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Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
October 19, 2016
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. 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 – Fishing on the lake has been good. 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 night crawlers. 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, chartruese jigs, and plastic jigs, respectively.
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. 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 – Fishing on the lake is good. Some large spotted bass may be caught. Some of the largest spotted bass in WV 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 three feet below 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 – The lake is at winter pool. 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 30 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. The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 19, 2016. 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. The tailwaters were stocked on October 19, 2016. 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 LAKE – The lake is almost 23 feet below summer pool level and falling. Try using crayfish imitation lures for bass along the shoreline as water levels fall. Walleye have been reported being caught using jigs tipped with minnows. Walleye can be caught along the shoreline at night using Rapalas or other minnow imitations. This is a good time of year to catch white bass as the lake level lowers.
Outflow is low about 790 cfs and water clarity is milky. During periods of drawdown within the lake, walleye move through the dam into the tailwaters below the dam. There is a 15-inch minimum length limit on walleye. 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) – Very good reports of flathead catfish have been reported in pools of Ohio River recently. This is a great 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 hybrids and white bass.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – Sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye, and white bass are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters. The best fishing success for sauger and walleye is during low light conditions at dawn and dusk. Jigs with minnows are the best baits right now. Channel catfish are abundant throughout the river. Troll large crank baits for muskies anywhere on the river.
CHEAT LAKE – An effective 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 5 to 15 feet. Try fishing for yellow perch around the I-68 bridge area with minnows and small jigs. Channel catfish in the 2 to 3-pounders are abundant throughout the lake but are and can be caught with baits such as night crawlers, cut bait, minnows, and stink baits.
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. Fish can still be caught on other rivers, such as Cheat River and Wheeling Creek, by wade fishing.
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. Recent WVDNR surveys have shown high numbers of bass in the 12 – 15 inch size in small impoundments such as Teter Creek (Barbour County) and Dents Run Lake (Marion County). Fewer numbers of bass, but larger bass, have been observed in Dunkard Fork Lake (Marshall County) and Curtisville Lake (Marion County). 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 Rivers – Water temperatures are in the mid 60’s, flows are just above normal, and water clarity is perfect for fooling fish wary from clear summertime conditions. Fishing conditions are currently excellent, and flows have come up to the point of allowing float trips! Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of smallmouth 15” or greater. Smallmouth activity is still adequate for surface fishing, but the bite will come more easily on the bottom as stream temperatures cool. 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. If activity is slow, try deeper diving crankbaits and weighted, soft plastic crayfish imitations fished deep.
Shenandoah River – Stream flow is just above normal for this time of year. Water clarity is good and temperatures are currently excellent for fishing success, particularly for larger smallmouth bass. 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. If activity is slow, try deeper diving crankbaits and weighted, soft plastic crayfish imitations fished deep. 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 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. 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 Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is about 27 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 catching creels of 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:
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. The fall trout stocking is in full swing and some beautiful trout have been stocked over the last two weeks. Get out and enjoy fishing and leaf color. The 2017 fishing license makes a great Christmas gift as well.
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers are continuing 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. 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.
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.
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
Early fall is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville and Willow Island dams 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 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.
Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend. Fall musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas. Fishing has been quite good this year for musky along Middle Island Creek, the Little Kanawha River, and on the Hughes River and its Forks. Musky fishing at North Bend Lake also has been productive this year.
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