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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

July 27, 2016

FISHING

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.

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!  Surface lures are a good choice this time of year fished early, late and after dark. Buzz baits, skitter pops, zara spooks, and jitterbugs are all good choices.  Try for hybrids down by the dam using cut bait, chicken livers or white/silver lures that imitate small baitfish.

BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake is fair.  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 flukes are excellent choices but anglers will find the best top-water 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 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 suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.    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! Surface lures are a good choice this time of year fished early, late and after dark. Buzz baits, skitter pops, zara spooks, and jitterbugs are all good choices.  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 – Some spotted bass should be hitting on the lake.  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.  Bluegills 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 are in about ten feet of water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  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 are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  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.  Please be careful when practicing catch and release this time of year because of water temperature fish may not recover.  Get fish to boat quickly, take a picture and return fish to water as fast as possible.  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 at summer pool and all boat ramps are opened.  Smallmouth bass have been caught in about 25 feet of water at rock drop offs.  A few walleye have been picked up as well on live minnows.  Try early mornings and evenings during this hot spell.  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 is at summer pool.  Bass are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  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 at summer pool and steady and water clarity is clear.  Water temperature is about 81 degrees at five feet and 72 degrees at 50 feet.  Reports of fishing have been fair with smallmouth bass being caught throughout the lake.

Outflow in the tailwater is less than 370 cfs, water temperature is 68 degrees and milky.  Trout from spring stockings are still being caught as are some walleye.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for the current lake elevation, tailwater conditions, and boat ramp conditions.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – River flow is a little low and consequently anglers have reported slow fishing with a few walleye and white bass being caught in the areas below the dams.  Catfishing can be good in either the tailwater or pools using live and or cut baits.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The river is in good fishing condition and anglers have reported good action for sauger, walleye and smallmouth bass in the river.  Areas below the US Army Corps of Engineer dams are good places to start.

CHEAT LAKE Cheat Lake has an excellent channel catfish population.  During the summer, anglers should 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.  Also, try fishing around woody structure for large sunfish.  The Cheat Lake Park is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

FLOATABLE RIVERS – Smallmouth bass fishing has been good.  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 - Good catfishing can be found in small impoundments such as Mason, Curtisville, Teter Creek, Newburg and Tomlinson Run lakes.  Fish on bottom with stink baits, worms, or chicken livers.  Very good largemouth bass fishing can be had on lakes such as Dunkard Fork, Curtisville, and Dents Run lakes.  Small impoundments provide easy access and are good places to take kids fishing.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures are in the upper 80’s, flow conditions are low but manageable with a little effort and water clarity is excellent.  Fishing conditions are currently great!  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of smallmouth 15” or greater.  Sunfish have constructed beds and are currently spawning.  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 – Stream flow, water clarity and temperatures are currently perfect for summer fishing success!  Smallmouths have begun feeding in shallower water and have become more ready to strike top-water lures.  Channel catfish bites in this clear and warming stream typically do not begin until a bit after sundown.  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 250 cfs and should remain in this zone for the next several 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 According to recent angler reports, warmwater angling potential of our small impoundments is high for largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish and sunfish.  They are fully stratified, so understand that in many of these impoundments fish-holding, oxygenated water may only exist for 10-15 feet below the surface.  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 about four feet lower than 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 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” as well as good bass and walleye populations.  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 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.  Get out and enjoy some spring fishing.  Remember to get your 2016 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are providing some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  Anglers should try white/chartreuse buzz baits, white plastic grubs, or small crankbaits or live bait such as helgrammites or softshell crayfish.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Fishing is best early and late or on cloudy days 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 soft shells.  This is a prime time to take a child or anyone 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.  The secret to the dough balls is to mix in a little flavored jello powder as you make the dough ball.  Make sure your rods are anchored down with a rock and the drag is loosened or a carp may take it!  Good spots to catch a carp are Bluestone and R.D. Bailey lakes, New and Kanawha rivers.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Flows are returning to fishable levels after past flooding.  Be sure to investigate access areas prior to planning a trip, many 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 returning to fishable levels in these rivers. Be careful, past high flows have rearranged many rivers making them different than prior to the floods, be extra safe until you learn new features, problematic areas, etc.  Be sure to investigate access areas prior to planning a trip, many have been impacted or are inoperable due to recent flooding.  Please bear with us as we begin to clean access sites across the state.

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 its forks.


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