Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
November 28, 2007
BEECH FORK – Lake is currently being drawn down to winter pool and will continue through the month. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-525-5092. Anglers are reporting catching bass, walleye, and crappie from the reservoir.
BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake has been good. Bass anglers should try around deeper structure such as rocky points or downed trees using small crankbaits, or spinnerbaits. Although, plastics and live bait are probably the top producing baits. With the cooler nights we are now experiencing, anglers should see the bites really beginning to pick up as the water temperature falls. 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 liver 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. Crap, hybrid stripers and smallmouth bass are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, chartreuse jigs and plastic jigs.
BURNSVILLE – The lake is approximately nine feet below summer pool, cloudy, and falling. Fishing has been fair this week. Bass have moved off in deeper water. Crappie have been hitting minnows around fish attractors. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398.
EAST LYNN – Fall drawdown is ongoing and will last through the month. Surface temperature is 57 degrees. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-849-9861. Anglers are reporting catching catfish, crappie and a few walleye.
R.D. BAILEY – Fishing on the lake is good. Some large spotted bass may be caught. 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. Anglers should see the bite picking up for most species as the water temperature falls. Hybrid striped bass feed on shad so anglers 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 liver 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 five feet below summer pool, clear, and fishing is fair. Trout fishing has slowed. Bass have been caught in 10 to 15 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are hitting minnows around fish attractors. A few catfish have been caught in the evenings.
STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is approximately five feet below summer pool, clear and fishing has been fair. Bass are in about 15 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are hitting minnows around fish attractors. A few catfish have also been caught. For more information contact Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is approximately 15 feet above winter pool, clear and fishing has been fair. For bass try 10 to 15 feet of water around rock points as well as the Battle Run area. Walleye have also been caught off of rock points and shallow areas in the McKee Creek arm of the lake. Brood trout were stocked in the tailwaters on October 17. If you are looking for a back country trout fishing experience hike down in and enjoy. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-872-5809.
SUTTON – The lake is approximately five feet above winter pool and clear. Fishing is fair. Bass are in about 10 to 15 feet of water. Crappie have been hitting minnows around beaver huts and blown down trees. The tailwaters are clear with a 52 degree temperature. The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 17. For daily information call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705.
TYGART LAKE – The lake is approximately 40 feet below pool level. Walleye move into shallower water after dark to feed and can be caught by shoreline anglers using rapalas or 3-inch plastic grubs. Chartreuse is a good color. During the day, walleye angles should fish 30 to 40 feet deep using minnows on a ¼-ounce jig. Bass will be feeding along the shoreline as the water level drops. White bass are moving to the upper lake above Sandy Creek and can be caught wil spinners or shallow-running crankbaits.
A recent fishery survey in the tailwater found trout all along the shoreline down stream to Grafton. Walleye fishing is best during higher flows (1,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per second) and trout fishing is best at low flows (less than 1,000 cubic feet per second). 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): The river is at the normal fall level and fishing continues to be very good for all species of fish. Currents are important because fish are attracted to the moving water. Therefore, lock and dam tailwaters and creek mouths are always good areas to fish. A recent fishery survey found lots of sauger in the Hannibal and Pike Island tailwaters. Sauger and walleye become very active for about an hour at twilight and this is a great time to fish the tailwaters and shoreline downstream for a mile. Hybrid striped bass move in and out of the tailwaters and are being caught using large crankbaits or casting spoons. Minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs, tube jigs, and shallow-running crankbaits have also been productive.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – Rain at the beginning of the week will have caused fish to start moving and the river is in good fishing condition. Sauger and walleye become very active for about an hour at twilight. Three-inch chartreuse power grubs are a good alternative to live bait for sauger and walleye. Fish will be attracted to the moving water at the tailwaters of all the locks, and the warm water discharges at the Rivesville, Morgantown, and Fort Martin power plants. Minnows, 3-inch plastic grubs, and crankbaits are still the most productive baits for most other species. The shoreline from the Morgantown lock to the mouth of Deckers Creek is always a good place to fish from the shore. There are lots of bass, sauger, and drum along the shoreline. The opposite shoreline is good for larger sunfish.
CHEAT LAKE – BOATERS NOTE: Winter anglers should target channel catfish and yellow perch. Channel catfish are abundant throughout the lake and can be caught by shoreline anglers at the Cheat Lake Park. Larger yellow perch are being caught by boat anglers around the I-68 Bridge using minnows or worms with a couple of split shot fished 10- 15 feet on the bottom. Largemouth bass and sunfish can be caught in the embayments by the Cheat Lake Park. Walleye will move into shallow water at night to feed.
Try the tailwater fishing pier for walleye, sauger and many other species. 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.
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers
Local streams and rivers are extremely clear and flows are below normal. The South Branch and Cacapon may be difficult to float in some sections. Water temperatures are currently near 45 degrees so use slow moving plastics in the riffles at the head of pools. Many smallmouth bass in the South Branch have been tagged as part of a fish movement and fish health study. If you catch a tagged fish please clip off the tag and return it to DNR for a reward.
Several trout remain streams and lakes from fall stockings. Try fishing head of pools downstream from stocking locations or in Rock Cliff Lake and Brandywine Lake which received fall stockings. Check the 2007 fish regulations to determine if your favorite stream will receive fall trout stockings.
North Branch River
The flows in the North Branch are near 275 cfs and in excellent condition for wade fishing. Anglers are catching trout in all sections of the river.
Small impoundments are clear and in excellent fishing condition. Bass and bluegill can still be caught in 10 to 15 feet of water. Winter is an excellent time to catch big largemouth and bluegill from small impoundments. Adult channel catfish were stocked at South Mill Creek Lake and Cacapon Park Lake earlier in the summer and lots of fish remain. Adult channel catfish are typically between 18 and 22 inches.
Jennings Randolph Lake
Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 37 feet below conservation pool. The boat launch on the West Virginia side is now closed for the winter. If you have purchased a seasonal pass for the West Virginia ramp don’t forget that the pass is also valid on the Maryland ramp which is still open. Smallmouth bass have been actively feeding particularly around structure and with numerous reports of smallmouth in the 3-4 pound range. Try crankbaits for smallmouth just before dark. Anglers are also catching trout on a variety of baits. Several anglers have been successful catching walleye throughout the lake but most are just under the minimal size limit. Jennings Randolph Lake has a new dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information (304) 355-2890. Recreational information can also be found at http://www.lrhwc.usace.army.mil/wq/lkcond.html
) and the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt
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) for reservoir and tailrace conditions. With decreasing water temperature levels all species will become active again and can be caught under most conditions. Remember, fish are cold-blooded and will react accordingly to environmental conditions. Wise anglers will keep this in mind with the upcoming change of seasons to be consistently successful. For example early in the a.m. fish areas warmed first by the sun for bass and other species. As the overall temperature levels rise and the sun gets high in the sky, choose shaded or deeper habitat. Fishing now is a time of transition, for the angler and for most species of gamefish. Also, the drawdown itself can greatly impact fishing for all species. Once the water drops and stabilizes, fishing usually picks back up again.
Rivers and Streams – Check the USGS website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt
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) for river/stream conditions and check local landings visually before wasting a trip. Due to cooler temperatures concentrate your efforts during the warmer periods of the day. A warmer than usual overcast day is a great day to go during this period. Fish slow, be patient, and use your favorite baits and lures. Large bucktails and mepps muskie killers are excellent for muskie as are rigged suckers for those that prefer bait. In many small tackle shops one may purchase a card with an internal rig and a matching needle used to thread the rig into a minnow. These are deadly on many gamefish! Give them a try, especially during higher flows after a brief rainstorm. For catfish use stink baits and cut baits for channels, and live bait and/or fresh cut bait for flatheads.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Now is the time to be thinking about combining fishing with your up coming deer hunting trip. The West-Central part of West Virginia offers a variety of opportunities for this combination. Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend and excellent musky populations can be found in the following waters: The Little Kanawha River, The Hughes River and its major Forks, Middle Island Creek, and Mill and Sandy Creeks in Jackson County. Fall musky anglers use large crankbaits or jerkbaits and riffle areas are hot spots.
Anglers seeking bass after the hunt also have many choices of water to consider. Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County, North Bend, Tracy and Pennsboro lakes in Ritchie County, Mountwood Lake in Wood County, Charles Fork Lake in Roane County and Elk Fork, Woodrum and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County all have excellent largemouth bass populations. Slowly fished bass lures are the baits of choice this time of the year.
Deer hunters along the Ohio River also have great opportunities for the combination. The fall is an excellent time to fish Ohio river tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville and Willow Island dams are catching sauger, walleye, hybrid striped bass, and a few other species. Lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuse), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure 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.