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Queen Perch

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On an overcast day that had periods of drizzle, chilly temps in the high 40s, and no rhyme or reason to think fishing was a good idea…I made it a good idea. This was a short post-work trip to Queen Anne Bridge on the Patuxent River and this outing had shades of eeriness to it, but worked out just fine after all. After hearing the first reports of the shad runs taking place in the distant Fletcher’s Cove (on the Potomac River in D.C.), and knowing that Queen Anne Bridge is considered a shad run location (plus white perch), the temptation to make the 1/2 hour drive from home was overwhelming. I wanted to catch shad…badly.

I loaded the car with two light duty rods, a cache of tandem shad rigs and panfish lures, and hit the backroads en route to Queen Anne Bridge, which is a dilapidated truss crossing, all rusted and closed to both vehicular and foot traffic. You have to fish the banks to it’s left and right. I was the first on location, parked in the small lot, and traversed to the muddy banks on the left. Being alone in a somewhat distant, kinda off-the-beaten-path spot can have an initial feeling of uneasiness to it. Sometimes it’s a feeling of peace being alone. But in a spot that’s known to have foot traffic of anglers and god-knows-who-else, let’s just say, it’s best to keep an eye over your shoulder. Nevertheless, I settled in and the fishing took care of any nerves.

So with a target species in mind, I took to the tandem shad rigs and began casting and retrieving in earnest. First cast I snagged bottom and broke off. Second and third casts, with a new rig, got some hits. White perch and then a small fallfish (aka chubsucker). They seemed eager to play.

And that’s pretty much how this outing played out.

White perch were showing up in the upper reaches of the Patuxent River.

The Patuxent is known to have current. On past visits, I’ve seen the current absolutely ripping southward. This is true especially after rain or spring snowmelt. Today, the current was manageable in that I could cast upstream and let the rigs work their way left to right on their own with only slight twitching needed for action. Mostly, I was letting the rigs do exactly this while trying to avoid snags on the bottom, so counting them down appropriately is key and reeling in as the rig moves to about the 120-degree position I found to be critically important to avoid snags. I did this similarly with the single crappie jigs I played.

So a few perch were caught. A few rigs lost in the jungle of bottom structure (old trees and branches). By the time I packed up to leave, there were 5 more cars in the lot and a host of anglers all doing the post-work thing we love to do. I felt successful despite nary a shad in sight. There’s always next time to give it a shot. See y’all on the water again, real soon!

Small fallfish are often in the mix of shallow tributary waters that meander through central Maryland.