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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

July 22 , 2015

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.  Bass are being caught using soft plastics and crankbaits.  Bass are also hitting topwater baits.  Try buzzbaits, 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.  Beech Fork may not be fishable for a few days due to high muddy water, check first before making a trip.

BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake is fair.  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.  Top water baits such as rapalas, tiny torpedoes, and flukes are excellent choices but anglers will find the best top water 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 buzzbaits, 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.  East Lynn may not be fishable for a few days due to high muddy water, check first before making a trip.

R.D. BAILEY – Some spotted bass should be hitting on the lake.  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.  Bluegills 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 six feet above summer pool and milky.  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 15 feet above summer pool and milky.  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 eight feet above summer pool and falling.  Water clarity is clear and surface temperature is about 77 degrees.  Reports of fishing have been poor over the last week due to high water conditions.  Once the lake level has gone down to normal levels, fish for crappie and bass with jigs and minnows around fish attractors at the Wildcat Cove, West Hill Cove and state park marina. 

Outflow in the tailwater is less than 6,400 cfs, water temperature is 70 degrees and milky.  Trout from spring stockings are still being caught.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for the current lake elevation, tailwater conditions, and boat ramp conditions.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river has been high and muddy, causing boating and fishing to be difficult.  However, this is a good time of you to catch hybrid striped bass in the tailwater areas at Hannibal and New Cumberland dams.  Catfishing can be good during high water with live and or cut baits being productive.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The river is high and turbid, but you can catch fish that move into shallow water along the shoreline.  Concentrate on mouths of creeks that offer clear water entering into the river.  Channel catfish and some nice flatheads have been reported being caught while the river has been high and muddy.  Cut bait, chicken livers, night crawlers have been productive baits for channel catfish and live bait has been more productive for flatheads.

CHEAT LAKE – Water levels do not fluctuate drastically at Cheat Lake since it is not a flood control lake.  Cheat Lake has an excellent channel catfish population.  During the summer, anglers should concentrate on the area above the I-68 bridge to the head of the lake.  The two embayments by the Cheat Lake Park are good areas to fish for crappie and largemouth bass.  Also, try fishing around woody structure for large sunfish.  The Cheat Lake Park is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

FLOATABLE RIVERS - Recent rains have made some of the streams and rivers high and muddy.  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 catfishing can be found in small impoundments such as Mason, Curtisville, Teter Creek, Newburg and Tomlinson Run lakes.  Fish on bottom with stink baits, worms, or chicken livers.  Very good largemouth bass fishing can be had on lakes such as Dunkard Fork, Curtisville, and Dents Run lakes.  Small impoundments provide easy access and are good places to take kids fishing.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon RiversWater levels in streams throughout the area are well above normal flow for this time of year; the water is clear and in great fishing condition.  Water temperatures are in the lower 80’s at most locations.  Anglers are catching a few smallmouth bass but the bass fishing has been slow.  Recent biological surveys showed good numbers of smallmouth bass over 18 inches.  The spring trout stocking season has ended but lots of holdover trout should remain especially in larger streams.  The daily trout stocking report can be found at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are above normal flow.  Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy.  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 300 cfs and projected to remain at that level for the next several days.  Some anglers have been successful in the fly fishing only area.  No additional whitewater events are scheduled on the North Branch.  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 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 top-water lures.  Small lakes are now stratified which means there may not be oxygen for fish in deep water.  Therefore fish in 10 feet of water or less for best success. 

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake is about three feet below conservation pool and falling.  Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, rock bass and trout at Jennings Randolph Lake.  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.  Recent biological investigations indicate good bass and walleye populations and some anglers have caught big striped bass.

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are high and muddy.  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.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

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 crankbaits or live bait such as hellgrammites or softshell crayfish.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.   Fishing is best early and late or on cloudy days 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. 

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

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.  Recent rains have made rivers unfishable for a few days.

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.  Recent rains have made rivers unfishable for a few days.

Small Impoundments – Catchable catfish were recently stocked in Coonskin, Laurel Lakes, Barboursville, Chief Logan, 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.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

This is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, 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.  Clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows.  Fishing for white bass can be quite good this time of year and medium-sized white spinners work well.  Hybrid striped bass are being caught on the surface, and agitator bobbers, and large surface plugs work well for these top water feeders.  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.

Also along the Ohio River this year, fishing for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass) has been excellent.  Bass anglers are using spinner-baits, rubber worms, jig-and-pig type combos, and shad colored crank baits.  Largemouth bass are being caught along embayments, and the smallmouth and spots are being taken from the river.

Fishing for largemouth bass in area lakes has been very good.  Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos, and spinner baits are good terminal tackle choices.  As the water warms, surface baits will also be productive.  Area lakes with good angling opportunities include Mountwood in Wood County, Conaway Run in Tyler County, Charles Fork in Roane County, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County, and Woodrum, Elk Fork, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.  Fishing for bluegill in our small lakes is also good this time of year.  Small baits and lures work well for these pan fish.

This is also a good time to fish for catfish in area waters.  Most public lakes have good channel catfish populations.  Night crawlers, chicken liver or prepared catfish baits fished along the bottom is always a good method for catfish.  Adult catfish were recently stocked into several area lakes.  These include Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County; Cedar Creek State Park Lake in Gilmer County; Moutwood Lake and Fort Neal Pond in Wood County; North Bend State Park Pond in Ritchie County, Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, and the Wirt County Pond.  Also, the slowly moving and muddier water that is found in the upper potions of lakes, just after rain events, are great places to find channel catfish.

Larger stream and rivers hold channel catfish, but flathead or mud catfish are also available to catfish anglers.  Tactics used in lakes work well for channels in these streams, but flatheads prefer live bait.  Large minnows that are fished along deeper areas is the trick for these large catfish. 

Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend.  Hot spots this time of year include areas both upstream and downstream of fast moving water, and along downed trees.  Musky anglers should try medium to large lures.  Middle Island Creek, the major streams in the Hughes River system, and the Little Kanawha River are good area musky waters.


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