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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

June 29, 2016

FISHING

BEECH FORK – Anglers should call the Beech Fork Corps of Engineers office at 304-525-4831 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/twe/bbf for information and current lake levels. Bass are moving into a summer pattern, be sure to fish early (I mean fishing at sun-up) and fish late and even into the night.  To avoid increased boat traffic many gamefish feed after dark, be there to take advantage of this behavior!  Try for hybrids down by the dam using cut bait, chicken livers or white/silver lures that imitate small baitfish.

BLUESTONE – Due to high water, the lake has been muddy with more rain in the forecast.  However, once the lake returns to fishable conditions the fishing on the lake should be good during early and late hours.  Anglers should try their luck around any downed trees or weed beds using worms, small minnows or jigs for sunfish.  Bass anglers should concentrate their efforts along areas with good structure such as downed timber, rocky drops, or weed beds.  Top water baits such as rapalas, tiny torpedoes, and sluggoes are excellent choices but anglers will find the best action early or late.  Bluegills can provide anglers with some fast action.  Best baits are worms and small jigs.  Anglers can have a blast fishing for the sunfish.  Channel catfish are also hitting in the lake primarily at night on chicken livers and worms.  Carp and channel catfish are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, and night crawlers, respectively.  Occasionally anglers have been catching some other species such as smallmouth bass in the tailwaters on jigs and minnows.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are still in shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on May 24.  For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/lka/bus.

EAST LYNN For information on current lake levels call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-849-9861 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/twe/elt.  Bass are moving into a summer pattern, be sure to fish early (I mean fishing at sun-up) and fish late and even into the night.  To avoid increased boat traffic many gamefish feed after dark, be there to take advantage of this behavior!  If muskie fishing, be wary of the water temperature.  If the water is above 80 degrees at dawn, muskies are already stressed due to water temperature.  To protect the resource perhaps bass fish or try for something else until water temperature levels come back down in reservoirs.

R.D. BAILEY – Once the lake clears some from the past rain and that forecast for this week, anglers should find some spotted bass hitting early and late in the day.  The bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Good baits are plastic jigs in black and chartreuse colors or live shad.  Bluegill are providing consistent action in the standing timber.  Best baits are worms and small jigs, respectively.  Hybrid striper and channel catfish fishing is good off of shallow points at night.  Best baits are chicken liver and softshell crayfish.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts early and late during periods of extreme heat.  Carp are also providing a lot of fun for night anglers.  Best baits are corn and dough balls.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.  A few musky have been caught on nice days this week and can only get better for all fish as water temperatures warm up.  Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Stonecoal Lake Fishing Club two new floating docks were installed at the boat launches.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of a lot of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Also reports crappie and bluegill hitting live bait this week.  Some nice musky have been reported being caught this week in the lake as well.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on May 24.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 20 feet above summer pool and closed to all boating and recreational use.    For more information contact the Corps of Engineers at 304-872-3412 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/kan/sug.

SUTTON – The lake 7 feet above summer pool.  Bass are still in shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 24.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/kan/sue.

TYGART LAKE – The lake is a few feet above summer pool and falling.  All boat ramps are now open.  Water clarity is clear and surface temperature is 78 degrees.  Good bass fishing has been reported.  Outflow in the tailwater is high and muddy, with a temperature of 63 degrees.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for the current lake elevation and tailwater conditions.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river has been high, but you can still catch fish that move into shallow water along the shoreline.  Embayments and the mouths of tributaries will also hold fish during high water.  Look for changes in water color or temperature to pick your fishing spot.  Hybrid striped bass and white bass will be moving in and out of the mouths of the tributaries.  Casting spoons and crank baits are good choices for these species.  Fish will also move in and out of the tailwater areas on a daily basis.  These are the best areas on the river to fish when the river is at a normal level since most species of fish will be concentrated in these areas.  The most convenient tailwater areas are the piers below the Hannibal Lock and Dam at New Martinsville and the Pike Island Dam at Wheeling.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The river is slowly returning to normal levels, but is still a little high and turbid.  During periods of high water, fish can be caught in shallow water along the shoreline.  Short casts parallel to shore with buzz baits, spinner baits, or crank baits can be productive.  Shoreline anglers will have the best luck at the mouth of Deckers Creek or on the Westover side just below the Morgantown Lock during high water.  Channel catfish can be caught throughout the river, even during periods of high and muddy water.  Cut bait, chicken livers, night crawlers can be productive baits for channel catfish.

CHEAT LAKE Water levels do not fluctuate drastically at Cheat Lake since it is not a flood control lake.  Due to recent high flows, Cheat Lake has been turbid over the last few days.  Cheat Lake is the best lake in northern West Virginia for channel catfish.  For catfish, concentrate on the area above the I-68 bridge to the head of the lake.  The two embayments by the Cheat Lake Park are good areas to fish for crappie and largemouth bass.  The Cheat Lake Park is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Small impoundments such as Dents Run Lake (Marion County), Dixon Lake (Monongalia County), Teter Creek Lake (Barbour County), Dog Run Lake (Harrison County), and Dunkard Fork Lake (Marshall County) provide excellent fishing opportunities for panfish and largemouth bass, especially when rivers and larger reservoirs are high and muddy.  Use the WVDNR fishing map tool to find a small impoundment in your area.   http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

FLOATABLE RIVERS:  Recent rains have made streams and rivers high and muddy, but should allow flows to remain at good floatable levels for some time.  To get daily river flow conditions, visit the following U.S. Geological Survey website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow.  Use the WVDNR online fishing map to find stream access information at:  http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures have risen into the mid 70’s, flows are dropping, but fairly high and discolored, and fishing conditions are improving.  Barring no additional heavy rains, adequate fishing could be had this July 4th weekend.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of Smallmouth 15” or greater.  Sunfish have constructed beds and are currently spawning.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  Very high catch rates of quality channel catfish have been captured in the lower South Branch River!  A fishable population exists in the South Branch from Petersburg Gap all the way down to the confluence with the North Branch of the Potomac.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, buzz baits, swim baits, top-water plugs, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  This is an excellent time of year to begin fishing top-water baits for explosive smallmouth strikes.

Shenandoah River Flows are higher than normal, but declining, and water clarity is still poor.  However, barring heavy rain, the fishing outlook should be good for this July 4th weekend.  Smallmouths have begun feeding in shallower water and have become more ready to strike top-water lures.  However, during periods of high flow there are frequently congregations of smallmouth in pools where water velocity is low.  Sunfish species are likely now moving up to spawn.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, buzz baits, swim baits, top-water plugs, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  Channel catfish are also very abundant in this lower section of the Shenandoah River and can grow to trophy size here.

North Branch River - Flows are around 500-1,000 cfs and should remain in this zone for the next several days.  Recent heightened flows have likely dispersed hatchery and wild stocks of fish in this stream, increasing the likelihood of success for anglers venturing away from normal stocking locations.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  Flows in the North Branch can be monitored by watching the USGS stream gages (http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/northBranch.html) or by calling (410) 962-7687 for a three day projection of outflows.

Small Impoundments According to recent angler reports, warmwater angling potential of our small impoundments is high for largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish and sunfish.  Catfish and bluegill are likely building or guarding nests, so be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort or harvesting them during this time of year.  We are just now reaching full summer stratification in many small impoundments.  Many of these small, easily accessible fisheries provide some of the best opportunities for catching high quantities of quality sized largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish in the state!

Jennings Randolph LakeJennings Randolph Lake level is at conservation pool.  Recent surveys have uncovered high densities of smallmouth bass 15” and greater and walleye longer than the minimum size limit.  Additionally, anglers have begun to catch creels of quality-size yellow perch.  Both the Howell Boat Ramp and the Maryland Ramp are currently open.  Access to the Maryland boat ramp requires as daily use fee of $5.  Additional recreational information can also be found at (http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/DamsRecreation/JenningsRandolphLake.aspx).

Mount Storm Lake - Anglers at Mount Storm Lake should target striped bass, black bass and walleye.  Additional Christmas tree reef structures have recently been added as fish attractors and habitat on the western side of the Stony River cove of the lake.  Recent surveys revealed greater numbers of quality-sized channel catfish, which are overly abundant in this lake.  Harvest of channel catfish in Mt. Storm is promoted to improve this population.  Recent biological surveys have revealed good numbers of striped bass greater than 16”, including those over 25”.  Recent biological investigations indicate good bass and walleye populations.  Trolling minnow and shad patterns (crankbaits, jigs, inline spinners, and stick baits) should prove successful for targeting walleye and striped bass.

For detailed information about stream flow, water clarity, and temperature, visit this United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data:

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/rt

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are normal and milky.  If you are looking for a place to go, please check the fishing regulations and the WVDNR website for a list of public access sites or call your local WVDNR district office for some advice and a place to fish.  Get out and enjoy some spring fishing.  Remember to get your 2016 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers, when they are at fishable water levels, are providing some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  Anglers should try white spinner baits, white plastic grubs, or small rapalas in black and silver or live bait such as minnows.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Fishing is still best early and late in all of the small impoundments in southern West Virginia and you should catch some fish.  Try spots at the end of points, weed beds, or fallen timber.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.  Lakes such as Plum Orchard, Horse Creek, Hawks Nest, and Pipestem will all provide good bass fishing.  Channel catfishing is good in areas like Hawks Nest Lake and some of the other small impoundments.  Best time to fish is late night and very early morning with chicken livers or softshells.  This is a prime time to take a child fishing!  There is no better way to introduce a child or novice to fishing than to take them out for an evening of carp fishing.  Try chumming with creamed corn upstream of where you are fishing and use shredded wheat dough balls or whole kernel corn for bait.  Make sure your rods are anchored down with a rock or a carp may take it!!!  Good spots to catch a carp are Bluestone and R.D. Bailey lakes, New and Kanawha rivers.  Bluegills are spawning all around the state and they make an excellent quarry for a young fisherperson.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers Flows are still exceptionally high due to recent rains.  Be sure to investigate access areas prior to planning a trip, many are underwater, have been impacted or are inoperable due to recent flooding.  Please bear with us as we begin to clean access sites across the state.  Once flows come back down, hybrids will be biting behind locks as well as other gamefish such as blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.  Bass can be caught fishing slacker water areas using a variety of artificial baits, try your favorite.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - Flows are still very high in these rivers, be careful and use your best judgment if attempting to fish right now.  If conditions are questionable, it might be better to wait a few days and let flood waters come back down and in the meantime help some local neighbors or friends who need a helping hand.

Small Impoundments Chief Logan Park Pond was recently stocked with catchable catfish.  Krodel, Cornstalk, and McClintic ponds were recently stocked with an abundance of 10-11” channel catfish, which will be great ‘catching’ size within a year or two.

Reservoirs – Check the USACOE website (http://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/) and the USGS website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt) for reservoir and tailrace conditions.

Rivers and Streams Check the USGS website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt) for river/stream conditions and check local landings visually before wasting a trip.  Flows can vary tremendously this time of the year.  Be safe and always wear your life jacket.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Summer is an excellent time to fish Belleville and Willow Island tailwaters of the Ohio River.  Anglers are catching white bass, hybrid striped bass, and a few other species.  Lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure of choice.  Clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows or shad.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  Schools of hybrid striped bass will periodically move up to the surface to ambush prey, so keep a look out for this activity.  When this activity is seen, agitator bobbers fished with rubber minnow imitations or fresh bait fished with surf casting equipment, generally provides the best result.  Fresh bait (small skipjack) can be caught from these areas using “Sabiki” rigs.

Elsewhere on the Ohio River, fishing for catfish has been good.  Channel catfish anglers should use night crawlers, chicken liver, or prepared catfish type baits.  Live fish should be used for flatheads.  Good fishing sites for catfish include deep areas along islands and tributary mouths.

Fishing has been good for largemouth bass in area lakes.  Spinner baits, rubber worms, crank baits, and surface lures are producing bass in areas of good cover.  Good choices for area lakes include Mountwood in Wood County, Conaway Run in Tyler, Charles Fork in Roane, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County, and Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.  Best fishing times will be early in the morning and during the evening hours.  These lakes can also supply good bluegill fishing.  For these sunfish use trout magnets or spinners, small jigs, or small worms.

Summer is a good time to fish for channel catfish in area lakes and streams.  Chicken livers, night crawlers, and prepared catfish baits work well.  Remember fishing at night is generally better than fishing during the day for catfish in the summer.

Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend.  Summer musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas.  Fishing has been quite good this year for musky along Middle Island Creek, the Little Kanawha River, and on the Hughes River and it’s forks.


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