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West Virginia Stream Conditions

June 14, 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 Spring is winding down and while some fish species are spawning, others may be winding down from spawning.  Crappie are probably done with the spawn and may have moved out into deeper waters where they will school up.  If you can find the schools, 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 a spinnerbait, bumping off the stumps.  Bluegill and many other sunfish will be spawning now and are easy to catch when you can find their beds.  Some hybrid striped bass and true striped bass may be caught using large minnows or shad-imitating lures.  Anglers should look for schools of shad because these open water predators will almost always be following close by.  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.  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 – Spring is winding down and while some fish species are spawning, others may be winding down from spawning.  Crappie are probably done with the spawn and may have moved out into deeper waters where they will school up.  If you can find the schools, they will hit small minnows or doll flies.  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 may be caught using large minnows or shad-imitating lures.  Anglers should look for schools of shad because these open water predators will almost always be following close by.  Some nice walleye have been creeled in the tailwater area.  Best baits are minnows, nightcrawlers, and 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.

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.  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 LAKEThe 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.

The tailwaters are very fishable and anglers are still catching a few trout.  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) – Anglers are reporting nice smallmouth bass being caught in the upper parts of the pools and in the tailwaters below the dams on topwater lures.  White bass and hybrid striped bass can offer some fast and fun action in the tailwaters.  This is an excellent time to fish for large flathead catfish using live bait or channel catfish using stink baits, chicken liver, or night crawlers.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Sauger, walleye, and musky are all being caught below the dams in the tailwater areas.  Morgantown tailwater is the easiest for bank fisherman to access, but the Hildebrand and Opekiska tailwaters can also be fished.  Channel catfish can be caught using night crawlers, cut bait, and stink baits throughout the river.  Large carp can be caught using corn and dough balls.

CHEAT LAKE - Smallmouth bass can be found throughout the main lake, especially in the upper riverine section.  Largemouth bass are very abundant in the embayments toward the lower half of the lake.  Cheat Lake is the best lake in northern WV for channel catfish.  Look for them from of the I-68 bridge upstream to the headwaters of the lake.  The Cheat Lake Park and Ices Ferry fishing access site is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

The fishing pier below the dam is still closed for repairs and most likely will be for the remainder of the year.

RIVERS and STREAMS:  Rivers and wadeable streams are currently low in northern West Virginia, but the smallmouth bass action is good.  Be sure to check flows prior to planning a float trip at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow Twister tails, spinners, crayfish imitations are all good choices for smallmouth bass.  Use the WVDNR online fishing map to find stream access information at:  http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Harvestable size channel catfish (1-5 pounds) were stocked into Pendleton Lake at Blackwater State Park and Tomlinson Run State Park in the last couple of weeks.  Other small impoundments with good channel catfish populations are Teter Creek, Mason Lake, Dixon Lake, Curtisville Lake, and Newburg Lake.  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 in the low 80’s, flows are slightly lower than normal, and water clarity is perfect, making current fishing conditions good!  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.  Additionally, there has been an increase in top water action as water temperatures have warmed and water clarity has improved.  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 normal and water clarity is perfect for fishing.  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.  Additionally, it is suspected that top water activity will improve as water temperatures increase and flows become clearer.  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 250 cfs and should be stable over the next several days; these lower flows should make for some excellent fishing!  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  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.  These fisheries are likely settling into summer stratification, leaving deeper portions of most impoundments low on oxygen and not suitable for fish habitation.  Fish shallow, typically no greater than 10’ in 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 that received spring trout stockings (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing_regs.shtm).

Jennings Randolph Lake – Lake level is about a foot over conservation pool height.  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 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 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 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 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Trout stockings are over now but some waters will continue to hold trout through the summer months if cold water is present.  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 and Pipestem lakes.  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 – 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.

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. 

Musky streams are not expected to be fishable this weekend.

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