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