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Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
November 18, 2015
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. Fish will begin to bite throughout the day with decreasing temperature levels, try any and all of your favorite lure and bait choices. Recently WVDNR personnel dropped trees along the shoreline for fish attractors/habitat. Target these downed trees for increased success, anglers report improved success fishing close to and over these trees due to the structure it provides to gamefish.
BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake has been good. Bass anglers should try their luck around deeper structure such as rocky points or downed trees using small crankbaits, or spinnerbaits or jigs. Channel and flathead catfish are still producing some on the lake. Anglers wanting to catch the whiskered ones should try drifting with live bait such as softshell crayfish, hellgrammites, or nightcrawlers. Chicken livers are also good. When you catch one, simply motor back up and drift through the hole again or anchor. Flatheads prefer live bait such as large chubs or a live sunfish. Carp, hybrid stripers, and smallmouth bass are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, chartreuse jigs, and plastic jigs, respectively.
BURNSVILLE – The lake is nine feet below summer pool. Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows. 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. Fish will begin to bite throughout the day with decreasing temperature levels, try any and all of your favorite lure and bait choices. Some anglers are having success trolling for muskies. Recently WVDNR personnel dropped trees along the shoreline for fish attractors/habitat. Target these downed trees for increased success, anglers report improved success fishing close to and over these trees due to the structure it provides to gamefish.
R.D. BAILEY – Fishing on the lake is good. Some large spotted bass may be caught. Some of the largest spotted bass in WV are found in R. D. Bailey Lake. The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with clay points another good spot to try. Good baits are plastic jigs, live shad, or crayfish. These bass can be found moving into shallower water to feed now that the nights are getting cooler and the water temperature is dropping some. Anglers should see the bite picking up for most species as the water temperature falls. Hybrid striped bass feed on shad so fishermen should watch for any schools of shad because the hybrid will usually be nearby. Best baits are lures such as rattletraps, spoons, or white/chartreuse jigs. Anglers may also want to try chicken livers for this hard fighting fish. The lake also has a good walleye population and anglers can expect to catch this fine eating fish along clay points or rocky drops. Best bait is probably live minnows or jigs.
STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is four feet below summer pool. Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows. A few walleye have also been caught in the upper end.
STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is five feet below summer pool. Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 50 feet below summer pool. Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water. Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water. Try minnows and small crank baits. The tailwaters were stocked on October 22. For more information contact the Corps of Engineers at 304-872-3412 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/sugns.htm .
SUTTON – The lake is 15 feet below summer pool. Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows. 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 – The lake is nearly 45 feet below the summer level. Walleye fishing has been very good over the last few weeks. Vertical jigging and trolling have both been very successful techniques for catching walleye. Hefty smallmouth bass are being caught using crank baits or tube jigs along the shoreline and off rocky points.
Trout were stocked October 19, so plenty are in the tailwater. Additionally, walleye fishing has been good following sunset. 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) – Fishing success for all species continues to be good and the river is in good fishing condition. Sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass are attracted to the currents at lock and dam tailwaters. Walleye and sauger will start feeding about an hour before sunset and then throughout the night. Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive. White or chartreuse are good colors. Hybrid striped bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught using large crank baits.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – The best fishing success for sauger and walleye is during low light conditions at dawn and dusk. Sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters. Jigs with minnows are the best baits right now. Troll large crank baits for muskies anywhere on the river.
CHEAT LAKE – Good reports of yellow perch have been reported over the last couple of weeks, along with reports of a few walleye being caught. Channel catfish are doing well and 2 to 3-pounders are abundant throughout the lake but are particularly numerous upstream of Mt. Chateau. The easiest way to fish the lake for all species is drifting along the shoreline with a night crawler or minnow on a hook with a couple of split shot at a depth of 10 to 15-feet.
FLOATABLE RIVERS - This is an excellent time of year to fish for big smallmouth bass and musky. 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/
SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Small impoundments are excellent places to fish. Water temperatures have decreased and this is an excellent time of year to catch big largemouth bass. Very good success for bluegill and largemouth bass can be found in Fairfax Ponds, Curtisville and Dents Run lakes. Recent WVDNR surveys observed several nice channel catfish in Mason Lake. Call the local WVDNR office for more information. Use the WVDNR online fishing map at: http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/ to find locations of small impoundments near you.
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Flow conditions are normal for this time of year and streams are clear. Fishing should be excellent around slack water stretches such as slow runs and pools. Water temperatures are in the mid-upper 40’s at most locations. Recent biological surveys showed good numbers of smallmouth bass over 18 inches, and recent fishing reports indicate that quality size fish have been biting readily. These streams are entering a period of movement of large smallmouth bass into upstream segments; this is a good time to target quality-sized smallmouth bass in big pools. This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on sub-surface lures. Soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, and crayfish imitation crankbaits are popular right now. Check our WVDNR 2015 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving fall stockings of coldwater fish (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs15/2015_fishingRegs.pdf).
Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are just above average and fishing conditions are good. Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy. Smallmouth should be migrating to deep winter pools where, as temperatures drop, weighted subsurface lures will yield more fish in deeper, slower habitat types.
North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch are currently around 175 cfs and projected to remain at that level for several more days. 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 – Small impoundments are in good fishing condition. Activity levels of reservoir warmwater fish will decline as lake temperatures cool. These fisheries are typically very productive, and offer opportunities to catch citation sized channel catfish stocked recurrently by district staff. Recent reports by angler suggest that summer stratification has likely broken down. Check our WVDNR 2015 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving fall stockings of coldwater fish (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs15/2015_fishingRegs.pdf).
Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake is about 35 feet below conservation pool and falling. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, rock bass, and trout at Jennings Randolph Lake. Recent surveys have uncovered high densities of Smallmouth Bass 15” and greater, trout are holding over and occupying shallow depths of the lake, and walleye longer than the minimum size limit. The Howell Run boat ramp has been closed for the 2015 season. The only boat ramp in operation to the lake at this time is the Maryland ramp; a daily utility fee of 5$ is collected to use this ramp. 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. Anglers have recently had success bagging striped bass. 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 the United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/rt
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Water levels are low 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. If you have not fished in a few years, make a point to get back out on the water and remember how much fun it is.
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers are continuing to provide some good fishing for smallmouth bass. The fall season is always great fishing and great scenery too. Reports of some large bass have come in from the catch and release section on the New River. This section is from the I-64 bridge downstream to the take-out at the Grandview Sandbar. Fishermen should try plastic jigs fished slowly along the bottom. Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck. Southern WV is blessed with many small impoundments that have good fish populations. Waters such as Plum Orchard, Stephens, and Pipestem lakes have excellent largemouth bass populations. Anglers need to get out on the water before the bite slows in the colder weather to come.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Hybrid are biting below locks with walleye still being caught as well. Catfish are biting with reports of a few large flatheads and blue catfish caught recently. Live and or cut bait seems to be the best choice. Try behind locks and on the main rivers at tributary mouths.
Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers. An angler recently reported doing well on Upper Mud Lake on the Mud River as well using glide baits for muskellunge. Decreasing temperature levels will cause all gamefish to feed more throughout the day, get out and take advantage of these changing conditions.
Small Impoundments – Small impoundments are also good places to try for bass and bluegill, bait or artificials work well. Fall into early winter is a great time to hit small impoundments for bass. Fishing pressure is at a minimal and on a warm sunny day the fishing can be spectacular. There is always the opportunity to catch channel catfish from these waters as well. Try bait (worms, cut fish, chicken liver, soap, yes SOAP!) fished on the bottom or below a bobber. Adjust and let the fish tell you what they prefer. Take a kid and introduce him or her to fishing.
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: The Little Kanawha River, The 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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