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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

April 27, 2016

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/wm/?basin/twe/bbf for information and current lake levels.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on March 23.  Anglers report success with salmon eggs, worms, and spinners fished very slow this time of the year.  Bass will begin moving into the shallows with warming water and rising temps.  Try for hybrids down by the dam using cut bait, chicken livers or white/silver lures that imitate small baitfish.

BLUESTONE – Spring is here some fish species are beginning to spawn as the water warms.  Crappie are showing up on brush piles, flooded timber or downed trees where they will spawn.  They will hit small minnows or doll flies.  Bass may be caught off rocky points and around downed trees using live bait and artificials such as spinnerbaits and plastic worms.  Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs, or weed beds.  Try slow rolling a spinnerbait, bumping off the stumps.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large minnows.  Anglers should try spots such as the mouth of Indian Creek or up the Bluestone Arm as these fish, even though mostly infertile, still make mock spawning runs upstream.  Smallmouth bass are being caught in the tailwaters.  Successful anglers are using tube jigs in pumpkinseed or motor oil colors.  Anglers should be careful wading and wear your personal flotation devices.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Water temperatures are warming up fast and fishing is picking up.  Bass are getting ready to spawn and are moving to shallow water.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  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.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 13.  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/eltThe tailwaters were stocked with trout on March 23.  Anglers report success with salmon eggs, worms, and spinners (joe’s flies, rooster tails, panther martins) fished very slow this time of the year.  Bass will begin moving into the shallows with warming water and rising temps.  Try muskellunge around downed trees and drop-offs close to shallow flats.  Slower moving lures like large tubes and gliders work best this time of the year.

R.D. BAILEY – With the waters warming up, fish are beginning to spawn.  Crappie are congregating near the habitats where they spawn such as around standing timber and brush piles and they will hit small minnows.  For artificials, use doll flies in white and yellow.  Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors.  The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points with downed trees another good spot to try.  Hybrid striped bass will be making a mock spawning run up stream in April and May so anglers may want to concentrate their efforts in the upper lake.  The trout stocked in the tailwaters are still providing good fishing.  Best baits are corn, salmon eggs, and small jigs.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass are getting ready to spawn and are moving to shallow water.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  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.  A few musky have been caught on nice days this week and can only get better for all fish as water temperatures warm up.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is one foot below summer pool.  Bass are getting ready to spawn and are moving to shallow water.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Also reports crappie and bluegill hitting live bait this week.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 13.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at 25 feet below summer pool.  Bass are getting ready to spawn and are very active.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 20-25 feet of water as well as the upper end of lake.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of:  all walleye 20 to 30 inches long must be returned to the water at once and a daily creel limit of eight walleye daily creel limit, only one of which may be over 30 inches. The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 5.  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 at summer pool.  Bass are getting ready to spawn and are moving to shallow water.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout April 13.  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 LAKEAnglers should call the Corps of Engineers at 304-265-5953 for daily lake conditions.  The lake level is currently about two feet above summer pool and rising.  Water temperature is about 64 degrees at the surface and color is milky.  Crank baits and tube jigs fished along the shoreline out to 10 to 20 feet depths will be effective throughout the month for smallmouth bass.  Fish attractors have been placed near the state park marina, West Hill cove, and just below the Doe Run impoundment dam.  Walleye are being caught throughout the lake.  All boat ramps are open.

Several species of fish, such as walleye, yellow perch, drum and stocked trout, are being caught in the tailwater below the dam.  Current outflow is about 1,533cfs, which is a very fishable flow.

A new walleye regulation will take effect beginning January 1, 2016 for Tygart Lake and Tygart River.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – Walleye, sauger, and hybrid striped bass can be caught all spring 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. 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.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The river is a little high and turbid, but don’t let that keep you from fishing.  Try the tailwaters below the Morgantown and the Opekiska locks as there has been good reports of channel catfish being caught over the last week.  Muskies have been caught below the Morgantown dam.  Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants attract fish all spring. A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient.  Shoreline anglers have several good areas to fish on the river: the mouths of Buffalo and Paw Paw creeks in Marion County, and the mouths of Whiteday and Deckers creeks in Monongalia County. The shoreline on the Westover side of the river immediately below the lock gates is also a good area for all species, particularly during high water.

A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016 for Monongahela River.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

CHEAT LAKE The summer recreation level will be maintained starting May 1 so boating access will be assured.  The easiest way to fish the lake is along the shoreline to a depth of 10 to 15 feet.  Crank baits and tube jigs are good artificial baits while a night crawler or minnow on a hook with a couple of split shot are always productive.  Morgan and Rubles embayments at the recreation area are good spots for bank fishermen.  These areas will be warmer than the main lake and good for largemouth bass and bluegills all month.

Walleye, sauger and channel catfish can be caught from the tailwater fishing pier when flows are turned off.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the best baits.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown.  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 parking lot is in Pennsylvania but the entire pier is in West Virginia.  The pier is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible.

A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016 for Cheat River and Cheat Lake:  15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

Trout Stocking:  Several lakes and streams have been stocked.  Go to www.wvdnr.gov or call the stocking hotline at (304) 558-3399.  The interactive fishing map on the WVDNR webpage is very useful for determining fishing spots throughout the state.  Use the USGS stream gages to help determine flow at your favorite river or stream.  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow

SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Good fishing for panfish and bass can be found in small impoundments such as Dents Run Lake (Marion County), Mason Lake (Monongalia County), Teter Creek Lake (Barbour County), Newburg Lake (Preston County), and Tomlinson Run Lake (Hancock County).  Small impoundments provide easy access and are good places to take kids fishing.  Use the WVDNR fishing map tool to find a small impoundment in your area.   http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon RiversWater temperatures have migrated all the way back up into the mid 60’s and are still rising.  However, these streams are extremely low and clear for this time of year.  Fish activity should pick up significantly over the next couple of weeks if forecasts hold true.  Fishing during clear and shallow water conditions can be tough, so anglers may already want to consider reducing bait size and using more realistic soft plastics impregnated with scent and taste enhancing compounds.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of Smallmouth 15” or greater.  Recent catches of Channel Catfish have been reported. 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 during periods of warmer stream temperature and lower flows.  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.  Be on the lookout for our WVDNR 2016 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving stockings of coldwater fish (fishhttp://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs16/2016_fishingRegs.pdf).

Shenandoah River The Shenandoah flows are low, water clarity is adequate, and temperatures should be good for targeting Smallmouth feeding aggressively in preparation for spring spawning efforts.  However, clear and shallow water conditions may make triggering wary fish more difficult.  Smallmouth should be concentrated in deep pools and eager to begin feeding.  Weighted subsurface lures will yield more fish in deeper, slower habitat types.

North Branch River - Flows are at 900 cfs but should be dropping significantly into the 300’s over the next several days.  Two weekends in April (9-10 and 23–24) will experience planned whitewater releases from the lake, making fishing in the North Branch below the lake unsafe.  These heightened flows will likely disperse hatchery stocked fish in this stream, increasing the likelihood of success for anglers venturing away from normal stocking locations.  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 slowly picking up as water temperatures rise.  Current periods of warm weather may yield catches of big largemouth.  We are entering a period of time when crappie should begin migration to shallow water.  Pre-spawn congregation and feeding will not be far away.  Check out the WVDNR 2016 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving stockings of coldwater fish (fishhttp://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs16/2016_fishingRegs.pdf).

Jennings Randolph Lake – The lake level is at conservation pool and gaining elevation.  Recent surveys have uncovered high densities of smallmouth bass 15” and greater and walleye longer than the minimum size limit.  Both the Howell and Maryland boat ramps are currently open.  Access to the Maryland boat ramp requires a 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 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 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.  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 Cranberry and Williams rivers and Watoga and Spruce Knob lakes along with a lot of other waters have been stocked.  Get out and enjoy some spring fishing.  Remember to get your 2016 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

May is the final month for trout stockings, so anglers that want to trout fish are encouraged to get out there and get their fill the next few weeks!  Anglers should check this year’s fishing regulations to see which waters will be stocked.  For a more up-to-date list, please call the hotline at 558-3399 or check online at www.wvdnr.gov.  The New and Greenbrier rivers are in pretty good shape and anglers can catch smallmouth bass using tube jigs or spinnerbaits.  Best spots are just below a shoal or rapid or in any eddy.  Anglers may also want to try their luck at Kanawha Falls for musky or hybrid stripers (use big chubs and large white jigs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass and bluegill fishing at Plum Orchard and Pipestem lakes.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices for the bass while the bluegill will take small jigs, red worms, or other small live baits.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Angler reports indicate catches of sauger and walleye using minnows and small jigs.  Try fishing tributary mouths, below locks and below any shoal areas available.  Many reports of nice walleye and sauger from below tributary mouths and shoal areas, using minnows and/or slow moving crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers.  The Coal River is a good place to try for walleye over the next few weeks, try below the upper and lower falls.

Small Impoundments – Chief Cornstalk Pond, Krodel and Anderson lakes were recently stocked in District 5.  Check the hotline at 304-558-3399 or go online at www.wvdnr.gov to see if your favorite water was 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.  Flows can vary tremendously this time of the year.  Be safe and always wear your life jacket.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

This is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye and a few other species.  So far, Belleville has been better than Willow Island with 100+ sauger caught per day by some lucky anglers.  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.  Fishing for white bass can be quite good this time of year and medium-sized white spinners work well.  Crappie can also be found in Ohio River tailwaters.  These fish are generally suspended and jigs should be counted-down to find the correct depth to fish.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  White bass fishing has also picked up below these dams.  White bass like anything white – try white spinners or white twister tails.  Fishing along the Willow Island tailwaters has changed; walkways along the river are now open to the tailrace of the powerhouse, however parking is still only available at the entry of the recreation site.

Fishing for largemouth bass in area lakes has been very good.  Slowly fished plastic worms or jig-and-pig combos, and spinner baits are good terminal tackle choices.  Area lakes with good 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.

Trout have been stocked into several lakes throughout the area.  These include Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, Rollins Lake and Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County, and Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County.  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.  Small spinners and joe type flies also work well, for anglers casting the shoreline or fishing from boats.  Trolling these small lures is also affective. 

Musky streams are not expected to be fishable this weekend.


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