I’m afraid I do not have a lot to report over the past 2 weeks as I rescheduled this past weekend’s trips and the prior weekend a trip was cut short to due to very heavy rain. So I took the time off of the water to get the boat cleaned up and packed for a Canadian fishing trip that I leave for this week, looks I may not be missing out on fishing locally as yet another rise is projected for all three rivers! I will be back out in a couple weeks and will keep you updated on what is working for me.
It is beginning to be difficult to keep track of all of the high water events this year, but prior to the last rise fishing continued to be good for numbers of fish, but the bigger fish have been difficult to find, and those we have caught continue to be very lean. Since water levels have not reached “summer pool”, this allows the bass to spread out through much of the river, keep in mind at warmer temps a river level of 3′-4′ at Point of Rocks does not necessarily push the fish into eddys or to the shorelines. Although the current is moving fairly swiftly at those levels, it is not too much for the bass but they will relate to current seams formed by submerged ledges, large rock, grass beds and wood. The push water, water that is stalled at the tops of islands, grass beds and standing ledges are also productive areas…..and yes I know that covers much of the fishable structure but it takes trying out different areas to establish a pattern. Some days the bass will favor a particular type of structure over another, and it can change from day to day. Once the river recedes to a safe boating level, I would expect the same patterns to work as they have after each high water event this year. Snagler Tackle spinnerbaits fished at the current seams and push water of the areas mentioned above in colors Upper Snag Remover and Gold Snag in the thumper series. Once the water starts to pick up a green hue, change over to Gold Snag, Stonecat and Roadkill River Craw in the booster series. Pretty consistently this year I have found the spinnerbait bite to slow down around 11, at this time I would switch to small square bill crankbaits like the Adam’s Custom Lures ATAK in darker colors such as Dirty water Devil and Blue Mudbug. I fish the crankbaits over areas of deeper water that have lots of large rock or through series of submerged ledges. Although the current may be moving quickly at the surface there are protected areas around this rock for the bass to take shelter. The submerged ledges are usually easy to find but the large flats of chunk rock can be more difficult, watch for areas of water with numbers of swirls at the tops. To thoroughly work over the key areas I like to fish back over with some sort of soft plastic, such as a tube, swimbait, or a biffle bug which has been producing a lot of fish for me this year. I like to fish the Biffle Bug (or other plastics) along the back of the submerged ledges, and at the points of the current seams…top and bottom, but it can also be fished similarly to a crankbait through the rock flats as it is fairly snag resistant. With stained to muddy water I am using darker colors such as watermelon red and black with blue fleck.
The spinnerbait bite prior to the last rise continued to be very good fishing Snagler Tackle booster series in colors Roadkill River Craw, Gold Snag, Copper Snag and Southside Slammer over a variety of structure. Now with yet another rise in the future once levels reach safe boating levels those patterns should shift back to the high muddy water patterns. Finding “cleaner” water by checking both shores and the middle of the river, even the slightest change in color can make a difference. Here I would slow roll STC spinnerbaits in Chartruese Mega Snag and Mega Death paired up with a color coordinated grub trailer and a trailer hook, fishing them just fast enough to keep the blades thumping. Cover lots of water, and if you find you are not catching many fish, try a drift in a different area of the river, usually the fish are biting on some portion of this river system. Dark colored crankbaits also have produced well, again the Adam’s ATAK in Dirty Water Devil and Blue Mudbug fished along current seams and around submerged ledges as they start to show on the surface of the water. As with on the upper Potomac, casting and a slow retrieve with a Biffle bug has been working well when the fish want a little more subtle presentation.
I have a few dates open still, and yes this is a great time to be on the river, the fishing can be excellent and with little boat traffic. I know many people think fishing season is over at this time but that is just not case, just look below at some past November catches, the fish are fat and hungry! With the right equipment and clothing, Under Armour base layer and good rain gear (helps with wind too) it really is quite comfortable to spend the day fishing before winter sets in. Fishing techniques can vary from spinnerbaits, to jerkbaits to fishing soft plastics, send me message if you would like to get in on some great fishing.
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