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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

February 25, 2015

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 – Lake has been frozen over so check the COE hotline (304-466-0156) before you go.  During winter, anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism.  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 at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  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 February 11.  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 – Lake has been frozen over so check the COE hotline (304-664-9587) before you go.  During winter, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism with the colder waters, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Best places to try for walleye 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 normal pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  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 frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  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 February 11.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  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 February 4.  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 at winter pool and frozen in places.  Fishing has been challenging with the cold and ice.  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 February 11.  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 at elevation 1,051 feet and is 45 feet below summer pool is expected slowly raise over the next few days.  The Pleasant Creek boat ramp is the only winter time access for boat anglers.  Be careful when using ramp during the winter, as it can be ice covered.  With somewhat warmer weather moving in over the next week, winter anglers can concentrate on walleye.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch twister tails can be effective, as can trolling with bottom bouncers rigged with worm harnesses.  During the winter, the shoreline is easily accessible and casting large Rapalas along the shoreline after dark can be productive.

The tailwater outflow is about 2,275 cfs and is predicted to stay constant the next few days.  Walleye that have migrated through the dam during periods of high flow and catches of walleye are being reported.  Trout should be plentiful as they were stocked earlier in the month.  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

TROUT STOCKING - Several trout stockings have taken place across northern West Virginia.  Visit www.wvdnr.gov for the latest trout stocking reports. 

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river is at normal flow for this time of year and 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 and deep-running crankbaits are also productive.  Hybrid striped bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught while using large crankbaits, casting spoons or chicken liver. Vertical jigging with spoons or minnows can be very effective at the mouths of tributaries.  Warm water discharges at power plants attract a variety of fish all winter.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – With recent increase in river flows, fish should move into dam tailwater areas.  Fishing below the Morgantown lock and dam can be very productive and is the most accessible of the Monongahela River dams in WV.  Fish also congregate at tributary creek mouths, especially Buffalo, Paw Paw and Prickett creeks. Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants will attract fish all winter.

CHEAT LAKE – Cheat Lake is heavily iced near the Ices Ferry bridge. The embayments at the Cheat Lake Park and Trail are a good area for bank anglers when not iced over.  The tailwater fishing pier can be very good for walleye and sauger.  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 4 miles to Cheat Dam.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water levels throughout the area below normal flow for this time of year and most streams and rivers are frozen.  Water temperatures are still at 32 degrees and most locations are unfishable.  The spring trout stocking season is underway and many streams and lakes will receive trout stockings in the month of February.  Don’t forget you will need 2015 fishing licenses?  The daily trout stocking report can be found at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are below normal flow for this time of year but will be rising over the weekend.  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 175 cfs and expected to remain at that level for the next several days.  White whitewater events on the North Branch will start in April.  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 by calling (410) 962-7687 for a three day projection of outflows.

Small Impoundments Small impoundments are ice covered so use extreme caution if attempting to ice fish.  Some small impoundments have already received trout stockings and some anglers have been very success catching trout over the past week.  Check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite water is on the January or February 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.  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.  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, clear and frozen.  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.  The February trout stocking is rolling and going well.  Make sure you purchase your 2015 WV fishing license.  For statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information check the DNR webpage www.wvdnr.gov.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs.  Best 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).  Most lakes are frozen over at this time so check before you head out to fish.  Trout stockings have begun and anglers are encouraged to check the fishing hotline for news of where fish were stocked in their region.

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.  A number of large muskies have been caught and released from below the upper locks on the Kanawha (London, Marmet) and Elk rivers.  A few close to 50”.  A warm day or a series of warm days create a good scenario for catching fish; try fishing in the afternoon during the highest temperature levels.  If you venture out be prepared, be safe, and be sure to inform someone where you will be and when you plan to return.  Cold weather and water at this time can be fruitful for catching large fish, but can also be deadly, use extreme caution if you venture out.  Limited reports of anglers having success targeting sauger and walleye below various locks.  Sauger and walleye will begin congregating behind locks, tributary mouths and along shoal areas in preparation for their spawn as soon as the water warms a bit, be ready!  R.C. Byrd tailrace is a great place to try.  Try bait, and small brightly colored jigs fished slow close to the bottom.  Added scent or a small piece of bait or nightcrawlers attached to the tail end of jigs really helps at this time of the year.  Fish S-L-O-W.

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

Small Impoundments – Trout stocking season is underway across the state, check for links on the WVDNR webpage or call 304-558-3399 for current reports.  Anderson and Ridenour lakes have been recently stocked.

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

Trout have been stocked into several lakes throughout the area; these include Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, and Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County.  Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County has not been stocked yet due to low water conditions.  As soon as the water level returns to normal, Mountwood Lake will receive trout.  In February, Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County will receive trout, and Rollins Lake will receive a second stocking.  Check the Daily Trout Stocking report for the latest at (304) 558-3399 or on the web at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm.  This information is updated daily at 4:00 pm, January through May.  Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese, or trout power bait.  Lakes may be frozen, and anglers should use caution before venturing out upon frozen lakes.  Four inches of new clear ice is the minimum thickness for travel on foot, however there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice!  When lakes are not frozen, small spinners, Joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well.

Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters, and sauger fishing has been red hot this winter!  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, and a few other species.  Riggs using suspended minnows or lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure of choice.  When the river is running high and muddy, clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual slow.  Warm water discharges associated with industrial facilities hold fish in the winter along the Ohio River.  Best bet for lures here include crank baits and rubber jigs.  Expect to catch white bass, hybrid striped bass and a few other species at these hot spots.  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.

Winter fishing for largemouth bass can be good during warm sunny days in area lakes.  Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos are good terminal tackle choices.  Area lakes with good winter bass angling opportunities include Mountwood in Wood County, Conaway Run in Tyler County, Charles Fork in Roane County, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County, and Elk Fork and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.

Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend.  Winter musky anglers use medium to large lures, and they concentrate their fishing efforts around brush piles or other areas of good cover.  Middle Island Creek, the major streams in the Hughes River system, and the Little Kanawha River are good area musky waters.


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