Freshwater Fishing Reports

Freshwater Fishing Reports presented by District Angling

Freshwater Fishing Report, September 13, 2019 Update:

The freshwater fishing scene remains active, starting with area rivers which are now running at normal or below normal flows in most areas. Terrestrials will take trout, but those areas with low waters means spooky fish so stay in stealth mode. In larger streams and rivers smallmouth should be in prime form right about now and if history is any indication crayfish-imitating crankbaits will be a top producer; check out this Smallmouth Bass how-to by freshwater contributor Jim Gronaw, to get in on the game at rivers like the Monocacy, Big Pipe, the Shenandoah, and so on.

big largemouth bass on a kayak
Tim's back, with a bucket-mouth caught in an undisclosed Virginia lake.

Reports from Deep Creek Lake, Lake Anna, Loch Raven and the Baltimore reservoirs, and St. Mary’s Lake have continued to provide steadily talk of good bass action for fishermen. An early trip to any of these areas has been producing for those armed with spinner baits, chatter baits, topwater plugs, and plastic frogs. The bass have still been retreating into deeper water during the heat of the day, but hitting the shoreline and nearby structure during morning and evening hours has been consistently exciting. After the bass have turned off, the Tackle Box reported that at St. Mary’s the crappie bite around the spillway and deep-water stumps is normally still popping. Deepwater structure should prove the ticket to crappie throughout the region, with minnow being the best bait (at the risk of putting the minnow through some serious trauma).

What about the snakes? On the Western Shore including in the Gunpowder, Potomac, and Rappahannock and their tidal creeks, snakeheads are biting. Using plastic frogs, chatterbaits, or minnow has been a good move in these areas. The bite at the Blackwater has dropped off the past few days from what we heard, but seems to fluctuate weekly and every tidal cycle brings another question-mark.

Freshwater Fishing Report, September 6, 2019 Update:

In the reservoirs throughout the region fish returned to their summer patterns with this week’s warm-up. Bass are being caught best at daybreak and dusk, on topwater and spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, or plastic frogs near the shoreline. Once the sun’s up, probing underwater points near drop-offs is more effective. Contributor Eric Packard confirmed the topwater reports, hitting several southern ponds and lakes the past week and finding topwater frogs were a top offering. Crappie have been deep and holding on structure in the reservoirs, with minnow out-catching anything else.

big bass on a topwater frog
Topwater frog? YEP! Topwater frog. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard.

Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow reports that the bass dominated the action on a Blackwater trip last week, and the snakes were much more finicky than the largemouth. The snakeheads had moved up incredibly shallow and you heard them rolling “back in the woods” beyond casting range. The two snake attacks that he did have were triggered while probing tiny fingers of skinny water and casting topwater frogs through tree branches and into algae-covered swamp. Bass hit both topwater and spinnerbaits cast close to the shoreline in more open water. Reports from both the upper tidal Potomac and the Rappahannock were similar, with more bass biting than snakeheads and topwater proving the main choice among both the anglers and the fish.

In the western rivers, smallmouth seemed to wake up this week and provided good action, particularly in the Shenandoah. Water levels have been mostly stable and average although there are some outliers where thunderstorms dumped some water the past few days. The Gunpowder in particular has seen some runoff and is running above average at the moment (as this report is published). Fortunately it looks like the incoming weather event will miss western portions of the region and impacts will remain localized.

August 2, 2019
Freshwater Fishing Report, August 30, 2019 Update: Cooler and overcast weather this week certainly hasn’t hurt the bass fishery. In many area reservoirs and lakes water temps dropped noticeably and the bass shifted shallow for longer periods of the… Read more...
July 5, 2019
Freshwater Fishing Report, July 25, 2019 Update:   With the break from the heat stepping out the door has again become bearable. However, water temperatures in lakes and streams are still super-high, and during the heat of the day you have to… Read more...
June 6, 2019
Freshwater Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, June 28 Update: Up north along the Mason-Dixon line Contributor Jim Gronaw continues banging on bull bluegill, including one this week which may be a personal best at 11.75-inches and close to two pounds (the… Read more...