest plans for the traditional end of summer as Labor Day has come to be know as. Growing up in PA, as in most Mid-Atlantic States, Labor Day signaled the END of fishing season but how wrong can we be. Some of the best is still ahead so check your schedules and hook up with us for September, October and November. I will resume my schedule next week.
By the way—summer patterns are far from being over.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: ***; 1.2; 80s; clear; good grass above Seneca
She is still low and hot but I’m pleased to finally say that it is “recovered” and willing smallmouth are just about everywhere.
A reminder that resident goose season begins on the 1st and boaters should be aware that men with guns will perhaps outnumber men with rods. Stay away from obvious decoy spreads. Hunters should carry a powerful flashlight to signal oncoming boats.
There is an abundance of small bass but that’s a good thing. Treat them kindly and release them quickly but gently.
Our valued client Dr Ralowitz offers his recent experience:
Fished/waded the Upper Potomac at Swain’s Lock yesterday afternoon, in an effort to sample various parts of the river to assess smallmouth re-establishment, numbers and health.

River level is very low, and very clear. Obviously a pile of rocks there made it tough on the 1/8th RAB jigheads but 80% of the time they could be dislodged with the line snap, and submerged aquatic vegetation was patchy but nothing like above Seneca Breaks.

Moving water, and deeper pools were the ticket – no surprise there – however there isn’t much deep water in that area in general.

Everything came on tubes – Purple craw and Black crawfish – 13 smallies in 3 hrs, of which 5 were 10-12 inches, and a couple of those were real bulldogs for their size.

8 smallies were 5 to 6 inches – which means they are there and, given the catastrophic river flows 3-5 years back, are growing reasonably well.

In addition, there were very large schools of 2023 fish, and significant numbers of 2-inch class fish, likely 2022 recruits. These are the guys that do the pop and drops on the tubes – water was clear enough to watch them do it yesterday.

If I had to rate it – *1/2
It was fun and decent fishing if someone wants numbers, but the likelihood of 16 to 18 inchers there seems low and probably won’t be happening for two more years provided that another high flow event doesn’t push them to Patuxent pit coves each side of the Beltway so rather than invide bites–

Sunday I should be on the Upper Potomac in the rockfield 300 yards south of the American Legion bridge on the personal pontoon, basically Lock 10 to Lock 8. There is The Well that comes up from the Am Legion Bridge with seriously deep water (90+ ft), and a couple channels, pools and ponds that, even with this low summer flow, will still be 6 ft deep. I used to fish this area a lot – both quality and numbers for many years until the sequential late spring floods.
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **1/2; 80s; algae color; good color grass to the south
The weekend will be a zoo so go early and leave early—or fish the last few hours of daylight. Evenings have been real good.
DC is a good escape to avoid bass busters and there is enough bass, stripers and catfish to keep you smiling. Reaction strikes are reliable so cranklbaits and swim baits do well. Big Mouth spinnerbaits and vibrating jigs work nicely along the Fort McNair wall and crankbaits and tubes do-it on the rip rap from the Anacostia south (Reagan Airport too.)
There is still massive food supplies in the gravel pits both sides of the beltway so toss Magic Swims and Bomber firetiger cranks.
Fox Ferry is a fish-haven so be there when you can see the tips of the aging pilings.
Sometimes you can hide in Pomonkey Creek where vegetation holds plenty of bass and snakeheads.
I’d be at Slavins at the crack of Dawn on Mattawoman Creek and work the vegetables with buzzbaits, frogs and weightless Magic Stiks. Stripers are schooling near the mouth and the VA side of the river near the fueling dock so if the birds are there—you be there too. Nothing beats a Case Magic swim but lipless crankbaits are reliable backups.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS in PA: ***; ***1/2; high 70s; some color; 4.3 at the Harrisburg gauge jumping a little to 5 by Friday; 3.8 on the Juniata at Newport and steady.
It’s rare to have this much water this far into summer but that’s a good thing—actually, a great thing.
Zak Marinkov is delighting clients with summer-success and offers this report:
Fishing report for week of August 20th-25th
The river spiked quickly last weekend with a 2 foot jump overnight to 7.2 feet and there was floating debris and trees making it dangerous on Sunday on the main river. It recovered and is stained and 4.35 feet. Fish quickly found the cleaner water from the tributaries and if you could dodge the floating ribbon grass, they were still eating. A green pumpkin campground special tube did the trick up against the bank while the water was high. An evening trip on Thursday with a falling river had bass chewing a spinnerbait and chatterbait pretty good. The fish were surfacing all evening and if you could get a cast in without hitting grass you had a bass trying to hook up every cast for a period of time. Client Jeff Hahn had 3 fish over 17 inches in less than a 5 minute span with the biggest going 18.5. My schedule is getting more and more limited each week, give me a call if you want to get out- the fishing is great into November!

Reach Zak at 717-507-2206. He has it going-on.
United States Coast Guard Licensed Captains
Captain Ken Penrod (Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, Legendary Guide)
Susquehanna River, Juniata River, Tidal Potomac River, Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers;
Upper Potomac River; Stevenson Dam; Cameron County trout
Captain Dave Kerrigan, VP (301-252-5322)
Susquehanna River, Juniata River, Upper Potomac River, Tidal Potomac River
Captain Brian Barnes (302-745-4668)
Upper Chesapeake Bay, Tidal Potomac River, Nanticoke River, Choptank River, Wicomico River, Pocomoke River
Zak Marinkov (717-507-5053)
Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers in PA


2023 LOU Sponsors and Partners:
#lowrance; #ArdentOutdoors; #CasePlastics; #ZipperWorms; #Case Magic Swim; #CampgroundTubes; #RABjigheads; #Simms; #Costa: #Yeti; #RiverPro; (AlumaRyder-Captain Kerrigan); #RiverfrontCampground; #Ghost; #BigMouthLures