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West Virginia Stream Conditions

May 24, 2017

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/wm/?basin/twe/bbf for information and current lake levels.  Reports of a few hybrids caught near the dam using spinners and spoons.  Bass fishing should be picking up due to increasing temperature levels.  Topwater or surface lures should be productive in the late afternoons.

BLUESTONE – The lake is currently high and muddy so fishing is poor, however, once it begins to drop and clear fishing will pick up.  Spring is here and the fish are moving and feeding in preparation for spawning.  Crappie may be found near any structure such as downed trees or brush piles.  They will be hitting small minnows or doll flies.  Bass are being caught off rocky points and around downed trees using live and artificial bait 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 a spinnerbait, bumping off the stumps.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large minnows.  Anglers should begin trying spots such as the mouth of Indian Creek or up the Bluestone Arm as these fish, even though 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 shallow and holding tightly to cover.  Crappie and bluegill fishing has picked up with warmer temperatures.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 22.  Walleye fry were stocked April 5, 2017.  For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/lka/bus.

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/wm/?basin/twe/elt.  Some nice bass have been caught at recent tournaments and by local anglers in the main lake.  Fish are being caught using soft plastics and spinnerbaits.  Some anglers are also reporting top-water action in the late afternoon and early evening for bass.

R.D. BAILEY – The lake is currently turbid but as the water clears fishing will begin to pick up.  Fish are beginning to move and feed in preparation for the spawn.  Crappie will spawn around standing timber and brush piles and will hit small minnows.  For artificial baits, 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.  Remember to fish slow!  Hybrid striped bass will be making a mock spawning run up stream in April so anglers may want to concentrate their efforts in the upper lake.  The trout stocked in the tailwaters are providing good fishing.  Best baits are corn, salmon eggs, and small jigs.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass are in about ten feet of water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie, bluegill and yellow perch fishing is picking up.  A few musky have been caught on nice days.  The walleye bite has been slow, but should pick up as they feed heavily post-spawn.  Walleye fry were stocked April 11, 2017.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are shallow and holding to cover.  Crappie and bluegill fishing has been steady with rising water temperatures.  Some nice musky has been reported.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 22.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Smallmouth bass have been caught from the surface to 25 feet of water at rock drop offs.  Walleye fishing has picked up as they are post-spawn.  Baits that mimic an Emerald Shiner are your best choice.  Walleye regulation signs are posted around the lake, please take notice.  Native strain walleye fry were stocked in the lake April 11, 2017.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 22.  For more information contact the Corps of Engineers at 304-872-3412 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/kan/sug.

SUTTON – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill fishing has picked up with warmer water temperatures.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout May 22.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705 and go to http://www.lrh-wc.usace.army.mil/wm/?basin/kan/sue.

TYGART LAKE – The lake elevation is at summer pool and all boat ramps are opened.  Crappies, sunfish, and black basses are all being caught with reports of very nice smallmouth bass.  Crappies will be concentrated around the fish shelters near the marina.  Look for concentrations of white bass in the upper end of the lake.

The tailwaters are very fishable and anglers are reporting walleye and trout being caught.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions or visit the Tygart Lake, USACE Facebook page

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – Success has been very good this week for all species of fish in the lock and dam tailwaters.  Minnows are always a good bait but plastic grubs and spoons have also been effective.  Water temperatures are increasing and fish are actively feeding. Fishing should be good everywhere on the river.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is around 66 degrees allowing fish to be very active.   Sauger and walleye are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters of the locks and dams.  Anglers have been very successful the last couple of weeks fishing for musky in the Morgantown tailwater.  Morgantown tailwater is the easiest for bank fisherman to access, but the Hildebrand and Opikiska tailwaters can also be fished.

CHEAT LAKE - 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 and Ices Ferry fishing access site is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.  Yellow perch can be caught around the I-68 area.  Morgans Run embayment is an excellent place to catch sunfish and largemouth bass.

The fishing pier below the dam is still closed for repairs.

TROUT STOCKING -  Go to www.wvdnr.gov or call the stocking hotline at (304) 558-3399.  The interactive fishing map on the WVDNR webpage is very useful for determining fishing spots throughout the state.  Use the USGS stream gages to help determine flow at your favorite river or stream.  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow.

RIVERS and STREAMS - Smallmouth bass action is picking up on smaller streams and rivers.  Twister tails, spinners, crayfish imitations are all good choices for smallmouth bass.  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 - Recent WVDNR surveys in Dents Run Lake (Marion County), Dixon Lake (Monongalia County), Mason Lake (Monongalia County), and Dunkard Fork Lake (Marshall County) yielded very good results for panfish and largemouth bass.  Largemouth bass and large bluegill were in shallow water.  Those fishing for trout in small impoundments should fish deep, as surface temperatures are becoming increasingly warmer.  Small impoundments provide easy access and are excellent places to fish.  Use the WVDNR fishing map tool to find a small impoundment in your area. http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures are near 70 degrees, flow and water clarity are normal, making fishing conditions for smallmouth great!  Fishing opportunities throughout the remainder of the week will depend on precipitation in the area, with high likelihood of rainfall predicted.  Recent surveys have confirmed the presence of large numbers of smallmouth 15” or greater that are very consistently feeding on crayfish.  Not surprisingly, large smallmouths have returned in the catches of anglers, with fish greater than 20” in length and over 4lbs!  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, swim baits, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  If activity is slow, try deeper diving crankbaits and weighted, soft plastic crayfish imitations fished deep.  PLEASE NOTE that spawning fish have been identified and spawning activity should extend over the next couple of weeks.  Please be mindful of the sensitivity of spawning fish and the impact that aggravating them may have on future populations.  Reports of anglers catching channel catfish, abundant in the South Branch, are coming in.  Thousands of channel catfish have been angler reward tagged since 2012, so please keep an eye out for these tagged fish and know what to do if you encounter one http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fish_Tagging.shtm.  Our research suggests that channel catfish become much more active during elevated flows and turbid water conditions, so fishing during safe flows as waters are coming down from rain events may increase catch rates for anglers.

Shenandoah River Stream flows are above average for this time of year.  Fishing conditions are likely moderate for catching sportfish in the Shenandoah.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  Lures that balance lifelike characters and allow a variety of retrieve speeds, such as swim baits, may be the answer to carefully feeding fish.  PLEASE NOTE that spawning fish have been identified and spawning activity should heighten over the next couple of weeks.  Please be mindful of the sensitivity of spawning fish and the impact that aggravating them may have on future populations.  River dwelling channel catfish activity and angling success has also picked up through much of the region, providing another early angling opportunity in this stream.  The Shenandoah River has an abundance of quality-sized channel catfish.

North Branch River - Flows are currently around 300 cfs, but should increase to as much as 450 cfs over the next few days.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  An upcoming whitewater discharge will occur this weekend!  These discharges are designed for recreational watercraft and are too great for fishing.  Flows in the North Branch can be monitored by watching 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 – Conditions are great for black bass and panfish.  This is also an excellent time of the year to have success fishing for crappie in several of these fisheries.  These fisheries are not likely stratified or only weakly stratified due to fluctuating water temperatures, frequent rain events, and recent winds.  Fish may be holding at any depth.  PLEASE NOTE that spawning fish have been identified and spawning activity should heighten over the next couple of weeks.  Please be mindful of the sensitivity of spawning fish and the impact that aggravating them may have on future populations.  These small, easily accessible impoundments provide some of the best opportunities for catching high quantities of quality sized Largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish in the state!  Check out the 2017 Fishing Regulations Summary to view small impoundments receiving winter and spring trout stockings (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing_regs.shtm).

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is about one foot over conservation pool height.  This lake level should stay fairly consistent over the next few days, with perhaps a lowering during this coming weekend’s withdrawal.  Recent water releases have only minimally impacted pool elevation.  Recent surveys have uncovered high densities of smallmouth bass 15” and greater and walleye longer than the minimum size limit.  Additionally, anglers have begun catching creels of quality-size yellow perch.  The West Virginia (Howell) and Maryland ramps are open to receive boat traffic. Additional recreational information can also be found at (http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/DamsRecreation/JenningsRandolphLake.aspx).

Mount Storm Lake - Anglers at Mount Storm Lake should target striped bass, black bass, and walleye.  Additional Christmas tree reef structures have recently been added as fish attractors and habitat on the western side of the lake.  Recent surveys revealed greater numbers of quality-sized channel catfish, which are overly abundant in this lake.  Harvest of channel catfish in Mt. Storm is promoted to improve this population.  Additionally, recent biological surveys have revealed plentiful striped bass greater than 20” in length!  This population is maintained through WVDNR stocking efforts!  These fish should now be approaching citation size (>25”).  In fact, an angler recently caught a striped bass larger than 25”, earning the individual a Trophy Fish Citation certificate!  Trolling minnow and shad patterns (crankbaits, jigs, inline spinners, and stick baits) should prove successful for targeting walleye and striped bass. 
For detailed information about stream flow, water clarity, and temperature, visit this United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/rt

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

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 on places to fish.  The USGS WaterWatch website:   https://waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=real&r=wv is a good tool for real-time stream conditions while you are planning your fishing trip.  Take advantage of the nice days and get in some trout fishing.  Don’t forget your 2017 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Trout stockings will end this week so anglers are encouraged to get their fill of trout fishing before the waters become too warm.  Anglers should check the 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 high and muddy and unfishable at present.  Some of our lakes remain clear year-round and lake anglers can find some excellent bass and bluegill fishing at Plum Orchard 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.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Some very large flathead and blue cats were caught and released recently by anglers in the Ohio  and Kanawha rivers.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - Fishing is picking up with rising temperature levels.  Bass anglers are having success using soft plastics worked slow and close to the bottom.  Jerkbaits are also a good choice for smallmouth at this time.  Muskie anglers are using glide baits, and soft plastics.  Some have started throwing buck tails and have had follows and caught a few fish during the afternoons during the warmest part of the day.

Small Impoundments – This is the last week for trout stockings across the state, call 304-558-3399 or go to the WVDNR website to determine if your favorite waters were stocked.  Spinners and other faster moving lures will become more effective due to rising temperature levels.

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.  Flows can vary tremendously this time of the year.  Be safe and always wear your life jacket.  Buffalo Creek in Logan County was recently stocked with trout.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
This is a good 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.  During high and turbid river conditions - smart anglers tip 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, and rising lake levels move bass to shoreline areas.  Slowly fished rubber 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. 

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 not expected to be fishable this weekend.

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