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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

September 17, 2014 

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/wc/bbfns.htm for information and current lake levels.  Hybrid bass can be caught with shad imitating lures fished near the surface.  Catfish and bass anglers are reporting catches using various live and artificial baits.  Due to current hot weather, try fishing for all species during low light and into the night.  A cloudy day with a little rain is also a great time to try for your favorite fish.  Remember, during this time of the year many lakes and impoundments set-up and have a thermocline.  Below the thermocline (change from warm to drastically cold water), there will be no oxygen and therefore no fish to catch.

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.  Although, plastics and live bait are probably the top producing baits.  With the cooler nights we are now experiencing, anglers should see the bites really beginning to pick up as the water temperature falls.  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 soft shell crayfish, hellgrammites, or nightcrawlers.  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, chartruese jigs, and plastic jigs, respectively.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool and clear.  The surface temperatures are in the 70’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  We have received reports of Musky being caught in the upper end of lake.  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 .  The lake is at summer pool.  Muskies have been caught recently using a variety of baits.  Due to current hot weather, try fishing for all species during low light and into the night.  A cloudy day with a little rain is also a great time to try for your favorite fish.  Remember, during this time of the year many lakes and impoundments set-up and have a thermocline.  Below the thermocline (change from warm to drastically cold water), there will be no oxygen and therefore no fish to catch.

R.D. BAILEY – Fishing on the lake is good.  Some large spotted bass may be caught.  Some of the largest spotted bass in WV 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 in smoke and chartreuse colors or live shad.  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.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 70’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  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 two feet below summer pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 70’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 10 feet below summer pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 70’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 35 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on August 26.  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 at summer pool.  The surface temperatures are in the 70’s.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  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 falling slowly.  The water temperature is 78 degrees from the surface to 10 feet, 74 degrees at 25 and 50 feet, 73 degrees at 75 feet, and 72 degrees at 100 feet.  Bass tournament have been very successful with smallmouth bass being caught using drop shot rigs in 25-40 depths.  Fish for crappie in the fish shelters between the boat ramps at the marina and in downed trees along the shoreline.  Start fishing for walleye at dark when they move into shallow water to feed.  During the day walleye will be in the 30 to 50-feet depths.

The tailwater temperature is 72 degrees.  There are a lot of trout in the tailwater.  Walleye numbers are as high as they will be for the year in the tailwater, and this is the best place in northern West Virginia to fish for them.  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) – There are a lot of hybrid white bass, sauger, walleye, and white bass in the tailwaters and the river is in good fishing condition.  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 crank baits are also productive.  Hybrid striped bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and can be caught using large crank baits, casting spoons, or cut bait.  Fluctuating water temperatures have decreased bass tournament success rates this year.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The water temperature is 77 degrees.  The best fishing success for sauger and walleye is during low light conditions one to two hours before and after sunset.  Sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye, and white bass are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters.  Jigs with minnows are the best baits right now.  Channel and flathead catfish are abundant throughout the river.  Carp are being caught from shore at the Ruby Park and at the Star City ramp.  Troll large crank baits for muskies anywhere on the river.  The shoreline from the Morgantown lock to the mouth of Deckers Creek is always a good place to fish from the shore.  Fluctuating water temperatures have decreased bass tournament success rates this year.

CHEAT LAKE – Crappies are being caught using minnows around downed-trees along the shoreline.  Channel catfish are doing well and 2 to 3-pounders are abundant throughout the lake but are particularly numerous upstream of Mt. Chateau.  Night crawlers on a number 6 hook with a ½-1-ounce egg sinker cast into 15 to 25-feet of water will catch catfish.  The easiest way to fish the lake for all species is drifting along the shoreline with a night crawler or minnow on a hook with a couple of split shot at a depth of 10 to 15-feet.  Cast small rooster-tail spinners for large bluegills and pumpkinseed sunfish in downed trees along the shoreline across from the Sunset Beach cove to the I-68 Bridge.  The best areas for shoreline anglers are the Cheat Lake Park fishing piers and the Ices Ferry Bridge Public Access Site.  Cheat Lake has the best channel catfish population in this part of the state.

Try the tailwater fishing pier for sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and white bass.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the best baits.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  Start fishing at dark when sauger and walleye begin feeding.  The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown and is lighted for night fishing and is handicapped accessible.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers - Most streams throughout the eastern panhandle are below normal flow for this time of year.  Localized thunder storms have caused many stream and rivers to become turbid.  The water temperatures have dropped over the past week to the upper 60’s and lower 70’s at most locations.  Anglers have been successful catching channel catfish and smallmouth bass.  Flows may be too low for float trips but smallmouth bass are biting.  Biological surveys are still indicated good channel catfish populations in the South Branch with lots of catfish over 25 inches. 

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are below normal flow for this time of year.  Fishing plastics and topwaters near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in the eddy’s is always a good strategy.

North Branch River - Flows in the North Branch are currently near 200 cfs but will remain at that level for the next couple of days.  No additional whitewater events are scheduled on the North Branch this year.  An artificially varied flow event is scheduled for the weekend of September 27 and September 28.  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 or the Jennings Randolph website (http://www.nab-wc.usace.army.mil/northBranch.html).

Small Impoundments - Small impoundments are in great fishing condition.  Bass and bluegill are biting.  Largemouth bass are hitting topwater lures and plastics and bluegills can always be caught on worms.  Use weedless rigging techniques to prevent hooking aquatic vegetation.  Small impoundments are stratified so anglers should fish in less than eight feet of water.  Cacapon State Park Lake, Edwards Run Pond and Fort Ashby Lake have received adult catfish stockings that can be caught throughout the summer. 

Jennings Randolph Lake - Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 19 feet below conservation pool and dropping slowly.  Anglers should target smallmouth bass with crankbaits and topwater lures.  Boaters will not be able to launch from the WV ramp if the lake level drops two more feet.  Following the scheduled flow event on September 27 and September 28 the WV ramp will likely be closed for the season.  Launching fees are no longer charged for the WV ramp.  A $5 per day fee is still being collected for the Maryland Ramp.  Jennings Randolph Lake has a dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information (304) 355-2890.  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.   Recent biological surveys indicate good bass and walleye populations.  Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.  Anglers and biological surveys have been reporting good catches of striped bass.

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are low 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.  Check the DNR webpage for statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information, www.wvdnr.gov.

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.  Anglers should try plastic jigs fished along the bottom or plastic jerk baits.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Some walleye are being caught also but anglers need to be aware of the special regulations for walleye on the entire New River.  It’s no harvest from Sandstone to Meadow Creek and the rest of the river is under a 20”-30” slot with a limit of 2 fish.  Only one of the two can be over 30” and all fish between 20” and 30” must be released also.  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 and as fall approaches the time is prime to be on the waters.  As the water cools, anglers will be seeing the bite pick up significantly.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers Reports of nice catfish boated.  A number of very large blue catfish have been caught at tournaments and by individual anglers fishing during low light conditions and into the night, give it a try.  This fishery is growing and there is always a chance of a near record, or state record size blue catfish.  Hybrids are biting behind locks along the Kanawha and Ohio, try shad type lures.  Dawn and dusk are the best times to try as well into the night for these hard fighting fish.  Look for flowing water and the fastest current - fish the edges of this water as hybrids will sit in the slack water beside the faster currents and dart out into the fast water to pick off baitfish, and other food items.  At this time of the year, they will usually be very close to the lock structure to get maximum benefit from food coming through the lock and also the fast flowing water directly below the lock.  Due to the water churning as it goes through the lock, water directly below the lock structure holds more oxygen than slack water downstream.  As a general rule, most game fish will be close to the lock structure right now, fish accordingly.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk, and Coal Rivers. Be sure to handle them carefully at this time of the year and return them to the water quickly due to warm water temperatures, which reduces the chance of full recovery after being caught if left out of the water for extended periods of time.  The Guyandotte and Coal Rivers look very good the past few days for a float due to water released from R.D. Bailey Lake and recent rains in the Coal River watershed.  A float through would be no problem with minimal areas to walk a kayak or ‘duckie’ through.  Justice to Wylo would be a good float to try right now for example.  Try small soft plastic baits and/or surface lures for explosive topwater strikes.

Small Impoundments – Catfish can be caught from small impoundments but due to fishing pressure, sunny conditions, and high water temperatures, fish during dawn and dusk and into the night.  Catfish really turn on once the sun goes down and come out to feed much more than during the day.  Chicken livers, cut bait, and marketed paste type baits all work very well.  A bobber set-up works well by presenting the bait up in the water column.  Remember, during this time of the year many lakes and impoundments set-up and have a thermocline.  Below the thermocline (change from warm to drastically cold water), there will be no oxygen and therefore no fish to catch.

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.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Early fall 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.  Pencil poppers and lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuses), are the lures 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.  Best times for sauger and walleye fishing are during non-daylight hours.

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 has been good for largemouth bass and bluegill in area lakes.  Spinner baits and rubber worms are producing bass in areas of good cover, while bluegills are being taken on small jigs fished deep, at depths of 10-12 feet.  Good choices for area lakes include Mountwood in Wood County, Conaway Run in Tyler, Charles Fork in Roane, North Bend Lake in Ritchie County, and Elk Fork, Woodrum, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.

Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend.  Fall musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas.  Fishing has been quite good this year for musky along Middle Island Creek, the Little Kanawha River, and on the Hughes River and its Forks.  Musky fishing at North Bend Lake also has been productive this year.


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