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Go fish: Springtime around DC means world-class fishing

Captain Steve Chaconas, of National Bass Guide Service, holds up a bass he's fished up. (Courtesy Jack Eyler)

Springtime in D.C. is known for it’s beloved Cherry Blossoms. But to anglers, the Washington area is also known as a world-class fishing destination, and the time to go fish is now.

“In the Washington area there are so many places to fish. We’ve got the stripers now. We’ve got large mouth bass that are out in the river; trophy catfish — the big blue catfish are in the Tidal Potomac River getting up to 60 to 70 pounds; so there are a lot of fishing opportunities right here in Washington, D.C.,” said Captain Steve Chaconas, of National Bass Guide Service, a fishing guide who has fished on the Potomac since the 1960s.

April 20 marks the opening day of Maryland Striped Bass Trophy Season. The minimum size for a trophy Striper — also called a Rock Fish — is 35 inches. Anglers may take one per day until the season ends May 15.

“This is an excellent time to go after striped bass — they’re plentiful, they’re also bigger this time of the year,” Chaconas said.

But anglers are pursuing many different kinds of fish this time of year. Chaconas’ specialty are large mouth bass — a catch and release game fish.

“About 63 miles of the Potomac River is an excellent large mouth bass fishery. It’s historically been a destination for the major bass tournament leagues that have been coming here for 20 to 30 years,” Chaconas said. “Large mouth bass fishing is more of a sport where casting is essential, being able to make long casts, short casts, medium casts.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have also been busy this month stocking area streams, ponds and lakes with trout.

“People will get out and catch them with all types of bait, they could use dough balls or they can use fly rods and it adds a little bit more excitement and it gets more people out to fish,” Chaconas said.

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