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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

May 25, 2016

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.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on March 23.  Anglers report success with salmon eggs, worms, and spinners fished very slow this time of the year.  Bass will begin moving into the shallows with warming water and rising temps.  Try for hybrids down by the dam using cut bait, chicken livers or white/silver lures that imitate small baitfish.

BLUESTONE – Spring is here some fish species are beginning to spawn as the water warms.  Crappie are 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.  Water temperatures are warming up fast and fishing is picking up.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 26.  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/eltThe tailwaters were stocked with trout on March 23.  Anglers report success with salmon eggs, worms, and spinners (joe’s flies, rooster tails, panther martins) fished very slow this time of the year.  Bass will begin moving into the shallows with warming water and rising temps.  Try muskellunge around downed trees and drop-offs close to shallow flats.  Slower moving lures like large tubes and gliders work best this time of the year.

R.D. BAILEY – With the waters warming up, fish are beginning to spawn.  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 still providing good fishing.  Best baits are corn, salmon eggs, and small jigs.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at normal pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of a 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.  A few musky have been caught on nice days this week and can only get better for all fish as water temperatures warm up.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Also reports crappie and bluegill hitting live bait this week.  Some nice musky have been reported being caught this week in the lake as well.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 26.  Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  Walleye are being caught off rocky points in about 20-25 feet of water as well as the upper end of lake.  Try minnows and small crank baits.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016.  It consists of:  all walleye 20 to 30 inches long must be returned to the water at once and a daily creel limit of eight walleye daily creel limit, only one of which may be over 30 inches. The tailwaters were stocked with trout on April 25.  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 at summer pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of lots of fish being caught.  Crappie and Bluegill have been caught on live minnows and jigs this week.  The tailwaters were stocked with trout April 26.  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 LAKEAnglers should call the Corps of Engineers at 304-265-5953 for daily lake conditions.  The lake level is currently almost five feet above summer pool and falling.  Water temperature is about 64F at the surface.  Anglers have reported good catches of smallmouth bass recently.  Crank baits and tube jigs fished along the shoreline out to 10 to 20 feet depths will be effective throughout the month for smallmouth bass. Some very nice crappie have been caught over the last week.  Using minnows or jigs can be very effective for catching crappie, especially at fish attractors that have been placed near the state park marina, West Hill cove, and just below the Doe Run impoundment dam.  Current outflow is high at 6,400 cfs, making fishing difficult in the tailwaters.  A new walleye regulation took effect January 1, 2016 for Tygart Lake and Tygart River: 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters) – The river has been high and turbid, but bass can be caught around the mouths of tributaries, especially Fishing, Fish, Wheeling, and Buffalo creeks.  Most species 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.  During normal or low flows, 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 will also be productive.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  During higher flows, fish will be active throughout the day and can be caught in the quiet or slower water right along shore.  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. The water temperature in embayments will increase faster than the main river, so largemouth bass and sunfish will be more active in these areas.

MONONGAHELA RIVER Water temperatures have been relatively cool, but will warm over the next week, resulting in increased fish activity.  Sauger and walleye are always attracted to the currents in the tailwaters of the locks and dams.  The river is currently high and turbid.  During high water, the fish will be concentrated in the calm water in front of the lock gates.  This is a good place for bank fishermen, which is on the Westover side of the river.  Also during high flows, many fish will move right against the shoreline and can be caught in a couple of feet of water and will be active all day.  Jigs with minnows are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive.  White or chartreuse are good colors.  Warm water discharges at the Rivesville and Morgantown power plants are still attracting fish because the river temperature is lower than normal for this time of year.  A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient.  The water temperature in tributary embayments will increase faster than the main river, so largemouth bass and sunfish will be more active in these areas.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016 for Monongahela River: 15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

CHEAT LAKE Sunset Marina is available to boaters.  Morgan and Rubles embayments at the recreation area are good spots for bank fishermen.  These areas will be warmer than the main lake and good for largemouth bass and bluegills all month.  Large pumpkinseed sunfish are abundant in Cheat Lake along the shoreline and downed trees using simple techniques such as small crappie jigs or small pieces of night crawler fished under a bobber or with a split shot.  Cheat Lake has an excellent channel catfish population and can be caught with cut bait, night crawlers, chicken livers, or stink baits. 

Walleye, sauger and channel catfish can be caught from the tailwater fishing pier when flows are turned off.  Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the best baits.  White or chartreuse are good colors. The pier is located entirely in West Virginia about 25 minutes from Morgantown.  Take U.S. Rt. 119 from Morgantown to Point Marion, PA, turn right after crossing the Cheat River and proceed 4 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.  A new walleye regulation took effect beginning January 1, 2016 for Cheat River and Cheat Lake:  15-inch minimum length limit and eight walleye per day creel limit.

Trout Stocking:  Several lakes and streams have been stocked.  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

SMALL IMPOUNDMENTS - Recent WVDNR surveys in Dents Run (Marion County), Dixon (Monongalia County), Teter Creek (Barbour County), Dog Run (Harrison County), and Dunkard Fork (Marshall County) lakes yielded very diverse and good fishing opportunities for panfish and largemouth bass.  Small impoundments provide easy access and are good places to take kids fishing.  Use the WVDNR fishing map tool to find a small impoundment in your area.   http://www.mapwv.gov/huntfish/

FLOATABLE RIVERS:  Rains over the past month have kept river levels high.  As river levels recede and water temperatures increase, fishing will improve.  Take advantage of spring flows to float streams that later in the summer will be too low to efficiently float fish.  Wheeling Creek and Buffalo Creek in the northern panhandle have very good smallmouth bass populations.  Buckhannon River and Dunkard Fork provides good smallmouth bass and musky fishing.  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 RiversWater temperatures have risen into the low 60’s.  Flows are currently high, and fishing conditions are poor in most areas.  Fishing slack water and still pools becomes important during times of swift flow.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of smallmouth 15” or greater.  Additionally, smallmouth have already constructed spawning beds, indicating the end of most pre-spawn activity.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  Recent catches of channel catfish have been reported.  These streams are entering a period of movement of large smallmouth bass into upstream segments; this is a good time to target quality-sized smallmouth bass in big pools during periods of warmer stream temperature and lower flows.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on sub-surface lures.  Soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, and crayfish imitation crankbaits are popular right now.  Be on the lookout for our WVDNR 2016 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving stockings of coldwater fish (fishhttp://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs16/2016_fishingRegs.pdf).

Shenandoah River Shenandoah River flows are high for this time of year, creating suboptimal conditions for targeting smallmouth.  Fishing slack water and still pools becomes important as water velocities are swift in the majority of habitats.  Smallmouth should be concentrated in deep pools and eager to begin feeding.  It is very likely that smallmouth bass have constructed and are occupying breeding beds.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  Weighted subsurface lures will yield more fish in deeper, slower habitat types.

North Branch River - Flows are at 1,500 cfs but should drop to around 900 cfs over the next several days.  Two weekends in May (7-8 and 21–22) will experience planned whitewater releases from the lake, making fishing in the North Branch below the lake unsafe.  These heightened flows will likely disperse hatchery stocked fish in this stream.  Check the Corp of Engineers webpage for specifics or schedule changes concerning whitewater discharges.  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 According to recent angler reports, warmwater angling potential of our small impoundments is high for largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish.  These species are likely building or guarding nests, so be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  Many of 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!  Check out our WVDNR 2016 Fishing Regulations Summary to view lakes and streams receiving stockings of coldwater fish (fishhttp://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Regs16/2016_fishingRegs.pdf).

Jennings Randolph Lake – Jennings Randolph Lake level is at 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 to catch creels of quality-size yellow perch.  Both the Howell Boat Ramp and the Maryland Ramp are currently open.  Access to the Maryland boat ramp requires as daily use fee of $5.  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 Stony River cove 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.  Anglers have recently had success bagging striped bass.  Recent biological investigations indicate good bass and walleye populations.  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 United States Geological Survey (USGS) page for available stream gauge data:  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wv/nwis/rt

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are normal.  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 Cranberry and Williams rivers and Watoga and Spruce Knob lakes along with a lot of other waters have been stocked.  Get out and enjoy some spring fishing.  Remember to get your 2016 fishing license.

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

May is the final month for trout stockings, so anglers that want to trout fish are encouraged to get out there and get their fill the next few weeks!  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 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 Lake and Pipestem Lake.  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 – Angler reports indicate catches of sauger and walleye using minnows and small jigs.  Try fishing tributary mouths, below locks and below any shoal areas available.  Many reports of nice walleye and sauger from below tributary mouths and shoal areas, using minnows and/or slow moving crankbaits and jerkbaits.

Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk and Mud rivers - A few reports of very large muskies caught and released from the Elk and Coal rivers.  The Coal River is a good place to try for walleye over the next few weeks, try below the upper and lower falls.

Small Impoundments – Chief Cornstalk Pond, Krodel and Anderson lakes were recently stocked in District 5.  Check the hotline at 304-558-3399 or go online at www.wvdnr.gov to see if your favorite water was stocked.

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 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 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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