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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

November 26, 2014


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.  Hybrid bass can be caught with shad imitating lures fished near the surface.  Catfish and bass anglers are reporting catches using various live and artificial baits.  With reduced temperature levels game fish are biting throughout the day.

BLUESTONE – During winter, anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism as the water cools.  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 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 four feet below summer pool and clear.  The surface temperatures are in the 50’s.  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.  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 .  The lake is at summer pool.  Muskies have been caught recently using a variety of baits.  Reports of bass from tournaments being caught on soft plastics and crankbaits.

R.D. BAILEY – During winter, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism with the colder waters, 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 walleyes will be moving up the river to begin spawning.  Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is five feet below normal pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  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.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 50 feet below summer pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  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 35 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 20.  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 15 feet below summer pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 40’s.  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 on October 20 with lots of trout remaining.  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 approximately 50 feet below the summer level.  Fish surveys during last month collected lots of walleye throughout the lake.  Fish for walleye along the shoreline at night or in 25-40 feet depths during the day.  Smallmouth bass can be caught using tube jigs or jigging spoons in 20-25 feet of water or crayfish imitations along the shoreline.

Trout were stocked in the tailwater late last month and as the lake continues to be lowered, numerous walleye will begin moving through the dam into the tailwater.  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.


OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The mouths of tributaries are good places to fish during the winter.  Fish will move into the mouths to escape the current of the main river and conserve energy.  Sauger can be very abundant in these areas, particularly if there is a deep hole nearby.  The mouth of Fishing Creek below New Martinsville is one of the better wintering areas.  Walleye, sauger and hybrid striped bass can also be caught all winter 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.  Heated industrial and power plant discharges also attract hybrids all winter.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is about 36 degrees.  Walleye and sauger can be caught all winter in the tailwater areas by hardy anglers.  They usually begin feeding at dusk but will be active during the day when the water is turbid.  The Westover side of the river below the Morgantown lock can be productive during high water conditions because the current is reduced along the shore below the lock.  Jigs with minnows are always good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive.  A good pattern for muskies is trolling with large crank baits.

CHEAT LAKE – The winter pool elevation schedule started November 1.  Water levels can fluctuate as much as 13 feet over a period of two to three days compared with the summer pool fluctuations of two feet within one day.  The winter boat ramp at Cheat Lake Park is now open but the Sunset Beach boat ramp is still usable when the pool elevation is 867.  The Ices Ferry Public Fishing and Access Site is a good place to catch yellow perch in the I-68 bridge area.


South Branch and Cacapon Rivers - Streams throughout the eastern panhandle are slightly below normal flow for this time of year and the water is very clear.  The water temperatures have dropped to the upper 30’s at most locations due to the cold air temperature.  Anglers have been successful catching smallmouth bass.  Some streams received fall trout stocking so check the fishing regulations to see if your favorite stream received fall stocking. 

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are 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 has increased to 250 cfs and will remain at that level for the next couple of days.  No additional whitewater events are scheduled on the North Branch this year.  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 - Small impoundments are in great fishing condition.  Some small impoundments received a fall trout stocking so check the fishing regulations to see if your favorite impoundments is on the list. 

Jennings Randolph Lake - Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 24 feet below conservation pool.  Boaters will not be able to launch from the WV ramp due to the low lake level and may need to use the Maryland ramp.  Launching fees are no longer charged for the WV ramp.  A $5 per day fee is still being 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.  Anglers and biological surveys have been reporting good catches of striped bass.


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.  Trout still remain from the fall stocking and flows have been great for fishing.  Check the DNR webpage for statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information, www.wvdnr.gov.


The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs.  A best spot 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 walleye and musky (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some bass fishing at Plum Orchard and Stephens Lakes.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom.


Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers Reports of nice catfish boated.  A number of very large blue catfish have been caught at tournaments and by individual anglers fishing during low light conditions and into the night, give it a try.  This fishery is growing and there is always a chance of a near record, or state record size blue catfish.  Hybrids are biting behind locks along the Kanawha and Ohio, try shad type lures.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal Rivers.  This is a great time to float any of these rivers, give them a try.  Spinners, soft plastics and small crankbaits all should work well.

Small Impoundments – Catfish can be caught from small impoundments but due to fishing pressure, sunny conditions, and high water temperatures, fish during dawn and dusk and into the night.  Catfish really turn on once the sun goes down and come out to feed much more than during the day.  Chicken livers, cut bait, and marketed paste type baits all work very well.  A bobber set-up works well by presenting the bait up in the water column.  Remember, during this time of the year many lakes and impoundments set-up and have a thermocline.  Below the thermocline (change from warm to drastically cold water), there will be no oxygen and therefore no fish to catch.

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.


Now is the time to be thinking about combining fishing with your upcoming deer hunting trip.  The West-Central part of West Virginia offers a variety of opportunities for this combination.  Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend and excellent musky populations can be found in the following waters: The Little Kanawha River, The Hughes River and its major Forks, Middle Island Creek, and Mill and Sandy Creeks in Jackson County.  Fall musky anglers use large crank baits or jerk baits, and riffle areas are hot spots.

Anglers seeking bass after the hunt also have many choices of water to consider.  Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County, North Bend, Tracy, and Pennsboro lakes in Ritchie County, Mountwood Lake in Wood County, Charles Fork Lake in Roane County, and Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County all have excellent largemouth bass populations.  Slowly fished bass lures are the baits of choice this time of the year.

Deer hunters along the Ohio River also have great opportunities for the combination.  The fall is an excellent time to fish Ohio River Tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, 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.  Small suspending Rapala’s (silver with a blue back) also work quite well.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  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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