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West Virginia Stream Conditions

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

June 22, 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.  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 – Due to high water, the lake has been muddy with more rain in the forecast.  However, once the lake returns to fishable conditions the fishing on the lake should be good during early and late hours.  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.  Top water baits such as rapalas, tiny torpedoes, and sluggoes are excellent choices but anglers will find the best action early or late.  Bluegills 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 night crawlers, respectively.  Occasionally anglers have been catching some other species such as smallmouth bass in the tailwaters on jigs and minnows.

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 May 24.  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 .  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 – Once the lake clears some from the past rain and that forecast for this week, anglers should find some spotted bass hitting early and late in the day.  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.  Bluegill 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.

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.  Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Stonecoal Lake Fishing Club two new floating docks were installed at the boat launches.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at summer pool.  Bass have moved to shallow water and reports of a lot 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 May 24.  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 May 16.  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 May 24.  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 is just under summer pool and falling.  Water clarity is clear.  Crappie, Smallmouth bass 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 just below 1,000 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.  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 is currently at a very fishable level.  Some Smallmouth bass 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.  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.  Flathead catfish are very active and can be caught in the tailwaters below dams and around submerged cover within the Ohio River pools.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – Water temperature is around 70°F allowing fish to be very active.   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.  Bluegill and other sunfish should be spawning in shallow flats in the 2-4 foot of water.  Fish for crappie around downed trees and other woody cover along the shoreline.  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.

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:  Good smallmouth bass fishing can be had on floatable rivers such as the Tygart and Cheat rivers.  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 have risen into the lower 80’s, flows are normal and clear, and fishing conditions are great in all areas.  Recent surveys uncovered large numbers of smallmouth bass 15” or greater.  Sunfish have constructed beds and are currently spawning.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  Very high catch rates of quality Channel catfish have been captured by DNR staff in the lower South Branch River!  A fishable population exists in the South Branch from Petersburg Gap all the way down to the confluence with the North Branch of the Potomac.  This time of year, large Smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, buzz baits, swim baits, top-water plugs, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  This is an excellent time of year to begin fishing top-water baits for explosive Smallmouth bass strikes.

Shenandoah River Temperatures, flows, and water clarity are currently ideal for fishing success. Smallmouth bass have begun feeding in shallower water and have become more ready to strike top-water lures.  Sunfish species are likely now moving up to spawn.  Be cognizant of these spawning fish and the consequences of disturbing their reproductive effort.  This time of year, large smallmouth bass can be caught on soft plastic and skirted jigs, weighted plastics, buzz baits, swim baits, top-water plugs, and crayfish imitation crankbaits.  Channel catfish are also very abundant in this lower section of the Shenandoah River and can grow to trophy size here.

North Branch River - Flows are at 300-400 cfs and should remain in this zone for the next several days.  Recent heightened flows have likely dispersed hatchery stocked and wild fish in this stream, increasing the likelihood of success for anglers venturing away from normal stocking locations.  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, channel catfish, 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.  We are just now reaching full summer stratification in many small impoundments.  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!

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 a 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 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.  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

The New and Greenbrier rivers, when they are at fishable water levels, 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 best early and late in all of the small impoundments in southern West Virginia and you should catch some fish.  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, 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 softshells.  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 balls 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.

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 sauger, 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.  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.

Also along the Ohio River this year, fishing for black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass) has been excellent.  Bass anglers are using spinner-baits, rubber worms, jig-and-pig type combos, and shad colored crank baits.  Largemouth are being caught along embayments, and the smallmouth bass and spots are being taken from the river.

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.  As the water warms, surface baits will also be productive.  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 Woodrum, Elk Fork, and O’Brien lakes in Jackson County.  Fishing for bluegill in our small lakes is also good this time of year.  Small baits and lures work well for these panfish.

This is also a good time to fish for catfish in area waters.  Most public lakes have good channel catfish populations.  Night crawlers, chicken liver, or prepared catfish baits fished along the bottom is always a good method for catfish.  Adult catfish were recently stocked into several area lakes.  These include Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County; Cedar Creek State Park Lake in Gilmer County; Moutwood Lake and Fort Neal Pond in Wood County; North Bend State Park Pond in Ritchie County, Turkey Run Lake in Jackson County, and the Wirt County Pond.  Also, the slowly moving and muddier water that is found in the upper potions of lakes, just after rain events, are great places to find channel catfish. 

Larger stream and rivers hold channel catfish, but flathead or mud catfish are also available to catfish anglers.  Tactics used in lakes work well for channels in these streams, but flatheads prefer live bait.  Large minnows that are fished along deeper areas is the trick for these large catfish.

Local musky streams should be fishable this weekend.  Musky anglers use large crank baits or jurk baits and best spots are usually around fallen trees or riffle areas.


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