Fishing Report – 02.02.12
The reservoir is at winter pool. Anglers should call the Beech Fork Corps of Engineers office at 304.525.4831 for more information. Big fish will continue feeding as the water cools. Bass will be holding near logs or rock shelter. Channel catfish can be caught throughout the lake on chicken livers and cut-bait.
Fishing on the lake is OK but winter weather is a factor anglers must consider due to its impact on angling success. Bass anglers should try their luck around deeper structure such as rocky points or downed trees using small crankbaits, spinnerbaits or jigs. Channel and flathead catfish are still producing some on the lake. Anglers wanting to catch the whiskered ones should try drifting with live bait such as softshell crayfish, hellgrammites, or night crawlers. Chicken livers are also good. Flatheads prefer live bait such as large chubs or a live sunfish. Fish slow at this time of year due to cooler temperature levels. Winter is a good time to go after stripers and hybrids in Bluestone. Both are true bass and prefer cooler temperature levels. Try cut or live shad drifted over points and other lake features, or your favorite shad imitating lures. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304.466.0156.
The lake is at winter pool. Fishing is fair. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait. Trout still remain in the tailwater. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304.853.2398.
The reservoir is at winter pool. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304.849.9861. Bass will be holding near logs, stumps and fish attracting brush piles. Musky will be found near bush piles and fallen trees. Channel catfish and flatheads are abundant in the lake and can be caught with a variety of baits. A few walleye have been caught in the lake and tailwater within the last two weeks.
Fishing on the lake is OK. Some of the largest spotted bass in WV are found in R. D. Bailey Lake. Spotted bass can be found along drop-offs and points extending into the lake at this time of the year. Good baits are plastic jigs, live shad, or crayfish. Hybrid striped bass are also available for the hearty winter angler at R.D. Bailey. Best baits are lures such as rattletraps, spoons, or white/chartreuse jigs. Anglers may also want to try chicken livers for this hard fighting fish surprisingly as it sounds. Many locals use this technique and do well. The lake also has a good walleye population and anglers can expect to catch this fine eating fish along clay points or rocky drops. Best bait is probably live minnows or jigs. Fish slow at this time of year due to cooler temperature levels for all species. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304.664.9587.
Stephens is very clear, to improve the odds of catching fish, use light line, cast far, reduce noise, fish quietly and carefully. Bass anglers are successful using soft plastics and small crankbaits. Fish slow at this time of year due to cooler temperature levels for all species.
The lake is at summer pool. Fishing is fair. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait and jigs around beaver huts and fish attractors. Trout were stocked in the lake this fall by the Stonecoal Lake Fishing Club. A few perch have been caught in the upper end on minnows.
The lake is at winter pool and milky. Fishing is fair. Bass are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait. Channel catfish have also been caught. Trout still remain in the tailwater. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304.269.7463.
The lake is at winter pool and clear. The inspections are complete at the lake and it has returned to winter pool management. It is a great time of year for walleye. Try rocky points, drop offs and at the mouth of small tributaries entering the lake. For more information contact the Corps of Engineers office at 304.872.3412.
The lake is at winter pool and clear. Fishing is fair. Bass are being caught in about 10.15 feet of water. Most are being caught in and around cover. Bluegill and crappie are also hitting live bait. The tailwaters are normal and clear. Trout were stocked in the tailwaters on October 19th. Before heading to the lake please call Corps of Engineers at 304.765.2705.
The lake is 55 feet below the summer level and still falling. This is a good time of the year to fish for walleye since the lake is unusually ice free. Walleye can be at any depth but will move into shallow water to feed at dusk.
There are lots of trout in the tailwater. 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):
The river is at the normal seasonal level and in good fishing condition. Walleye and sauger are still being caught at the mouths of tributaries, particularly Fishing Creek. Minnows are the best bet but jigging spoons have also been productive. Other good spots at this time of year are heated discharges at power plants. One hour before and after sunset is the best time for sauger and walleye. Hybrid striped bass will congregate in these areas.
The river is ice-free. The best pattern now is to fish for sauger and walleye an hour before and after sunset. Sauger and walleye usually begin feeding at dusk in the tailwater but will be active during the day when the water is turbid. They may also concentrate at the mouths of larger tributaries like Buffalo, PawPaw and Pricketts creeks. Jigs with minnows are always good baits but 3.inch plastic grubs will also be productive. Muskies can be caught by trolling large crank baits throughout the river. Channel catfish are abundant throughout the river and can be caught on cut bait, chicken livers and night crawlers.
The lake is ice-free which is unusual for this time of year. The winter boat ramp at the Cheat Lake Park is now open. Water levels can fluctuate 13 feet until March 30. Channel catfish can be caught at the Cheat Lake Park until the lake ices over. A good walleye stocking in 2010 should now be producing 13 to 14.inch fish.
South Branch and Cacapon Rivers
Flows in most streams and rivers throughout the eastern panhandle are slightly above normal flow and dropping. The water is clear and water temperatures are in the lower 40’s and should remain in the lower 40’s through the weekend. This is a great time for fishing the South Branch. Anglers fishing the South Branch have been very success in the past week and the rise in water temperature will encourage smallmouth bass to bite. Try using slow moving plastics in deep pools. Many smallmouth bass in the South Branch have been tagged as part of a fish movement and fish health study, so if you catch a tagged fish, please clip off the tag and return it to DNR for a reward.
The 2012 trout stocking season is underway. Check the new 2012 fishing regulations to determine when and where these trout stockings occurred. A fishing guide is now available for the Eastern panhandle which includes a stream map. The new fishing guides can be obtained free of charge from any of our district offices.
The flows in the Shenandoah River are high but try fishing for smallmouth bass in slow moving areas near the head of pools around large rocks or other structure. The WVDNR in cooperation with Jefferson County Parks and Recreation have extended the boat ramp at the Moulton Park public access and it is now usable.
North Branch River
The flows in the North Branch are 800 cfs and will remain at that level for several more days. Flows are still very high for wade fishing but trout should be holding in the eddies.
Small impoundments are in great fishing condition and anglers have been doing well catching trout in those impoundments that have been stocked with trout. Some impoundments will receive trout stockings during the month of February, so check the fishing regulations to determine when and where trout stockings will occur. A new impoundment has been created at the Edwards Run Wildlife Management Area in Hampshire County and will receive trout stockings starting in February.
Jennings Randolph Lake
Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 21 feet below conservation pool and dropping. The WV and MD boat ramps are now closed for the season. Recent biological surveys by the MDDNR have indicated good smallmouth bass, rock bass and walleye populations. Don’t forget you can buy a season boat launch pass for Jennings Randolph Lake and the pass is honored at both the MD and WV ramps. Jennings Randolph Lake has a dedicated phone line for up-to-date recreational information 304.355.2890.
Mt. Storm Lake
Anglers at Mt. Storm 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. Most fish are moving toward the power plant due to the warmer water and it’s a great place to fish all winter.
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 on a place to fish. Trout stocking continues this month and lots of waters have been stocked thanks to clear road conditions. Watoga and Spruce Knob lakes and Shavers Fork were stocked to name a few. Remember to buy your 2012 fishing license before heading out.
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA
The New and Greenbrier rivers continue to provide good fishing for smallmouth bass. Winter anglers should target deeper, slower runs and pockets that allow cold.blooded fish to maintain their positions easier. Bait and artificial lures that are fished slow and close to the bottom work well at this time of year. Some of the biggest smallmouth bass are caught during colder months when most people do not fish. Finding smallmouth bass winter holding positions in the river is the key to success. Muskie anglers are currently finding success on the New River using crankbaits, jerkbaits and large soft plastics. Being a “coolwater” fish, muskies bite well during late fall and into the winter, give them a try. Southern WV is blessed with many small impoundments that have good fish populations. Waters such as Plum Orchard, Stephens and Pipestem lakes have excellent largemouth bass populations. Again, fish slow, close to the bottom. Some larger streams and impoundments have been or will be stocked soon, check the fishing regulations for locations. If your favorite stream didn’t get stocked, don’t be discouraged many larger streams hold carry.over trout and /or wild or native trout. Hike away from the road and access points. Try bait and slow down the speed of lures due to cooler temperature levels. Try to concentrate your efforts during the warmer parts of the day. If an unseasonably warm weather pattern moves in, hit your favorite stream or small impoundment, fishing will be good.
SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA
Lower Ohio and Kanawha Rivers
Sauger, walleye, white bass and hybrid striped bass fishing in the tailwaters is picking up with the falling river stage.
Guyandotte, Coal, Poca, Elk, and Mud Rivers
Recent rains will make fishing these streams difficult this week.
Trout fishing should be good in stocked impoundments. Larger panfish and bass will still be feeding and can be caught with nightcrawlers or artificial baits.
WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA
Trout have been stocked into several lakes throughout the area these include Cedar Creek State Park Ponds in Gilmer County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County and Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County. In February Conaway Run Lake in Tyler County will also receive trout and Rollins Lake will receive a second stocking. Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County water level has been brought down and will not be stocked until the lake level returns to normal. This information is updated daily at 4:00 p.m., January through May. Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small worms, mealworms, salmon eggs, cheese, or trout power bait. Lakes may be frozen and anglers should use caution before venturing out upon frozen lakes. Ice does not form with uniform thickness on any body of water. Underwater springs or currents can wear thin spots on any body of water. Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe. Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. When lakes are not frozen, small spinners, joe type flies and trout magnets also work well.
Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River tailwaters and sauger fishing has been red hot this winter! Anglers fishing below the Belleville dam are catching sauger, walleye and a few other species. Riggs using suspended minnows or lead headed jigs with twister tails white or chartreuses), which are fished along the bottom, are the lure of choice. When the river is running high and muddy clever anglers are tipping their jig hooks with minnows. Best spots to fish these areas include eddies and back-current sections, and anywhere that river flows are unusually slow. Warmwarter discharges associated with industrial facilities hold fish in the winter along the Ohio River. Best bet for lures here include crankbaits and rubber jigs. Expect to catch white bass, hybrid striped bass and a few other species at these hot spots. 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.
Winter fishing for largemouth bass can be good during warm sunny days in area lakes. Slowly fished rubber worms or jig-and-pig combos are good terminal tackle choices. Area lakes with good winter bass 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.
Musky streams are expected to be fishable this weekend. Winter musky anglers use medium to large lures, and they concentrate their fishing efforts around brush piles or other areas of good cover. Middle Island Creek, the major streams in the Hughes River system, and the Little Kanawha River are good area musky waters.