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West Virginia Stream Conditions

April 26, 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.  No recent fishing reports.  The tailwaters were recently stocked with trout.

BLUESTONE – Spring is slowly approaching and some fish species are preparing to spawn as the water warms in the next few weeks.  Crappie will be showing up on brush piles, flooded timber or downed trees where they will spawn.  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.  Some hybrid striped bass may be caught using large minnows.  Anglers should try spots such as the mouth of Indian Creek or up the Bluestone Arm as these fish, even though mostly infertile, still make mock spawning runs upstream.  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 April 10.  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.  The tailwaters were recently stocked with trout.

R.D. BAILEY – With the waters warming up, fish are becoming more and more active as they feed in preparation for the upcoming spawning.  Crappie are congregating near the habitats where they spawn such as around standing timber and brush piles and they will hit small minnows.  For artificials, use doll flies in white and yellow.  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 will be making a mock spawning run up stream in April and May so anglers may want to concentrate their efforts in the upper lake.  The trout stocked in the tailwaters are providing good fishing.  Best baits are corn, salmon eggs, and small 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.  Some nice musky has been reported.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout April 10.  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 April 11.  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 fishing has been slow.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout March 20.  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 elevation is currently above summer pool and is expected to fall to summer pool over the next few days.  Excellent angler reports of smallmouth bass have been reported over the last week and crappie should be moving up into shallow areas to spawn. 

Current discharge is approximately 4,000 cfs.  A Lot of walleye and trout are being caught below Tygart dam.  The best walleye fishing is between 1,500 cfs and 5,000 cfs and the best trout fishing is less than 1,500 cfs.  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) – Good success for hybrid striped bass have been reported recently at the tailwater areas below the dams.  Good numbers of smaller sauger have also been reported.  As the water temperature increases into May, flathead catfishing will only get better.  Good crappie fishing can be found in embayments and tributaries of Ohio River.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Anglers are still catching good numbers of walleye and sauger are below Morgantown lock and dam.  Start fishing about an hour before sunset because sauger and walleye will begin feeding at dusk.  Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  Crappie fishing should be heating up in the pools upstream of the dam.

CHEAT LAKE - White bass schools can be seen breaking the surface throughout the lake.  Cast crank baits, spoons, or jigs for fast action.  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.  Channel catfish can be caught throughout the lake but are particularly numerous upstream of Mt. Chateau.  The embayments at the Cheat Lake Park are good areas for bank fishermen to catch sunfish and largemouth bass.

The fishing pier below the dam is still closed for repairs.

TROUT STOCKING:  Go to www.wvdnr.gov or call the stocking hotline at (304) 558-3399.  The interactive fishing map on the WVDNR webpage is very useful for determining fishing spots throughout the state.  Use the USGS stream gages to help determine flow at your favorite river or stream.  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/current/?type=flow.

RIVERS and STREAMS:  Smallmouth bass action is picking up on smaller streams and rivers.  Twister tails, spinners, crayfish imitations are all good choices for smallmouth bass.  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/.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers – Water temperatures are in the low 60’s and flows are gradually rising and becoming murky, making pre-spawn float fishing conditions for smallmouth great!  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.  If activity is slow, try deeper diving crankbaits and weighted, soft plastic crayfish imitations fished deep.  Additionally, 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

Shenandoah River Stream flows are low and stream temperatures are ideal to catch large numbers of sportfish.  Fishing conditions are currently great. 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.  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 high between 1,200 - 1,500 cfs and should remain at this level over the next several days.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  Upcoming whitewater discharges are expected on the weekends of April 29 and May 13 and 27.  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 – Warmwater fishing has already begun to pick up in our small impoundments.  These fisheries should have broken winter stratification.  Conditions should be improving quickly for pre-spawn black bass and early spawning sportfish.  This is also an excellent time of the year to have success fishing for crappie in several of these fisheries.  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 receiving winter and spring trout stockings (http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing_regs.shtm).

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is right at conservation pool.  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 now permitting boat launching; the Maryland ramp should soon have their courtesy dock deployed. 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 2017 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

April trout stockings are in full swing and anglers should find plenty of waters stocked with trout and plenty of fish to catch.  Anglers should check this year’s fishing regulations to see which waters will be stocked.  For a more up-to-date list, please call the hotline at 558-3399 or check online at www.wvdnr.gov.  The New and Greenbrier rivers are still somewhat high due to rains but persistent anglers may catch some 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 – Anglers are finding success for catfish, walleye and sauger on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.  A ‘mixed bag’ can be had by anglers below most locks on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.  Anglers are reporting hybrids and catfish being caught.  Chicken liver is good for both, white or silver jigs/spinners work great for hybrids.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - Fishing is picking up with rising temperature levels.  A number of reports of smallmouth and muskies being caught on the Guyandotte, Coal, Mud and Elk rivers have come in from early season anglers.  Bass anglers are having success using soft plastics worked slow and close to the bottom.  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 – 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. With warmer temperature levels, rooster tails and other spinners fished slowly are a good choice also.  Chief Logan Pond was stocked March 28.

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 an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters.  Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye, and a few other species.  So far, Belleville has been better than Willow Island with 100+ sauger caught per day by some lucky anglers.  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.  Crappie can also be found in Ohio River tailwaters.  These fish are generally suspended and jigs should be counted-down to find the correct depth to fish.  Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusual.  White bass fishing has also picked up below these dams.  White bass like anything white – try white spinners or white twister tails.  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 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 and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.

Trout have been stocked into several lakes throughout the area.  These include the tailwaters of North Bend Lake, Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, Rollins Lake and Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County, and Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County.  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, or cheese.  Small spinners, joe type flies, and trout magnets also work well, for anglers casting the shoreline or fishing from boats.  Trolling these small lures is also affective. 

Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend, and muskies are quite active.  Hot spots this time of year include areas both upstream and downstream of fast moving water.  Musky anglers should try medium to large lures.  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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