Fishing Report - May 13, 2016
FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor
OVERVIEW - With the past seventeen days showing measurable rainfall throughout the region, fishing has been on and off. When the rains let up, the fish start biting. When the rains resume, they turn off again. When the rain runs it's course, fishing will once again take off and be better than ever. Although waters throughout the state are stained or muddy, the fish are still biting. Don't let this put you off.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - The herring run is winding down. Small white perch and large catfish are the order of the day at Fletcher's Boathouse. Stripers are plentiful and the fishing action is fair to good. Washington Channel has begun to produce bass along the War College Wall. Fish buzzbaits across the grass, early and late in the day. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are the ticket if the sun is shining. Rattling crankbaits, fished along the outside edge, are taking good fish from the dropoff. Stripers are patrolling the dropoffs, so be prepared for a hard strike. Bridge pilings on the main river are producing good numbers of bass and stripers on crankbaits and plastic baits. Cover around Blue Plains and outside the Spoils, is producing good numbers of 2-5 pound bass. Plastic jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are the ticket here.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Largemouth bass are feeding in the slowly emerging hydrilla beds along the main river, below Mattawoman Creek. Fish rattling crankbaits and plastic worms on the outside edges of the vegetation, and topwater baits over the beds early and late in the day. The creeks are loaded with fish for those anglers fishing small plastics, small spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. The grass beds in the creeks are just beginning to produce fish on topwater baits. Fish are being caught on Zoom Super Hogs and soft plastic stick baits. These baits are best fished with no weight. In the creek channels, keep the sinkers light and let the tide sweep the baits along the bottom. Watch the line where it enters the water for the strike. Small beetlespins will take good sized yellow perch and sunfish, along with bass. Catfish are taking cut bait, clam snouts and chicken livers throughout the river. Fish the bottom, in the outside bends of the channel for the largest fish. Bridge pilings and flats adjacent to the channel will hold eating size fish.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Sripers are still available on jumbo minnows and deep-trolled Cordell Redfins. Early morning and late evenings are best. Bass are available on wood cover throughout the river. Crankbaits and plastic worms are the preferred baits. Crappie and bluegill are found around the boat docks, and catfish are everywhere in the river channel. Live minnows and fresh cut bait are the ticket for the whiskered giants.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass action is good. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic baits are taking some bass in coves, on points, and along the rock walls. Catfish are very active, taking clam snouts on the bottom. Larger crappie are schooled and suspended over the main river channel, particularly where submerged standing timber is found. Small minnows, tiny Hopkins spoons and crappie jigs are taking 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. Bluegill are biting well, with some fish over a pound being caught. Catfish are taking clam snouts and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Muskie are not active.
FARM PONDS - Bass are holding in deeper water, adjacent to spawning flats. Very slow presentations of Berkley Power Baits, are taking fish from the deeper holes. Topwater baits are excellent early and late in the day, but plastic baits are the choice when the sun shines.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass will be scouring the mid-river rocks for food. Small crankbaits, spinners and plastic grubs will take good numbers of fish. Topwater baits, such as Tiny Torpedos and buzzbaits, should take good fish early and late in the day, around the grass beds. Flyrodders should do well on poppers. Big sunfish are available for anglers using tiny flyrod poppers and Beetlespins. Catfish are hitting well on live minnows, clam snouts and nightcrawlers.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Bass action in the tidal section of the river is slow. Some fish are being taken from blowdowns on the southern shoreline, on plastic worms and shad colored crankbaits. Blue catfish are still being caught in the tidal section. Cut bait, fished on the bottom, in the outside river channel bends, is responsible for some giants. Above the city, smallmouth bass fishing was fair until the rains came. Yellow perch, catfish and sunfish are taking small spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic grubs. Below the Route 301 Bridge, lots of bass are being taken from the tidal feeder creeks. Fish the outside bends of the creek channels, points and dropoffs. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics are the ticket.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass numbers are good, although sizes are small. Small topwater lures and skirted plastic grubs are the choice of more successful anglers. Catfish are hungry, attacking minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers with gusto. Sunfish are still cooperative, hitting tiny poppers, Beetlespins, spinners and plastic grubs.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Most of the herring and white perch have left the river. However, fishing is excellent for sunfish, stripers, catfish and bass.
LAKE ANNA - Topwater action is excellent early and late in the day. Bass are breaking the surface, chasing schools of shad. Main lake points are producing well on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms and grubs, and live minnows. Some good catches of 4-8 pound bass around the 208 bridge on grubs, deep diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms, in 10-17 feet of water. Crappie are thick around bridge pilings and beaver huts, on live minnows, tiny Hopkins spoons and Beetlespins. Willow grass beds uplake are producing some good bass on buzzbaits and soft plastics, fished weightless. Lots of patience is required. Stripers are hitting well in the Rose Valley area on large, trolled crankbaits and live shad. Dyke three is also producing good numbers of stripers on live shad.
JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass have been active in the upper reaches of the river on tiny crankbaits, spinners, plastic baits and live minnows. The tidal stretches are still producing good numbers of largemouth bass, crappie and some catfish. The bass are orienting to wood cover, undercut banks on creek bends, and lily pads, while crappie are found around brushpiles. Catfish are located on the bottom, in the outside bends of the river channel. The Dutch Gap area's huge blue cats are spawning, with no catches of large fish reported. Stripers are busting shad around the power lines just below Hopewell, early and late in the day.
LAKE CHESDIN - Fishing is excellent, early in the day. After 11:00 a.m., boaters take over the lake and fishing success falls off. Most of the larger bass are being taken from weedbeds on topwater baits, or from creek channels on rattling crankbaits or plastic worms. Catfish action is excellent.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Largemouth bass action is good for anglers fishing the lily pads with plastic worms, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The key to fishing the pads is to use a translucent red worm and a 1/16th oz. sinker. Anything heavier will turn off the fish. Topwater baits are taking lots of fish from the pad beds throughout the river. Most of the fish are averaging 1-2 pounds, but a few over five pounds are also being creeled. Crappie and sunfish are suckers for flyrod poppers throughout the river system, while catfish prefer cut bait or turtle livers, fished on the bottom of the channel.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Flyrodders heaven is the best way to describe this lake. Poppers fished in the outside edges of the lily pad fields or over the grass beds, are taking sunfish, crappie, bass and pickerel. The species is determined by the size and color of the popper. Casters are taking bass to eight pounds on Zoom Super Flukes or Horny Toads, cast to the back of the lily pad fields or grass beds, and Storm Chug Bugs, worked along the grass bed edges. Grass shrimp baits are taking many large bream. Catfishermen are taking some nice bowfin as well. Pickerel are taking any bait put in the water. Some of these fish are trophy size.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass, to six pounds, are taking plastic worms and crankbaits, fished in shallow water, particularly on ledges near deeper water. Excellent bluegill action, along with some large crappie and white perch. Pickerel are tearing up anything thrown in the water and retrieved very fast. Stripers are taking shad baits and topwaters.
BACK BAY - Bream, crappie and perch are being caught in Hellespoint Creek. West Neck Creek is producing more of the same, along with some good sized catfish and bass. The grass beds at the upper end of the lake are giving up nice catches of bass, catfish and crappie.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Shellcrackers and bluegills are biting well, with lots of citation-sized fish. Bass have turned on, with good fish being taken in most of the lakes. The bass action is excellent on top water baits.
LAKE GASTON - Main lake points are the ambush spots for the bass in the lake. Rat-l-traps, Speed Shads and plastic worms are the primary baits taking fish. Although most bass have finished spawning, some are still looking for beds. Check out the back ends of creeks and coves for beds in shallow water, near deeper water. Boat docks are also holding lots of good fish. Best baits are Carolina-rigged, plastic worms and lizards, in pumpkinseed colors. Stripers are active around the mouth of Pea Hill Creek and around the island. Crappie fishing is excellent, once the schools are found. Most of the crappie are schooled near some submerged structure. The underwater forest in the back end of Lizard Creek is a good starting point.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - With the water level at 307, bass are taking plastic baits, small spinnerbaits and jerkbaits, fished in the buckbrush and willows. Bass are also found in 3-7 feet of water in stumps and rocks. Live shad, bucktails and Redfins are taking stripers between Buoys 6-14. Striper fishing is red hot around the bridges at Clarksville. Some stripers to 22 pounds are being taken below Kerr Dam, along with some white perch. Crappie anglers are doing well with live minnows over submerged brush and around bridge pilings, 12-15 feet deep.
BRIERY CREEK LAKE - Bream are hitting very well. Most of the larger fish are being taken on live crickets, but flyrodders are having a field day. Bass are just coming off the beds, so most of the fish being caught are slot-sized males.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper action is good on Cordell Redfins, Rapalas and live shad and alewives. Sizes range from 9-28 pounds. Bass are biting well on plastic worms and live shad, during the day and topwater baits in the late evening. Best action is around boat docks on points. Smoke, metalflake grubs and Zoom Flukes are taking some good fish.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass are the main creel in this lake. Most of the fish are being taken on crankbaits. Stripers, 7-15 pounds, are still biting well below the dam on Cordell Redfins and large Rebel lures.
LAKE MOOMAW - Fishing is picking up with brown trout 4-8 pounds, rainbow trout and channel catfish taking live minnows and deep-trolled minnow imitating lures and spoons. Best fishing is at night, under crappie lights.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Bass are coming off the beds. Crappie and bream fishing is excellent. Some walleye are being taken, but the chief quarry are catfish. Live minnows, worms and clam snouts are the prime baits. The Smith River is giving up some nice rainbow trout in the 3-5 pound class.
NEW RIVER - Bass and catfish action is excellent, with crankbaits and small plastic grubs producing best.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie are taking live minnows, while smallmouth bass are taking topwater baits, crankbaits and plastic worms.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Catfish are beginning to show up well and crappie are taking live minnows. Bluegills are on the beds.
TROUT STREAMS - Lick and Wolf Creeks in Bland County are producing excellent trout fishing. Whitetop Laurel in Washington Country is also producing excellent catches. The lower stretch is best with streamers such as Black Nose Dace and nymphs, such as Mr. Rapidan and Emerger. The upper section is producing well on dry flies such as light Cahills. Big Stoney Creek, downstream of Wolf Gap Road, to Lantz Mill is producing good rainbow trout for anglers using spinners, spoons and nymphs.
V I R G I N I A S A L T W A T E R
CHINCOTEAGUE - Fair numbers of flounder are being caught in the Main Channel on drifted squid strips, peeler crab and live minnows. The shallows around the old lighthouse, Black Narrows and Queens Sound are also producing flounder to seven pounds. Bluefish, to 10 pounds, are scattered throughout the inlet. Grey trout are showing on the back side of Fisherman's Island and just north of the Queens Sound bridge. Striped bass are hanging around the many bridge pilings and piers. Surf anglers are taking taylor blues, skates, small sharks, sea mullet and blowtoads.
WACHAPREAGUE - Flounder action is good in Green and Drawing Channels, as well as Millstone Creek and the Hummock. Pan trout are showing in the catches. Trollers are taking chopper bluefish just outside the inlet. Bayside surf anglers are taking red drum to 45 pounds. Local offshore ocean wrecks are loaded with sea bass and black drum are still holding on Dawson Shoals, with best action coming on the evening tide, using sea clam and peeler crab for bait.
ONANCOCK - Excellent fishing for speckled trout, from Nandua Creek, north along the bayside to the Maryland Line. The fish are running large, with many over the five pound mark. Best success is to be had in shallow grassy areas, on incoming tides, in the evening. Best baits are soft shelled and peeler crab or fresh cut mullet, fished on the bottom. A few red drum are being caught. Grey trout, 2-5 pounds, are being taken over structure such are the Target Ships or the Rockpile, on rubber tailed jigs, tipped with peeler crab. Bottom fishing is excellent, with Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds, being loaded with croaker to two pounds. The area straight out from Onancock is also holding large schools of 1-2 pound croaker. Larger fish are biting on slacking, outgoing tides, on squid or peeler crab. Mixed in the catches are flounder, sea mullet, medium spot and snapper blues.
QUINBY - Excellent flounder fishing, drifting at Quinby Channel in front of Sandy Island and near Rebel Island Creek, with some fish over five pounds. Some trout are showing in the catches and some breaking taylor blues inside the inlet. Channel bass continue to be caught in the surf along the Barrier Island. Some boaters are taking black drum in the 35-40 pound class in the inlet, and surf anglers are taking some drum from the barrier island surf. Offshore, plenty of 8-12 pound bluefish are available on the lumps.
CAPE CHARLES - Good action for black drum, to 55 inches. Best action is coming from Buoys 13, 16 and 36A, on the evening tide. Pan trout are on the upswing around the Cement Ships. Bottom fishing is good, just outside the harbor, for croaker, spot, sea mullet and a few trout. Tautog, 2-6 pounds, continue to bite well along the mussel beds.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Catches along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel include croaker and flounder in the Small Boat Channel and taylor blues from all four islands. Beach anglers are taking a few flounder on live minnows. The Tower Reef and ocean wrecks are showing large spadefish. Offshore, yellowfin tuna and dolphin are beginning to move in, along with an occasional billfish. The ocean is full of chopper bluefish from the beach to the 102 Tower. Bottom fishing at the Twin Stakes is producing flounder, blowtoads, pan trout and taylor blues. Taylor blues are also available in the shallows at the mouth of the Poquoson River, just off Back River and around Factory Point. Trollers caught a few Spanish mackerel this past week, but the catches were sporadic. The York River is producing medium spot and croaker, along with a few pan trout and puppy drum. Speckled trout fishing inside Mobjack Bay has slowed. Cobia should be showing more this week as the first reports of catches are filtering in.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Headboats will be heading out to the ocean wrecks as the black sea bass season opens on Saturday. The wrecks are holding good numbers of sea bass, 1-3 pounds, spadefish and a few tautog. They have been fishing for croaker and trout from the mouth of the Bay. A few large bluefish are still prowling inside Rudee Inlet. Bank fishermen are taking a few croaker and some flounder. Along the resort strip beach, anglers are catching sea mullet and blowtoads. Trollers are finding taylor blues and a few Spanish mackerel. Offshore, yellowfin tuna and large dolphin are available at the 900 line, 65 miles SE of the inlet. Deep drop wreck anglers are taking blueline tilefish along with the usual sea bass, conger eels, spiny dogfish and a few cod. Charterboats are loading up on chopper bluefish, with the best action centered along Bluefish Alley, the SE Lumps and Fish Hook.
JAMES RIVER - Croaker, catfish, bluefish and spot provide the action here, with the possibility of keeper striper still in the mix.
OCEAN VIEW - Croaker are biting well in the evenings. Occasional schools of bluefish and stripers come to the lights after sundown.
LYNNHAVEN - Fair numbers of spot, croaker and sea mullet, along with a few flounder and lots of taylor blues.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Sea mullet, spot and croaker are taking bloodworms and cut squid. Occasional chopper bluefish. Lots of skates.
SANDBRIDGE - Mediocre catches of taylor blues, sea mullet, surf perch and flounder. Lots of skates.
M A R Y L A N D S A L T W A T E R
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Striped bass and bluefish are the fare here, with charterboats coming up with good catches of school stripers and taylor blues. Best success has been in the lower Potomac River. Most boats are averaging 20 stripers per day, with an occasional chopper bluefish. Grey trout, to five pounds, are taken around the Smith Point Light and Tangier Target Ships. Fair numbers of tautog are still caught from the wrecks. Flounder are showing along the Smith Point Jetty, and at Blackberry Hang. Best fishing success is had on Croaker, to three pounds, throughout the entire area. Some of the better areas are the Spike Buoy, R-8 and Butlers Hole, and the area from the Northern Neck Reef and Cut Channel. Speckled trout action is good at Hole-In-The-Wall. Fair numbers of flounder are available at the White Stone Bridge.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefishing is slow, with scattered catches of occasional fish being taken in the bay near the 54 buoy, on trolled spoons. Stripers are taking deep-trolled spoons and parachute rigs throughout the area. Chummers are taking a few fish, but the fish are smaller. Some trout, 3-6 pounds, are being caught on small bucktails trolled over bars and edges of channels on the flats. White perch are taking grass shrimp, bloodworms and peelers off the piers and bridges. Catfish are biting on cut bait and soft clam snouts. Around the Bay Bridge, trout are showing up around the submerged rip-rap at the outfall on the East side of the bridge. A few blues are also being caught. Black drum, to 92 pounds, are showing in Upper Tangier Sound and Hooper Straits.
OCEAN CITY - In the back bays, snapper blues are biting on the rising tide. Sea trout are taking peeler crab, clams and squid. Some flounder are hitting on live minnows and squid strips. In the surf, 2-3 pound blues are taking cut mullet, while stripers are taking fresh cut menhaden. Competing for these baits are cownosed rays and dogfish. Occasional black drum are caught on clam baits. A few trout and tautog are being caught at the jetties on peelers and squid. Offshore, sea bass, tautog, ling cod and bluefish are taking squid on wrecks and artificial reefs. Mako sharks made an appearance last weekend, and are being taken along with blue and dusky sharks in the chum slicks. Most of the action centers around the Fingers. Chopper bluefish are available at the Bass Grounds, Jack Spot, 20 Fathom Fingers and Fenwick Shoals.
N O R T H C A R O L I N A S A L T W A T E R
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Surf anglers are limited to medium spot and taylor blues. Puppy drum and a few speckled trout are being caught at the Little Bridge. The mouth of Oregon Inlet is loaded with small bluefish. A few speckled trout are being caught from the pond on the southside of Oregon Inlet. Flounder have moved into Davis Channel. Offshore, dolphin to 30 pounds, and yellowfin tuna to 80 pounds, were caught as action is rated very good. Occasional billfish and lots of wahoo are also showing. Inshore, snapper blues are providing the bulk of the action, with cobia and Spanish mackerel schools becoming more abundant.