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West Virginia Fishing Report 5-20-10
Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon
May 19, 2010
BEECH FORK – The reservoir is at summer pool. For more information call the Beech Fork Corps of Engineers office at 304-525-4831. Reports of a few bass and bluegill boated recently by anglers. Trout were recently stocked on May 6, completing the spring stockings for the year for the Beech Fork tailwaters. Beech Fork also offers a WMA that is very good for spring gobbler season – there is still one week left and many birds still gobbling.
BLUESTONE – The lake is currently high and muddy so fishing is poor, however, once it begins to drop and clear fishing will pick up. Spring is here and the fish are moving and feeding in preparation for spawning. Crappie may be found near any structure such as downed trees or brush piles. They will be hitting small minnows or doll flies. Bass are being caught off rocky points and around downed trees using live bait and artificial 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 begin trying spots such as the mouth of Indian Creek or up the Bluestone Arm as these fish, even though infertile, still make mock spawning runs upstream. Smallmouth bass are being caught in the tailwaters. Successful anglers are using tube jigs in pumpkinseed or motoroil colors. Anglers should be careful wading and wear your personal flotation devices.
BURNSVILLE – The lake is at summer pool and clear. Fishing is good. Bass are active as they move towards shallow water to spawn. Sunfish and crappie have been caught around cover with small jigs and live bait. The tailwaters were stocked May 10. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398.
EAST LYNN – The reservoir is at summer pool. Both the outflow and the reservoir are clear with a surface temperature of 68F degrees. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-849-9861. Trout were recently stocked on May 6, completing the spring stockings for the year for the East Lynn tailwaters. Try rooster tails, mepps spinners, joe’s flies and various flies during the upcoming week. Due to higher temperatures the trout will be more active and will readily hit a spinner or moving lure this time of the year. A spinner is a great way to cover water while targeting active fish. Sometimes a small split shot crimped 6-9” above spinner will help get the lure down in deeper pools, while removing it in faster water will enable the angler to not get hung up as much. Target deep pockets, root wads and boulder piles that offer hiding places for trout. As the season progresses fish more during the early morning and late evening. East Lynn also offers a WMA that is very good for spring gobbler season – there is still one week left and many birds still gobbling.
R.D. BAILEY – The lake is currently turbid but as the water clears fishing will begin to pick up. Fish are beginning to move and feed in preparation for the spawn. Crappie will spawn around standing timber and brush piles and 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. Remember to fish slowly! Hybrid striped bass will be making a mock spawning run up stream in April 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 summer pool and clear. Fishing is great. Bass are active as they move towards shallow water to spawn. Sunfish and crappie have been caught around cover using minnows and live bait. Lots of reports of trout being caught in all areas of the lake from boat and shore. Try power bait and spinners.
STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at summer pool and milky. Fishing is great. Bass are active as they move towards shallow water to spawn. Sunfish and crappie have been caught around cover with small jigs and live bait. The tailwaters were stocked May 10th. Before heading to the lake please contact Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.
SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is 17 feet below summer pool and clear. Bass are active as they move towards shallow water to spawn. Sunfish and crappie have been caught around cover. Try the upper end of the lake for walleye. A state record perch was pulled from the lake this week. Trout were stocked in the tailwaters on May 17. If you are looking for a back country trout fishing experience hike down in and enjoy. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-872-5809.
SUTTON – The lake is at summer pool and clear. Fishing is great. Bass are moving up to spawn. Crappie and bluegill have also been caught around standing timber with small jigs and live bait. The tailwaters are normal and clear. It was stocked May 10. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705.
TYGART LAKE – The lake should be near the summer level. The heads of coves will warm faster than the main lake so bass and sunfish will be more active in these areas. Smallmouth bass can be caught using crank baits or tube jigs along the shoreline. Look for white bass at the head of coves or the upper part of the lake. Fish for crappies in the fish shelters between the boat ramps at the marina. Start fishing for walleyes at dark when they move into shallow water to feed.
The tailwater temperature is 59 degrees. Walleye numbers are as high as they will be for the year in the tailwater, and this is the best place in northern West Virginia to fish for them. The trout stocking is on schedule. Walleye fishing is best during higher flows (1,500 to 5,000 cubic feet per second) and trout fishing is best at low flows (less than 1,000 cubic feet per second). Call the Corps of Engineers telephone hotline at 304-265-5953 for daily lake and tailwater conditions.
NORTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
OHIO RIVER (New Cumberland, Pike Island, and Hannibal pools and tailwaters): Fishing success for all species has been good for the past few weeks and will be increasing as water temperatures rise. The water temperature in embayments will increase faster than the main river, so largemouth bass and sunfish will be more active in these areas. Walleyes and saugers have finished spawning and 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, walleyes and saugers 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. Hybrid striped bass and white bass will also move in and out of the tailwaters and tributary mouths, and can be caught using large crank baits.
MONONGAHELA RIVER – The water temperature is 61 to 66 degrees and has been fluctuating widely for the past 2 months. Two bass tournaments last week were very successful at Fairmont and Morgantown. A 6-pound largemouth was the largest bass caught. A DNR fish survey collected and released a 30-pound flathead catfish. The water temperature in embayments will increase faster than the main river, so largemouth bass and sunfish will be more active in these areas. Saugers and walleyes have finished spawning and 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 on the Westover side of the river, particularly during high water. When flows are normal, start fishing about an hour before sunset because saugers and walleyes will begin feeding at dusk. During high flows, the fish will be active throughout the 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 will attract fish all spring. A pier at the Morgantown plant makes fishing safe and convenient.
CHEAT LAKE - The embayments at the Cheat Lake Park will warm up faster than the main lake and are good areas for bank fisherman to catch catfish, sunfish and largemouth bass. Now is the time to fish for big bass. Cheat Lake has been one of the top lakes for bass fishing tournament success for the past five years. The smallmouth bass population is expanding throughout the lake. Keep track of the lake elevation and predicted daily changes in elevation on the Cheat Lake website at www.cheatlaketoday.com.
Try the tailwater fishing pier for walleyes and saugers. Jigs with minnows or 3-inch power grubs are the best baits. White or chartreuse are good colors. Start fishing at dark when saugers and walleyes begin feeding. 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.
COOPERS ROCK LAKE AND MASON LAKE - Harvestable channel catfish were stocked on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to return tag or tag number along information on the date of capture, if the fish was kept or released, and the name and address of the angler to WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101. Anglers also can call in the information (304-420-4550) or provide the information via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers Flows in most streams and rivers throughout the eastern panhandle are below normal flow but in great fishing condition. The water is clear and temperatures have dropped to the 60’s. Anglers have been extremely successful fishing for smallmouth bass near the head of pools and smallmouth are in spawning condition. Many smallmouth bass in the South Branch have been tagged as part of a fish movement and fish health study. Anglers are asked to clip the tag at the insertion into the fish and provide the DNR either the tag or tag number, and information on the date the fish was caught and if the fish was harvested or released. Information can be mailed to the WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave, Parkersburg, WV 26101, or provide information by e-mail to email@example.com .
Anglers have been doing exceptionally well fishing for trout in stocked streams. Many streams are receiving weekly trout stocking through May. Up-to-date information regarding trout stocking can be found online at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm or by calling the hunting and fishing hotline at (304) 558-3399. Hunting and fishing license can be purchased online at https://www.wvhunt.com/wizard/hflw000.asp and digital copies of the hunting and fishing regulations are also available online.
North Branch River The flows in the North Branch are currently near 300 cfs and are project to remain at that level for several more days. Anglers fishing for trout have been doing extremely well and lots of big fish are being caught. The next scheduled white water release for the North Branch will be this weekend. Flows in the North Branch can be monitored by watching the USGS stream gages or the Jennings Randolph website (http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/recrea...an/recinfo.htm).
Small Impoundments Bass, bluegill and catfish are biting in small impoundments and anglers are catching largemouth bass on topwater lures. Many small impoundments are receiving bi-weekly trout stockings and angles have been catching lots of nice trout. Check the fishing regulations to determine small impoundments trout stockings frequency.
Jennings Randolph Lake Jennings Randolph Lake is currently at conservation pool. The WV and Maryland boat ramps are open for the season. Don’t forget you purchase a seasonal pass for boat launching either from the MDDNR on the MD side of the lake or the Corp of Engineers on the WV side. Angling at Jennings Randolph is starting to increase with smallmouth bass and walleye being caught. Some anglers have caught legal length walleye near the head of the lake. Jennings Randolph Lake has a dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information (304) 355-2890. Recreational information can also be found at http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/recrea...an/recinfo.htm.
Mt. Storm Lake Anglers at Mt. Storm should target hybrid striped bass, black bass, and walleye. Fish can be caught throughout the lake and many anglers do well fishing with chicken livers near the discharges. Anglers are still catching great creels of walleye and striped bass as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass. Walleye are being caught by trolling night crawlers. The public boat launch is accessible and the courtesy dock has been repaired.
CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Water levels are normal and clear. May is a good time to introduce a child to fishing. The weather is nice and fish are very active. If you are looking for a place to go please check fishing regulations and the WVDNR website for a list of public access or call your local WVDNR district office for some advice and a place to take a youngster fishing. Trout stockings are in full swing this week. The Shavers Fork and Buckhannon River were stocked with trout this week and can offer a unique experience to get away from the crowds and have a back country fishing experience. Elk, Cherry, and Buckhannon Rivers were stocked along with a long list of other area waters. If going alone, always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Check the DNR webpage for statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information www.wvdnr.gov .
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
Trout stockings are in full gear now so anglers are encouraged to get their fill of trout fishing before the waters become too warm. Anglers should check the 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 high and muddy and unfishable at present. Some of our lakes remain clear year round and lake anglers can find some excellent bass and bluegill fishing at Plum Orchard 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 – Fishing is very good along the navigable rivers and their locks for multiple species (bass, drum, walleye, sauger, hybrids). Check locations visually or check online for flow levels http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt prior to fishing rather than wasting a trip.
Guyandotte and Coal rivers – Reports of a few white bass, largemouth and muskie caught near the upper and lower falls.
Poca River – No recent reports.
Elk River – Smallmouth should be in some stage of spawning over the next few weeks. A few catches of muskie and walleye reported. The WVDNR is conducting a muskie study on the Elk River currently. If an angler keeps a muskie with what appears to be a metal tag on the dorsal fin, please contact the district office in Pt. Pleasant immediately (304-675-0871). We would like to gather information (total length = tip of snout to maximum length with the tail fin lobes squeezed together, location of capture, tag number) from the tagged fish. Flyers have been placed at put-ins, and in small tackle/convenient stores along the Elk River in Braxton, Clay, and Kanawha counties. Your participation is much appreciated.
Mud River – Reports of muskie and bass caught recently. WVDNR surveys on Upper Mud recently revealed excellent populations of black bass in the main lake (Upper Mud). There are two public access sites and various facilities available for anglers and families at Upper Mud Lake and WMA. Give Upper Mud (river or lake) a try soon for a successful fishing trip or a family picnic/fishing trip. Upper Mud also offers a WMA as mentioned that is very good for spring gobbler season – there is still one week left and many birds still gobbling. Try a combination day of hunting gobblers in the am followed by bass fishing in the afternoon and evening.
Small Impoundments –Trout stockings began in January and will conclude at the end of May. Check the online site or call the stocking hotline at 304-558-3399 for current information. Warmwater fish such as bass, bluegill, and catfish will bite better in our small impoundments with rising water temperatures also. Try your favorite lures and bait for bass and bluegill. For catfish, try chicken livers, hot dogs, bubble gum and even soap! Many small impoundments are slated to be stocked this week with catchable-sized channel catfish. Shelled shrimp available at any grocery store is also a good choice as is a “gob” of nightcrawlers fished on the bottom. Liver and prepared ‘stink’ baits work well also. Take a kid or someone new to fishing out during a warmer day and let theme experience the fun as well!!
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. Fishing in area reservoirs is good to excellent right now. Conditions are close to optimal for many preferred gamefish. Fishing can be good anytime as long as anglers key on the proper bait, habitat, preferred temperature range, and recognize what the fish are doing. For example bass and panfish should be spawning soon (if not already in some waterbodies). For bass target staging areas, and deep water adjacent to shallow spawning flats. Once you do have success try to evaluate why you caught a fish and try to establish a pattern that might help explain why you were successful. If you are able to establish a pattern further success may only be a cast away. For example in reservoirs a good springtime pattern for bass is to locate and fish old roadbeds. Old roadbeds create a variation in habitat and/or structure and offer a preferred shallow flat area bass like to spawn on. Therefore, old submerged roadbeds can be bass magnets in the spring. Try this pattern and/or find your own, this is one of the fun parts of fishing. Early in the am, late, and during overcast skies try using topwater for bass around structure. You might be rewarded with a great topwater strike. To target walleye and saugeye concentrate during the low light periods of dusk and dawn and/or fish at night using shad imitations and jigs around rocky points and drop-offs. Hybrids can also be taken on shad imitating lures or minnows in Beech Fork and East Lynn. Concentrate your effort during low light or under darkness for these brutish fish.
Finally, during this time of the year a cold snap can make it seem like fish have got lockjaw all of a sudden. Remember to slow your presentation down under these conditions and maybe even try bait rather than artificials. Another tip is to concentrate on habitat warmed by the sun. Once the weather becomes nice again for a few days and water temperatures rise go back to a faster and more erratic presentation using various lures. As we progress into the summer carp can be found in the shallow backwater areas of reservoirs spawning. Anglers can target these strong fighting fish with either bows or with rod and reel.
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. Streams/rivers are warming up and offer great fishing right now for various species across the state. A spinnerbait slow rolled off of structure and timber is a great lure to try. White and chartreuse are two preferred colors for bass. In many small tackle shops one may purchase a card with an internal rig and a matching needle used to thread the rig into a minnow. These are deadly on many gamefish! Give them a try, especially during higher flows after a brief rainstorm. For catfish use stink baits and cut baits for channels, and live bait and/or fresh cut bait for flatheads. Muskie anglers should try inline spinners, large spinnerbaits and large glide or crank baits. Many have reported excellent catches recently now that the spawn is over and fish are on the prowl trying to regain strength lost spawning. Paint Creek, Pond Fork, and Spruce Laurel Fork were all recently stocked with trout, check the online stocking guide or call 304 558 3399.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
This is an excellent time to fish Ohio River Tail-waters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville and Willow Island dams 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 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.
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.
Catchable Channel Catfish Stockings - West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has stocked over 6,700 catchable-size channel catfish during the week of May 17th. Fish will be ¾ to 2 pounds in size and were reared at either the Apple Grove State Fish Hatchery or purchased from a private vendor. Twenty-three lakes located throughout the state will be stocked. Lakes to be stocked are: Anawalt Lake, Barboursville Lake, Berwind Lake, Cedar Creek State Park Lake, Chief Logan State Park Lake, Conaway Run Lake, Coopers Rock Lake, French Creek Pond, Handley Pond, Hurricane Lake, Krodel Lake, Laurel Lake, Little Beaver State Park Lake, Mason Lake, Mountwood Lake, North Bend State Park Pond, Parker Hollow Lake, Pendleton Lake at Blackwater Falls State Park, Pipestem State Park Lake, Tomlinson Run Lake, Wallback Lake, Watoga State Park Lake and Wirt County Pond.
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