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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

October 7, 2015


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.  Try buzz baits, surface poppers, and zara spook type lures.  Fish will begin to bite throughout the day with decreasing temperature levels, try any and all of your favorite lure and bait choices.  Recently WVDNR personnel dropped trees along the shoreline for fish attractors/habitat. Target these downed trees for increased success, anglers report improved success fishing close to and over these trees due to the structure it provides to gamefish.

BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake has been good but with the recent rains, the lake is high and muddy and fishing is poor.  Once the lake returns to normal conditions, bass anglers should try their luck around deeper structure such as rocky points or downed trees using small crankbaits, or spinnerbaits or jigs. Channel and flathead catfish are still producing some on the lake.  Anglers wanting to catch the whiskered ones should try drifting with live bait such as softshell crayfish, hellgrammites, or nightcrawlers.  Chicken livers are also good.  When you catch one, simply motor back up and drift through the hole again or anchor.  Flatheads prefer live bait such as large chubs or a live sunfish.  Carp, hybrid stripers, and smallmouth bass are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, chartreuse jigs, and plastic jigs, respectively.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  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.  Fish will begin to bite throughout the day with decreasing temperature levels, try any and all of your favorite lure and bait choices.  Some anglers are having success trolling for muskies.  Recently WVDNR personnel dropped trees along the shoreline for fish attractors/habitat.  Target these downed trees for increased success, anglers report improved success fishing close to and over these trees due to the structure it provides to gamefish.

R.D. BAILEY – Recent rains have made the lake high and muddy so fishing is poor right now.  Once the lake clears, fishing should improve dramatically!  Some of the largest spotted bass in West Virginia are found in R. D. Bailey Lake.  The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with clay points another good spot to try.  Good baits are plastic jigs, live shad, or crayfish.  These bass can be found moving into shallower water to feed now that the nights are getting cooler and the water temperature is dropping some.  Anglers should see the bite picking up for most species as the water temperature falls.  Hybrid striped bass feed on shad so fishermen should watch for any schools of shad because the hybrid will usually be nearby.  Best baits are lures such as rattletraps, spoons, or white/chartreuse jigs.  Anglers may also want to try chicken livers for this hard fighting fish.  The lake also has a good walleye population and anglers can expect to catch this fine eating fish along clay points or rocky drops.  Best bait is probably live minnows or jigs.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is two feet below summer pool.  Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  A few walleye have also been caught in the upper end.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is five feet below summer pool.  Bass are in about 5-10 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 10 feet below summer pool.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  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 summer pool.  Bass are in about 5-10 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 304-765-2705 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wc/suens.htm .

TYGART LAKE – The lake is about 22 feet below summer pool level and falling.  Bass tournaments have reported good catches of smallmouth bass.  Knowledgeable walleye anglers have been reporting good catches.  Start fishing for walleye at dark when they move into shallow water to feed.  During the day walleye will be in the 30 to 50-feet depths.

Walleye and yellow perch have been reported being caught in the tailwater.  Outflow is low about 560 cfs.  Call the Corps of Engineers hotline at 265-5953 for the current lake level and tailwater conditions.


OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – There are a lot of hybrid white bass, smallmouth bass, and white bass in the tailwaters.  Hybrid striped bass will move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught using large crank baits, casting spoons, or cut bait.  A blue-green algae bloom has been observed in Ohio River and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has issued a caution advisory.  More information can be found at http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph/Pages/default.aspx

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.  Trolling can be a successful method for catching musky.

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.  Good reports of walleye being caught have been occurring over the last week.

FLOATABLE RIVERS - Most rivers and streams in northern West Virginia are too low to float.  Stonewall Jackson and Tygart dams maintain minimum flows throughout the summer, providing excellent flows on West Fork and Tygart rivers when other rivers are too low to float.  Very good smallmouth bass and musky fishing have been reported on these rivers during the last couple of weeks.  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 decreased and largemouth bass are active.  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.


South Branch and Cacapon RiversRainfall received throughout last weekend is maintaining streamflows well above median flows for this time of year making for very poor fishing conditions.  Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s (°F) at most locations.  Prior to increased flows, reports indicate that channel catfish and smallmouth bass activity remained high.  Recent biological surveys showed good numbers of smallmouth bass over 18 inches and that Channel Catfish are in a movement pattern, perhaps seeking out large pools to inhabit and feed in preparation for cooling water temperatures.  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.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on sub-surface lures.  Soft plastics, swim-baits, and crayfish imitation crankbaits are popular right now.  Check our WVDNR 2015 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving fall stockings of coldwater fish (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs15/2015_fishingRegs.pdf). 

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are very high, and unfishable, as well.  Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy.  As temperatures drop, subsurface lures will yield more fish to the hands of fishermen.  Some anglers have done well fishing for channel catfish at dark near the head of the pools.

North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch are currently around 200 cfs and projected to remain at that level for several more 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 Small impoundments are in good fishing condition.  Activity levels of reservoir warmwater fish will decline as lake temperatures cool.  These fisheries are typically very productive, and offer opportunities to catch citation sized channel catfish stocked recurrently by district staff. Recent reports by angler suggest that summer stratification may be breaking down, or nearing the fall turnover.  Be on the lookout for fish kills due to depleted oxygen levels from decaying matter through the fall turnover.  The fish kill hotline number, available 24-7, is 1-800-642-3074.  Additionally, check our WVDNR 2015 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving fall stockings of coldwater fish (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs15/2015_fishingRegs.pdf).

Jennings Randolph LakeJennings Randolph Lake is about 28 feet below conservation pool and falling.  Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, rockbass, and trout at Jennings Randolph Lake.   The Howell Run boat ramp has been closed for the 2015 season. 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.  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, feel free to visit this United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data:



Water levels are normal and milky.  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.  If you have not fished in a few years, make a point to get back out on the water and remember how much fun it is.


The New and Greenbrier rivers are high and muddy right now but once they return to their regular flows they will continue to provide some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  The fall season is always great fishing and great scenery too.  Reports of some large bass have come in from the catch and release section on the New River.  This section is from the I-64 bridge downstream to the take-out at the Grandview Sandbar.  Fishermen should try plastic jigs fished slowly along the bottom.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Southern WV is blessed with many small impoundments that have good fish populations.  Many of these lakes are not affected by flood waters so when all other waters are unfishable, these lakes remain good options!  Waters such as Plum Orchard, Stephens, and Pipestem lakes have excellent largemouth bass populations.  Anglers need to get out on the water before the bite slows in the colder weather to come.


Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Hybrid are biting below locks with walleye still being caught as well.  Catfish are biting with reports of a few large flatheads and blue catfish caught recently.  Live and or cut bait seems to be the best choice.  Try behind locks and on the main rivers at tributary mouths.

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).  Fish are also hitting bucktails and other faster moving baits.  An angler recently reported doing well on the Mud River as well using glide baits for muskellunge.  Decreasing temperature levels will cause all gamefish to feed more throughout the day, get out and take advantage of these changing conditions.  Excellent fishing can be had through October for smallmouth/largemouth, and muskies will bite well into the colder winter months as well.

Small Impoundments Small impoundments are also good places to try for bass and bluegill, bait or artificials work well.  There is always the opportunity to catch channel catfish from these waters as well.  Try bait (worms, cut fish, chicken liver, soap, yes SOAP!) fished on the bottom or below a bobber.  Adjust and let the fish tell you what they prefer.  Take a kid and introduce him or her to fishing.

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.


Early fall is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching white bass, hybrid striped bass, and a few other species.  Pencil poppers and lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), are the lures of choice.  Clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows or shad.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  Best times for sauger and walleye fishing are during non-daylight hours.

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.

Fishing has been good for largemouth bass and bluegill in area lakes.  Spinner baits and rubber worms are producing bass in areas of good cover, while bluegills are being taken on small jigs fished deep, at depths of 10-12 feet.  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.


 DHHR Continuing to Monitor Blue-Green Algal Blooms on the Ohio River;

Residents Advised to Adhere to Public Health Advisory

 The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health (BPH) has issued a Public Health Advisory regarding blue-green algae on the Ohio River and some of its tributaries.

 Citizens should be proactive in avoiding water that:

  • Looks like spilled paint
  • Has surface scums, mats or films
  • Is discolored or has colored streaks
  • Has green globs floating below the surface

 The following guidelines are recommended to avoid exposure to HABs:

  • Direct contact with affected water -- including swimming, wading, fishing, paddling, diving and water skiing -- may result in symptoms. Avoid swallowing river or lake water.
  • Prevent pets and livestock from coming into contact or ingesting water containing algal blooms.
  • People who are prone to respiratory allergies or asthma should avoid areas with algal blooms.   Children may be particularly sensitive.
  • If contact has been made with water containing algal blooms, wash off with clean water. In some cases, skin irritation will appear after prolonged exposure. If symptoms persist, consult your health care provider.
  • Fish fillets (not organs) may be consumed after the fillets have been rinsed in clean water.

 Information about HABs may be found online at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph or by calling your local health department.  Water sampling test results may be found at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph

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