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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

November 30, 2016

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.  Beech Fork has been lowered for winter pool.  A few nice bass were reported to be caught close to the campground prior to the reservoir level being lowered to winter pool, otherwise no recent fishing reports.

BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake has been good.  Bass anglers should try their luck around deeper structure such as rocky points or downed trees using small crankbaits, or spinnerbaits or jigs.  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 night crawlers.  Chicken livers 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.  Carp, hybrid stripers, and smallmouth bass are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, chartreuse jigs, and plastic jigs, respectively.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool.  Bass are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Trout still remain in the tailwaters.  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.  East Lynn has been lowered for winter pool.  No recent fishing reports.  In early November, approximately 400 advanced muskellunge fingerlings (11”-15”) were stocked in the reservoir.

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 some.  Anglers should see the bite picking up for most species as the water temperature falls.  Hybrid striped bass feed on shad so fishermen 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 livers 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 at normal pool.  Bass are in about ten feet of water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  A few musky have been caught on nice days.  The docks have held up well the last six months that were donated by the Stonecoal Lake Fishing Club and should continue to over the winter.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at winter pool.  Bass are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Also reports crappie and bluegill hitting live bait this week.  Some nice musky have been reported being caught this week in the lake as well.  Trout still remain in the tailwaters.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool.  Smallmouth bass have been caught in about 25 feet of water at rock drop offs.  A few walleye have been picked up as well on live minnows.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on October 19.  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 winter pool.  Bass are suspended in about 10-20 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  The tailwaters were stocked on October 19.  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 is at winter pool, which is about 55 feet below the summer pool level.  Start fishing for walleye at dark when they move into shallow water to feed.  Anglers can be successful fishing for walleye by walking the shoreline after dark casting crankbaits that cause large vibrations. The Pleasant Creek boat ramp is open.  All other boat ramps on Tygart Lake are closed.

This is the time of year when walleye start moving through the dam. 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).  Currently, the outflow is about 1,100 cfs and water clarity is clear.  Anglers have reported catching walleye and trout.  Call the Corps of Engineers hotline at 265-5953 for the current lake level and tailwater conditions. Eight walleye per day that are 15 inches or longer may be kept.  All walleye under 15 inches mush be returned to the water at once.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river is in very good fishing condition and recent WVDNR surveys have observed lots of walleye, sauger and smallmouth bass in the tailwater areas below the upper Ohio River dams.  Loads of gizzard shad and shiners are in the river this fall.  Anglers have reported catching large walleye in tailwater areas and the mouths of tributaries.  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 will also be productive.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Anglers have reported good success for walleye and sauger over the last week in the tailwater areas below the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams where sauger and walleye are attracted to currents.  The mouths of tributaries such as Paw Paw Creek and Prickets Creek can be excellent places to fish also.  Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  Eight walleye per day that are 15 inches or longer may be kept.  All walleye under 15 inches mush be returned to the water at once.  Ten sauger per day with no minimum size limit are allowed to be harvested by an angler.

CHEAT LAKE – The winter pool elevation schedule started November 1.  Water levels can fluctuate as much as 13 feet over a period of 2-3 days compared with the summer pool fluctuations of 2-feet within 1-day.  Boaters need to use the winter boat ramp located at the recreational park near the dam.  Anglers have reported good catches of walleye in the tailwater below Cheat Lake dam.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown. Take US Rt. 119 from Morgantown to Point Marion, PA, turn right after crossing the Cheat River and proceed 4 miles to Cheat Dam. The parking lot is in Pennsylvania but the entire pier is in West Virginia. The pier is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible. Eight walleye per day that are 15 inches or longer may be kept.  All walleye under 15 inches mush be returned to the water at once.

FLOATABLE RIVERS This is a great time to fish for musky in rivers such as Tygart, West Fork, and Buckhannon.  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 – Small impoundments are excellent places to fish.  Very good success for bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass can be found in Mason, Curtisville, Teter Creek, Newburg, Tomlinson Run, and Dents Run lakes.  Call the local WVDNR office for more information.  Use the WVDNR online fishing map at:  http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/  to find locations of small impoundments near you.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures are in the mid 40’s and flows are extremely clear and quite low for this time of year.  Fishing conditions are currently good.  Water clarity has again made feeding Smallmouth very wary.  Soft plastic swim baits, by employing a moderate-speed finesse retrieve, has currently worked to trick finicky fish into striking.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of Smallmouth 15” or greater that are very consistently feeding on crayfish.  Smallmouth bites will come more easily on the bottom as stream temperatures cool and water clarity declines from moderate rainfall.  Larger Smallmouth should become easier to target as stream temperatures drop as well!  A fishable Channel Catfish population exists in the South Branch from Petersburg Gap all the way down to the confluence with the North Branch of the Potomac. 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.

Shenandoah River Stream flow is extremely low for this time of year.  Water clarity is good and temperatures are currently excellent for fishing success…Particularly for larger Smallmouth Bass.  Channel Catfish bites in this clear stream typically do not begin until a bit after sundown, particularly as the sun warms stream temperatures to daily highs.  This time of year, large Smallmouth Bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  Due to high water clarity, lures that balance lifelike characters and allow a variety of retrieve speeds, such as swim baits, may be the answer to carefully feeding fish.  If activity is slow, try deeper diving crankbaits and weighted, soft plastic crayfish imitations fished deep.  Channel Catfish are also very abundant in this lower section of the Shenandoah River and can grow to trophy size here.

North Branch River - Flows are around 150 cfs and should remain in this zone for the next several days.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  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 According to recent angler reports, warmwater anglers are still targeting Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and sunfish in our small impoundments.  Many of these small, easily accessible fisheries provide some of the best opportunities for catching high quantities of quality sized Largemouth Bass, Bluegill and Channel Catfish in the state!

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is about 41 feet lower than conservation pool.  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.  Both Maryland and West Virginia (Howell) boat ramps are out of commission until early spring.  The WV Howell Run Ramp will be open to shoreline angling, weather permitting.  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!  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 milky.  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.  Lots of trout still remain in area waters from the fall stockings.  The 2017 fishing license makes a great Christmas gift.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are continuing to provide some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  The fall season is always great fishing and great scenery too.  Reports of some large bass have come in from the catch-and-release section on the New.  This section is from the I-64 bridge downstream to the take-out at the Grandview Sandbar.  Fishermen should try plastic jigs fished slowly along the bottom.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Southern WV is blessed with many small impoundments that have good fish populations.  Waters such as Plum Orchard, Stephens, and Pipestem lakes have excellent largemouth bass populations.  Anglers need to get out on the water before the bite slows in the colder weather to come.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Flows are at fishable levels.  Despite colder water and weather, many fish continue to bite through the cold.  Catfish are one species that does not seem to mind the cold, especially below locks on navigable rivers.  Anglers report nice catches of blues, fatheads and channel catfish from the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.  Successful anglers catch skipjack and other fresh bait and rig it live or fresh cut on the bottom.  At certain times, spoons jigged vertically and large spinners will work surprisingly well for all catfish.  Recent surveys on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers for other species turned up incredible forage levels (mainly shad, various minnows) in the rivers tributaries.  This is great news after a few years of poor recruitment by forage and gamefish due to high flows.  This is also very surprising due to the massive floods we experienced earlier in the year.  Anglers are also reporting a mixed bag below many locks along the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.  Hybrid, sauger and walleye and have all been caught and reported recently.  If you can pry yourself away from the deer and woods, the unseasonably warm weather has created some excellent fishing opportunities.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - The fishing in these rivers have been very good through the late fall mainly due to warmer than usual weather and steady low flows through mid-November.  Expected colder weather will slow down the bite, but many times some of the biggest species are caught during the colder months making it well worth an angler’s time to get out and brave the elements.  Smallmouth anglers have had success recently using soft plastics fished slowly on the bottom, and jerk baits using long pauses (3-6 seconds) in various colors.  Anglers are finding success using soft plastics for smallmouth, sauger, drum and other species in the Guyandotte River.  Many noted muskie anglers feel November through early January is the best time to catch a nice one.  Glide baits, LARGE soft plastics, and bondy baits have all been used recently with success.  A few nice muskies (>40”) were caught and released last week by dedicated muskie anglers throwing large jerk baits on the Elk River.  A super walleye was recently caught and released from the Coal River on a muskie bait, sometimes larger baits equal larger fish caught, especially during the fall.

Small Impoundments – A number of small impoundments were recently stocked with an over-abundance of channel catfish fingerlings from our Apple Grove State Fish Hatchery.  In a few years, these fish should provide good sized catfish to catch and harvest if desired.  Late fall is a great time to target bass in small impoundments while most people are hunting.  Try jig and pig combinations, spinnerbaits slow-rolled around cover, and soft plastics are always a good bet in your favorite color.

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.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Now is the time to be thinking about combining fishing with your upcoming deer hunting trip.  The West-Central part of West Virginia offers a variety of opportunities for this combination. 

Anglers seeking bass after the hunt 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 chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure of choice.  Clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows or shad.  Small suspending Rapala’s (silver with a blue back) also work quite well.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.


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