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Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
December 11, 2013
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/wc/bbfns.htm for information and current lake levels. The lake is currently at winter pool, no current fishing reports available.
BLUESTONE – During winter, anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism as the water cools. A few bass are being caught off rocky points using live minnows. Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs, or ledges. Some hybrid striped bass and striped bass may be caught using large chubs. Anglers should try spots such as at the mouth of the Bluestone Arm or near the dam. With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active. A few anglers are catching some smallmouth bass in the tailwaters. Successful anglers are using one-eighth ounce white doll flies and gitzits. Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions. Wear your personal flotation devices.
BURNSVILLE – The lake is eight feet above winter pool. Fishing is fair. Surface water temperatures are in the low 40’s. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also being caught on live bait in any type of cover. Catfish are also being caught on night crawlers. Trout still remain in the tailwaters. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/busns.htm .
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/wc/eltns.htm . The lake is currently at winter drawdown level. A few reports from hardy muskie anglers braving the cold, with a few boated on glide baits and large soft plastics.
R.D. BAILEY – During winter, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism with the colder waters, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors. The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try. Walleye are starting to be creeled by local anglers. Best places to try are along the shallow clay flats either early or late. As the year progresses, the walleyes will be moving up the river to begin spawning. Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.
STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is six feet below summer pool. Fishing is good. Try early mornings and late evenings for the best action. Water temperatures are in the low 40’s. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait and jigs around beaver huts and fish attractors. We have received reports of perch being caught in the upper end on minnows. Trout fishing has been good.
STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is five feet below summer pool and clear. Fishing is fair. Surface water temperatures are in the low 40’s. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill are being caught in shallow water. A 51” musky was caught a few weeks ago from the lake. Crappie are also hitting live bait around bridges and beaver huts. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 20 feet above winter pool. The inspection of the lake by the Corps of Engineers is complete. Winter boat launch sites are open. For walleye try rocky points, drop offs and at the mouth of small tributaries entering the lake. Some nice smallmouth bass have been caught in about 15-20 feet of water. The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 23. If you are looking for a back country fishing experience, hike down in the Gauley River gorge and enjoy some fantastic fishing. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-872-3412 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/sugns.htm .
SUTTON – The lake is 22 feet above winter pool and milky. Fishing is fair. Surface water temperatures are in the low 40’s. Bass are being caught in about 10 to 12 feet. Most are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait. The tailwaters were stocked on October 23. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/suens.htm .
TYGART LAKE – Fish surveys during last month collected lots of walleye up to 25-inches. Fish for walleye along the shoreline at night or in 25-40 feet depths during the day. Smallmouth bass can be caught using tube jigs or jigging spoons in 20-25 feet of water.
There are a lot of trout and walleye in the tailwater. The fall trout stocking was completed in October and the water temperature is 41 degrees. Walleye fishing is best during higher flows (1,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per second) and trout fishing is best at low flows (less than 1,000 cubic feet per second). Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions.
NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The mouths of tributaries are good places to fish during the winter. Fish will move into the mouths to escape the current of the main river and conserve energy. Sauger can be very abundant in these areas, particularly if there is a deep hole nearby. The mouth of Fishing Creek below New Martinsville is one of the better wintering areas. Walleye, sauger and hybrid striped bass can also be caught all winter as they move in and out of the tailwater areas on a daily basis. These are the best areas on the river to fish 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. Heated industrial and power plant discharges also attract hybrids all winter.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is 41 degrees. Walleye and sauger can be caught all winter in the tailwater areas by hardy anglers. They usually begin feeding at dusk but will be active during the day when the water is turbid. The Westover side of the river below the Morgantown lock can be productive during high water conditions because the current is reduced along the shore below the lock. Jigs with minnows are always good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive. A good pattern for muskies is trolling with large crank baits.
CHEAT LAKE – The winter pool elevation schedule started November 1. Water levels can fluctuate as much as 13 feet over a period of two to three days compared with the summer pool fluctuations of 2 feet within one day. The winter boat ramp at Cheat Lake Park is now open but the Sunset Beach boat ramp is still usable when the pool elevation is 867. The Ices Ferry Public Fishing and Access Site is now re-opened and improved for carry-down canoe access. Fishing is good for all species. Yellow perch and sunfish have been readily caught in the I-68 bridge area. Channel catfish are doing well and can be caught throughout the winter at the Cheat Lake Park.
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers - Streams and rivers throughout the eastern panhandle are high but the water is clear in most cases. Stream temperatures have dropped to the upper 30’s and fishing will be slow. This is the time of year when anglers are successful catching big smallmouth bass near the head of pools fishing with slow moving plastics.
Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are high and there may be too much flow for fishing at some locations. Try fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges.
North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch have been increased to 1200 cfs and too high for fishing at most locations. No additional whitewater events are scheduled for this year. Flows in the North Branch can be monitored by watching the USGS stream gages or the Jennings Randolph website (http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/northBranch.html).
Small Impoundments – Most small impoundments are in great fishing condition. Some impoundments become frozen and will be unfishable until the ice thickens. Bass and bluegill have moved to deeper water so try slow moving plastics in 10 to 15 feet of water. Some small impoundments may have received fall trout stockings. Check the 2013 fishing regulations to determine if your favorite water received a fall trout stocking.
Jennings Randolph Lake - Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 17 feet below conservation pool and dropping slowly. The West Virginia ramp is closed for the year so boaters will need to launch from the Maryland ramp. Jennings Randolph Lake has a dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information (304) 355-2890. Recreational information can also be found at http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/mapserver/index.html.
Mt. Storm Lake - Anglers at Mount Storm Lake should target striped bass, black bass and walleye. Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Water levels are normal and clear. 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. Please wear your blaze orange while fishing during the deer hunting season over the next few weeks. It’s a good time for smallmouth bass fishing in rivers. The fall trout stocking went well and lots of waters were stocked. A 2014 fishing license makes a great Christmas gift. Check the DNR website for updated fishing information www.wvdnr.gov .
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs. Best fishing spots are just below a shoal, rapid or in eddies near the shore. Anglers may also want to try their luck at Kanawha Falls for walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard Lake. Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – No current fishing reports.
Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk, and Mud rivers – A few reports from hardy winter anglers targeting muskies, but no other fish reports. Slow moving large soft plastics and glide baits are producing.
Small Impoundments – With reduced pressure due to many anglers now deer hunting, many small impoundments offer a great place to try for bass, especially on a warm afternoon. Bass can be targeted with slow moving swim baits and soft plastics (lizards, beaver baits, craw imitations) fished close to the bottom. Beaver huts if present are a great place to target for fall/winter bass. The abundance of structure (trees, logs, etc.) and usually deep water nearby offer cool weather bass all they need. Reports from Upper Mud Lake of nice bass caught using shallow water techniques and finesse rigs from anglers. Muskies are also being reported from Upper Mud with a few nice fish into the 40” size range, caught casting and trolling. Despite being ‘out of the way’, Upper Mud is a great place to try for bass or muskie, give it a try. With most hunting right now, anglers will have the lake to themselves.
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.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Now is the time to be thinking about combining fishing with your upcoming deer hunting trip. The west-central part of West Virginia offers a variety of opportunities for this combination. Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend and excellent musky populations can be found in the following waters: Little Kanawha River, Hughes River and its major Forks, Middle Island Creek, and Mill and Sandy Creeks in Jackson County. Fall musky anglers use large crank baits or jerk baits, and riffle areas are hot spots.
Anglers seeking bass after the hunt also have many choices of water to consider. Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County, North Bend, Tracy, and Pennsboro lakes in Ritchie County, Mountwood Lake in Wood County, Charles Fork Lake in Roane County, and Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County all have excellent largemouth bass populations. Slowly fished bass lures are the baits of choice this time of the year.
Deer hunters along the Ohio River also have great opportunities for the combination. The fall is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, 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. Small suspending Rapala’s (silver with a blue back) also work quite well. Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual. Fishing along the Willow Island tailwaters is restricted due to hydro-power development. Anglers now have access only to a point approximately 150 yards below the dam, and flows have changed significantly.
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