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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

February 10, 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/wc/bbfns.htm for information and current lake levels.  No current fishing reports.

BLUESTONE – The lake is at winter pool.  With the cold winter weather predicted, anglers may be limited in their ability to get back on the lake and enjoy some fishing.  Remember that during the winter season, fish are still active but typically have a slower metabolism, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  During this cold weather, bass may be caught in deeper water off rocky points using live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers.  Anglers should look for points that drop off into the main channel and that have some cover such as stumps or logs.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large minnows.  Anglers should try spots such as at the mouth of the Bluestone Arm or near the dam.  A few anglers are catching some smallmouth bass and white bass in the tailwaters.  However, recently the tailwaters have been unfishable due to high water.  Successful anglers are using one-eighth ounce white doll flies.  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 at winter pool and frozen at some boat launch locations.  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.

R.D. BAILEY – The lake is at winter pool.  The cold winter weather predicted may hinder anglers’ ability to get back on the lake for some fishing.  Please remember that during the winter season, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically.  Spotted bass should be hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors, and minnows may be another good bet.  The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Walleye can be creeled by anglers this time of year.  Best places to try are along the shallow clay flats either early or late and also in the upper reaches of the lake near where the Guyandotte River enters the lake.  Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool with areas frozen over.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at winter pool and frozen at some boat launch locations.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool and frozen at some boat launch locations.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  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 at some boat launch locations.  Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout in the fall and will be stocked 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 – Due to the recent heavy snows, all boat ramps, including Pleasant Creek boat ramp are not useable.  The lake elevation is about 35 feet below summer pool and rising.  With each high flow release from Tygart Dam, walleyes will be “flushed” from the lake and through the dam into the tailwater area.  Best walleye fishing is typically between 1,500 cfs and 5,000 cfs.  Current discharge is approximately 5,100 cfs.  Minnows and soft plastic baits fished near the bottom with 1/16 to 1/8 ounce jigheads have been catching walleye.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions or visit the Tygart Lake, USACE Facebook page.

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) – Take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather over the next several days by fishing on the Ohio River.  Bank fishing in the areas below dams can be exceptional this time of year.  Anglers have reported a few walleye being caught from the Hannibal tailwater.  White, chartreuse, or yellow curly-tailed grubs with 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jigheads fished slowly near the bottom or along rip-rap shorelines can be very effective, as can crankbaits mimicking minnows.  Creek mouths during the winter are also exceptional areas to catch fish.  Jigs tipped with minnows are normally effective baits for these areas.

MONONGAHELA RIVER Take advantage of the warm weather that is predicted for the next few days and go catch some fish.  The Morgantown, Hildebrand and Opekiska tailwater areas are good places to fish for sauger and walleye through the winter.  Curly-tailed grubs with 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jigheads can be productive for walleye and sauger just below dams.  Vertically jigging minnows is a very effective method of catching walleye and sauger in deep holes at the mouths of tributaries.  Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants will attract fish all winter.

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 winter pool elevation schedule started November 1.  Water levels can fluctuate as much as 13 feet over a period of 2-3 days.  The Ices Ferry Public Fishing and Access Site is a good place for bank anglers to catch yellow perch when the lake is not ice covered.  Channel catfish can be caught throughout the winter in about 50 ft of water from the fishing piers located at the park with stink baits, worms, chicken livers, or cut bait when the lake is not frozen over.  

Anglers have reported catching walleye and sauger below the dam in the tailwater area.  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.  The pier is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible.

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

Trout Stocking:  Due to much more cooperative weather, trout stocking has resumed this week.  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 trout fishing areas throughout the state.

SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Small impoundments are excellent places to fish.  Water temperatures have decreased and this is an excellent time of year to catch big largemouth bass.  Very good success for bluegill and largemouth bass can be found in Fairfax Ponds, Curtisville and Dents Run lakes.  Recent WVDNR surveys observed several nice channel catfish in Mason Lake.  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 – Although these streams are high and water temperatures are cold, large smallmouth bass are biting readily.  Catches of channel catfish have also 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 - This river is currently quite high, offering little fishing potential.  Smallmouth should be migrating to deep winter pools where, as temperatures drop, weighted subsurface lures will yield more fish in deeper, slower habitat types.

North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch are at 800 cfs and are predicted to remain at this level due to increased flow arriving into the lake.  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 – Given declining water temperatures, warmwater fish angling potential in our small impoundments should be on the decline as well.  Due to the short and inconsistent period of time that air temperatures have dipped below freezing, adequate ice for ice fishing has not been noted on any small impoundment in the district.  Use extreme caution throughout the remainder of the winter!  Check out our WVDNR 2016 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving stockings of coldwater (fishhttp://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs16/2016_fishingRegs.pdf).

Jennings Randolph Lake – The lake is about 18 feet below conservation pool and remaining stable.  Recent surveys have uncovered high densities of smallmouth bass 15” and greater and walleye longer than the minimum size limit.  The Howell Run boat ramp is currently closed and will likely be opened during early April.  The only boat ramp in operation to the lake at this time is the Maryland ramp; a daily utility fee of $5 is collected to use this ramp.  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 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.  Due to usage for power plant cooling, much of this lake remains fairly warm throughout much of the winter.  This allows brave anglers to target warmwater fish throughout this season.  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.  Ice fishing at Watoga and Spruce Knob lakes have produced some nice fish this week.  Please use caution when venturing out on the ice because conditions are not monitored.  Please remember to get your 2016 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Trout stockings have resumed, so anglers may want to get their gear out and hit their favorite stream or lake.  Anglers should check the current fishing regulations to see which waters will be stocked.  While waiting on your favorite trout water to be stocked, take this time to put some new line on your reels, lube and clean the gears and check the rod eyes for wear and tear.  The New and Greenbrier rivers are somewhat high and murky but some smallmouth bass may be caught using tube jigs.  Best spots are just below a shoal or rapid.  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.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.

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 and below any shoal areas available.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers.  An angler recently reported doing well on Upper Mud Lake on the Mud River as well using glide baits for muskellunge.

Small Impoundments – Chief Cornstalk WMA pond, Laurel Lakes WMA pond and Chief Logan pond were stocked with trout last month.  Check the hotline at 304-558-3399 or go online at www.wvdnr.gov to see if your favorite water is to be 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; these include Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, and Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County, and Mile Tree Lake in Roane County.  In February Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County will receive trout, and Rollins and Mountwood lakes will receive a second stocking.  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.  Lakes may be frozen, and anglers should use caution before venturing out upon frozen lakes.  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!  When lakes are not frozen small spinners, Joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well.

Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters, and sauger fishing has been red hot this winter!  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, and a few other species.  Riggs using suspended minnows or 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 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.  Warm water 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.

Winter fishing for largemouth bass can be good during warm sunny days in area lakes.  Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos are good terminal tackle choices.  Area lakes with good winter bass 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.

Musky streams are not expected to be fishable this weekend.


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