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  1. John Mullican, Fisheries Biologist
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Posted on August 17, 2012 | Permalink

Potomac River Smallmouth Bass Angler Catch Rate Survey

Type: Freshwater
Region: Western
Location: Upper Potomac River

The Potomac River Smallmouth Club and the Maryland Bass Federation have partnered with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Inland Fisheries Division to conduct a catch rate survey of Potomac River bass fishermen. Inland Fisheries collects smallmouth bass population data annually, but we would like to improve our knowledge of fishermen catch and harvest rates. The data will help us monitor the smallmouth population, harvest attitudes, and evaluate regulations.

For the pilot project this year, the survey began in June and will continue through October and extends from the Route 340 bridge near Harpers Ferry downstream to the lower end of the Seneca pool at Seneca Breaks, a distance of 39 miles. The survey area is divided into two sections, Rt 340 downstream to the Monocacy and from the Monocacy downstream to Seneca Breaks. Future surveys will run through the entire fishing season March through October and sample other sections of the river.

Creel clerks are providing fishermen with a postage-paid survey card. At the conclusion of their fishing day, fishermen simply answer a few brief questions about their days catch and drop the card in the mail. Each returned card (make sure to provide your return address) is another chance to win $50 (10 prizes awarded) from a drawing held at the conclusion of the survey in October. If contacted by a creel clerk, please consider participating in this survey. Using information provided by fishermen is cost effective and an important part of managing fisheries. For more information please contact John Mullican at 301-898-5443 or

Fishing for smallmouth bass on the upper Potomac River has been very good. With the recent cooler nights, water temperatures have dropped into the upper 70s to low 80s and fish activity has picked up. Try topwaters early and late in the day and tubes, grubs, stick worms, and unweighted soft jerkbaits when the sun is up. Fisheries Technician Josh Henesy recently floated a section of the lower river while distributing survey cards to fishermen and caught many nice smallmouth and a bonus largemouth bass.

Tags: smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, Potomac River Smallmouth Bass Angler Catch Rate Survey