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West Virginia Winter Report by the WV DNR

Fishing reports for the entire United States coastline and freshwater systems.

West Virginia Winter Report by the WV DNR

Postby troutfisher » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Weekly Fishing Report -- Updated every Wednesday afternoon

January 7, 2009

FISHING

BEECH FORK – The reservoir is at winter pool. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-525-5092. No current fishing reports. If an angler does decide to give one of our reservoirs a try, you might have all of it to yourself right now. Despite colder temperature levels, one can do very well if the proper lure is chosen and presented the right way for bass, walleye or hybrids.

BLUESTONE – During winter, anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Fish will still feed but have a slower metabolism as the water cools. A few bass are being caught off rocky points using live minnows. Anglers should look for points that have some cover such as stumps, logs, or ledges. Some hybrid striped bass and striped bass may be caught using large chubs. Anglers should try spots such as at the mouth of the Bluestone Arm or near the dam. With any warm, stable weather, fish may become more active. A few anglers are catching some smallmouth bass in the tailwaters. Successful anglers are using one-eighth ounce white doll flies and gitzits. Anglers should be careful wading this time of year due to the cold water and slippery conditions. Wear your personal flotation devices.

BURNSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool and clear. Water temperatures are in the 40’s and fishing has been difficult because of ice. Bass are in about 10-20 feet of water. Crappie have been hitting minnows around fish attractors. Catfish have been caught on live bait. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-853-2398.

EAST LYNN – The reservoir is at winter pool. Both the outflow and the reservoir are murky with a surface temperature of 42 F degrees. For more information call the Corps of Engineers recorded message at 304-849-9861. No current fishing reports. If an angler does decide to give one of our reservoirs a try, you might have all of it to yourself right now. Despite colder temperature levels, one can do very well if the proper lure is chosen and presented the right way for bass, walleye or hybrids.

R.D. BAILEY – During winter, fish are still active but has a slower metabolism with the colder waters, so anglers should fish slowly and methodically. Spotted bass are hitting plastic jigs in crawfish colors. The spotted bass will be found along the rocky drops with points another good spot. Walleye are starting to be creeled by local anglers. Best places are along the shallow clay flats either early or late. As the year progresses, the walleye will be moving up the river to begin spawning. Best baits are jigs tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers.

STONECOAL LAKE – The lake is at summer pool and cloudy. Water temperatures are in the 40’s and fishing is good. Bass are in about 10 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are hitting minnows around fish attractors. Anglers are reporting some nice channel catfish being caught over the last few weeks. A few trout have also been caught.

STONEWALL JACKSON – The lake is at winter pool and clear. Surface temperature is in the 40’s and fishing is fair. Bass are in about 10-20 feet of water. Reports of a few musky being caught this week trolling. Crappie and bluegill have been hitting live bait and jigs. For more information contact Corps of Engineers at 304-269-7463.

SUMMERSVILLE – The lake is at winter pool and clear. Fishing has been fair. For bass, try 10-15 feet of water around rock points as well as the Battle Run area. Walleye have also been caught off of rock points and shallow areas in the McKee Creek arm of the lake. Outflow temperature is 42. Try fishing in the evenings as the sun goes down or early mornings for the best action for walleye. If you are looking for a back country trout fishing experience hike down in and enjoy. The Gauley River was stocked by helicopter on October 22. For more information call Corps of Engineers at 304-872-5809.

SUTTON – The lake is at winter pool and clear. Water temperatures are in the 40’s and fishing is fair. Bass have been in 10-20 feet of water. Crappie have been hitting minnows around beaver huts and blown down trees. Boat launching at Bee run and behind the dam only. For daily information call Corps of Engineers at 304-765-2705.

TYGART LAKE – The lake is about 25 feet below the summer level but had increased to near the summer level last week. This is a good time to target walleye in water 20 to 30 feet deep using minnows or nightcrawlers on a ¼-ounce jigs. White bass are common throughout the lake. Spinners, crankbaits, and casting spoons are good baits for white bass.

The first high flows of the season are occurring and this causes lots of walleye to move through the dam to the tailwaters. Walleye can be caught along the shoreline even when the flows are very high. There are also lots of trout in the tailwater. The tailwater temperature is 39 degrees. 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 mouths of tributaries are good places to fish during the winter. Fish will move into the mouths to escape the current of the main river and conserve energy. Sauger can be very abundant in these areas, particularly if there is a deep hole nearby. The mouth of Fishing Creek below New Martinsville is one of the better wintering areas. Walleye, sauger and hybrid striped bass can also be caught all winter as they move in and out of the tailwater areas on a daily basis. These are the best areas on the river to fish since most species of fish will be concentrated in these areas. The most convenient tailwater areas are the piers below the Hannibal Lock and Dam tailwater at New Martinsville and the Pike Island Dam at Wheeling. 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. The mouth of Fishing Creek can be a good area for bank anglers to catch hybrid striped bass. Heated industrial and power plant discharges also attract hybrids all winter.

MONONGAHELA RIVER – The water temperature is around 38 degrees. Recent high flows will cause fish to move into tributary mouths, particularly Buffalo, Paw Paw, Prickett and Whiteday creeks. Fish will also be attracted to currents in the tailwaters and heated discharges at the power plants. Channel catfish can be caught along the shoreline throughout the river in 10 to 15 feet of water 20 to 50 feet from shore. Minnows or nightcrawlers are the best baits. Start fishing for sauger and walleye about an hour before sunset because they will begin feeding at dusk. Jigs with minnows or worms are particularly good baits but 3-inch plastic grubs will also be productive. White or chartreuse are good colors.

CHEAT LAKE – The lake is at winter operating level and can fluctuate several feet daily. The winter boat ramp at Cheat Lake Park is now open. The Sunset Beach ramp is not usable below a lake elevation of 865 feet. Fishing is good throughout the lake. A fish survey two weeks ago found the most walleye in the lower half of the lake between the dam and Sunset Beach. The largest collected was 26-inches. This is one of the best lakes for channel catfish and 2 to 3 pounders are abundant and can be caught all winter.

The embayments at the Cheat Lake Park and Trail are good areas for bank anglers to catch sunfish and largemouth bass. The rock riprap on the lake side of the recreation area also holds lots of fish. Fish for yellow perch in 10-15 feet of water along any shoreline using a piece of a nightcrawler and several split shot.

EASTERN PANHANDLE

South Branch and Cacapon Rivers

Flows in the stream and rivers throughout the eastern panhandle are now high and most are muddy due to recent rains. Anglers will need to wait a few days for flows to subside and water to clear for good fishing conditions. Water temperatures are in the mid 30’s and this time of year is a perfect time to catch some big winter time smallmouth bass with slow moving plastics in calm water areas. Many smallmouth bass in the South Branch have been tagged as part of a fish movement and fish health study. If you catch a tagged fish, please clip off the tag and return it to DNR for a reward.

The 2009 spring trout stocking season is underway and several streams and impoundments have already been stocked. Many streams and impoundments have trout remaining from the October trout stocking. The new 2009 fishing regulations are now available at DNR offices, many license agents and online at http://www.wvdnr.gov. Check the trout stocking schedule to determine when your favorite waters are stocked. Up-to-date information regarding trout stocking can be found online at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/DailyStock.shtm or by calling the fishing hotline at 304 558-3399. Hunting and fishing license can be purchased online at https://www.wvhunt.com/wizard/hfw000.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 1000 cfs and fishing conditions will be dangerous. Trout can be caught in eddies during high flow events and lots of trout remain from the October stocking. 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/recreatio ... ecinfo.htm).

Small Impoundments

Some small impoundments may still be unfishable due to a thin layer of ice and cloudy water. Bass and bluegill are in their winter pattern so try slow moving plastics and worms. Bass can be caught from the shore to about 15 feet of water. Some small impoundments will start receiving early trout stockings but may have holdover trout from the fall stockings.

Jennings Randolph Lake

Jennings Randolph Lake is currently 30 feet below conservation pool and dropping slowly. The boat ramp on the West Virginia side of the lake is now closed for the season. The ramp on the Maryland side will be open weather permitting. Anglers should focus on smallmouth by fishing with slow moving plastics and walleye near the head of lake. This is also a great time to target trout. 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/recreatio ... ecinfo.htm.

Mt. Storm Lake

Bass fishing has been slow but try slow plastics in the rip-rap areas near the dam of the lake. Anglers typically catch hybrid striped bass and catfish near the heated discharge of the power plant all winter long.

CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Water levels are high, clear with some frozen. Remember to buy your 2009 fishing license before heading out. The January trout stocking has begun. A few waters that were stocked in District 3 include Shavers Fork, Watoga Lake, and Cranberry River. Check the DNR website for statewide trout stockings and updated fishing information (http://www.wvdnr.gov).

SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

The New and Greenbrier rivers are producing a few smallmouth bass using tube jigs. Best spots are just below a shoal or rapid or in eddies near the shore. Anglers may also want to try Kanawha Falls for walleye (use big chubs for bait) or lake anglers can find some excellent bass fishing at Plum Orchard Lake. Best baits are plastic worms fished slowly along the bottom, spinnerbaits are also good choices.

SOUTHWESTERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lower Ohio and Kanawha rivers – Fishing is OK along the navigable rivers and their locks for multiple species (bass, drum, walleye, sauger, hybrids). But, fish slow and methodical due to colder fall/winter temperature levels. 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 – No recent reports.

Poca River – No recent reports.

Elk River –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 from the tagged fish. Your participation is much appreciated.

Mud River – No recent reports due to low flows.

Small Impoundments – Many small impoundments will be stocked with trout this month, call 304-558-3399 for the latest stocking report or check online.

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. The drawdown on state reservoirs is now complete, fishing will stabilize again but remain slow due to conditions. Anglers should be patient, and generally fish S-L-O-W. At this time of the year once an angler can develop a successful pattern it will continue to work for a period of time. If you aren’t catching fish, try various techniques until you are successful, then repeat!

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. Due to cooler temperatures concentrate your efforts during the warmer periods of the day. A warmer than usual overcast day is a great day to go during this period. Fish slow, be patient, and use your favorite baits and lures. 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.

WEST-CENTRAL WEST VIRGINIA

Trout have been or will be stocked into several lakes throughout the area. In January trout are scheduled to be stocked in to Cedar Creek State park Ponds in Gilmer County, Mile Tree Lake in Roane County, Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County, Rollins and Turkey Run lakes in Jackson County, and Tracy Lake and Pennsboro Water Supply Reservoir in Ritchie County. Check the Daily Trout Stocking report for the latest at 558-3399 or on the web at http://www.wvdnr.gov/Fishing/Stocking/Daily Stock.shtm. This information is updated daily at 4:00 p.m., January through May. Trout anglers can use a variety of baits including small spinners, joe type flies and trout magnets also work well. Area lake may be frozen, and anglers should use caution before venturing onto the ice. Four inches of new clear ice is the minimum thickness for travel on foot, however there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice!

Winter is an excellent time to fish Ohio River Tailwaters. Anglers fishing below the Belleville and Willow Island dams are catching sauger, walleye and a few other species. Lead headed jigs with twister tails (white or chartreuse), 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. Warmwater 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.

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 not expected to be fishable this weekend.
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