EAST REGIONAL

Big Bass in the Hudson, New River Flatheads, Lake Marburg the hot spot and more.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Big River Bassin'
A doubleheader on the Hudson

NEW YORK There are two reasons the Bass Anglers Sportsmen's Society (B.A.S.S.) tournament trail returns to the Upper Hudson River on a regular basis: plentiful smallmouth and largemouth bass. A prime stretch of bass water flows between Poughkeepsie and Hudson. Focus on the mouths of Catskill Creek, Rondout Creek and Esopus Creek. Also fish along the railroad trestles on the east shoreline. Search along here for "suck holes"-the narrow corridors to back bays. Bass hunt these openings, preying on baitfish caught in the bottleneck. As the tides change, the water flows through these smaller openings, pushing baitfish in and out of the main river.

When the water is moving, concentrate on smallies; when the tide is slack, switch to largemouths. Probe chestnut beds in back bays with gold-bladed spinnerbaits or white rats or flip plastics and jig-and-pigs for largemouths. Smallmouths prefer minnows but can be caught on tube jigs and deep-diving shad and crayfish-colored crankbaits. Fish slow and tight to the bottom in the 15- to 20-foot range, focusing your fishing during tide changes. Other good locations are the water-treatment plant south of Port Ewen and the north side of "The Tramway" in Cementon.

Contact: Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 3 (845-256-3161; www.dec.state.ny.us). -T.R. Hendrick

Use Enough Rod
Are you up to the challenge of New River Flatheads?

WEST VIRGINIA Want to find out if there really are flatheads as big as railroad ties in the New River? It ain't easy, but it's an adventure. For anglers willing to float in with a commercial white-water outfitter, or to walk the railroad tracks and camp on some remote stretch of shoreline, the chances of hooking a 30- to 50-pound flathead are surprisingly good.

This may be a demanding fishing venture, but take this as incentive: West Virginia's flathead catfish record has stood since 1956. That year a lucky, and strong-armed, angler named L.L. McClung took a 52-inch, 70-pound giant out of the Little Kanawha River. Perhaps the New River holds a fish that can challenge this record.

From Thurmond to Fayette Station, the New plunges through a roadless, 900-foot-deep canyon in a series of thundering rapids and deep, swirling pools. The best flathead fishing occurs at night. Some of the river's guides offer overnight camping-and-fishing packages that combine daytime smallmouth fishing with nocturnal excursions for catfish. But you can also design your own adventure over several days if you don't mind doing some hiking or kayaking.

Hauling big cats out of the New's swift currents requires pool-cue rods and softball-sized bait-casting reels, strung with line that could anchor a boat. Two-pound smallmouths are often the flathead meal of choice, live-lined deep, so save a few of the smaller bass you catch during the day.

Contact: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (304-558-2771; www.dnr.state.wv.us); Fayette County Chamber of Commerce (304-465-5617; www.fayettecounty.com). -John McCoy

Largemouth Time
Lake Marburg is a hot spot.

PENNSYLVANIASpecial bass regulations have turned Lake Marburg, in southern York County, into one of south-central Pennsylvania's better largemouth lakes. Bass in the three- to four-pound range are now frequently taken, and largemouths topping the six-pound mark have also been documented, thanks to the two-fish-per-day, 15-inch-minimum rule.

In late summer focus on weed-choked flats in the two-mile-long arm that extends off the southern boundary of the lake. Work soft-plastics such as Slug-Gos or four-inch tube baits along the edge of the vegetation in the twilight hours. Or fish live shiners or large bucktail jigs just off deepwater structure near the dam at the stern end of the impoundment.

Fifty Miles of Stripers and Blues
Cape Cod's fabled beaches offer tons of fish and lots of access.

MASSACHUSETTS Striper and bluefish anglers have access to 47 miles of primo water from the elbow of Cape Cod to Provincetown. First try Nauset Beach, from the Chatham Inlet north for 7.5 miles. Target the brackish ponds behind the barrier beaches at Chatham Inlet and the entrance to Nauset Harbor. You can walk this entire stretch, with parking at the Nauset Beach parking lot. Or pay $140 for an annual nonresident off-road vehicle permit from the town of Orleans.

There is walk-in access on the public beaches in Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro. From Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro to Race Point in Provincetown, the National Park Service does allow over-sand driving, but permits are required and are limited. Watch the ever-shifting sandy bottom; fish the holes, sloughs and bars that are dug out and filled in with the changing tides. Plugs, big spoons and bait (sea worms, eels or cut bunker) can all produce big fish.

Contact: Cape Cod National Seashore, Park Headquarters (508-349-3785); for driving permits, Over Sand Ranger Station, Cape Cod National Seashore (508-487-2100). -Tom Fuller Contact: Codorus State Park (1066 Blooming Grove Road, Hanover, PA 17331; 717-637-2816). -Jon Farley

Big Bay Weakfish
Chesapeake anglers are in the thick of it.

MARYLAND Weakfish peak in Chesapeake Bay by late summer before moving back to sea. Boat-anglers usually have the best luck fishing over a chum line of grass shrimp, sardines or ground-up menhaden, though when a school is located weakfish readily take shrimp on a single hook.

When trolling for weakfish, you can also expect to get into a few striped bass as well. Head for the areas of the bay south of the Choptank River-the mouth of the bay is especially productive. From shore get into the action by bottom-fishing shrimp or squid, or by working bucktail jigs near inlets and river estuaries along the eastern edge of the bay. Some of the best public surf-fishing spots on the lower Eastern Shore are Jane's Island State Park and the fishing piers next to the Route 50 bridge over the Choptank in Talbot County. Maryland's weakfish season is open year-round with a 10-fish daily limit and a 14-inch minimum size.

Contact: Maryland DNR Freshwater Fisheries Service (410-260-8320). -J.F.

In the Zone
The Delaware River's channel cats.

Access points in New Jersey's Mercer and Hunterdon counties can get you to the Delaware River's channel cats. The Trenton Waterfront Park is a popular, productive spot, on Lamberton Road off Route 29. Expect other folks to be there, but finding a spot isn't hard. If you feel like going mobile, drive up Route 29 to the Titusville boat ramp on River Drive, or further up Route 29 to the Fireman's Eddy boat ramp on the other side of the canal bridge just past the flea market grounds. (Take note that state park areas close at dusk and the chains go up.) Unfortunately there is a health advisory on channel catfish in the Delaware; check local regulations to find out how much fish you can safely eat per month. A good-sized channel cat will provide a lot of fight on light tackle. The traditional chicken livers and stinkbaits work well, though I've caught cats on Clouser Minnows while fishing for stripers, so give smelt or fish-belly strips a try. -Scott Bowen

Working the Calico Circuit
Jersey crappie anglers don't have to go far for top fishing.

NEW JERSEY Camden County is a hotbed of public-access black crappie waters. One of the best is Hopkins Pond, a 33-acre water located in Haddonfield. Find Hopkins Lane, along the County Municipal Park, and follow it to the pond. Also while in Haddonfield, check out Evans Lake and Munns Lake.

In Blackwood, target crappies in Blackwood Lake, near the junction of Routes 534 and 603. Also try Cherrywood Lake, Dramasei Lake and Lake Rene. In Audubon, try Haddon Lake in Haddon Lake Park. Begin at the fishing pier and then move around. Early and late-day approaches are best. Work live bait and small lures slowly around structure.

Contact: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (609-292-1599). -Oliver Shapiro **Connecticut **
Harkness Blues: Surf-casters find plenty of room at Harkness Memorial State Park in New London. Blues and stripers cruise both the rocky shoreline and along the beach. This beautiful area is open to anglers 24 hours a day. Fish either west of the access or cast a spoon up in Goshen Cove. Contact: Rod McLeod, recreational fisheries specialist (Marine Fisheries Field Office; 860-434-6043).

Mansfield Bigguns: Mansfield Hollow Lake regularly produces northern pike in the 10- to 20-pound range, as well as ample trout, largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Find the boat ramp by heading north on Bates Road and then west on Bassett Bridge Road. Contact: Eric Schluntz, fisheries biologist, Eastern District Headquarters (860-295-9523).

Problem Bear: Earlier this spring Wildlife Division officials killed a mature black bear when it broke into a home in Goshen. The bear had broken into two other homes and was identified as the source of over 50 complaints during the last three years-quite a record. The bruin also had a long history of problem behavior in Massachusetts and Vermont. Connecticut has never had a managed bear season.

**Key Dates **
September 2-30: Early gray squirrel season.
September 16: Deer bowhunting season opens; wild turkey bowhunting season opens.

Delaware
Diamond Sunnies: Check out Diamond Pond, just south of Milton, for serious panfish action. In addition to sheer numbers of fish, Diamond also holds trophy potential, as it has produced both the state-record bluegill and redear sunfish. Rig two small jigs tipped with minnows and fish them in the deeper channels at the northern end of the lake. Contact: Delaware DFW (302-739-4403).

Dog-Day Fluke: Hotter temperatures draw summer flounder closer to shore, so August can be a peak time. Focus on the beaches of the Delaware Seashore State Park and the Indian River inlet, and on underwater wrecks just offshore up and down the coastline where fluke tend to congregate. Use baits such as peeler crab or soft-plastics fished with light spinning tackle. The limit is four flounder over 17 inches. Contact: Delaware DFW (302-739-4403).

Nanticoke Stocking: Continuing an ambitious project to improve the largemouth bass population in the Nanticoke River, the DFW will stock upw out Evans Lake and Munns Lake.

In Blackwood, target crappies in Blackwood Lake, near the junction of Routes 534 and 603. Also try Cherrywood Lake, Dramasei Lake and Lake Rene. In Audubon, try Haddon Lake in Haddon Lake Park. Begin at the fishing pier and then move around. Early and late-day approaches are best. Work live bait and small lures slowly around structure.

Contact: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (609-292-1599). -Oliver Shapiro **Connecticut **
Harkness Blues: Surf-casters find plenty of room at Harkness Memorial State Park in New London. Blues and stripers cruise both the rocky shoreline and along the beach. This beautiful area is open to anglers 24 hours a day. Fish either west of the access or cast a spoon up in Goshen Cove. Contact: Rod McLeod, recreational fisheries specialist (Marine Fisheries Field Office; 860-434-6043).

Mansfield Bigguns: Mansfield Hollow Lake regularly produces northern pike in the 10- to 20-pound range, as well as ample trout, largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Find the boat ramp by heading north on Bates Road and then west on Bassett Bridge Road. Contact: Eric Schluntz, fisheries biologist, Eastern District Headquarters (860-295-9523).

Problem Bear: Earlier this spring Wildlife Division officials killed a mature black bear when it broke into a home in Goshen. The bear had broken into two other homes and was identified as the source of over 50 complaints during the last three years-quite a record. The bruin also had a long history of problem behavior in Massachusetts and Vermont. Connecticut has never had a managed bear season.

**Key Dates **
September 2-30: Early gray squirrel season.
September 16: Deer bowhunting season opens; wild turkey bowhunting season opens.

Delaware
Diamond Sunnies: Check out Diamond Pond, just south of Milton, for serious panfish action. In addition to sheer numbers of fish, Diamond also holds trophy potential, as it has produced both the state-record bluegill and redear sunfish. Rig two small jigs tipped with minnows and fish them in the deeper channels at the northern end of the lake. Contact: Delaware DFW (302-739-4403).

Dog-Day Fluke: Hotter temperatures draw summer flounder closer to shore, so August can be a peak time. Focus on the beaches of the Delaware Seashore State Park and the Indian River inlet, and on underwater wrecks just offshore up and down the coastline where fluke tend to congregate. Use baits such as peeler crab or soft-plastics fished with light spinning tackle. The limit is four flounder over 17 inches. Contact: Delaware DFW (302-739-4403).

Nanticoke Stocking: Continuing an ambitious project to improve the largemouth bass population in the Nanticoke River, the DFW will stock upw