Originally posted by: hillbillyangler on 12/13/2006 1:29:02 PM
December 13, 2006
BEECH FORK â€“ Lake is below summer pool due to the continuing annual drawdown and murky to muddy. 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.
BLUESTONE â€“ Lake is at summer pool. Lake and tailwaters are slightly 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 and clear. Fishing is fair. Bass are in 10-15 feet of water. Try plastic baits and crank baits. A fair number of crappie have been picked up along the shoreline. Catfish are being caught in the evening with worms and liver. Trout still remain in the tailwaters. Try powerbait and corn for trout. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398.
EAST LYNN - Lake is approximately one foot above winter pool with a surface temperature of 53 degrees. 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.
R.D. BAILEY â€“ The lake is approximately one foot below summer 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.
STONECOAL LAKE â€“ The lake is at winter pool and clear. 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 and clear. Fishing is fair. Lake surface temperature is 46 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 fair. Bass are in about 10-15 feet of water. Outflow temperature is 45 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 and clear. Fishing is fair. Bass are in about 10-20 feet of water. Try plastic baits and crank baits. Bluegill fishing has slowed. Try live bait and micro-jigs. Crappie are also in to cover. Outflow temperature is 45 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 42 feet below the summer pool level and falling slowly. 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 rub color. Bass will be feeding along the shoreline as the water level drops. White bass feed on the surface at dawn and dusk and can be caught with spinners or shallow-running crank baits.
The tailwater temperature is 45 degrees. The fall trout stocking has been completed and there are still brood trout present from the August stocking. 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 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€“ The river is at good fishing level. 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. Sauger and walleye are starting to establish their winter pattern and they become very active starting at twilight. 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 deep-running crankbaits are also productive.
MONONGAHELA RIVER â€“ The river is in good fishing condition. 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. Sauger and walleye become very active starting at twilight but can be caught in the tailwaters throughout the day. Three-inch chartreuse power grubs are a good alternative to live bait for sauger and walleye. 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.
CHEAT LAKE â€“ The winter ramp at Cheat Lake Park is now open. The Sunset Beach ramp is usable when the lake level is above 865-feet but could become inaccessible if the level drops while you are on the water. Starting January 1, a 15 fish per day creel limit for yellow perch will become effective. 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. Start fishing at dark. 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 are low and the water is clear. A few anglers have been fishing for smallmouth bass over the past week. Smallmouth bass should be feeding due to recent warm temperatures. Slow moving plastics will work best. Check the 2006 fishing regulations or our website www.wvdnr.gov to determine if your favorite water received a fall trout stocking. Several trophy sized rainbow trout were caught from the upper South Branch last month and lots of trout should remain in the South Branch and North Fork of South Branch from the fall stockings.
North Branch River
The flows in the North Branch are between 200 and 300 cfs and in good condition for wade fishing. Water levels in the North Branch are predicted to remain at this level through the weekend. Trout fishing has been good and anglers are catching rainbow and brown trout. Anglers have been successful on spinners, flies, salmon eggs, and powerbait. Maryland DNR has conducted fall trout stockings in the delayed harvest section of the North Branch. Check the Maryland trout stocking information for more details.
Small impoundments may be partially frozen and anglers should use caution. Bass and bluegill are in their winter pattern and slow moving plastics in 10-15 feet of water will be best for bass. Many small impoundments received fingerling channel catfish stockings this month and should be harvestable size by next summer. Some small impoundments have received fall trout stockings including New Creek Lake, Brandywine Lake and Rock Cliff Lake. Several trophy citation rainbow trout were caught from Brandywine Lake last month and plenty of trout should be available for the winter months to come.
South Mill Creek Lake will have a slot limit on bass starting January 1, 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 24 feet below summer pool and falling 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 2-3 pound range and lots of trout. 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. Recent fish survey by the WVDNR indicated numerous hybrid striped bass in the 2-3 pound range.
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Area rivers are low and clear. A fishing license makes a great Christmas gift. Check the web page this week for stockings. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good in area waters. Get outside and enjoy the great fall weather. Remember to wear blaze orange out in the field when fishing during hunting seasons. 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.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers â€“ The tailwaters of the lock and dam areas continue to produce despite less than favorable conditions and overall decreasing water temperature levels. 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 slightly turbid. A slight rain, cloud cover, and fishing at night are all good patterns to follow for these toothy critters. 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 muskie and bass are being reported but most anglers are deer hunting!
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.
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 he 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 are good choices to use at this time due to the water one can cover even when reeled somewhat slow due to the colder water temperature levels. Soft plastic baits fished slow and deep also are a good choice for bass now, as are jig and pig combinations in various colors. Shallow stump filled flats are good choices to try now due to 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 your WVDNR regulations to make sure baits are 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. This activity could also be tied to a weekend outing of deer hunting on one of the WMAs surrounding a state managed impoundment, consult your state hunting and fishing regulations for more information. During late season pressure for hunting and fishing drops off dramatically. If you are itching to go fishing or still have a tag left go ahead and get out. You may find you are the only one around and have a great day.
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.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Late fall 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. 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.
Handy anglers are finding some success for largemouth bass in area lakes, Spinnerbaits and rubber worms 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 County, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County and Elk Fork and Woodrum lakes in Jackson County.