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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

December 17, 2014

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/wc/bbfns.htm for information and current lake levels.  No current fishing reports, the lake is at winter pool.

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 three a feet above winter pool and milky.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  We have received reports of Musky being caught in the upper end of lake.  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 .  No current fishing reports, the lake is at winter pool.

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 at summer pool and milky.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  A few walleye have also been in about 10-15 feet of water.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at winter pool and milky.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 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 at winter pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 20.  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 one foot above winter pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 20.  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 has dropped nearly 40 feet over the past week and is near winter pool elevation.  WVDNR surveys have shown numerous walleye throughout the lake.  Winter anglers should concentrate on these walleye, which will move into shallower water to feed at dark.  Jigs with minnows, minnow imitations are effective as is casting and retrieving Rapalas along the shoreline after dark.  Bank anglers start fishing about dark and into the night.  Boat anglers should fish deeper water throughout the day.

Stocked trout and walleye are being caught below the dam.  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).  Lake level and tailwater conditions can be highly variable during winter months.  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) – A few sauger and walleye have been caught in the tailwaters, but fishing has been a little slow.  As river flow increases, more fish will move into the tailwater areas below the dams.  The most convenient tailwater areas are the piers below the Hannibal Lock and Dam at New Martinsville and the Pike Island Lock and Dam at Wheeling.  Good fishing can occur this time of year at the mouths of Ohio River tributaries with minnows or vertical jigging.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Cold river temperatures will cause fish, particularly hybrid striped bass, to be attracted to the warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants.  A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient.  Walleye and sauger are starting their winter pattern and will move in and out of the tailwater areas and tributary creek mouths, especially Buffalo, Paw Paw, and Prickett creeks.  Start fishing about an hour before sunset because sauger and walleye will begin feeding at dusk.  Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs and deep-running crank baits are also productive.  The shoreline from the Morgantown lock to the mouth of Deckers Creek is always a good place to fish from the shore.

CHEAT LAKE – Due to hydropower operations, lake levels can fluctuate as much as 13 feet from November through March.  The winter boat ramp at Cheat Lake Park is now open.  Lake level is to low (<867 feet) to use the Sunset Beach boat ramp.  The Ices Ferry Public Fishing and Access Site is a good place to catch yellow perch in the I-68 bridge area.  Channel catfish can also be caught in depths of about 50 feet near the winter boat ramp.  Recent surveys have indicated that the walleye fishery is improving.  Boat anglers should focus for walleye in 20 – 30 feet of water, especially during cloudy and windy days.  Walleye will move into much shallower water at night to feed.

Try the tailwater fishing pier for walleye and sauger during the winter.  Minnows are the best bait.  Start fishing at dark when sauger and walleye begin feeding.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown, but you have to drive from, and park in, Pennsylvania to get there.  Take U.S.  Rt. 119 from Morgantown to Point Marion, PA.  Turn right after crossing the Cheat River and proceed four miles to Cheat Dam.  The pier is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water levels have dropped in most streams over the past week and are near normal flow for this time of year.  The water temperatures are still in the lower 40’s and the water is clear at most locations.  The spring trout season will begin in January so don’t forget you will need a 2015 fishing license.

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are near normal flow for this time of year.  Fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in the eddy’s is always a good strategy.

North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch are currently at 500 cfs and expected to remain between 300-500 cfs for the next couple days.  No additional whitewater events are scheduled on the North Branch this year.  Check the Corp or Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes.  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 - Small impoundments are in great fishing condition and are not yet ice covered.  Some small impoundments will receive a January trout stocking so check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite water is on the stocking schedule. 

Jennings Randolph Lake - There has been no recent reports of angler success at Jennings Randolph Lake.  The West Virginia boat launch is closed for the season due to the low lake level so boaters should use the Maryland ramp.  A $5 per day fee is collected for 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.usace.army.mil/Missions/DamsRecreation/JenningsRandolphLake.aspx

Mt. Storm Lake - Anglers at Mount Storm Lake should target striped bass, black bass and walleye.  This is a great location for winter fishing since the lake doesn’t freeze.  Recent biological surveys indicate good bass and walleye populations.  Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.  Anglers and biological surveys have been reporting good catches of striped bass.

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.  Trout still remain from the fall stocking.  Check the 2015 WV Fishing Regulations for statewide trout stockings and the DNR webpage for updated fishing information, www.wvdnr.gov.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs.  A best spot are just below a shoal or rapid or in eddies near the shore.  Anglers may also want to try their luck at Kanawha Falls for walleye and musky (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some bass fishing at Plum Orchard and Stephens Lakes.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers Hybrid bass can be caught behind lock areas and some hardy catfish anglers target blues by sinking live or fresh cut bait in the deeper holes this time of year, but no reports to date.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal Riversusing slow moving baits and soft plastics (large tubes).

Small Impoundments – No current reports.

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.

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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