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Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
January 18, 2017
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. No recent fishing reports.
BLUESTONE – During the winter season, anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism. 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 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. Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks. A few degrees can make a difference! Right now, the tailwaters are high and unfishable with more rain expected. Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions. Wear your personal flotation devices at ALL times!
BURNSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool. Some ice was forming but has melted. 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 will be stocked with trout in February. 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 – During the winter season, fish are still active but have a slower metabolism, 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 to try. 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 walleyes will be moving up the river to begin spawning. Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers. With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active. Try to pick a day that is bright and sunny which warms up areas of the lake, especially dark or mud banks. A few degrees can make a difference!
STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool. Some ice was forming but has melted. 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. Some ice was forming but has melted. 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 of crappie and bluegill hitting live bait this week. Some nice musky has been reported being caught this week in the lake as well. The tailwaters will be stocked with trout in February. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool. Some ice was forming but has melted. 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 will be stocked with trout in February. 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. Some ice was forming but has melted. 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 will be stocked February. 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 level is currently falling is nearing winter pool. The Pleasant Creek boat ramp is open. All other boat ramps on Tygart Lake are closed. Recent high discharges have allowed walleye to migrate through the dam and anglers have reported good success over the last couple of weeks. The discharge is currently about 4,000 cubic feet per second. 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). Shoreline access to the tailwater is provided on both sides of the river and a ramp suitable for small fishing boats is located at the Grafton Park and Campground just below the dam. 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) – River flow has lowered some over the last couple of days making fishing a little easier in the tailwater areas below the dams. Fish can be caught in eddies and back-current areas or along rip-rap shorelines using jigs tipped with minnows, crankbaits, or soft plastic swim baits in dam tailwaters. Overwintering holes at the mouths of tributaries can hold large numbers of fish in the colder months.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – River flow has lowered some over the last couple of days making fishing a little easier in the tailwater areas below the dams. Sauger and walleye will stay active all winter and anglers can be successful catching them weather and river flow permitting. Fish the areas just below the Morgantown, Hildebrand, and Opekiska dams or the deep holes at the mouths of tributaries using twister tails, crankbaits, spoons, or jigs tipped with minnows. The heated water discharge from the power plant on Beechurst Ave. will also attract fish all winter.
CHEAT LAKE – When Cheat River flows increase coming into the lake, fish tend to move upstream to the head of the lake. Boaters need to use the winter boat ramp located at the recreational park near the dam. The fishing piers at Cheat Lake Park provide very nice fishing areas for shoreline anglers. Channel catfish can be caught in this area all winter long in about 50 feet of water with nightcrawlers or cut bait. Yellow perch have been reported being caught at the Ices Ferry fishing access site using simple rigs such as pieces of night crawler under half ounce sinkers.
Anglers have reported very 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 four 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/WADEABLE RIVERS – Trout stocking season has begun and anglers can go to the WVDNR stocking information at the following website to get information on their favorite stocked trout stream: http://www.wvdnr.gov/fishing/stocking/dailystock.shtm
SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS – Trout stocking season has begun and anglers can go to the WVDNR stocking information at the following website to get information on their favorite stocked trout stream:
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures have been stable at 43 degrees. Flows are cloudy and higher than normal, but fishing conditions are good! Fishing stream throughout the remainder of the week will depend greatly on rainfall and flow conditions. If temperatures stay high enough for big smallmouth to feed (somewhere in the neighborhood of 38 degrees or higher), a high likelihood of catching a quality sized fish exists! 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 4 lbs.! 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! 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 below normal for this time of year. Water clarity is good and stream temperatures are great for targeting quality smallmouth. As with the South Branch and Cacapon rivers, water temperatures nearing 40 degrees or greater should trigger big fish activity. 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.
North Branch River - Flows are around 1500 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 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, the majority of warmwater fishing has ceased in our small impoundments. These fisheries have settled into winter stratification, and ice is forming. 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! Watch for the 2017 Fishing Regulations Summary to check for small impoundments receiving winter and spring trout stockings. IF INTENDING TO ICE FISH, please be sure to search out online videos and literature explaining techniques to remove or stabilize you in the event of falling through the ice. Be sure to take precautions such as purchasing safe, portable picks to assist you, or others in being removed from the ice, and having flotation devices or apparel on your person!
Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is about 26 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. Due to the thermally altered nature of this lake, very little ice and water temperatures agreeable to fishing exists throughout the winter season for those anglers willing to brave the cold, higher elevation air.
For detailed information about stream flow, water clarity, and temperature, visit this United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data:
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Water levels are normal and clear with some ice forming but has melted with warmer temperatures. 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. The 2017 trout stocking is off to a good start. Take advantage of the nice days over the winter and get in some trout fishing. Don’t forget your 2017 fishing license.
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers are high and off color right now with more rain expected so fishing may be slow there. Sometimes high water improves the fishing at Kanawha Falls so anglers may also want to try their luck there for musky or walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard and Stephens lakes. Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices. Anglers should call ahead to make sure that the ramps are not iced over.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Anglers are finding success for catfish, walleye and sauger on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. Walleye and sauger are beginning to congregate below locks and dams on both rivers, successful anglers are using jerkbaits, jigs, and bait. Be sure to pay attention to current WVDNR regulations which can be found online or in paper copies at local sporting good locations.
Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - Fishing is slow, due to temperature levels, but good for various gamefish on D5 rivers. Muskie anglers are finding success using glide baits and soft plastics.
Small Impoundments – Trout stockings are underway across the state, call 304 558 3399 or go to the WVDNR website to determine if your favorite waters were stocked. Salmon eggs, powerbait, and live bait are excellent choices this time of year. Try fishing these offerings under a bobber or on the bottom, the trout will let you know what set-up is best. Winter is also 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.
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
Trout have been stocked into several area lakes during January – included are Rollins Lake and Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, and Cedar Creek State Park Lake in Gilmer County. Also, the North Bend Tail-waters in Ritch County was stocked. Check the Daily Trout Stocking report for the latest at (304) 558-3399 or on the web at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm. This information is updated daily at 4:00 pm, January through May. Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese, or trout power bait.
Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville or Willow Island dams are catching sauger, walleye, 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. When the river is running high and muddy, and clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows. Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual slow. Warmwater discharges associated with industrial facilities hold fish in the winter along the Ohio River. Best bet for lures here include crank baits and rubber jigs. Expect to catch white bass, hybrid striped bass and a few other species at these hot spots.
Winter fishing for largemouth bass can be good during warm sunny days in area lakes. Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos are good terminal tackle choices. Area lakes with good winter bass 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 and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.
Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend. Winter musky anglers use medium to large lures, and they concentrate their fishing efforts around brush piles or other areas of good cover. 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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