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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

May 27, 2015


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.  Bass are being caught using soft plastics and crankbaits.  Bass are also hitting topwater baits.

BLUESTONE – Fishing on the lake is good as some fish are still on the spawning beds.  Anglers should try their luck around any downed trees or weed beds using worms, small minnows or jigs for sunfish.  Bass anglers should concentrate their efforts along areas with good structure such as downed timber, rocky drops, or weed beds.  Topwater baits such as rapalas, tiny torpedoes, and sluggoes are excellent choices.  Because some bass and sunfish are still in spawning mode, anglers may expect somewhat higher success rates and also chances to catch larger fish.  Bluegill can provide anglers with some fast action.  Best baits are worms and small jigs.  Anglers can have a blast fishing for the sunfish.  Channel catfish are also hitting in the lake primarily at night on chicken livers and worms.  Carp and channel catfish are hitting in the tailwaters with best baits being corn, and nightcrawlers, respectively.  Occasionally anglers have been catching some other species such as smallmouth bass and hybrid stripers in the tailwaters on jigs and minnows.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water.  Crappie and bluegill are also hitting on jigs and live minnows.  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 .  Bass are being caught using soft plastics and crankbaits.  Bass are also hitting topwater baits.  Some anglers are having success trolling for muskies.

R.D. BAILEY – Some spotted bass should be hitting.  The bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot to try.  Good baits are plastic jigs in black and chartreuse colors or live shad.  However, with some bass still on the spawn, anglers may experience higher success rates and also chances to catch larger fish.  Bluegills are providing consistent action in the standing timber.  Best baits are worms and small jigs, respectively.  Hybrid striper and channel catfish fishing is good off of shallow points at night.  Best baits are chicken liver and softshell crayfish.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts early and late during periods of extreme heat.  Carp are also providing a lot of fun for night anglers.  Best baits are corn and dough balls.  Some trout are still being creeled in the tailwaters also.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures approaching 70 the bite will be on.  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 at summer pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures at 70 degrees the bite will be on.  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 at summer pool.  Bass are in about 10-12 feet of water and some are even in more shallow water getting ready to spawn.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 10-15 feet of water.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  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 two feet below summer pool.  Bass are moving to shallow water to spawn and with water temperatures approaching 70 the bite will be on.  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 just under summer pool and falling.  Water clarity is clear.  Crappie, smallmouth bass and walleye are being caught.  Fish will be concentrated around the fish attractors near the marina, West Hill Cove and Wildcat.

Outflow in the tailwater is about 400 cfs and is very fishable.  Walleye fishing is best at flows above 1,500 cfs and trout fishing below 1,500 cfs.  Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for the current lake elevation and tailwater conditions.


OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river is currently at a very fishable level and water temperature is above 70°F.  Some smallmouth bass were being caught within a mile of the tailwaters.  Bass can also being caught around the mouths of tributaries, especially Fishing, Fish, Wheeling and Buffalo creeks.  Walleye and sauger will be attracted to the currents at lock and dam tailwaters.  A good area for bank fishermen is the calm water at the approach to the locks.  Fishing boats are not allowed in this area because of the danger from barges.  Hybrid striped bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and tributary mouths, and can be caught using large crank baits.  White bass will be moving into tributary mouths.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is around 70°F and has risen nearly 5°F in the past few days.  This increasing water temperature will be good for fishing.  Sauger and walleye are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters of the locks and dams.  Morgantown tailwater is the easiest for bank fisherman to access, but the Hildebrand and Opekiska tailwaters can also be fished.  Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants will also attract fish all spring.  A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient.

CHEAT LAKE – Water levels do not fluctuate drastically at Cheat Lake since it is not a flood control lake.  Therefore, fishing is not significantly affected by high water conditions.  The two embayments by the Cheat Lake Park are good areas to fish for crappie and largemouth bass.  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 is a convenient place for shoreline anglers.

FLOATABLE RIVERS:  Good smallmouth bass fishing can be had on floatable rivers such as the Tygart and Cheat rivers.  However, river levels are becoming low.  To get daily river flow conditions, visit the following U.S. Geological Survey website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow .

TROUT STOCKING:  Trout fishing this time of year provides many angling opportunities in streams and small impoundments.  Several trout stockings have taken place across northern West Virginia.  To get daily updates of stocking events, visit www.wvdnr.gov or call the fishing hotline at (304) 558-3399.


South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water levels throughout the area are low for this time of year.  Many streams are only half of their normal flow and the water temperatures are still in the 70’s at most locations.  Anglers are catching a few smallmouth bass and the bass fishing will keep getting better.  Recent biological surveys showed good numbers of smallmouth bass over 18 inches.  The spring trout stocking season ends this week but a lot of holdover trout should remain especially in larger streams.  The daily trout stocking report can be found at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm

Shenandoah River - Flows in the Shenandoah River are below normal flow and dropping.  Smallmouth bass are biting and fishing plastics near the head of pools around the bedrock ledges and in eddies is always a good strategy.  Some anglers have done well fishing for channel catfish at dark near the head of the pools.

North Branch River - River    Flows in the North Branch are currently near 225 cfs and in great fishing condition.  No additional whitewater events are scheduled on the North Branch.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes.  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 Most small impoundments are in great fishing condition and some will be receiving their final spring trout stockings.  Bass and bluegill are biting and bass can be caught on plastics and topwater lures.  Check the 2015 fishing regulations to see if your favorite impoundment is on the trout stocking schedule.

Jennings Randolph Lake - Anglers are catching smallmouth bass at Jennings Randolph Lake.  Smallmouth bass feeding will continue to increase so try on slow moving plastics and crankbaits.  The West Virginia boat launch is free and a $5 per day fee is collected for the Maryland Ramp.  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.   Fish can be caught throughout the lake but many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges.  Recent biological investigations indicate good bass and walleye populations.


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 and a place to fish.  Make sure you purchase your 2015 WV fishing license.  For statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information check the DNR webpage www.wvdnr.gov.


The New and Greenbrier rivers are providing some good fishing for smallmouth bass.  Anglers should try white spinner baits, white plastic grubs, or small rapalas in black and silver or live bait such as minnows.  Spots below or above shoals are good spots to try your luck.  Fishing is still good in all of the small impoundments in southern West Virginia and you should catch some fish and have a great time but as the waters begin to warm, the bite may slow and anglers may want to concentrate on the early and late hours.  Try spots at the end of points, weed beds, or fallen timber.  Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.  Lakes such as Plum Orchard, Stephens, Horse Creek, Hawks Nest, and Pipestem will all provide good bass fishing.  Channel catfishing is good in areas like Hawks Nest Lake and some of the other small impoundments.  Best time to fish is late night and very early morning with chicken livers or soft shells.  This is a prime time to take a child fishing!  There is no better way to introduce a child or novice to fishing than to take them out for an evening of carp fishing.  Try chumming with creamed corn upstream of where you are fishing and use shredded wheat dough ball or whole kernel corn for bait.  Make sure your rods are anchored down with a rock or a carp may take it!!!   Good spots to catch a carp are Bluestone and R.D. Bailey lakes, New and Kanawha rivers.  Bluegills are spawning all around the state and they make an excellent quarry for a young fisherperson.


Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Hybrid are biting below locks with walleye still being caught as well.  Catfish are biting with reports of a few large flatheads and blue catfish caught recently.  Live and or cut bait seems to be the best choice.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers using slow moving baits and soft plastics (large tubes).  Fish are also hitting bucktails and other faster moving baits with rising temperature levels.  Water levels and clarity are excellent for the upcoming weekend.

Small Impoundments – Catchable catfish were recently stocked in Coonskin, Laurel Lakes, Barboursville, Chief Logan, and other small impoundments across the state.  Cut bait or any of the varieties of stink baits on the market work well for catfish.  Try fishing on the bottom with a basic river rig or try suspending the bait beneath a bobber, the fish will tell you what they like.  Small impoundments are also good places to try for bass and bluegill, bait or artificials work well.  Take a kid and introduce him or her to fishing.

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.


This 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.  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.  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.  Slowly fished plastic 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.

Crappie fishing has also been good at several lakes, these include North Bend and Elk Fork lakes, where angler are taking fish on minnows and small jigs or spinners.

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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