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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

August 26, 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.  Bass are being caught using soft plastics and crankbaits.  Bass are also hitting topwater baits.  Try buzz baits, surface poppers, and zara spook type lures.  With increasing temperature levels and boat traffic, fishing during low light periods (dawn, dusk) and into the night are good ways to increase success.

BLUESTONE – With the nights beginning to cool, the fishing on the lake should begin to pick up.  Anglers should try their luck around any downed trees or weed beds using worms, small minnows or jigs for sunfish.  Bass anglers should concentrate their efforts along areas with good structure such as downed timber, rocky drops or weed beds.  Topwater baits such as rapalas, tiny torpedoes, and sluggoes are excellent choices but anglers will find the best topwater action early or late.  Bluegills can provide anglers with some fast action.  Best baits are worms and small jigs.  Anglers can have a blast fishing for sunfish.  Channel catfish are also hitting in the lake primarily at night on chicken livers and worms.  Carp and channel catfish are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, and nightcrawlers, respectively.  Occasionally, anglers have been catching some other species such as smallmouth bass in the tailwaters on jigs and minnows.

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.  Bass are being caught using soft plastics and crankbaits.  Bass are also hitting topwater baits.  Try buzz baits, surface poppers, and zara spook type lures.  With increasing temperature levels and boat traffic, fishing during low light periods (dawn, dusk) and into the night are good ways to increase success.  Some anglers are having success trolling for muskies.

R.D. BAILEY – Some spotted bass should be hitting on the lake but as the cool nights increase in frequency, the fishing should pick up.  The bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Good baits are plastic jigs in black and chartreuse colors or live shad.  Bluegill are providing consistent action in the standing timber.  Best baits are worms and small jigs, respectively.  Hybrid striper and channel catfish fishing is good off of shallow points at night.  Best baits are chicken liver and softshell crayfish.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts early and late during periods of extreme heat.  Carp are also providing a lot of fun for night anglers.  Best baits are corn and dough balls.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water and the bite is on.  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 – Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water and the bite is on.  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 at summer pool and clear.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water and the bite is on.  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 one foot above summer pool and clear.  Bass are in about 5-10 feet of water and the bite is on.  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 six feet below summer pool level.  Good reports of walleye being caught in 40 to 60 feet of water have occurred over the last couple of weeks.  Try a buzz bait along the shoreline in the evening for smallmouth bass top water action.  White bass travel in schools and can be seen chasing minnows on the surface.  Casting spoons into the schools is a good way to catch white bass. 

Walleye and yellow perch have been reported being caught in the tailwater.  Outflow is low (about 430 cfs) and is predicted to stay low for the next few days.  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) – Fish will be attracted to currents in lock and dam tailwaters and power plant discharges.  Fish for white bass and hybrid striped bass in the tailwaters using spoons and crank baits.  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.  Channel catfish are being caught on chicken livers or cut baits and flathead catfish are more likely to be caught on live bait.  A new gangway has been installed on the Moundsville boat ramp courtesy dock.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is about 82 degrees at the surface and the river is at a very fishable level.  Fish for crappie and sunfish around downed trees.  Channel catfish can be caught using chicken livers, stink baits, or cut bait.  The shoreline from Deckers Creek to the Morgantown Lock is one of the best areas on the river because the current from the dam will attract fish during the lower summer flows.  Shoreline anglers have several good areas to fish on the river:  the mouths of Buffalo and Paw Paw creeks in Marion County and the mouths of Whiteday and Deckers creeks in Monongalia County.

CHEAT LAKE – Crappies are being caught using minnows around downed-trees along the shoreline.  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.  Cast small rooster-tail spinners for large bluegills and pumpkinseed sunfish in downed trees along the shoreline across from the Sunset Beach cove to the I-68 Bridge.  Try the tailwater fishing pier for sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the good baits.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown and is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible.

FLOATABLE RIVERS - Most rivers and streams such as Cheat River, Wheeling Creek and Buckhannon River are getting low to float, but are very wadable and good fishing for musky, smallmouth bass and channel catfish can be had on these and several other streams.  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.  Very good smallmouth bass 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 - Good fishing for bluegill, catfish and largemouth bass can be found in small impoundments such as Mason, Curtisville, Teter Creek, Newburg, Tomlinson Run, and Dents Run lakes.  These small impoundments provide easy access and are great places to take kids fishing.  Call the local WVDNR office for more information.    


South Branch and Cacapon RiversWater levels in streams throughout the area are quite low, making floating in upstream reaches very difficult.  The water is clear and in great fishing condition.  Water temperatures are 78 – 80 degrees at most locations.  Anglers are catching good numbers of smallmouth bass, including frequent fish greater than 12 inches in length.  Large sunfish and channel catfish are being reported on the South Branch as well.  Smallmouth 18 inches and greater have been reported caught and observed during float trips.  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 and low flow.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on topwater and sub-surface lures in a variety of different habitats as a high frequency of fish has become well distributed away from large pools.  Small topwater plugs and buzz baits, small soft plastics, swim-baits, and crayfish imitation crankbaits are popular right now.

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are below normal.  Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy.  Buzz baits and topwater lures should produce around stream margins with water willow growth, runs, and tails of pools.  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 between 200 - 225 cfs and projected to remain at the level for several more days.  A whitewater event was conducted on the North Branch on August 22 and 23.  Check the Corp or Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes.  It is likely that trout are dispersed during scheduled high flow events, positively or negatively changing the densities of highly mobile fish within and outside catch and release and harvest zones.  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 Most small impoundments are in great fishing condition.  Bass and bluegill are biting and bass can be caught on plastics and topwater lures.  These fisheries are typically very productive, and offer opportunities to catch citation sized channel catfish stocked recurrently by district staff.  Small lakes are now stratified which means there may not be oxygen for fish in deep water.  Therefore, fish in ten feet of water or less for best success.

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake is about 16 feet below conservation pool and falling.  Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, rock bass, and trout at Jennings Randolph Lake.  Sufficient water levels remain for the Howell Run boat ramp to remain operational on the WV side.  The WV launch is free and a $5 per day fee is collected for the Maryland Ramp.  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.  Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.  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 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.  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 providing some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  Anglers should try white/chartreuse buzz baits, white plastic grubs or small crank baits or live bait such as hellgrammites or softshell crayfish.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.   Fishing is still best early and late in all of the small impoundments in southern West Virginia and you should catch some fish.  Try spots at the end of points, weed beds, or fallen timber.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.  Lakes such as Plum Orchard, Horse Creek, Hawks Nest and Pipestem will all provide good bass fishing.  Channel catfishing is good in areas like Hawks Nest Lake and some of the other small impoundments.  Best time to fish is late night and very early morning with chicken livers or soft shells.  This is a prime time to take a child or anyone fishing!  There is no better way to introduce a child or novice to fishing than to take them out for an evening of carp fishing.  Try chumming with creamed corn upstream of where you are fishing and use shredded wheat dough balls or whole kernel corn for bait.  The secret to the dough balls is to mix in a little flavored jello powder as you make the dough ball.  Make sure your rods are anchored down with a rock and the drag is loosened or a carp may take it!!!  Good spots to catch a carp are Bluestone and R. D. Bailey lakes, New and Kanawha rivers. 


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 with rising temperature levels.

Small Impoundments – Catchable catfish were recently stocked in Coonskin, Laurel, Barboursville, Chief Logan lakes and other small impoundments across the state.  Cut bait or any of the varieties of stink baits on the market work well for catfish.  Try fishing on the bottom with a basic river rig or try suspending the bait beneath a bobber, the fish will tell you what they like.  Small impoundments are also good places to try for bass and bluegill, bait or artificials work well.  Take a kid and introduce him or her to fishing.  Recent rains have caused many small impoundments to become very muddy, either wait a few days or call ahead to someone who can check water clarity and levels for you prior to making a trip, or check the USGS gages online.

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.


Late summer 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.  Lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure of choice.  Recently, heavy metal lures have also been successful.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  Schools of hybrid striped bass will periodically move up to the surface to ambush prey, so keep a look out for this activity.  When this activity is seen, agitator bobbers fished with rubber minnow imitations or fresh bait fished with surf casting equipment, generally provides the best result.  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.

Elsewhere on the Ohio River, fishing for catfish has been good.  Channel catfish anglers should use night crawlers, chicken liver, or prepared catfish type baits.  Live fish should be used for flatheads.  Good fishing sites for catfish include deep areas along islands and tributary mouths.

Fishing has been good for largemouth bass in area lakes.  Spinner baits, rubber worms, crank baits and surface lures are producing bass in areas of good cover.  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.  These lakes can also supply good bluegill fishing.  For these sunfish use trout magnets or spinners, small jigs or small worms.   

Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend.  This time of year musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas.

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