Freshwater fishing for most fish has slowed down with the summer heat which is somewhat typical this time of the year. The hot temperatures we have been experiencing have pushed water temperatures in the upper 80’s in many of the two regions lakes, ponds and tidal waters. Savvy fishermen have been digging into their box of tricks to entice fish such as largemouth bass into striking presentations. One trick is to get out on the water before dawn; “pink in the sky” as many call it and fish topwater lures in the shallows. That is where largemouth bass are roaming during the night, looking for an easy meal before they retreat to the shaded deeper and cooler waters. At times these cooler areas are near deep sunken wood or deep grass. In waters such as the tidal Potomac and Susquehanna Flats largemouth bass will hunker down under thick mats of grass during the day. Sometimes after a rain event feeder creeks will run cooler and largemouth bass will nose into them and fishing can be better there also. Mattawoman Creek on the tidal Potomac River is a good example.
During these times of warm water temperatures fishermen will often switch to smaller lures such as spinnerbaits and retrieve them a lot slower than normal. Sometimes working a craw type soft plastic jig or a whacky rigged plastic worm slowly and deliberately will entice a pickup. Often the pickup is very subtle and not the hard strike fishermen are used to when waters are cooler and fish are more aggressive. Texas rigged worms worked slowly along deeper waters are another good option and certainly one that worked for this angler.
Bluegills are a good option this time of the year and when matched up against an ultra-light spinning or fly outfit will give any fisherman a run for their money. Chain pickerel are usually lurking near cover such as grass or lily pads and crappie are holding close to cover in deeper waters. Channel catfish are holding in the deeper channel areas in many of the regions tidal rivers. The Elk River and lower Susquehanna are excellent places to fish for large channel catfish as is the tidal Potomac.