Fishing Report - May 6, 2016

 

FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Main river and shallow creek weed beds and wood cover are producing nice tidal river bass on worms, grubs and jig 'n pig. Occasionally, the largemouth will take a top-water bait worked slowly along the edge of the cover. Deep-diving crankbaits, plastic worms and spinnerbaits are working well for largemouth along dropoffs adjacent to sandy or gravel banks. Crappie are schooled along creek channels and around flooded brush. Sunfish are beginning to hit well on nightcrawlers, tiny grubs, beetlespins and flyrod poppers. Catfish are slamming cut baits and clam snouts. Herring and shad are still available in the channel and cove at Fletcher's Boathouse, when the swift current allows boating. REMEMBER - The season is closed on both shad and herring. The white perch are still available, but in smaller sizes and numbers. Striped bass are being caught on bucktails, cut bait and crab baits throughout the city waters.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are still foraging in the milfoil and emerging hydrilla beds in the main river. Some of the better beds are located in Mattawoman and Chickamuxen Creeks and on the main river, below Mattawoman Creek on the Maryland shoreline. Mallows Bay is also producing well. Some bass have already spawned. Seek out shallow, sandy or gravel banks with good tidal movement, and fish Carolina-rigged lizards, slowly, on the deep end of the drop. White and yellow perch are seeking food in the grass. Berkley Power Worms, Zoom lizards and rattling crankbaits are the preferred baits, although topwater baits are attracting strikes in the early morning. A few pickerel are available in the backs of the lower tidal creeks. Spinnerbaits and plastic baits, fished in the lily pad edges are taking these fish. Catfish are taking cut bait and clam snouts. Fish flats adjacent to main river channels. Use stout tackle when fishing the channel itself, as trophy size fish are resident here.Snakeheads are actively foraging, taking just about any bait thrown in the water. They particularly like spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass are being taken from the north shore of the river, as well as in Belmont Bay. Rattling crankbaits, plastic creature baits, Senkos and spinnerbaits are the better baits. Crappie are taking small minnows around boat docks and brushpiles. Catfish action is hot on clam snouts, cut bait and nightcrawlers. Stripers are present in the back of the river.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass action is good, with most of the fish coming from main lake points and dropoffs. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms and crankbaits are the better choice for baits. Catfish anglers are catching some fish on cut bait and clam snouts. Crappie anglers are catching good numbers of fish, using live minnows, 10-12 feet deep over the old river channel. Submerged brushpiles in 10+ feet of water are also holding the fish.

BURKE LAKE - Bass action has improved, with plastic worms on dropoffs being the most consistent pattern. Crappie are taking small minnows and tiny jigs around submerged brush. Shellcrackers are biting well, with some fish over a pound being caught. Live crickets and red wigglers are the better baits. Catfish are taking clam snouts and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Muskie are not active.

LAKE BRITTLE - Lots of crappie and bluegill are being caught, along with a few bass in the 3-5 pound class. Crappie are being caught off the pier and around the dam, while the bluegill are being taken off the spawning beds on nightcrawlers and small Panther-Martin spinners.

FARM PONDS - Action is picking up in local ponds. Bass are attacking almost anything thrown in the water. Spawning is taking place in the shallows and small plastic baits, worked into the beds, will take the fish. Catfish action is excellent on chicken livers, clam snouts and nightcrawlers. Sunfish are feeding heavily, with red wigglers, nightcrawlers and Berkley Power Baits being excellent choices for bait.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - When the river level allows boating, smallmouth bass are biting well. Most of the fish are taking three inch Kalin or Yamamoto grubs, Berkley Power Grubs, spinners, minnows, and crankbaits. Fish the banks early and late in the day, and the middle of the river during the afternoon. Deeper pools and riffles are producing the larger fish. Bluegills are taking small spinners and Beetlespins throughout the river. Catfish are suckers for cut bait, nightcrawlers and live minnows. Carp are spawning and are taking cut corn, doughballs, and sugared cereal.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught above the city on tiny crankbaits, live minnows, plastic grubs and jig 'n pigs. The tidal sections of the river are producing good stringers of largemouth bass, striped bass and giant blue catfish. The bass and stripers are taking shad-imitating baits along shoreline structure, while the catfish are taking cut bait, fished on the bottom in the outside bends of the main river channel. Although they are slacking off, hickory shad and herring are still available around the Route One Bridge on small shad darts and tiny gold hooks.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass are taking small spinners, plastic grubs and tiny crankbaits. Catfish are taking nightcrawlers and minnows, while sunfish are responding well to tiny grubs, spinners and flyrod poppers. Flyrodders are having a field day with green and black woolybuggers.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Walleye are biting well for anglers fishing Beetlespins on the Mattaponi, while bass anglers are taking bass from the pad fields on Johnson Silver Minnows. Bream and crappie are being caught on nightcrawlers, while catfish are taking cut baits. Most anglers are being plagued by stripers taking any bait put in the water.

LAKE ORANGE - Good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass are being caught from this lake, along with plenty of catfish. Crappie are schooled in deep water and sunfish are going on the beds.

LAKE ANNA - Despite the heavy fishing and boating pressure, this lake is still producing good catches of largemouth bass. Most of the better fish are being caught on plastic worms, topwater lures and crankbaits. The post-spawn bass are aggressively feeding. Striper action is good, with topwater action at sunset around Dike 3 and trolling and casting around Stubbs Bridge and Rose Valley during daylight hours. Catfish to 15 pounds are coming in, being caught on cut bait, stinkbaits, live minnows and nightcrawlers.

JAMES RIVER - Above Richmond, smallmouth bass are taking small topwater lures and plastic grubs. Many fish in the 1-3 pound class are being caught, with a few over the four pound mark. In the city, lots of stripers and catfish, along with a few walleye, white perch and hickory shad, are being caught. In the tidal stretch, largemouth bass are taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms, fished on shorelines, around submerged wood structure and creek mouths. Standing cypress trees are also holding good fish. Catfish are taking cut bait and large minnows on the bottom of the main river channel. Crappie are taking small minnows around submerged brush. Stripers are taking live minnows and eels around the Benjamin Harrison Bridge, Presque Isle and in the Appomattox River.

LAKE CHESDIN - Catfish and bass are biting well. Bass are being taken on topwater baits, plastic worms and live minnows. Stripers are taking live shad. Bream are taking crickets and nightcrawlers, while crappie are going after minnows.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Bass action is good for anglers fishing lily pads, cypress trees and creek mouths on moving tides. Best success is to be had on four inch Senkos and black/blue lizards. Catfish are biting well. Bream are hitting crickets, nightcrawlers and fly rod poppers. Longnose gar are taking live minnows and plastic worms in the lily pads. Stripers are all over the river, particularly around Walkers Dam. They may be taken on cut bait and any number of bass baits, from crankbaits to topwaters.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - The big news here is bream and bluegills. Lots of large fish are being taken on flyrod poppers, red wigglers, crickets and nightcrawlers. Some good bass are also being caught on topwater baits and plastic worms. Pickerel action is also red hot, with large numbers being caught.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Lots of action in this lake, with bass and stripers being caught under the shad schools. Bass are also being caught on flat areas in 8-12 feet of water off points. Bream and shellcrackers are spawning in 1-8 feet of water. Check the bottom in the clear water for spawning beds. Drop nightcrawlers or red wigglers in the beds and the fish will hit. Crappie are not jumping in the boat, but those that are biting are large. Occasional pickerel to four pounds are also seen.

BACK BAY - Excellent bass fishing in the creeks. West Neck Creek is producing very well, with bass, bluegill, catfish and some perch being caught. The wind shift to southerly should have bass biting well this weekend. Lots of white perch and catfish are available in the bay, proper, with cut bait and bloodworms being the bait of choice.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Bass are biting well at Western Branch, Smith and Whitehurst. Bream, crappie and perch are biting well at the other lakes. Best bait continues to be live crickets and red wigglers. Lots of citation size sunfish are being brought in. An occasional good striper is caught at Prince and Western Branch.

LAKE GASTON - Largemouth bass are active in shallow water on main lake points. Fish plastic grubs or Zoom Super Flukes on most points in 4-8 feet of water and spinnerbaits on WINDY points. Good fishing may also be had in the creeks off the main river channel above the Eaton Ferry Bridge. Striper action is excellent uplake and crappie are biting well throughout the creeks. Sunfish are heading for the beds. Large blue catfish, to 30 pounds, are being taken from the lake. Cut bait is producing the better catches.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Stripers are being caught trolling Redfins and bucktails, 10-15 feet deep, in the main channel from Clarksville to Bowie Point. Broken back Redfins are producing well at night toward the dam and in Eastland Creek. There are also plenty of fish in the river. White bass, although not common, are surfacing late in the evening, hitting small bucktails, Roostertails and small crankbaits. Bass are hitting good throughout the lake, with topwater baits and plastic worms producing best on points. White perch are actively taking nightcrawlers and Berkley power baits, fished on the bottom.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Bass fishing is fair, with most of the fish being taken on topwater baits and live shad. Stripers are cooperating nicely, with a few over 20 pounds being taken on live shad and floating, minnow-type baits. Best area is the Keys, with a few also being caught at the dam. Bait fish are moving onto the banks at night. This makes 9:30-11 p.m. the best time for striper fishing. Live shad are the best bait for the big fish, but Cordell Redfins are also working well. Crappie are taking live minnows.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Stripers, walleye and crappie are the fare here. Shad Raps appear to be the best bait throughout the lake, as most of the larger fish weighed in during the past week were taken on this bait. Below the dam, lots of anglers are catching stripers during their spawning run. These fish are running upriver to spawn and are landlocked stripers, so they are legal to catch.

LAKE MOOMAW - Anglers are picking up some nice catfish, and crappie fishing remains good. Better action is to be had by anglers fishing at night under crappie lights. Large brown trout, 2-6 pounds, are being caught on the lower end of the lake, on live bait under the lights. Bass action is good, with quite a few limits. Yellow perch anglers are hitting the jackpot, with lots of large fish.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Anglers trolling Rapalas at 40 foot depths, are catching some trout to five pounds. Otherwise, anglers are fishing at night for bass, catfish and walleye. Lots of anglers are reporting success in the Smith River, below the dam.

NEW RIVER - Most of the fish being caught on this river are catfish, although some walleye and smallmouth bass are also being taken. Chicken livers are the top bait for the cats, while brown/orange tube baits are taking the smallmouth.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie are taking live minnows. Largemouth bass are taking topwater baits, crankbaits and plastic worms, while smallmouth bass are taking feathered jigs.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Crappie, to two pounds, are taking small minnows and jigs. Catfish are taking cut bait. Some walleye, 3-4 pounds, are being caught by anglers drifting nightcrawlers and minnows across the bottom. Smallmouth bass to six pounds and largemouth bass to eight pounds are also being weighed in.

TROUT STREAMS - Ideal conditions on the larger streams in the Western portion of the state, as well as all of the headwater streams in the National Parks and Forests. Small gold or brass spinners will work well, as will nymphs and streamers in sizes 8-10. Brook trout streams should produce well with dry flies in sizes 14-16. Some of the better streams are Whitetop Laurel, Maury River, Middle Creek, Jennings Creek, Cedar Creek, Back Creek, Big Stoney Creek, and Upper and Lower Passage Creeks.

V I R G I N I A S A L T W A T E R

CHINCOTEAGUE - Improved flounder fishing. Best action is behind Wallops Island near buoy 4 and 5. Lots of skates and some small grey trout are also being caught. Queens Sound is another productive area, with drifted squid and minnow combinations producing the better catches. The surf at Assateague Island has finally begun to produce a few bluefish and sand sharks on cut bait.

WACHAPREAGUE - Good action for flounder at Green and Drawing Channels and Bradford and Burton's Bays. Large speckled trout are being caught at Parkers Island. The area around Paramour Island is producing some black and Red drum. Offshore, the artificial reefs and wrecks continue to produce excellent fishing for sea bass. Bluefish remain plentiful near buoy 10, approximately 8 miles from the Inlet. A few large false albacore have begun to filter into the same area. Some channel bass have been caught closer to shore, trolling Pet spoons.

ONANCOCK - A few grey trout, 3-9 pounds, are being caught in the deeper holes, but the best action has been from speckled trout. Anglers fishing the shallow grass flats around Parkers, Fox, Watts and Half Moon Islands, in the evenings, with peeler crab, are catching some large speckled trout and a surprising number of channel bass. The channel bass are running from 30-40 pounds. Black drum fishing has been excellent for anglers bottom fishing for croaker, but most are lost on the light tackle. Croaker to three pounds are taken in 17-23 feet of water, along with some grey trout. Taylor blues, blowfish and sea mullet round out the catches.

QUINBY - Good flounder fishing, with most of the fish averaging 2-3 pounds. The North Channel and the Coast Guard Station have been the best spots.

CAPE CHARLES - Good catches of black drum are being made near buoy 16, as well as at the Cabbage Patch, and a few are showing behind Fishermans Island. The best drum fishing has been during the evening tide in 40-70 feet of water. Increasing numbers of grey trout are showing just North of the Concrete Ships and around the High Rise of the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Most anglers are having better success while jigging small spoons and bucktails. Continued action for channel bass near Fisherman Island. Croaker and flounder are biting well inside and north of the Cell, while fair numbers of flounder are found around Plantation Light.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Flounder fishing is very good at the Second Island, Small Boat Channel and Baltimore Channel. Black and red drum are being caught throughout the area, with Latimer Shoals and Inner Middle Grounds being the better areas. Limits of stripers are available all along the Bay Bridge Tunnel complex. Big bluefish moved in at Poquoson Flats. The Third and Fourth Islands are giving up a few grey trout. Other good areas for trout are Bluefish Rock, Plum Tree Bar and Twin Stakes, while flounder anglers preferred areas off Fort Monroe and Factory Point. A huge school of large spadefish, to 8+ pounds, are hanging around the Tower Reef, with lots of release citations being issued for the fish. Inside the York River, at the Amoco Pier and off Cheatham Annex, bottom fishermen are catching good number of croaker, to three pounds, and lots of nice trout. Flounder are starting to show off Tue Marsh Light. Speckled trout action is excellent in Mobjack Bay.

MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Chummers are taking limits of stripers along the channel edges from buoy 62 northward. Some of these boats are releasing over 50 stripers, in addition to their limits. A few taylor blues are showing in the chum slicks. Flounder fishing is good to excellent in the vicinity of the Cell, around buoy 42 and around the Wicomico light and jetty. Bottom fishermen are making good catches of big croaker and grey trout on the upriver side of the Route 3 Bridge on the Rappahannock River. Croaker and catfish are biting well around buoys 18 and 19 on the Rappahannock River. Large croaker are just about everywhere in the bay this week. "Drop a baited hook and hold on" are the instructions issued to anglers.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Offshore action is limited to chopper bluefish, yellowfin tuna and false albacore at the Fish Hook, Bluefish Alley, Boomerang and the Hot Dog. Otherwise, anglers are opting to fish for flounder, to four pounds, right at the jetties or head to the CBBT and fish for stripers. Headboats are taking sea bass over the ocean wrecks and the reefs.

PIERS

JAMES RIVER - Croaker are the best bet here, with catfish and occasional school-sized stripers seen in the catches.

LYNNHAVEN - Best bet here is bluefish. The fish are running to three pounds and may be taken on Gotchas. Other catches consist of sea mullet, flounder, spot and croaker.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Bottom fishermen are catching spot and croaker, with pier sea mullet and trout mixed in. Taylor blues are showing an hour before flood tide. Spanish mackerel put in an appearance this week.

SANDBRIDGE - Excellent runs of spot, croaker and blowfish, with skates hitting at any time and Spanish mackerel and 1-5 pound bluefish frequent visitors.

M A R Y L A N D S A L T W A T E R

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Chummers are taking many fish on the Southwest Middlegrounds. Rockfish are taking trolled bucktails, Parachutes and spoons, throughout the area. Moderate size bluefish are being caught on medium sized spoons around Thomas Point, but the fish are scattered. A few blues are being taken in the Bay Bridge area, deep, on spoons, when the stripers will leave them alone. The Choptank River piers report white perch taking grass shrimp and a few large spot are reported in the Patuxent River.

OCEAN CITY - Good flounder, to seven pounds, being caught on shiners, bullheads and squid. Snapper bluefish are being caught in the inlet on flood tides. Lots of 3-4 pound blues being caught on cut mullet and squid baits from the surf. Stripers, to 29 pounds, are also present in the surf, along with puffers, skates and dogfish. Weakfish, to 10 pounds, are taking baits around the inlet piers and the Route 50 Bridge. Offshore, large chopper bluefish are taking a variety of lures from the First Lump to the Fingers. Mako shark anglers have to be content with brown sharks, as the makos have not yet put in an appearance. Seabass remain cooperative on the offshore wrecks.

N O R T H C A R O L I N A S A L T W A T E R

OUTER BANKS - Sea mullet dominate the surf catches, although decent numbers of trout, croaker and spot are also found in the surf. Fishing is excellent at Oregon Inlet, as anglers caught trout, speckled trout, flounder, sea mullet, taylor blues and a few croaker. Offshore, the charter fleet is having fair to good yellowfin and bigeye tuna action, mixed in with the king mackerel and dolphin. On the inshore grounds, good numbers of taylor blues and a smattering of false albacore, along with the first Spanish mackerel of the season, are reported. Headboats are taking a mixed bag of bottom fish, including pigfish, sea bass, sea mullet, pan trout and taylor blues.