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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

May 20, 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.

BLUESTONE – Spring is here some fish species are beginning to spawn as the water warms.  Crappie are showing up on brush piles, flooded timber or downed trees where they will spawn.  They will hit small minnows or doll flies.  Bass may be caught off rocky points and around downed trees using live bait and artificials such as spinnerbaits and plastic worms.  Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs, or weed beds.  Try slow rolling spinnerbaits, bumping off the stumps.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large minnows.  Anglers should try spots such as the mouth of Indian Creek or up the Bluestone Arm as these fish, even though mostly infertile, still make mock spawning runs upstream.  Smallmouth bass are being caught in the tailwaters.  Successful anglers are using tube jigs in pumpkinseed or motor oil colors.  Anglers should be careful wading and wear your personal flotation devices.

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.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout April 22.  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.

R.D. BAILEY – With the waters warming up, fish are beginning to spawn.  Crappie are congregating near the habitats where they spawn such as around standing timber and brush piles and they will hit small minnows.  For artificials, use doll flies in white and yellow.  Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors.  The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points with downed trees another good spot to try.  Hybrid striped bass will be making a mock spawning run up stream in April and May so anglers may want to concentrate their efforts in the upper lake.  The trout stocked in the tailwaters are still providing good fishing.  Best baits are corn, salmon eggs and small jigs.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures approaching 65-70 the bite will be 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 – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures approaching 65-70 the bite will be on.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 7.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water and some are even in more shallow water getting ready to spawn.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout April 28.  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 two feet below summer pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures approaching 65-70 the bite will be on.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 7.  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 at the summer level and fishing is good.  Crappies, smallmouth bass, and walleye are all being caught.  Smallmouth bass are preparing to spawn.  Crappies will be concentrated around the fish attractors near the marina, West Hill Cove and Wildcat.

The tailwaters are very fishable and should be loaded with walleyes and trout.  Recent high flows have resulted in plenty of walleye moving through the dam to the tailwater.  Walleye fishing is best at flows above 1,500 cfs and trout fishing below 1,500 cfs.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for the current lake elevation and tailwater conditions.


OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – Fishing continues to be slow on upper Ohio River, but the best chance to catch fish will be at the lock and dam tailwaters.  Minnows are always a good bait but plastic grubs and spoons have also been effective.  Water temperatures are increasing, which should cause fish activity to increase.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The river is at normal flow for this time of year.  Fishing in the lock and dam tailwaters can be very productive.  In the pools, look for woody structure that may hold crappie, as crappie fishing can be very good this time of year on the river.  Water temperatures are increasing and this may be one of the best months for river fishing.

CHEAT LAKE – Water levels do not fluctuate drastically at Cheat Lake since it is not a flood control lake.  Therefore, fishing is not significantly affected by high water conditions.  The two embayments by the Cheat Lake Park are good areas to fish for crappie and largemouth bass.  The summer pool level started May 1 and the lake will only fluctuate two-feet until November 1.  The winter ramp at Cheat Lake Park is closed and the Sunset Beach ramp is in service.  The Cheat Lake Park is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

FLOATABLE RIVERS:  River levels have decreased and water temperatures are increasing.  Consequently, smallmouth bass fishing on our floatable rivers should be picking up.  To get daily river flow conditions, visit the following U.S. Geological Survey website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow .

TROUT STOCKING:  Trout fishing this time of year provides many angling opportunities in streams and small impoundments.  Several trout stockings have taken place across northern West Virginia.  To get daily updates of stocking events, visit www.wvdnr.gov or call the fishing hotline at (304) 558-3399.


South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water levels throughout the area are below normal flow for this time of year.  Water temperatures are still in the 70’s at most locations.  Stream flows are dropping but in great fishing condition at most locations.  Anglers are catching a few smallmouth bass and the bass fishing will keep getting better as fish feed in preparation for spawning.  Recent biological surveys showed good numbers of smallmouth bass over 18 inches.  The spring trout stocking season is underway and many streams are receiving weekly trout stockings.  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 below normal flow and dropping.  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 - River    Flows in the North Branch are currently near 250 cfs and in great fishing condition.  The next whitewater event on the North Branch is scheduled for this weekend, May 23 and 24 and will be the final scheduled whitewater event for this spring.  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 and some are receiving spring trout stockings.  Bass and bluegill are biting and bass can be caught on plastics and topwater lures.  Check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite impoundment is on the trout stocking schedule.

Jennings Randolph Lake - Anglers are catching smallmouth bass at Jennings Randolph Lake.  Smallmouth bass feeding will continue to increase so try on slow moving plastics and crankbaits.  The West Virginia boat launch opened for the season on April 1.  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.


Water levels are normal 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.  Trout stocking continues into May.  Make sure you purchase your 2015 WV fishing license.  For statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information check the DNR webpage www.wvdnr.gov.


May is the final month for trout stockings, so anglers that want to trout fish are encouraged to get out there and get their fill the next few weeks!  Anglers should check this year’s fishing regulations to see which waters will be stocked.  For a more up-to-date list, please call the hotline at 558-3399 or check online at www.wvdnr.gov.  The New and Greenbrier rivers are in pretty good shape and anglers can catch smallmouth bass using tube jigs or spinnerbaits.  Best spots are just below a shoal or rapid or in any eddy.  Anglers may also want to try their luck at Kanawha Falls for musky or hybrid stripers (use big chubs and large white jigs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass and bluegill fishing at Plum Orchard Lake and Pipestem Lake.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom; spinnerbaits are also good choices for the bass while the bluegill will take small jigs, red worms, or other small live baits.


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.

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). 

Small Impoundments – Trout stocking season is underway across the state, check for links on the WVDNR webpage or call 304-558-3399 for current reports.  Barboursville and Ridenour lakes were recently stocked.

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.


This 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.  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 also.  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. 

Fishing for largemouth bass in area lakes has been very good.  Slowly fished plastic worms or jig-and-pig combos, and spinner baits are good terminal tackle choices.  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 Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.

Crappie fishing has also been good at several lakes, these include North Bend and Elk Fork lakes, where angler are taking fish on minnows and small jigs or spinners. 

Area trout fishing opportunities are winding down.  Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County is the only lake in the area that receives trout in May.  Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese, or trout power bait.  Small spinners, joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well, for anglers casting the shoreline or fishing from boats.  Trolling small lures is also affective. 

Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend, and muskies are quite active.  Hot spots this time of year include areas both upstream and downstream of fast moving water.  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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