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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

September 21, 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.  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 – With the nights beginning to cool, the fishing on the lake should begin to pick up.  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 sluggoes 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.  Trout still remain in the tailwaters.  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 but as the cool nights increase in frequency, the fishing should pick up.  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.  Bluegill 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 – 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.  Trout still remain in the tailwaters.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is four feet below summer pool.  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 a one foot above 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.  Trout still remain in the tailwaters.  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 LAKEThe lake is about 20 feet below summer pool level and falling.  Daytime temperatures are still warm, but nights are cooling and the fishing in the lake should start picking up.  Bass tournaments have reported good catches of smallmouth bass.  Bass fishing is typically best in the early morning and late evening during periods of low light.  This is a good time of year to catch white bass as the lake level lowers.  Look for shiners being chased by white bass on the surface in the late evening and use casting spoons for some fast action.

Outflow is low about 790 cfs and water clarity is clear.  Call the Corps of Engineers hotline at 265-5953 for the current lake level and tailwater conditions.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – Early fall is an excellent time to fish below the dams on Ohio River, specifically for white bass and hybrid striped bass.   Hybrid striped bass will move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught using large crank baits, casting spoons, or chicken liver.  Keep an eye out for bait fish being chased near the surface by hybrid and white bass.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Fish for crappie and sunfish around downed trees.  Channel catfish can be caught using chicken livers, stink baits or cut bait.  Hybrid striped bass are being caught in the Opekiska, Hildebrand and Morgantown tailwaters with large crank baits and casting spoons.

CHEAT LAKE 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.  Bass fishing should be picking up as the water temperature starts to decrease due to shorter days and cooler nights.

FLOATABLE RIVERS We are currently in a moderate drought and most rivers and streams in northern West Virginia are too low to float.  However, Stonewall Jackson Dam and Tygart Dam maintain minimum flows throughout the summer, providing excellent flows on West Fork River and Tygart River when other rivers are too low to float.  Very good smallmouth bass and musky fishing have been reported on Tygart River over the last week.  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 decreasing and largemouth bass are becoming more active.  Very good success for bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass can be found in Mason, Curtisville, Teter Creek, Newburg, Tomlinson Run and Dents Run lakes.  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.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70’s, flows are very low and the water is very clear.  Fishing conditions are currently good, although opportunities are mostly restricted to wading and bank fishing.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of smallmouth 15” or greater.  Smallmouth activity has increased at the surface, reports of successful anglers are becoming common.  High catch rates of quality channel catfish have been captured in the lower South Branch River!  A fishable channel catfish 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 is just below normal for this time of year.  Water clarity is good and temperatures are currently excellent for fishing success.  Smallmouths have begun feeding in shallower moving 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 200-225 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, channel catfish and sunfish.  These impoundments are in full summer stratification, so 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 28 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 quality-size yellow perch.  The Maryland Ramp is currently open to anglers launching trailered boats.  Access to the Maryland boat ramp requires as daily use fee of $5.  The WV Howell Run Ramp is out of commission to boat trailers, but is still allowing the shoreline fishing and the launching of smaller crafts such as canoes and kayaks.  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.  Additionally, 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.  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 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.  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 still best early and late 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 at fishable levels.  Hybrids are 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 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

Late summer is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tail-waters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam 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.  Recently, heavy metal lures have also been successful.  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.

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.  These lakes can also supply good bluegill fishing.  For these sunfish use trout magnets or spinners, small jigs, or small worms.   

Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend.  This time of year musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas.


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