Ken Penrod's Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report

Week Ending July 19, 2020

LOU Fishing Report for Week Ending 71920

Mailing Address: 4708 Sellman Road
Beltsville, MD 20705
Cell @ 240-447-2206 (Best Way), Office Device @ 30-937-0010.

PLEASE—never communicate with me via Messenger. NEVER; NEWLY constructed with lots of information. See the “About”, then “Galley” section for photos and “Programs” for club and youth camp information.

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First-Hand Reporting Since 1982—NOT part-time guess work.
Professional Guides Since 1982
Ken 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
Glen Payne

LOU Potomac River Largemouth Club, aka LoPo
(Sponsored by Lowrance Electronics and Ardent Outdoors)
Current Leader: Mike Stoker @ 20”
Glen Payne

Ken Penrod 20-Inch Smallmouth Club
(Current Leader: Michael Day)
Well, as some say: “If you don’t like Washington D C area weather—just wait a minute.” But that’s not true because one thing is certain—weather has been consistent—consistently hot as hell and 90-degrees or more for 24 straight days. Add the effect of near 90-degree water and tremendous amounts of YOY in tidal water; an underachieving Susquehanna River and a very poor Upper Potomac fishery—in a nutshell, FISHING HAS BEEN TOUGH.
I’ve had some technical difficulties with email, phone/text service recently so if you tried to contact me without success-try again. I hate Comcast and ATT is just about as incompetent.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: *; 1.3 at Point of Rocks; very low, very clear.
Not much to talk about from a fish catching standpoint but it’s not a total waste of you go early and fish smart.
The best news follows:
Upper Potomac River Smallmouth Bass Stocking Program (Thank you Md DNR. I don’t get to do that often lately.)
The upper Potomac River supports Maryland’s most popular smallmouth bass fishery. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Freshwater Fisheries Program monitors the status of the fishery through annual juvenile and adult monitoring surveys. Recent recruitment surveys have shown juvenile smallmouth bass numbers to be below long-term average values. High river flows in late spring (May-June) have been shown to be a major factor contributing to this reduction in juvenile numbers. High river flows during and immediately after smallmouth bass spawn can scour nests, displace fry, and limit juvenile growth and survival. Elevated spring flows experienced in 2016-2018 have resulted in consecutive years of poor recruitment and low year-class strength. While the number of larger adult smallmouth bass has remained steady, there are concerns about declining catch rates after multiple poor year-classes of young fish.
In a management action to try and improve juvenile recruitment, the Freshwater Fisheries Program is planning a pilot smallmouth bass supplemental stocking program on the upper Potomac River beginning in the spring of 2019. Supplemental stocking of hatchery reared juvenile fish can be effective in helping boost year-class strength and contribute to the overall fishery. A stocking plan has been developed to collect a small number of adult smallmouth bass this spring and move them to a state hatchery for spawning. The resulting fingerlings and adult brood fish will be stocked back into the river in sections that have experienced recent low levels of recruitment and juvenile survival. Monitoring will be conducted to determine growth, survival, and distribution of stocked juvenile smallmouth bass as well as their contribution to the fishery.
All parts of the pilot project will be documented and posted online for the public and anglers to follow. More details on the smallmouth bass supplemental stocking program are available in a project plan outline and slide presentation.
If you have additional questions or would like to provide feedback to the upper Potomac River smallmouth bass supplemental stocking plan, please complete the Potomac River Smallmouth Bass Survey.

July 14 – 15, 2020
Fishing and Boating Services Hatcheries Division and Freshwater Fisheries Program stocked 30,000 fingerling smallmouth bass in the Potomac River from Taylors Landing downstream to Edwards Ferry. Freshwater staff collected adult smallmouth bass from the Potomac in April to serve as hatchery brood. Over the last four months, staff at the Joseph Manning Hatchery spawned the bass in ponds with artificial nesting structures and reared the fry in fertilized ponds. Once growth had been maximized in the ponds, the bass were transferred to indoor circular tanks where they were trained to feed on an artificial diet to accelerate growth to a stockable size of 2 – 3 inches. The final step was transporting these fish to the Potomac River.
An additional 5,000 fingerling smallmouth were generously provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Warmwater Hatchery Program for the Potomac, which forms Maryland’s southern border and is popular with anglers from both states. Several consecutive years of high river flows during the spring have reduced spawning success causing lower catch rates for anglers. The hatchery fish will supplement natural reproduction, accelerating the recovery of the fishery and improving fishing.
The graph below simply reconfirms what anglers have been witnessing the past few years. Those summer floods of 2018 did more harm than and of the major floods in my 50-year experience.

TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: **; mid 80s; very clear; hydrilla dominating
It’s not so. Bass didn’t take a bus to cooler places. They didn’t stop eating. They are “stuffed” with so much young-of-the-year food that they don’t need that stuff you are throwing at them. I can’t remember a year when so much food was in so many places. Complicating you efforts is the emergence of mass hydrilla beds which attracting food and predators but over wide areas instead of patchy milfoil.
In DC, I know it’s a long way and a slow-way but above Key Bridge is worth the effort. Crankbaits, tubes, Case Magic Swims, Big Mouth Bug Shakey and drop-shot. It’s a ledge pattern so monitor your Lowrance. I’m using Ardent spinning rods and Bas Pro Shop Excel mono for finesse—and Ardent baitcasting with 15-lb. test mono for the cranks. Hey—do you own a Whopper Plopper? Get off your wallet and do so. Tackle Warehouse can have them to you in a day or so.
I like the Kennedy Center dropoff; Long Bridge foundations; airport rip rap and Blue Plains dock.
The WW Bridge area epitomized food-abundance and no area is food richer than Penrod Cove—but attack them with crankbaits—same with Fox Ferry Point pilings and barge remnants near the bridge and below Belle Have,
Pomonkey Creek is rich with snakeheads—and bass where the Penrod Special spinnerbait by Big Mouth Lure Company is lethal—as is the 6’ Magic Stik by Case in the Penrod Stik..
In Mattawoman Creek, the “front end” is fishing better than the 6-MPH zone especially with new grass in the big coves where Case Stiks, flukes, Zipper Worms and Zipper grubs excel.

SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS; **; mid 80s; clear; 3.6 at the Harrisburg station and 3.5 at Newport on the Juniata.
During the “Arway Closure” period, those years when PFBC shut-down smallmouth bass fishing between May 1 and June 15—they did so in the name of “no fish,” “diseased bass,” angler pressure and low recruitment. I NEVER bought into that, and I have substantial Conservation awards that endorse my ethic. As a matter of fact, PFBC did more harm than good by bad-mouthing Susquehanna bass populations—and by saturating national media with one bass with a tumor. I recall a question by a PFBC member, at a Black Bass Committee meeting: “We are losing license sales guys. How can we fix that?” (by the way, PA fishing license sales are down 40% from their hey-day.) My answer was; “Tell John Arway to be quiet.” I have nothing but respect for Mr Arway, but we butted heads over his closure.
NOW, fish [populations are REALLY down (in the fiber dam to Holtwood sector—the so-called “Trophy” area.) and “inaction” is obvious. Disease didn’t decimate the population, the floods of 2018 did—and farming practices helped in a big way. Such a shame too because the Susquehanna truly was a “World-Class Smallmouth fishery.”
Now—don’t get me wrong—the Susquehanna is still the best smallmouth bass river in the Chesapeake Bay system—by far. Total catch & release is advised and an aggressive stocking program—kind of like Maryland is trying to do for the Potomac.
We can do our part too guys, byy quickly releasing fish and by using circle hooks when possible. Lack of success will be the bigger asset as it will discourage many from fishing there—especially the “spoiled” folk.
That being said—this is the time for river-floats in most any shallow water craft so let me recommend Johnny Cunningham of Riverfront Campground (717-877-2704) whom will rent boats, shuttle you and his store has the baits, drinks, license, live bait, snacks and no-how to launch you on a River adventure you will always remember.
Between Montgomery Ferry and the Rockville Bridge—find the submersed ledges, shady shorelines, deeper water (lol) and current breaks. Remember, bass want moving water now. Big Mouth spinnerbaits (Riverfront Campground has them), Whopper Ploppers, pink flukes, Campground tubes and Case Magic Stiks are deadly. Captain Dave Kerrigan and I will take reservations for fall fishing, as usual, but for now let me recommend Jason Halfpenny and Jason Shay.
Normally, this time of year, I am at my lodge in PA conducting our summer camp for boys. Fishing the Susquehanna Drainage Rivers. Creeks and dams. For the first time in nearly 30-years, we had to cancel 2020 sessions, due to Covid. There is no safer place on earth than my lodge—but our liability was huge and we chickened-out.
Mag and I, along with Jason Penrod and his family were there last weekend. The creeks were all-time low and the river was too. I checked a few of the boys favorite “holes” and you can’t believe the numbers of trout! We saw some impressive bucks-in-velvet and one black bear.
. 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,

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.