Published Feb 12. 2007 - 13 years ago
Updated or edited Aug 8. 2015

Warm water outflows

Yesterday I went to the warm water outflow on the Potomac River in Dickerson, Maryland. I assume that I was there on a bad day. The pressure was dropping and all of that other bunk. There were both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass everywhere. Mostly Bigmouths. (Where the water flows out of the power plant is a canal that has been turned into a kayak slalom course. I was told that some of the national team use it to practice.) I caught one each of both species of bass, one Crappie, one Bluegill and one Warmouth. I fished for three hours and used everything in my vest. I got follows on almost every cast but the fish were reluctant. I tried every method of retrieve and fished the white water and the still. I saw Largemouth Bss up to four pounds and they charged my flies and veered off well short of what I would even call a short strike. It was frustrating. I met a man that said he was catching fish on a spinning rod but I never saw him fighting a fish. Anyway, it is a fine looking place with wonderful potential and I am sure that on the right day it will be great. It gets a lot of pressure and I assume that many of the fish have been caught and released several times. One two pound bass had a small plug attached to its gill plate. I would suggest that anyone in the area give it a try. Most of the river is covered with ice and the outflow area is balmy. I never fished an outflow before. The air temp was right at thirty-two F so there was ice on the guides.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Re: Warm water outflows...

I caught one each of both species of bass, one Crappie, one Bluegill and one Warmouth.
...
Most of the river is covered with ice and the outflow area is balmy. I never fished an outflow before. The air temp was right at thirty-two F so there was ice on the guides.

recorded a podcast on winter fishing by the way, and one of the things I talk about is how slow the fish can be in the cold water. I was in NWT, Canada once fishing for Arctic char, and we could see the fish under the water. Man were thay lazy! Something very different from an active springtime fish...

Martin

Lazy fish...

>>>>I was in NWT, Canada once fishing for Arctic char, and we could see the fish under the water. Man were thay lazy! Something very different from an active springtime fish... <<<<

It was like that here. The fish were interested but not hungry. They were following my offerings and even swiping at them, but never with the intention of eating.

In a lake here in Northern Virginia last September I caught decent bass on six consecutive casts and probably landed between thirty and forty fish in an afternoon. When you hit it like that it makes you believe in yourself and convinces you that you are not a complete dolt. When I would cast the bass were lining up to take the fly. I just didn't know where to turn at the outflow. We are getting a small storm here right now and when it clears I am going to try and go back. It is suppose to be up into the 40's here on the weekend so I will try again.

Ninteen skunked trips in a row? Wow, Martin. What control you have. Or did you?

By the way, how do you highlight a paragraph that you are responding to in red?

Martin Joergensen's picture

Re: Lazy fish...

Ninteen skunked trips in a row? Wow, Martin. What control you have. Or did you?

ll too much hoping for some opening. I should know that fishing in January and February on the Danish coast is only for stupid anglers ridden by severe cabin fever.

This year I have been out three times (3!) and have caught one fish and lost one. And we're in mid-February. That's a much better statistic than 19 empty-handed trips in the same period. I caught the first fish of the year on March the 24th last year! Yikes!

By the way, how do you highlight a paragraph that you are responding to in red?

Re: Lazy fish...

Use the Quote-button in stead of Reply. This will copy the post you quote with some special codes around it. You can copy and paste the codes or enter them manually to create more quotes like above.

I think I got it

Re: Lazy fish...

Use the Quote-button in stead of Reply. This will copy the post you quote with some special codes around it. You can copy and paste the codes or enter them manually to create more quotes like above.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Re: Lazy fish...
e-button in stead of Reply. This will copy the post you quote with some special codes around it. You can copy and paste the codes or enter them manually to create more quotes like above.

I got follows on almost every...

I got follows on almost every cast but the fish were reluctant. I tried every method of retrieve and fished the white water and the still. I saw Largemouth Bss up to four pounds and they charged my flies and veered off well short of what I would even call a short strike.

u are either too large (most likely) or a bit too small. Also, your flies should have prominent eyes, a key strike trigger on pelagic prey species. Try dead-drifting a Whitlock Sheep Shad or even a Simple Shad broadside using techniques similar to what you'd use to fish a traditional wet fly for trout. I'm sure you'll see a different response.

Joe C.

Thanks Joe...

Thanks Joe,
I have never fished a warm outflow before. I am starving for information like your response. Most of the flies I was trying were Clousers. They all had prominent eyes but I was retrieving them at all kinds of different speeds. I do not think that I once dead drifted one. I did dead drift a few big ugly nymphs and crayfish immitations as well. The Smallmouth I did catch was on a Clouser type fly tied wth all gold Krystal Flash. Are the flies that you suggested weighted? I'll have to check a few tying archives to see how to tie them. Thanks again.

I have an artilce published...

I have an artilce published on fishing the Ohio River warm water discharge on my web page http://www.flyfishohio.com There is also a fly tying step-by-step instruction and video on tying the Simple Shad, my version of the Whitlock Sheep Shad. Also try Deceivers, Blondes and other saltwater patterns. Try to find out what species of shiner or shad is most likely to stack into the plume, then match it first for size and translucency, then for action (probably stunned and drifting due to sudden temperature differentials in the plume - that's the feast the predators come for) and finally for color. When in doubt use white. Also, avoid marabou flies - they have too much inherent action. You actually want a fly the holds it's shape in an across current swing. If you're a traditionalist, feather wing streamers can be a good bet.

One more thing. The Clouser is an excellent imitation of a thin bodied baitfish like an emeral shiner or a smelt. Its not so good at imitating wide bodied fish like shad, herring, sunfish and "slow water" shiners like the golden shiner. Try a pattern like a Bucktail Deceiver or Lefty's Deciever that gives a broader profile. The bass that were following were turning away because they saw something other than color/action at that last second. It may have been the profile.

Good luck and tight lines;

Joe C.

Warm water...

Now I sez to myself, why does this all seem so familiar. The name you have being the name on the book that you signed and sent to me several months ago is the one that I am looking at right now. When you leave a place like Plymouth County and end up living on the Potomac watershed inside The Beltway it is a bit of a shock. My first question 12 1/2 years ago that I asked my non-fishing future wife was, "Where do I fish for Pickerel?" The Potomac was at flood stage and I was sure that it would look like that for the rest of my life. Such a shock. No more A.D. Makepeace cranberry bog system to slog through. No more Hamblins, Peters, Spectacle, Santuit, Mashpee-Wakeby, Halfway, Sampsons, Long or Ponkapoag Pond to fish in. No more salter fishing in the Mashpee River every Fall and Scorton Creek. No more Cape Cod Canal. And no more Mike's Bait Shop. Of course there was no more Mike but I do still have the little sticker that his wife gave me, "I Love Mike's Bait Shop" that I still have not peeled and stuck on anything. I am re-reading your great little book. When you are in the hunt you tend to remember things with more clarity.

When we were young we found Gadabout Gaddis' favorite Bluegill pond. It was in the Makepeace bogs and was simply called Stumpy. I can draw you a map sometimes. Thanks for writing your wonderful book.

PS The Bruins just beat Philly 6-3.

The world is a small place! ...

The world is a small place! I miss the smallmouth bass of Peter's Pond (and the rainbow trout, too). Mostly I miss Scussett Beach and the spring pollock run which foretold of the return of the stripers. Of course one can never go back and the Plymouth County of my childhood isn't anything like that today. I was back in MA a couple years ago and took my fly rod to "The Nip" (Lake Nipanickett) to fish for pickerel. When did so many people get enough money to build million dollar houses???

Anyway, the Midwest has its own charms, as does the mighty Patomac. I've fished in the shadow of the Washington Monument and wish I could do it again. Perhaps I'll meet you on the James or the New River one day, both being about half way to Washington and two of the best smallmouth rivers in the world.

Thanks for the kind words about my words...

Tight lines;

Joe C.

Outflow success...

Well, it was warm and there was a hatch going on pretty fair when I got to the outflow yesterday so all of my minnow immitations didn't do a thing. When in Rome, (do they use that expressin in Italy?) so I dug through my boxes (it is at least a half a mile back to the car and in five inches of slush on forest floor. I was not going to make the trip again in hip boots.) and found a few odd flies. The one I first put on is the one in the picture. It is a wet Humpy type that I tie for subsurface. Most of the swirls were fish taking something just below the top. I caught a lot of Largemouth Bass. Not one was over fifteen inches but in that current they really are a different fish. I also caught a bunch of big Bluegills. The males are starting to get color. It must be the warm water. You can see the mighty Potomac in the background. Bald Eagles are going up and down the river constantly. They will be nesting soon. And the Carp are stacked up like busses on the shallows near the bank. I am sure that I saw the biggest Carp I have ever seen yesterday. It looked like one of those prehistoric armadillos mudding its way along the bank. I threw a small crawfish above it and it slid into the main stream. It was having none of me. Huge fish. maybe 35 or 40 pounds.

rybolov's picture

Re: Outflow success...

Well, it was warm and there was a hatch going on pretty fair when I got to the outflow yesterday...

secret is to go ultra-light at the warm inflows at Burke Lake. They have very nice purple highlights.

Burke Lake...

I have not fished Burke lake. Does it really have Muskies? I was at the DC Trout Unlimited fly show today and there was a cast of a 43" Tiger Muskie that someone caught on the North Fork of the Potomac. What a monster. And they have video of the whole thing.

So what is the story with Burke Lake? A lot of people fish it but all I hear about it is that there are Muskies in there. Where are the warm water inflows? I have a fondness for big Bluegills. And even for not so big Bluegills. Great fish. I challenge anyone on this site to catch a 10 inch Gill. That is a big fish. I have only caught a few in that class.

Next time I am going out to Dickerson I'll email you.

rybolov's picture

Re: Burke Lake...

I have not fished Burke lake. Does it really have Muskies?

e. I know people who take n00bs out there because there are so many different species of fish, you'll always catch something. The lake is definitely too big for a float tube, although I've tubed it a couple of times. It's pretty good for a pontoon boat or a typical bass boat.

March is good muskie time. It also has walleye, largemouth, crappie, and bluegill.

VA DGIF info about Burke

The lake itself is a reservoir with dam at one end. It forms a nice V with inlets at the end of each arm. You can wade the inlets, and I go to the one in the NW because it's easy to reach by walking. The DGIF has a good pdf map that you can use.

Burke...

Great. Thanks a lot. That is a lake in my own county that I have never been to. And I travel Rt 123 a lot and fish Hemlock Overlook quite a bit. That is a nice little stream to fish. Largemouth and Smallmouth side by side. Beautiful pools and riffles with lots of other species as well. Carp, Channel Cats, the usual assortment of sunfish family members all in a hip boot environment. And a good website too.

Today's Bass...

It was one of those days that I would have never even thought about Largemouth Bass fishing several years ago. Low 30's, strong winds, water temp at about 44 degrees F. I recently got the Clouser book and went to work on a few petterns and threw caution to the wind, literally, and gave it a try. If the pics do not come through I'll try again. I caught a dozen Bass by fishing chatruse clouser deep minnows. I let them sink to the bottom and crawled them back. Most of the pickups were while the fly was sitting still. Many of the fish have a huge headed appearance right now. The seventeen incher was only two pounds. That fish will put on a full pound by bedding time in 6-8 weeks. In two hours I hooked up twenty fish and landed a dozen. I cant think of a better way to freeze one's butt off.

One more pic....

Thsi is a healthy, cold mouthed bass.

.

Log in or register to pre-fill name on comments, add videos, user pictures and more.
Read more about why you should register.