Originally posted by: hillbillyangler on 1/31/2007 3:35:25 PM
Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
January 31, 2007
BEECH FORK â€“ Lake is approximately six feet above winter pool due to recent rains. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-525-5092. Fishing is slow overall with a few reports of walleye and saugeye from anglers willing to brave the elements. During warmer days/periods the bite has been better for all other species as expected. Catfish and carp continue to bite for the shore or boat angler on the reservoir and at the tailrace. Trout stocking in the tailrace will begin in February.
BLUESTONE â€“ Lake is at winter pool. Lake and tailwaters are cloudy. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-466-0156. During the winter, anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism as the water cools. A few bass are being caught off rocky points using live minnows. Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs or ledges. Some hybrid striped bass and striped bass may be caught using large chubs. Anglers should try spots such as at the mouth of the Bluestone Arm or near the dam. With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active. A few anglers are catching some smallmouth bass in the tailwaters. Successful anglers are using one-eighth ounce white doll flies and gitzits. Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions. Wear your personal flotation devices.
BURNSVILLE â€“ The lake is at winter pool, clear and starting to freeze. Fishing is slow. Bass are in 10-15 feet of water. Try plastic baits and crankbaits. A few crappie have been picked up along the shoreline. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398.
EAST LYNN - Lake is approximately two feet above winter pool due to recent rains. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-849-9861. Fishing is slow but some reports of walleye and saugeye have come in. Hybrids, walleye, and saugeye all are move suited for â€œcoolerâ€ water temperature levels. Anglers should target these fish during the coming colder months to find success. Tips for anglers wishing to target bass include trying bait, fish habitat warmed by the sun, and try fishing after a number of warmer stable days. Catfish and carp continue to bite in the reservoir and in the tailwaters. Trout stocking in the tailrace will begin in February. Lick Creek Pond will be stocked in January.
R.D. BAILEY â€“ The lake is approximately one foot below winter pool. The lake and tailwaters are clear. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-664-9587.During winter, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism with the colder waters, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors. The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot. Walleye are starting to be creeled by local anglers. Best places to try are along the shallow clay flats either early or late. As the year progresses, the walleye will be moving up the river to begin spawning. Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers. With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active. Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks. A few degrees can make a difference!
STONECOAL LAKE â€“ The lake is at summer pool, clear and starting to freeze. Bass are in about 10-15 feet of water. Try plastic baits and crank baits. Crappie and bluegill have been caught on beaver huts and snags. A few walleye have also been picked up in the upper end. Fishing has been good for trout in the tailwaters. Try powerbait and trolling with spinners.
STONEWALL JACKSON â€“ The lake is at winter pool, clear and starting to freeze. Fishing is fair. Lake surface temperature is 37 degrees. Bass are in 10-15 feet of water. Panfish are active and are hanging around cover. A few crappie have been caught but fish have been hard to locate. Try a minnow and jig. Trout still remain in the tailwaters, try powerbait and worms. Yellow perch and crappie are being caught on live bait. For more information contact Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE â€“ The lake is at winter pool and clear. Fishing is slow. Bass are in about 10-15 feet of water. Outflow temperature is 37 degrees. Crappie and bluegill have also been caught along the shoreline. Walleye fishing on the lake should be productive throughout the winter months. Anglers fishing off points have been catching several walleye. Trout were stocked in the tailwaters by helicopter on 10/25. If you are looking for a back country trout fishing experience hike down in and enjoy some great trout fishing. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-872-5809.
SUTTON â€“ The lake is at winter pool, clear and starting to freeze. Fishing is slow. Bass are in about 10-20 feet of water. Try plastic baits and live baits fished slowly. Bluegill fishing has slowed. Try live bait and micro-jigs. Crappie are also in to cover. Outflow temperature is 38 degrees. Powerbait and worms are working the best for trout. For daily information call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705.
TYGART LAKE - The lake is approximately 50 feet below the summer pool level but ice cover prevents fishing right now. The tailwater below the dam is the best place to fish for walleye in northern West Virginia. Walleye InSider magazine calls the Tygart tailwater one of the top ten in the country. The tailwater temperature is 36 degrees. Walleye will move through the dam during every high discharge until the end of March. Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs and deep-running crankbaits are also productive. 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 then 1,000 cubic feet per second). Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions.
NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) â€“ During high water, walleye and sauger will be concentrated in the currents at lock and dam tailwaters and at creek mouths. The fish will be active throughout the day when the water is high. But during normal or low flows, walleye and sauger will start feeding about an hour before sunset and then throughout the night. Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs and deep-running crankbaits are also productive. Hybrid striped bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught using large crankbaits, casting spoons or cut bait. Warm water discharges at power plants will attract fish all winter. Walleye InSider magazine lists the Hannibal tailwater as one of the top five in the country for walleye and sauger.
MONONGAHELA RIVER â€“ Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants will attract fish all winter. A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient. Walleye and sauger move into the lock and dam tailwaters and also congregate at tributary creek mouths, especially Buffalo, Paw Paw, and Prickett creeks. Start fishing about an hour before sunset because sauger and walleye will begin feeding at dusk. Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs and deep-running crankbaits are also productive. Chartreuse is a good color. The shoreline from the Morgantown lock to the mouth of Deckers Creek is always a good place to fish from the shore.
CHEAT LAKE â€“ Ice cover prevents fishing in the lake right now. The tailwater fishing pier is the only option 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. Keep track of the lake elevation and predicted daily changes in elevation on the Cheat Lake website at www.cheatlaketoday.com.
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers
Local streams are slightly below normal flow for this time of year and the water is clear. Few anglers have been fishing for smallmouth bass over the past week due to the cold weather. Cold temperatures are forecasted for the next week so smallmouth bass activity will be slow. The 2007 trout stocking season is well underway and many local streams and rivers have already been stocked. February stockings will begin next week but stocking may be hindered at some locations due to ice. Use caution when wading due to ice and wear warm clothing. Check the 2007 fishing regulations or our website www.wvdnr.gov to determine when your favorite water receives trout stockings. Donâ€™t forget to get your 2007 fishing license.
North Branch River
The flows in the North Branch are near 300 cfs and in good fishable condition. There has been limited angler activity on the North Branch for the past couple weeks due to the cold temperatures. WVDNR will be stocking the North Branch with trout sometime during the month of February. Anglers wading should use caution due to shoreline ice. Lots of holdovers from last fall remain.
Many small impoundments are currently ice covered or partly ice covered. Bass and bluegill are in their winter pattern and some small impoundments have received January trout stockings. Many additional small impoundments will be stocked with trout in February. Check the new 2007 fishing regulations to determine small impoundments winter stocking schedules.
South Mill Creek Lake will have a slot limit on bass starting January 01, 2007. Anglers will be required to release bass between 12 and 16 inches, but may harvest bass smaller than 12 inches and greater than 16 inches. This regulation is posted in the new 2007 fishing regulations which are now available at most license agents or DNR offices.
Jennings Randolph Lake
Jennings Randolph Lake is approximately 23 feet below summer pool and dropping slowly. The boat launches on the Maryland and West Virginia sides are closed for the season. Few anglers are fishing at Jennings Randolph but recent fish surveys by WVDNR showed numerous smallmouth bass in the 2 â€“ 3 pound range and lots of trout. Trout and channel catfish can be caught from the bank all year. 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 www.nab.usace.army.mil/recreation/jenran/recinfo.htm.
Mt. Storm Lake
Anglers should fish near the warm water effluents where fish will be actively feeding throughout the winter especially hybrid striped bass and catfish. Air temperatures will remain cold for the next week and wind will make fishing frigid so be prepared with appropriate clothing.
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Area rivers are low and clear. January trout stockings are here. Winter weather has hit North Central West Virginia and ice is forming on area waters. The Elk, Shavers Fork, Watoga and Spruce Knob Lake are a few that were stocked in January. Check the website this week for stockings. The Buckhannon River has produced some nice musky this past week. Check the WVDNR web page for updated fishing information. (www.wvdnr.gov)
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs. Best spots are just below a shoal or rapid or in eddies near the shore. Anglers may also want to try Kanawha Falls for walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard Lake. Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices. Angles should call ahead to make sure that the ramps are not iced over.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers â€“ The tailwaters of the lock and dam areas continue to produce. White bass and hybrid striped bass are hitting shad-imitating lures and minnows suspended below strike indicators. Try shad raps, white butterbean jigs, or any similar lures that you may prefer. Sometimes you may find a lure or twist in presentation not used by other anglers that could really increase your catch, be creative if you arenâ€™t getting strikes. Fishing is much better for walleye and sauger near locks when the water is up some and turbid or off-color. A slight rain, cloud cover, and fishing at night are all good patterns to follow for these toothy critters. The upcoming weekâ€™s weather should allow for plenty of opportunities to fish under these conditions and find success. Sauger and walleye are being caught on minnows and grub-tipped jigs. Try using live and cut bait for large flatheads during dusk and dawn and into the night, you might be surprised what you catch!
Guyandotte and Coal rivers â€“ A few reports of hybrids being caught using rattletraps and other searching baits around shoals and the upper and lower falls of the Coal River, but generally overall fishing for all species is slow.
Poca River â€“ Slow fishing conditions are reducing reports from anglers. A few reports of bass, catfish and some muskie action during warmer days.
Elk River â€“ Muskie, walleye and a few bass are showing up and being reported but conditions are slow overall for fishing.
Mud River â€“ Fishing is slow. A few anglers have reported catching muskie and bass.
Small Impoundments â€“ Fishing is slow due to colder weather. Try targeting channel catfish with cut bait, hot dogs, and or stink baits. Anglers are having some success targeting bass and panfish using baits fished slowly in areas warmed by the sun. Trout are presently being stocked in all small impoundments scheduled to receive a January stocking. Bait (crawlers, wigglers, mealworms) powerbait, cheese, and other prepared baits fished on or close to he bottom are best at this time of the year. Try different areas until you draw strikes. But, generally it is best to wait a while before moving to a new spot. Due to colder temperature levels trout will be sluggish, be patient. Check the 2007 new fishing regulations for further information, or call 558-3399 for the latest stocking report.
Reservoirs â€“ At this time of the year a change in weather can make fishing conditions poor very quickly. Be sure to check the USACOE website (http://www.lrhwc.usace.army.mil/wq/lkcond.html) and the USGS website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt) for reservoir conditions and check local landings visually before wasting a trip.
Reservoir anglers will now find gamefish for the most part in a â€œwinter patternâ€ in reservoirs and will have to deal with decreased water levels or fishing during the drawdown. Fishing can be slow at this time but success can be had if anglers pay attention to a few key points. First, obviously water temperature is now below the favorable range of most gamefish or at the least can greatly curtail their activity for extended periods of time. Bass for example will move back into deeper water and utilize holding positions that minimize energy expenditure. But, during the drawdown fish can also be found at times along the edges of the reservoir taking advantage of prey items struggling to adjust to the changing water levels also. Try to target warm sunny days and areas heated by the sun throughout the day for better success.
The drawdown itself (for rain and snow storage capacity) also creates a number of physical changes to available habitat. As a result of the drawdown less and less habitat will be available to gamefish over time causing them to congregate around what is left. Despite this low water temperatures will greatly affect the bite. Many times slow presentations will be the only technique that will draw strikes. During the drawdown a current can sometimes be found that will cause gamefish to set up as if they were in a riverine environment. This means they must choose their habitat and holding positions based on eddies, flows, and how food will be washed to them by the currents. Points are excellent at this time due to the relief they provide fish by creating a current break. Searching baits such as rattletraps and crankbaits fished slow are good choices to use at this time due to the water one can cover. Soft plastic baits fished slow and deep are also good choices for bass now, as are jig and pig combinations in various colors. Shallow stump filled flats are good to try now due to the water temperature warming somewhat faster in these areas during the day, and also because baitfish frequently will school up in these areas at this time. Even if you try an area and cannot locate bass come back later and try again, eventually you should find bass taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and forage.
Other species can also be targeted and caught successfully at this time of the year. Larger crappie can be targeted successfully but a few different tactics need to be applied than what was used in the spring/summer. A few tips include: 1) using sling shot casts to get back under docks, etc., 2) use larger jigs than in spring, 3) try small lipless crankbaits such as Cordell Spot or Tattle Trap, 4) try blade baits such as the Heddon Sonar or Reef Runner Cicada, 5) locate and fish around schools of young of the year shad, and 6) live bait can be deadly. Some anglers swear by using rosy reds or orange strain large minnows for nice winter slabs where legal and available. Make sure you consult the new 2007 WVDNR regulations to make sure bait is legal where you plan to fish. Walleye, sauger, saugeye, and hybrids will bite good during the colder months due to their preference for â€œcooler water.â€ Fishing during cloudy, stormy, overcast weather (or at night) will increase your odds of catching a nice one even further. Walleye for example are adapted to see better under low light conditions and frequently are more active at these times. Carp can be caught using various dough baits throughout the colder months. For catfish continue to use stink baits and cut baits for channels, and live bait and/or fresh cut baits for flatheads. A camping trip during a warmer evening spent concentrating on these whiskered fish by a campfire can be a great time with friends or family.
Rivers and Streams â€“Be sure to check the USACOE website (http://www.lrhwc.usace.army.mil/wq/lkcond.html) and the USGS website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt) for river/stream conditions and check local landings visually before wasting a trip. Sometimes it is better to wait a few days until flows come back down and the water clears if the weather becomes bad. Although some fish such as big flatheads and walleye bite good during bad weather so donâ€™t give up if you really want to go fishing.
River and stream fishing will slow down over the next few months due to environmental conditions but fish still need to eat. Many trophy anglers target the winter period due to the lack of competition from other anglers and due to the chance of catching a lunker. Some feel that if a gamefish is to eat at this time it will be to maximize its catch, therefore many anglers who fish at this time use large baits fished slow and deep and around structure. Sometimes under winter conditions one must literally place the bait on the nose of the holding fish before it will strike due to their reduced activity levels. Bait is a great choice now. Due to it being the â€œreal dealâ€ fish will have more incentive to eat bait, sometimes bringing the only strikes for the day. Other choices include large jig and pigs for bass, and large jigs for walleye fished slowly. Muskie will continue to bite well in colder weather, try artificials fished slightly slower than in summer in deeper holes, etc. and rigged suckers if you prefer to fish with bait.
As stressed many times before, seams (areas where slow or slack water meets faster water) will be the ticket and/or deeper areas adjacent to the seam areas during the colder months. Often gamefish will lay in wait in the deeper adjacent areas and move into the seam during the warmer periods of the day to feed. During colder months this can sometimes be in the middle of the day. Pay attention to water temperature and keep your preferred gamefishâ€™s habits in mind. Fish areas you prefer at odd times or when the water temperature is the warmest. Sometimes a change of only a few degrees (sometimes brought on by the warming afternoon sun) can spur fish to become active and feed. Another pattern worth trying is to concentrate on any shallow areas warmed by the sun. If these patterns donâ€™t work try to figure what the fish are doing using various techniques and approaches. Usually a successful approach can be utilized over and over until present conditions change once again.
Twelvepole Creek (Wayne) will be stocked this month with trout. A number of other streams stocked in the district will receive trout in February. Check the 2007 new fishing regulations for further information, or call 558-3399 for the latest stocking report.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Trout have been stocked in several lakes throughout the area, these include Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County, Tracey Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County and Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County. In February Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County will also receive trout, and Mountwood and Rollins lakes will receive a second stocking. Check the Daily Trout Stocking report for the latest at 558-3399 or on the web at www.wvdnr.gov/fishing/stocking/dailystock.shtm. This information is updated daily at 4:00 p.m., January through May. Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese or trout power bait. Lakes will be frozen, and anglers should use caution before venturing out upon frozen lakes. Ice does not form with uniform thickness on any body of water. Underwater springs or currents can wear thin spots on any body of water. Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe. Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot.
Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville and Willow Island dams are catching sauger, walleye 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. When the river is running high and muddy, anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows. Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusually slow. Warmwater discharges associated with industrial facilities hold fish in the winter along the Ohio River. Best bet for lures here include crankbaits and rubber jigs. Expect to catch white bass, hybrid striped bass and a few other species at these hot spots.
Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend. Winter musky anglers use medium to large lures, and they concentrate their fishing efforts around brush piles or other areas of good cover. Middle Island Creek, the major streams in the Hughes River system, and the Little Kanawha River are good area musky waters.