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Hello, all. My first post here and wanted to solicit advise on fishing in the winter months at the warm water discharge of the Pepco power plant in Dickerson, MD.

I've read various current and historical posts here (and other places on the internet) about how great this place is for fishing in the winter months for bass, walleye, crappie, etc. I've gone there several times now and have not caught anything but a cold and am wondering if I'm doing something wrong (wrong place on the river, wrong tactic, etc).

First, for anyone who doesn't know here's the link to the park where you can park your car:

http://www.mcparkandplanning.org/Parks/park_of_the_day/oct/parkday_oct31.shtm.

Once parked, you walk up river on the C&O canal towpath for about 15minutes then you'll see a sign on the left (river side) that tells you that you're allowed to night fish, pick up trash, etc. There's a trail from that point that takes you to where the warm water from the power meets the Potomac.

Next, here's the advise solicitation part of this post: I've read and been told by others that this is a prime place to fish from the shore in the coldest winter time as the fish gravitate towards the warm water. I've been told to use spinners, jigs, worms, etc and cast up the water water discharge and let the bait tumble down as far as possible and then retrieve (I'm not fishing for cats/carp). I have done this many times and have seen others also, but have never seen anyone catch anything but cats/carp using worms/chicken liver and dropping it to the bottom. I've fished from the lower end of the discharge as well as where it meets the Potomac but have never caught anything.

Is this place dead now or am I doing something wrong? I know fishing is hit or miss in nature (that's why it's called "fishing" and not "catching" :) but I've gone here so many times with no results...maybe there's some advice someone can give particular to this area?

Many thanks in advance for your advice.

On the other hand, if this place is new to you and you'd like more specific directions/instructions on how to get there, please feel free to post here or send me a PM and I will respond with further details.

Take care.

FinanceGuru
 

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Water levels have been extremely low at Dickerson in the last few years from my understanding. The grade of the drops very slowly from shore to it's deepest part which doesn't even seem like it's more than 2 or 3 feet deep max (60 feet out or so)... You used to be able to catch a lot of fish there when the water was deeper... Maybe go after a lot of rain? When I was there earlier this winter, I only caught a couple of Blue Gills or sunfish...
 

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RuddeDogg: Thanks for the welcome.

superdodgeball: The river was high last time I went a few weeks ago...from the river bank, the water was about 3 feet high and I assume it only got deeper from there.

I see plenty people fishing there, even fly fishermen, but never see or hear from actual people catching anything in the winter.

Forever the optimist, I'm going to try to get out there in the next few weeks again.
 

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RuddeDogg: Thanks for the welcome.

superdodgeball: The river was high last time I went a few weeks ago...from the river bank, the water was about 3 feet high and I assume it only got deeper from there.

I see plenty people fishing there, even fly fishermen, but never see or hear from actual people catching anything in the winter.

Forever the optimist, I'm going to try to get out there in the next few weeks again.
Good Luck... You'll catch something. Use smaller hooks to catch the bluegills/sunfish (I really need to ID those). I actually caught them by tossing into they grassy water area about 60 feet out... Look closely, you'll see them...Larger hooks will be good for CATS. I haven't seen any Catfish action there this winter. Hope all goes well. I really miss fishing... Too Cold and I like lazy fishing from my car... LOL.
 

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Warmwater at dickerson

Financeguru instead of walking up to the discharge try taking the first trail out to the river and work your way down river a couple of hundred yards. I used to fish there all the time and there are some good holes and structure down that way. If your looking for smallmouth you are better off going to edwards ferry and drifitng minnows or tube jigs,the water will be colder but there are huge smallmouth down there, head to the left ont the canal path and look for the wall HHINT, HINT,HINT!!!!!!! Good luck!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Lipyourown: By "...right where the water comes out", you mean where the warm water discharge joins the Potomac, correct?
 

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Yeah, the closer to the spillway/discharge (or whatever you call it) the better....where the water is the "roughest". Lures rule.
 

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I've tried there but will again when I go up in the next few weeks.

I'm buying a portable fish finder (Humminbird RF25 or RF15) to see if there's any fish in that area or if they are just not biting.

Has anyone used these portable fishfinders before? There suppose to be made for the shore/pier/dock fishermen...?
 

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The ones I've seen are meant for the boat/kayak - and portable means you don't have to permanently attach it to either. IE - you can use it one day on one boat, then move it to another boat/kayak.
 

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Actually the two models I mentioned made by Humminbird (RF15 & RF 25), both are wireless sonar unlike the portable wired fishfinders. You can still use it on a boat but it is unlike other wired fish finders.

I haven't bought or used one yet (thus the soliciting of opinions of anyone having used these) but from what I've read, you cast out the sensor that floats on top of the water and transmits the sonar readings to a display unit that shows depth, temp, and identifies fish.

For those unfamiliar with these units, google "Humminbird RF15 or RF25" and check it out.
 

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Has anyone used these portable fishfinders before? There suppose to be made for the shore/pier/dock fishermen...?

I have the rod mounted RF 20 I p/u from Dick's for $50
It's cool...The only problem I have w/ the system is that you have to be within 5 ft of the sonar at least for the one I have

I used it off a lil pier [freshwater] and it p/u some fish hugging the bottom. I drop a small jig and start hittin crappies .... It works !!!!!!!!
 

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fishing at Dickerson

FinanceGuru.

Last January 2010, I brought my bass boat up to the warm water discharge. Right where the water comes out of that little canal, opposite the bank, there is a small island point. At the very tip of the point, I parked and anchored the boat perpinducular and fished directly out with a friend. We caught 70 fish in 5 hours. Bass, Cat, and Gills. We only casted out maybe 5 feet and used no 2 hooks, using a drop shots-(10 inches up the line) with 2 oz waits, and night crawlers. Try casting from the point directly out and let your bait roll down stream 10-20 ft. using night crawlers. You should catch a fish just about every time you cast, within even seconds. Make sure the smoke stacks at the plant are smoking and warm water is coming out that day.
 

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I found the plant on Friday. Great day to be outdoors fishing, but not much fish.

Plant easy to get to --just go West on Route 28 until about 1 mile BEFORE Dickerson; then turn left onto Martinsburg Road. After about a mile or 2, you'll see signs to "warm water fishing". Just follow the signs to the parking lot.

There are 2 kinds of fishing. The first is in the C&O Canal for bass and pan fish. Most of the canal is now frozen, but there is one area where water comes in from the power plant. I saw one nice bass caught here. It's about a 15 minute walk from the parking lot (turn right and follow the tow path). This is clean fishing, easy to get to-- a place to bring the kids.

The other place is in the river. The trails to the river are not well marked. Hiking boots are a good idea. Some will use waders. There is a trail from the parking lot to the river and you can walk up the river along the bank. It's muddy and would will get dirty. The other trail is near the power plant-- turn right on the tow path, follow the canal for 15 minutes until you come to a fence, follow the fence to the river.
 
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