Fishing Report - June 10, 2016
FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor
OVERVIEW - Waters throughout the state are lightly stained to muddy due to the large amount of rain received over the past week or so. That being said, boaters need to be aware of floating debris in the waterways. Be especially careful when seeing a short vertical piece of wood floating. This could, and generally is, attached to a log drifting just under the surface. Give them a wide berth. In the current environment, opt for orange, bone and chartreuse baits with lots of vibration and/or noise. Look for mud lines where muddy water meets clear or lightly stained water. These areas will hold fish.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fletcher's Boathouse reports that bass and carp are being caught in the C&O Canal, under the mulberry trees. Nightcrawlers and minnows are taking their toll. Washington Channel's War College Wall grass bed is producing some good fish on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms when DC Harbor Police allow you to fish there. Rattling crankbaits are taking fish when worked along the outside edge of the grass beds. Blue Plains outfall is giving up some bass and catfish, along with a few stripers, to anglers fishing crankbaits and plastic baits around the discharge and pilings. A few bass are being caught in Oxon Cove and the Spoils. Catfish are thick around main river bridge pilings. Clam snouts, cut shad or perch, nightcrawlers and crab baits will entice these fish.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most of the largemouth bass are orienting to the grass beds or lily pad fields, either in the creeks or on the main river, from Broad Creek to Nanjemoy Creek. Topwater lures, early and late in the day, will draw exciting strikes from bass feeding in the beds. Plastic frogs, floating worms, Senkos, swimbaits and Zoom Super Flukes, worked through the grass when the sun is up, will draw strikes on falling tides. As the tide rises, slow down the retrieve and work the lures deeper into the grass. Plastic creature baits, with up to one oz. weights, and heavy jigs will get down to the fish. This technique produces the larger fish. Rattling crankbaits and Chatterbaits, worked parallel to the outside edge of the grass and across deep points, will also take good fish. Catfish are available on almost any shallow flat adjacent to a channel dropoff. Cut bait and clam snouts are the top choices for bait. White and yellow perch are still being caught throughout the river. Most of the yellow perch are being taken from the grass beds on 1/8 oz. beetlespins. Catalpa appears to be the most productive color. The white perch are to be found around boat docks and pilings on the main river.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Lots of catfish action on clam snouts and cut bait. Bass action is good on topwaters early and late, and on plastic worms and rattling crankbaits during the day. Bass anglers should concentrate on the area below the Route 1 Bridge, and the back end of the river, just downstream from the footbridge. Crappie action has slowed considerably.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is fair to good for anglers fishing topwater baits early and late in the day, and plastic worms and crankbaits when the sun is up. Best areas are main lake points in 10-12 feet of water. Crappie action ranges from good to excellent for 8-10 inch fish on live minnows. Catfish have moved into deeper water, but will still take clam snouts, cut bait and cut crab.
BURKE LAKE - Bass action is fair for anglers fishing topwater baits early and late in the day. Fish the areas near the weedbeds. After the sun comes up, switch to crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie anglers are catching a few fish, but no extraordinary creels. Catfish are biting well on bait shrimp and clam snouts. Muskie follows are reported but no catches.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Topwater baits, worked early and late in the day along the banks, are taking good fish. Later in the day, small plastic grubs and spinners, worked in the main channel should be the ticket. In areas where grass is found, switch to Zoom Flukes or Senkos. Action is great for catfish and carp on bottom fished baits.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth bass are taking live minnows, crayfish, topwater lures and plastic baits above the city. In the tidal sections, largemouth bass are taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics, primarily on wood cover, in 12-18 feet of water. Catfish, 10-30 pounds, are taking cut shad and perch, fished in the outside bends of the river channel.
MOTTS RESERVOIR - Excellent bass fishing, with fish to five pounds. Most of the fish are being taken on plastic worms and deep-diving crankbaits. Catfish action is good, and flyrodders are taking loads of bluegill, crappie and white perch.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Sunfish and smallmouth bass are biting well. Mad toms, Tiny Torpedos and spinners should produce the larger smallmouths, while Beetlespins and nightcrawlers will take the sunfish. Catfish should be caught on chicken livers and prepared catfish baits.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfishermen are catching croaker as far up as the Indian Reservation on the Pamunkey and to Melrose on the Mattaponi. Flounder are also available in the Mattaponi just below Walkerton. Bass, bream, catfish and some stripers are being caught around Zoar State Park. The Pamunkey, above the 360 bridge, is loaded with longnosed gar.
LAKE ANNA - Poor to fair largemouth bass action. Most of the fish are taken on soft plastic baits on rocky points dropping into 12-18 feet of water. Some bass are available on boat docks. Fish plastic worms, Senkos or Zoom Flukes in the shadiest parts of the boats docks. Striper fishing is consistent, with fish to 12 pounds being caught from the Power Plant to about a mile above the splits. Live shad continue to be the best bait, when free lined in 20-25 feet of water, although some fish are being taken on Sassy Shads and Redfins early and late in the day. Live minnows and small jigs are taking crappie from the bridge pilings in 14-20 feet of water.
JAMES RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass fishing is great. Catches of 20 or more fish are not unusual. Most of the fish are being taken on Rapalas, Tiny Torpedos, spinners and plastic baits. Sunfish are hungry and aggressive. Nightcrawlers and Beetlespins are the ticket for them. Tidal waters are producing good stringers of largemouth bass on topwater baits, fished early and late in the day around lily pad fields and boat docks, and plastic worms, fished on downed wood and lily pad edges throughout moving tides. Catfish are active and aggressive. Live perch, cut bait and clam snouts are the more productive catfish baits. Gar and bowfin are active, taking minnow imitating lures.
LAKE CHESDIN - Good bass fishing on buzzbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms, early and late in the day. Typical summertime patterns. Otherwise, the lake is overrun with boaters. Walleye are being caught on crankbaits by bass anglers. Crappie fishing is fair, with the tasty fish biting live minnows and tiny jigs. Catfish are cooperating on clam snouts and nightcrawlers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of catfish, bream and largemouth bass are being taken. Bass are orienting to wood structure and lily pads. Topwater lures, fished in the early morning and late evening, are taking good stringers of bass, while plastic worms and spinnerbaits are the choice during the day. Fish the plastics on the outside edge of the pad fields during outgoing tides and move back as far as possible and flip the holes in the pads on incoming tides. Catfish are taking cut bait, clam snouts and nightcrawlers. Bream are suckers for crickets, Beetlespins and grass shrimp.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Good action early and late in the day on topwaters. When the sun is high, plastic worms, worked in the pads on points and over the grass beds are the better choice. Zoom Horny Toads will take good bass when worked over the thickest grass available. Steady retrieves with white, bubblegum or green pumpkin baits work very well. Crappie may be found in the submerged brush throughout the lake. Catfish and bowfin are suckers for cut bait. Bream and crappie are taking crickets, live minnows and grass shrimp.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Best pattern here is fishing the shady side of points, 12-18 feet down and the back ends of coves with Senkos, green plastic worms and crankbaits. Lots of bass, yellow perch, crappie and shellcrackers are being taken. Stripers are taking baits fished on humps and shadelines near dropoffs. Stripers are also hitting topwaters at dawn and dusk. Some pickerel are reported.
BACK BAY - Bass, to five pounds, are being caught in the creeks and the upper part of the Bay, where the grass is once again thick. Bluegills are aggressively taking flyrod popping bugs and crickets. Catfish, 10-12 pounds, are also being caught in the creeks.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Most of the lakes are reporting good bass fishing, with some large bass being taken. Most of the fish are being caught on topwaters, live minnows and plastic worms. Striper fishing is good in Lake Prince. Shellcracker action is excellent in most of the lakes, although Western Branch is producing the citations. Crickets and red wigglers are the preferred bait. White and yellow perch are also being caught in citation sizes. Catfish to 10 pounds are being taken from Lakes Smith and Whitehurst.
LAKE GASTON - Topwaters are taking good fish in the early morning hours. After sunup, plastic worms and lizards, fished on the main lake points are the ticket. Striper action has picked up, with most of the fish being caught around the Eaton Ferry Bridge on live shad. Lots of stripers are also being taken just below the dam in Roanoke Rapids Lake. Bluegills are off the beds and are taking live crickets.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water levels are currently at 302 and stable. Bass are located in the bushes and on dropoffs adjacent to the bushes and are feeding heavily. Best methods are top waters on rocky points, early and late in the day, and flipping plastic worms and lizards in and ++near the thickest buckbrush when the sun is up. Stripers are taking live shad around Nutbush Creek between Buoys 1-3. Trolling white bucktails is also accounting for some good fish. Crappie action is excellent with live minnows around bridge pilings. White bass are schooled from Bluestone Creek to Buffalo Creeks and on The Hump, taking Little Georges and small bucktails.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Bass fishing is fair for 2-3 pound fish, but bream fishing is excellent. Crickets are the primary bait. At Sandy River, anglers are catching small bass and pickerel.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Good sized stripers are being caught on live shad, near the dam. Some 15 pounders and a 20 pounder were reported this past weekend. Bass anglers are also successful, fishing live shad, plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits for 3-7 pound largemouth, in 15 feet of water. Carolina rigged plastic worms are also very effective for bass. Crappie anglers are taking good stringers after 8 p.m. or in 25-30 feet of water during the day.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is good, with lots of fish taking topwaters in the early morning and plastic worms during the day. Striper action is slow. Some stripers, 6-10 pounds, are biting in the Staunton River.
LAKE MOOMAW - The big trout are turned on again. Lots of browns up to the five pound mark being caught this past week. Most of the fish are being taken deep trolling. Others are being taken at night, under the lights, on live minnows. Large shellcrackers and yellow perch are also being caught. Bass anglers are taking some fish in 12-15 feet of water on spring lizards.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Bass fishing is good in the lake. Live bait is the better choice. Some rainbow trout, to five pounds, are being caught in the Smith River.
NEW RIVER - Fishing conditions are good, Action is off and on. One day, smallmouth bass are jumping in the boat and the next day, you cannot buy a strike. Quite a few flathead catfish, to 10 pounds, are being caught.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Smallmouth bass action is good in the back ends of coves on small spoons, trimmed with a yellow feather. Crappie fishing is fair and a few trout are being caught near the dam. Walleye are taking slow-trolled, nightcrawler tipped, spinner rigs. Best action is at night.
CLAYTOR LAKE - A few citation white bass are being caught on live alewives at night. Otherwise, a smattering of good fish of almost every variety is being caught. Boaters own the lake during the day and most angling is done at night.
TROUT STREAMS - Mayflies are hatching throughout the region. Flies that imitate them best are the Light Cahill, Pale Evening Dun, Sulphur and Blue Wing Olive. Ants and grasshoppers are also working well.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Decent catches of flounder are being taken in the Main Channel, Black Narrows and Queens Sound, but the largest fish are coming from Four Mouths. Small sea bass are plentiful around bridge pilings and on oyster bars. A few grey trout and bluefish are found in Queens Sound, while Assateague Island surf anglers are taking spot, mullet and snapper blues. Large mako sharks are being caught at the Parking Lot, along with bluefin tuna, chopper bluefish and dolphin. Impressive catches of sea bass, along with spadefish, triggerfish and amberjack, are made on the inshore ocean wrecks.
WACHAPREAGUE - The best action for flounder and grey trout is found around the old Coast Guard Station on Cedar Island. Flounder action is also good at Green and Drawing Channels. Large bluefish are available in the vicinity of buoy #10, along with an occasional king mackerel. The 21 and 26 Mile Hills are producing good numbers of bluefin tuna in the 20-30 pound class and an occasional 100 pounder. Chopper bluefish, false albacore, bonito mackerel and a few yellowfin tuna are mixed in with the bluefin tuna at the 26 Mile Hill. Billfish are beginning to come on. Ocean wrecks continue to produce large tautog and sea bass.
ONANCOCK - Croaker and sea trout are plentiful off Onancock and in Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Bottom fishermen are also catching blowfish, pigfish, sea mullet and bluefish. Flounder catches are above average, running to four pounds. Best action is on channel edge dropoffs in 18-20 feet of water. Spot are being caught in shallow water on bloodworms. Speckled trout are taken around the grassy shorelines on peeler crab. Cobia have been scarce, but arrived this weekend.
QUINBY - Good numbers of croaker and trout, with a fair supply of flounder to five pounds. The area between the Coast Guard Station and the North Channel, on the end of the falling tide, has been a steady producer.
CAPE CHARLES - Good catches of pan trout and flounder are being made here, with the trout coming from the High Level Bridge, while the flounder are being caught around the Cement Ships. Cobia are plentiful, with most of the large fish being taken at the Middlegrounds and Latimer Shoals. Red drum are still thick in the shallows behind Fisherman's Island. There were a few citation red drum releases this past week. Bluefin tuna are showing consistently on the 26 Mile Hill. Tarpon have moved into the seaside inlets. Big spadefish are still available at the Cell. Croaker are thick anywhere you drop a baited hook and pan trout are being found along the channel edges off Cape Charles. One of the best areas is around buoy 36A. Cobia are showing well on Latimer Shoals.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Flounder are plentiful in the area, with the hot spot being the Small Boat Channel. Schools of spadefish have moved into the complex, with the better catches coming from the Third Island. Croaker are scattered from Little Creek Jetty to the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Black Drum are coming from the Third Island, while red drum are being caught from the Nine-Foot Shoal area. Big spadefish are also available around the Tower Reef, where many citation fish have been caught. Clam baits are the ticket. Area marinas weighed in a lot of cobia this past week. Croaker are inundating the Hump, Hampton Bar and around Fort Wool. Trollers are taking Spanish mackerel off Grandview, while bottom fishermen are seeing plenty of croaker and pan trout, plus fair numbers of flounder and spot. Plenty of cobia were caught around the York Spit Light, but most of the fish came from the area around Bluefish Rock. Bottom fishing remains steady in the York River and inside Mobjack Bay for pan trout and croaker.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Headboats are returning loaded with sea bass. Offshore, 12-17 pound bluefish, dolphin and yellowfin tuna are being caught on the 21 and 26 Mile Hills. Yellowfin tuna and dolphin are available from Norfolk Canyon down to the 850 line. White marlin are biting at the Cigar. Amberjack are available at the Southern Tower. Shark fishing is excellent at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, with dusky, sand tiger and bulls, to 150+ pounds being taken. Inshore boats are trolling and catching Spanish mackerel and taylor blues.
LYNNHAVEN - Sea mullet are the most consistent catch, with spot, croaker, flounder, pan trout and taylor blues mixed in the catches. Spanish mackerel, to five pounds, are consistent catches. Crabs are beginning to show.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot and sea mullet are the most consistent catch, but croaker, bluefish, flounder and pan trout are also being caught. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are taken by casters and cobia are hooked regularly.
SANDBRIDGE - Sea mullet, spot, trout and skates are providing most of the action, but flounder and croaker are also being caught. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being taken by casters when the water is clear.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bottom fishing is excellent for croaker and pan trout in areas such as the Mud Leads, Blackberry Hang, the Asphalt Pile and the mouths of most local creeks. The largest croaker appear to be coming from the waters around buoy 62, Great Wicomico River and Smith Point Light. Taylor blues are putting in an appearance, as a huge school was surface feeding outside the mouth of Dividing Creek during the past week. Schools are also located around Smith Point and chummers on the Southwest Middlegrounds are finding a few in the chum lines, along with the striped bass. Some cobia are also found in the chum lines. Charter boats are drifting for flounder and bottom fishing for whiting, spot, croaker and trout. The Southwest Middlegrounds are loaded with stripers and 1-3 pound bluefish, along with some Spanish mackerel. Trout, 3-5 pounds, are available on the Tangier Target Ships, on peeler crab baits. Spadefish are at the Cell in force. Good catches of spot, croaker and flounder are being made off White Stone, near the bridge. These fish are also available at Bowlers Rock, Buoy 16 and on Morattico Bar. Spanish mackerel and bluefish are available throughout the area.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - The entire upper bay is awash with stripers, with the best area being from Love Point to Swan Point at the mouth of the Chester River. White perch fishing is improving off the mouth of the Magothy and in the Patapsco, while remaining very good in the Chester at the mouth of Grays Inn Creek, Copper Hill and the mouth of the Corsica River. Excellent catches of stripers are being made at the Diamonds, the Summer Gooses, off Buoy #1 at West River and the Wild Grounds. The croaker bite remains very good in the mouth of the Choptank and off the James Island stone piles, with the bite being better in the evenings. White perch fishing has been improving over the hard bottom in 25-35 feet of water from Thomas Point to Hacketts, with most in the 7-10 inch range. Black drum fishing remains spotty at best at Stone Rock, James Island Flats and Poplar Island.
OCEAN CITY - Flounder to two pounds are being caught around high tide on shiners. The Route 50 Bridge and the Thoroughfare are good areas. Grey trout are being taken in the evenings in the Inlet. Surf anglers are taking a few bluefish, kingfish and flounder on cut squid and mullet. Offshore, white marlin are being caught and blue marlin are being sighted daily. Shark fishing is excellent. Yellowfin tuna and dolphin are available at Poor Man's Canyon. Sea bass and tautog fishing is good on the wrecks.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Spot are the mainstay for beach and pier fishermen. Fair numbers of snapper bluefish and Spanish mackerel are also available. Warm water and an abundance of baitfish brought in lots of cobia and king mackerel. Speckled trout and puppy drum continue to be caught inside the sound and at the mouth of the inlet. Offshore, the mainstay is yellowfin tuna, and plenty of them. Dolphin have been thick and over the past week and billfish have put in an appearance. Best action has been just below the Point. Amberjack, king mackerel and cobia are stacked on the inshore towers. Inshore boats, working just outside the inlet, found Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and cobia, with jack crevalle mixed in the catches. Headboats are fishing in the Sound, where the catch consists of flounder, pigfish and sea bass.