Almost all I know about fishing I first-learned by casting in mountain streams.  Tactics like swimming a lure with the current, casting to the deep side of cover, matching the hatch, looking for the dark water, minimizing terminal tackle, and the importance of stealth are all stream fishing techniques that translate easily to fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.  If you’ve followed CLT, you know that as much as I love the Bay and targeting the many species that live here, there are times when the call of the stream is so great that I have to drop everything and go. This past weekend my wife and I found ourselves with some time to kill en route to see friends and family near Jackson, Michigan.  We stopped at several streams along the way, and I even got in some still-water pond fishing north of Lansing. 

The best fishing of the weekend was in the Potomac River north of Hancock, Maryland.  I followed the C&O Canal upstream for a ways, before stepping in near towpath mile marker 131.  I was pleased to find the river clear and relatively cool as it winds its way across the Mason Dixon Line and around Sideling Hill before cutting through the main stem of the Central Appalachians.  I threw an inch long chartreuse grub attached to a gold safety pin spinner and hooked up on my first cast.  There were plenty of little smallmouth bass in the rifles along with sunfish in the steady runs and even a few redeye bass in the still pools.  I’m  happy to see the Potomac in such good shape, even if it is way out in the nether reaches of Maryland.

The next day I donated eleven bucks to the state of Ohio for an non-resident one day fishing license and got in a few minutes of casting north of Beaver.  Unfortunately, recent thunderstorms muddied the stream and I found fishing tough.

Sunday, I joined my brother-in-law Mitch for a visit to the Grand River east of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Finding few fish, we moved on to a clear spring-fed lake in the Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area north of Lansing.  The lake we fished was less than 2 acres, but held lots of largemouth bass and bluegill.  Floating Rapalas turned out to be the best lures.  We caught dozens of small bass, but couldn’t hook hook any of the four pound lunkers we saw lurking beneath the lily pads.  I didn’t think to pack bigger lures or soft plastics in my travel bag.  You can bet I will next time.  The fish weren’t out in the middle of the lake, but were holding tight along the near-shore ledges where they could find better places to hide.

My fishing time is very limited this week due to work requirements, but I managed a few minutes tonight with Rick and Tieren from Annapolis.  Tieren is going to class for his OUPV 6 pack license on Kent Island. Rick and I are buddies from the Severn River Rod & Keg Club. We fished the area around the Bay Bridge and caught plenty of keeper-size rockfish but the biggest was only 27 inches.  Skies were high and the wind was still with only moderate current, so the bite was off a little.  We also saw small rockfish and blues breaking over shallow water between the bridge spans but decided to stay with the bigger fish around the pilings.  The best way to catch the striped bass last night was just exactly how I caught the fish in the rivers and the lake.  Being as stealthy as possible, I was casting upstream and swimming the lures down beside the cover where the fish were hiding.  Whether largemouth, smallmouth, or rockfish, fishing is fishing and a bass is a bass is a bass!

Posted Thursday, August 12th, 2010 at 12:27 am
Filed Under Category: Fishing Reports
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Responses to “A Bass is a Bass is a Bass”

  1. Phil Kerchner says:

    Great read Shawn. Terrific pics too.

  2. RiverCat09 says:

    thanks for writing Shawn! A bass is truly a bass. Smallmouth are such a blast, and I consider the pond in our neighborhood to be LTJ cross training. I told my buddy Norm that I’d like to try a jitterbug for breaking rockfish. I bet I’ll hook up. Nice read as always.


  3. Dave C. says:


    Heading to Pidgeon Forge area for a week, point me in the right direction if you will for some nice stream or river fishing.


  4. Shawn says:

    Don – Try a buzz bait in breakers sometime.

    Dave C. – You’ll be very close to some good smallmouth streams. Going into Pigeon Forge from I-40 you’ll cross the French Broad River just before Smoky Mtn Knife Works. It’s a decent smallmouth stream, but the flow depends on the dam which is just a little way upstream. (Easy drive to the tailwaters though which can be fun.) Best bet is to drive a little and fish either the Nolichucky or the French Broad above Newport, TN. The rivers in the national park are too over-fished to be very productive unless you hike way end and go for trout. Trout fishing can be good right in downtown Gatlinburg if you catch if after stocking. Send me an email address and I’ll point you toward some access points.

  5. Dave C. says:


    heading down to Tn on the 29th criss crossing down to Chattanooga and over the mountains to the Cherokee reservation. access points for the smallmouths is what I’m looking for.


  6. Mike B says:

    Great report Shawn, looks like you had a nice trip. I agree that the methods can be adapted to all but if smallies got to be 30″ to 40″!!!! Oh my goodness, that would be a fight. Keep em coming I really enjoy them.


  7. mark rogers says:

    Grew up in central Michigan. One under-fished and productive river in the area is the Red Cedar. Runs through Michigan State University and has lots of smallies with no pressure. Launch a canoe on campus and take out at Ferguson Park in Okemos. About a 3-4 hour paddle. Great memories, used to use “flatfish” orange or white with black spots. Smallies, crappie and rockbass used to love them, and then a pike would come by and take them. Great read. Mark

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