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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

January 21, 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 – During the winter season, anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism.  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 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.  Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks.  A few degrees can make a difference!  A few anglers are catching some smallmouth bass and hybrid stripers in the tailwaters.  Successful anglers are using white twisters and gitzits.  Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions.  Wear your personal flotation devices at ALL times!

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool and frozen in places.  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.  The tailwaters will be stocked with trout once in February.  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 the winter season, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism, 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 walleye will be moving up the river to begin spawning.  Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.  With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active.  Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks.  A few degrees can make a difference!

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool and frozen in places.  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.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters will be stocked with trout once in February.  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.  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 will be stocked with trout once in February.  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.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters will be stocked with trout once in February.  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 about 55 feet below summer pool and milky.  The Pleasant Creek boat ramp is the only winter time access for boat anglers.  Winter anglers should concentrate on walleye, which will move into shallower water after dark to feed.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch twister tails are usually effective.  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 1,500 cfs and water temperature is 40 degrees.  Water color is milky.  Large numbers of walleye move through the dam into the tailwater during every high flow (above 5,000 cfs) from mid-December through March.  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  

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.  However, recent WVDNR surveys did not show that fish had moved into tailwater areas yet.  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 – Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants will attract fish all winter.  Fish appear to have not moved into the dam tailwater areas yet, as there have been very few high water events yet this winter.  They tend to congregate at tributary creek mouths, especially Buffalo, Paw Paw and Prickett creeks.  Walleye and sauger can be caught in deep water all day near the mouths of tributaries and vertical jigging minnows is a very effective method.  The shoreline from the Morgantown lock to the mouth of Deckers Creek is always a good place to fish from the shore.

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.  Channel catfish migrate to the deepest area of the lake near the dam during the winter.  Try the fishing piers near the winter boat for channel catfish in about 50 foot of water during the winter when that part of the lake is not frozen.  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 have continued to drop over the past week and most streams are slightly below normal flow for this time of year.  The water temperatures are around 32 degrees and most streams have ice along the shorelines so use caution in areas with ice.  Anglers have been having limited successful catching smallmouth bass at the head of pools.  The spring trout stocking season is underway for January so 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 is slightly below 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 300 cfs and expected to remain at that level for the next several days.  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 the Jennings Randolph website (http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/northBranch.html).

Small Impoundments – Most small impoundments are ice covered and may be unfishable.  Some small impoundments have received January trout stockings so check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite water is on the January 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.

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.  The January trout stocking has begun.  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 clear and some smallmouth bass may be caught using tube jigs.  Best spots 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 musky or walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard Lake and Stephens Lake.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.  Anglers should call ahead to make sure that the ramps are not iced over.

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).  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.  In a few weeks, this type of fishing will really pick-up.  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.  Krodel and Chief Cornstalk 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.  So far this month, trout have been stocked into Rollins Lake and Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, and Cedar Creek State Park Lake in Gilmer 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, or trout power bait.  When lakes are not frozen small spinners, joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well.  Area lakes may be frozen, and anglers should use caution before venturing onto the ice.  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!

Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River Tail-waters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, 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.  When the river is running high and muddy, and 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.   Warmwater 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.


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