Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report
For Week Ending October 30, 2016

Notes: Our fishing report will also be posted to Ken's page "Ken Penrod's Life Outdoors Unlimited" ( as will be our client photos.

 Ken Penrod's 20-Inch Smallmouth Club members at:

Sponsored by Under Armour, Ardent & Riverfront Campground.

LOU Lo-Po Club at:

Sponsored by Lowrance & Ardent.


NOTES: While this may be our last scheduled report -- there is still dynamite fishing ahead. The Susquehanna is just kicking-in and the tidal Potomac is bursting in areas. The upper Potomac is just coming-on and November and December used to be Butch Ward's favorite months. I always go away to my lodge in PA for most of November and December and that's basically why we stop reporting. Many of my guides will offer reports on their Facebook pages (Kenneth Penrod 3; Scott Johnson; & Jason Shay will have "news" for you.

If you have followed us this year then you know about the absolute running-fiasco that the MD DNR has made of protecting bass populations in the tidal Potomac and Upper Bay. MD is an embarrassment and the talk of the fishing world. Everything they do or attempt is either stupid or changed when someone wines. Where they came up with the slot limit is beyond me -- but it doesn't matter because nothing will come of anything they do until they fire Joseph Love. Their newly formed Black Bass Advisory Subcommittee is just a means of deflecting criticism and it is loaded with unqualified, back-stabbing and self-serving people from the formerly inadequate Black Bass Rountable.

I hope you know that I have "Pages" in Facebook for our: Camp Sycamore; KP/UA 20-Inch Smallmouth Club; LO-PO Largemouth Club; Ken Penrod's Life Outdoors Unlimited and LOU Magazine. Check them out and hit the "Like" button when you do.

I am negotiating with the NRA Great American Outdoor Show as to providing seminars at this 10-ay show. Last year was the first show I missed in 34 years -- either with Lowrance or our own businesses. I heard from many of you last year complaining that we were not there. I love NRA and they are a great sponsor to my Summer Camp but their show manager was trained by Reed -- and is acting like him.

I have invited all of our guides back for 2017 and they include: Captain Dave Kerrigan (VP Smallmouth Operations); Captain Kenny Penrod 3 (VP of Tidal Bass Operations); Captain Brian Barnes (VP Eastern Shore Operations); Bret Winegardner (VP of Deep Creek Lake Operations); Captain Keith Barker; Jason Shay; Scott Johnson; Matt Greene; John Stygler.

I will be scouting for a guide for Deep Creek Lake to assist Bret; a guide for the Upper Bay and Eastern Shore to assist Brian. Resume's required as well as proper license, commercial insurance and ability to promote and grow clientele.

Our summer camp for boys between ages of 12-18 celebrates 25-years of helping to make men of boys through outdoors activities that teach survival, leadership, brotherhood and hard work. The sessions are in July and we only take 6-8 per week. Some stay more than a week. We fill quickly so get on this. See Ken's Facebook page titled Camp Sycamore or go to

Remember that we offer Gift Certificates for fishing trips -- and what a great Christmas present that would be. Contact Ken at 240-447-2206 or for details.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: **; 52; very clear; floating grass & leaves; very low 1.1 at Point of Rocks; no tubers and few float-bys.

My 25-year client Bill Giles -- and maybe guide someday reports "a tough but fun Saturday," as clear water and rolly-polly (I made that up) weather is as confusing to the fish as it is to anglers. Remember -- just because you have lots of clothing on -- doesn't mean the bass are in winter mode. The 50s are good, so stay with the ledges and avoid bottoms you can see. Another tip -- don't try to make these bass do something they just don't want to do. Feed them tubes -- crankbaits when the grass goes away, Case Stiks and Zipper Grubs. Grubs will save many a day. You hear about the spinnerbait bit of the Susquehanna. The Potomac is not the Susquehanna. No comparison except for water and rocks. Fishing is only as hard as you make it.

LOU guide Scott Johnson reports: POR gage 1.1, water temp 51 at first light and very clear.   The trend of clear low water continues, wish we would see some rain and a little higher water levels, because the fishing has been tough.   The bass are very skittish and there is a small window of a decent bite mid-morning, when the water first starts to warm and before the sun gets higher.  There is still a fairly steady stream of dying vegetation floating down river which fouls up lures and does limit different options.  I had a trip on Saturday, weather was beautiful but the fishing was tough and the guys had to work hard for every fish.  River rock stick worms wacky rigged accounted for most fish, dead sticking over submerged ledges.  The fish are in small groups and are relating loosely to wintering areas but with the low water the fish are able to move around. 


This will be our last regular fishing report for this year, so don't forget to like the Life Outdoors Unlimited facebook page as there will still be a lot of fishing happening.  You can also follow me on Facebook, or instagram @ dcgscottj to get updates in the upper Potomac. Many boat ramps are just a short drive from Metro Washington DC and Baltimore. Half day trips are doable and it's not too late to get in on the action.  Contact me at 240-625-2550 or email at to book your trip. I will also be guiding on the Susquehanna River for 2017.


TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: *** in areas; <60; very clear but for wind stain; floating grass

This season will pass without without any progress from Maryland DNR as to protecting black bass populations in the Potomac and Upper Bay. Nothing should be this difficult or embarrassing. Of the many reasons for lack of reproduction, tournaments have taken the brunt of the blame -- and they deserve their share. What discourages me is that fact that guys that want to be know and "Tournament Anglers" are feeding the fire. Most of those that bitch the most can't carry a real tournament's lunch. They are "Clubbers." They celebrate the criticism instead of caring about the only thing that matters -- the fish. Hell guys -- I've made more money showing real tournament fishermen where to go than 90% of you have ever won -- or will win. I also find it ironic that when I was president of the MD BASS Federation -- we fought hand and fist for our bass population. Not so anymore -- but the Federations are only shadows of what they once were. Some of the loud mouths (crickets) like to say that "Ken Penrod hates Tournaments." Look at the only written recommendations anyone ever gave to MD DNR concerning population issues:

Special Meeting concerning Tidal Potomac River Bass Populations

September 28, 2015

I/we bring to you our concerns, observations and suggested remedies for the above mentioned black bass population loss. I want to reiterate that I have approximately 6000 days upon this river in all areas capable of supporting black bass. Basically, my guide service and I are intimately familiar with all tributaries, coves and main stem between the tide line and Nanjemoy Creek.

My experiences date back to the late 70s and for the past 33 years I have been a full time guide with others working at Ken Penrod's Life Outdoors Unlimited.

There has been no time period during my tenure when catching black bass has been even remotely as difficult. I am not speaking of a decline -- I am suggesting a collapse.

Important to keep in mind that 98% of all bass anglers practice catch & release so for once, overkill for consumption is not in play. Perhaps exploitation is.

Contributing Factors for Talking Points.

1.      Excessive, mass tournament pressure throughout the year.

2.      Disease including Large Mouth Bass Virus

3.      Inability of black bass to reproduce due to sexual duty changes.

4.      Commercial fishermen netting practices destroying habitat and nesting sites

5.      Inadequate sewage treatment overburdened by mass development and permit violations.

6.      Massive snow removal practices that contain salt.

7.      Lack, even absence of law enforcement.

8.      Invasive fish species introduction.

9.      Multi-jurisdictional controls headlined by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission that actually supervises more Potomac water than Maryland, Virginia and DC combined -- and they know nothing about black bass nor do anything as far as studies, enforcement and population research.

10.   Md sanctuary for commercial fishermen that lost their license in other jurisdictions.


        A "Black Bass Stamp" of approximately $20 to fish for or target black bass in Maryland tidal waters. This will level the field as far as license costs in other states; provide an accurate account for bass fishermen using tidal water; provide additional funds for enforcement, habitat enhancement and population studies.

        Change the possession limit to 3 bass of 15 inches or longer.

        Establish spawning/nursery sanctuaries for catch and release only all year. I recommend Mattawoman, Piscataway and Chickamuxen Creeks.

        Limit 100-plus boat tournaments to one per month; ALTERNATE: catch and release between March 5 and June 15. Every other state does this and we welcome those with open arms.

        Eliminate commercial netting practices during spawning months in Maryland tributaries.

        Eliminate tournament culling devices that require a puncture of the fish's mouth/fins/body.

        Eliminate the Black Bass RoundTable or totally revamp this "good ol' boys" format as it is dominated by tournament fishermen and DNR thinks they speak for the other anglers. PS: I originated that concept many years ago but it has lost its value.

        Establish stringent rules, with penalty, for tournament that include redistribution of caught fish, fines for dead bass and expulsion for serious violation. I think a fee should be charged for the large out-of-state groups to help pay for on-site supervision by DNR and biologists.

A better working relationship between DNR, Enforcement and DE. "Call a Poacher" is a joke; Report pollution to USCG or EP is an exercise, not even close to a solution.

I hope you find my critique to be that of a very concerned individual that knows this river better than any person you may know. I want to work with you as I have done in the past. You guys come and go but many of us are here until the end.

Find ways to get this done. Make it happen. "It's not my job" is a copout but I have heard that way too often recently. 


Now -- where the hell did "KP hates tournaments come from?" Answer: Crickets and Wannabes.

Everyone is an expert these days. Show me your proposals. Show me Steve Chaconas' proposals. Show me Scott Sewell's proposals. Show me anything they did for the Potomac or Bay.

Captain Kenny Penrod Reports: The tidal Potomac is still producing largemouth, smallmouth and stripers.  The topwater action has been excellent in the early morning hours for all three species. Again - the tide often dictates what species will utilize the optimum ambush locations. Also a square lip crankbait and a buck tail jig have been consistent producers when the topwater bite dies. The largemouth bass have been in the back of tributaries but bigger bass are moving into eddies that have deep water nearby. I love the dropshot for fall smallmouth and largemouth. I rig the dropshot either Texas style with a 1/0 light wire hook or wacky style. I use a 3/16 skinny barrel dropshot weight and a 4.5 inch hand poured worm. I use an Ardent medium-light rod with a Ardent Wire 2500 reel. I use 12 lb Sunline braid with a 5' Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon leader. My tip is that with both the dropshot and the Campground tube the number 1 mistake is imparting too much action. These finesse baits are designed to catch fish that are heavily pressured and may not be overly aggressive. Both baits produce best by throwing into strike zones and leaving them in that zone for as long as possible without imparting aggressive action.


November will be an excellent month for big fish on the river. Although this is our last report of the year - I will still be available for full and half day trips. You can follow the fishing on my Facebook - Kenny Penrod III - and I will provide a Potomac fishing report on Facebook. Contact me at 2404789055.


I just read that Florida implemented new creel and size limits to keep their bass populations at sustainable limits. Guess who opposed these measures - "tournament fishermen".  Its the same story throughout the country from Florida to Minnesota to Alabama to Maryland. However, Florida took leadership and implemented the regulations necessary to protect their bass fisheries. Maryland should follow Florida's example. FYI - the Sports Fisheries Committee did not accept the black bass advisory committee's recommendation to institute a slot limit. This was largely due to the obstructionist behavior of committee members who largely ran the failure of the bass round table and did not abide by the 8 to 4 vote of the new committee to institute regulations that were intended to assist Maryland bass. However I would say that the DNR has chosen for years to hitch their wagon to a self-proclaimed expert that has done nothing for the Potomac and openly humiliates the DNR when they try anything to regulate their jurisdictional waters.

(KP note: Steve Chaconas is the person that KP3 refers to. He must be fired from BBS -- and others in MD DNR also)


SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS: ****somedays**other days, but the ** days are better than most days on any other freshwater in the region; <60; nice color; 4.5 at Harrisburg and 3.6 at Newport on the Juniata.


Cudos to guide Jason Halfpenny and his many volunteers that assisted PFBC personnel stock about 2500 muskys in the Juniata River. Jason has been pressing PFBC for more black bass protection in the upper Juniata and he assisted then during recent electroshocking studies. Jason complains also that some weekend-long tournaments that permit anglers to drive to any water they wish, are simply "Killing Events." Jason does say that the numbers of small bass the shocking studies captured were "shocking." That's good news.

Now, John and Andy: How about banning tournament culling tools that require puncturing a bass?

I will not be surprised to see the "closure" lifted for 2017. It's time. Suggest full-time catch and release with some relief for well-run and supervised tournaments.


LOU guide John Stygler says: LOU Guide John Stygler has been targeting fish on the main Susquehanna River with Snagler Tackle spinnerbaits.  Slow rolling Chartreuse Death Snag with up sized willows for big smallies.  The main river is stained on both side with clean water coming out of the Juniata and other tributaries.  Sunbury was rising this weekend, while Harrisburg was falling to rise a little on Monday.  John is targeting any structure showing in the higher water, bottom sides of islands and shoots between islands for the bigger fish.  You can contact him at 717-368-3802 or


LOU guide Matt Greene reports: This might be the last report of the year but the late fall action has only just began. The fish didn't get the memo that it is time to transition into the late fall areas, but I'm not complaining. We are catching them on a spinnerbait. This week the baits of choice are a spinnerbait, swimbait, campground special tubes, and jerk baits. The bass are starting to make the transition into the late fall areas but like all of us they are not ready to let go of the summer. Matt Greene, 717-576-3735

LOCH RAVIN RESERVOIR: come on oh pompous managers -- let the guys fish through November like always. Why do you want sportsmen to hate you? You must be Democrats.


I will announce the LO-Po winner and the Phase Two winner of the KP/UA 20-Inch Club by year's end. Thanks for being such good clients, friends and fellow anglers.

Remember -- we have done the experimenting. When we endorse a product -- it's the best.

LOU thanks the best:

Under Armour <> RiverPro <> Lowrance <> Ardent <> Sunline <> Case Plastics

Big Mouth Lure Company <> Zipper Worms <> Mizmo <> RAB Jig Heads

Riverfront Camp Ground <> Campground Special Tubes <> NRA <> Mercury Motors

Power Pole <> Columbia Design & Graphics Company <> Patagonia

YETI (new and thank you)


Life Outdoors Unlimited Fishing Report
For Week Ending October 23, 2016

Notes: Our fishing report will also be posted to Ken's page "Ken Penrod's Life Outdoors Unlimited" ( as will be our client photos.

 Ken Penrod's 20-Inch Smallmouth Club members at:

Sponsored by Under Armour, Ardent & Riverfront Campground.

LOU Lo-Po Club at:

Sponsored by Lowrance & Ardent.


LOU Fish of the Week, Smallmouth: Carla Bundick Tidal Potomac with Kenny Penrod

KP/UA 20-Inch Smallmouth Club: Carla Bundick, Tidal Potomac with Kenny Penrod

NOTES: Next week's report will be the final "regular" fishing report of the year but keep checking in for special reports on late-year activity. There is much good-to-great action ahead. One more thing, our reports from now on will be week ending Saturdays.

We are accepting reservations for our spring trophy fishing on the Susquehanna now, with dates beginning mid-March and HOPEFULLY through May. Typically, the end of April would conclude the Susqy fishing until mid-June -- but there is a chance that the "closure-could-end" or be modified in some fashion.

All mariners of any variety realize that they are at the mercy of the weather, and that the weather that affects planning is normally a "prediction" by professionals. I'm not sure why but for the past few years those predictions have pretty much sucked. Recent case in point: On Friday the NWS predicted that the Susquehanna River in the Harrisburg vicinity would rise from 3-feet to nearly 12-feet. Several hours later it was revised to reach 8-feet. Today (Saturday) it suggests that 50-feet may be the max. Similar disparities were fact throughput the various basins. You just cannot count on NWS accuracy anymore. The guides in Florida had relied on weather from NOAA but now say "if you listed to NOAA -- It's a NOGOA."

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: **1/2; clear; 60 degrees; 1.2 at Point of Rocks and steady.

The recent rash of rains did nothing for the Potomac other than "maybe" a small bump later in the week. The cold front that went through on Saturday brought mucho wind and kept everyone away (except Scott Johnson) and he wacked some nice bass. Grass is still a pest and now that the leaves are falling quickly, jet-guys have legit grips -- but this too will pass. The hot weather throughout the week further confused the fish they will be feeding big-time hereon. It's tough to beat a tube for this and tougher yet to beat a Campground Special brand in the KP Series. Medium action Ardent (Edge) rods with Bolt or Wire reels spooled with 6 or 8-pound test mono is my recommendation. Back up every stop with a Case Magic Stik in Wacky or Wacky-Jigged (use a 1/8th ounce RAB jig head and penetrate through the middle).

When the floating grass goes away -- give those topwater lures one more chance.

LOU guide Scott Johnson adds: POR gage 1.2, water temp 1.2' and very clear.  This week's report won't be the best representation of the latest patterns as I fished this past Saturday during the high winds.   The fishing was ok and managed to put some fish in the boat and I am sure missed quite a few bites while dealing with the wind.  The key was getting stationary on the upstream, upwind side of select areas and fishing campground special tubes slowly. With the moderate water temps and low water the fish are still very spread out and were caught from shallow submerged ledges to deeper flats surrounding wintering holes.  The wind has the dying vegetation stirred up and there was a fair amount of it floating.  I am anxious to see a water temp drop of another 5 degrees, but not complaining, as long it's the water is staying this warm just means that much longer into the year of productive fishing.  Don't forget our weekly fishing report will be suspended for the year soon so I will be posting updates on the fishing on my Facebook and Instagram @ dcgscottj.  Its not to late to get your trip booked for this year, contact me at 240-625-2550 or email at


TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: ***; >60; clear; full moon tides; wind stained in areas.

It is upsetting that riverfront cities such as Alexandria, Virginia is one of the biggest polluters -- and they have known it -- and so have the authorities -- and no one does a damn thing about it. I'm also confused about the Riverkeeper organization, which I have come to respect, but now I question. They seem to be saying that SAV (submersed aquatic vegetation) is an aid to pollution because it is a "collector." The author seems chagrined that his "paddle sport" buddies have to be subjected to such collections. Poor babies, maybe they should stop whining and do something. Perhaps a "safe place" could be established, maybe indoors. Whew.

Bass and striper fishing throughout the river has been pretty good although that warm-spell last week caused a slow-down. The DC owned portion of the river has become a super-smallmouth destination but you are reminded that DC did issue a warning about fish consumption, especially rockfish and catfish.

Topwater lures do wonders on cloudy days but clear-sky conditions dampen that.

Areas adjacent to the WW Bridge are producing decent catches of largemouth bass and places like Fox Ferry and Hidey Hole have very big rockfish during incoming tides (swimbaits, Big Mouth spinnerbaits, 7A Firetigers and Mizmo tubes) (Case Magic Stiks, Obie Hardhook buzzbaits; Whopper Ploppers.)

Main river grasses are dying off and making it tough to present lures properly but suck it up and stay with it. (Case Magic Stiks and plastic swim baits.)

The back end of Mattawoman is pretty reliable now -- as it is every fall. Big Mouth spinnerbaits and under-chin jigs with swim baits do nicely.

LOU guide, Captain Kenny Penrod 3 reports: I never left the DC area of the Potomac all week because as the adage goes "you don't leave fish to find fish."  All of the traditional DC fishing spots (Washington channel, Kennedy Center wall, pentagon lagoon) always have fish but it's important to understand the tides. Consequently it's important to rotate through spots until you hit the right spot at the right tide. I am relying on topwaters (with a few modifications), square bill crankbaits, the war eagle finesse spinnerbait and a dropshot. I am using 8 to 10 sunline fluorocarbon and monofilament depending on the fishing technique. It's important to remember that there are no secret lures - I find people emphasize this WAY too much - only secret spots with secret tides. The stripers are schooling and hitting bait on top. I have two seagulls that alert me to the activity. I also found that the different bass species may be in the same spots but don't necessarily like to feed at the same time. This is one of my favorite times of the year to fish. It's a great time to catch a big bass. It's going to get better. Call me for a trip at 2404789055. I still am looking for a single client to achieve that Lo-Po largemouth, KP/UA Smallmouth Club smallmouth, and 18 inch striper.


My tip of the week is simple - improve your casting accuracy. The single biggest factor on the tidal Potomac that differentiates success from failure is accurate lure presentation. The tidal Potomac is s heavily pressured fishery and the fish are not looking to commit suicide. The fish hang very close to cover and are spooky. A lure presented accurately and quietly will catch you ten times as many fish as a new lure, new rod or moving to the next spot.

Reach me at 240-478-9055.


Anyone out there have any experience in suing a Natural Resource agency?


SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS: ***1/2; >60; some color; 3+ rising to 5-feet by Tuesday (maybe); 3.5 at Newport on the Juniata with a little bump coming.

The river has been very low and very clear but doing very good if you can get around. I'm a big fan of the NWS River Prediction services but for the past few years I have found their work to be faulty, unrealistic and questionable. This past weekend is a prime example. I know they want to err on a "safe" side but how can you guess at a 14-foot level when it may not even be 5-feet? It's not just NWS either -- it's NOAA, WC and all of the media predictors. This is why my rule to my guides is: do not cancel or postpone a trip based on predicted weather or predicted river rises. Make the decision at the ramp.

Saturday was a "wind day" for sure but the water in both the Susqy and Juniata is just fine.

LOU guide Matt Greene says: The big story this week is the rise to the river. It wasn't near the roise the NWS predicted. This will good for the fall action as the water starts to reseed and clear up. I am looking forward for the weeks to come and anticipate the end of the week will start with some good action. Please don't hesitate to call with good dates starting to get booked up. Matt Greene, 717-576-3735

LOU guide Jason Shay adds: Fishing the rise this week was good. The key was finding clean water and keeping your bait free of grass. Bright colored spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and crankbaits worked equally as well in the cleaner sections. We had a big rise come out of the west branch and a small rise out of the Juniata. The Juniata was clear but pushing lots of grass and algae while the rest of the river was chocolate milk with lots of floating debris. We should be getting another rise early this week from the North branch. This is what we needed to set fall fishing in full swing, Jason Shay



LOU thanks the best:

Under Armour <> RiverPro <> Lowrance <> Ardent <> Sunline <> Case Plastics

Big Mouth Lure Company <> Zipper Worms <> Mizmo <> RAB Jig Heads

Riverfront Camp Ground <> Campground Special Tubes <> NRA <> Mercury Motors

Power Pole <> Columbia Design & Graphics Company <> Patagonia

YETI (new and thank you)


LOU Guides

Captain Ken Penrod @ 240-447-2206: Captain Dave Kerrigan @ 301-252-5322

Captain Kenny Penrod @ 240-478-9055; Captain Brian Barnes @ 302-745-4668

Captain Keith Barker @ 301-509-2102; Bret Winergardner @ 301-616-9889

Jason Shay @ 717-507-4377; John Stygler @ 717-368-3802

Matt Greene @ 717-576-3735; Scott Johnson @ 240-625-2550


Waters & Guides:


Tidal Potomac River: Captain Ken Penrod; Captain Kenny Penrod; Captain Keith Barker; Captain Dave Kerrigan.

Upper Potomac River: Ken Penrod; Kenny Penrod; Scott Johnson; Dave Kerrigan

Deep Creek Lake: Bret Winegardner.

Susquehanna & Juniata Rivers: Ken Penrod; Dave Kerrigan; Jason Shay; Kenny Penrod; Matt Greene; John Stygler; Scott Johnson

MD Eastern Shore Tidal Rivers: Captain Brian Barnes, Captain Keith Barker & Ken Penrod

Upper Chesapeake Bay:  Captain Brian Barnes