Fishing Report - July 1, 2016
FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor
OVERVIEW - This will be a busy weekend on the water. Please be safe and WEAR your PFD. Remember to drink plenty of WATER or fluids with electrolytes. Dehydration is never a good idea. Between sun and wind, fluids evaporate from your body. Sunscreen is your friend. If you don't use it, then make sure you wear long sleeved clothing. Skin cancer is not a joke. It may not show up immediately, but it will show up eventually. It's effects are cumulative and sometimes deadly.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Catfish continue to cooperate on clam snouts, nightcrawlers, cut bait or just about anything you throw in the water. Main river bridge pilings are holding good bass, with most of the fish being taken on deep-diving crankbaits, jig 'n pig or bottom-fished plastic lures. The War College Wall is producing good bass for anglers fishing spinnerbaits and plastic worms in the grass. Early and late in the day, topwater lures are drawing strikes from bass over the grass. Blue Plains and Fox Ferry are giving up good bass to patient anglers fishing jig 'n pig, large crankbaits and plastic worms.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Largemouth bass continue to orient to isolated wood cover and main river points above Mattawoman Creek. Best baits are deep-diving crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms. Below Mattawoman Creek, bass are still oriented to the main river grass beds. Topwater baits, early and late in the day, are taking some fish, while plastic worms and jigs, fished in the holes, are taking fish on outgoing tides. Rat-l-traps and swimbaits, retrieved parallel to the grass bed edges on low, outgoing tides, are connecting with 2-6 pound bass. Catfish are prowling flats adjacent to the channel and taking cut bait, clam snouts and crab baits. Beetlespins, 1/8 oz. size, in Catalpa color, are taking bluegill, yellow perch, white perch, bass, catfish and carp in the grass bed edges. Man-made, wood structure, such as boat docks, pilings and bridge structure are holding lots of bass. These fish are taking plastic baits, flipped tight to the wood and allowed to fall on slack line. Best action comes on either side of the low tide. The very back ends of shallow feeder creeks are also holding fish. Fish these creeks with spinnerbaits, casting parallel to the marsh grass, using a slow retrieve.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Catfish are cooperating nicely on clam snouts, cut bait and nightcrawlers. Bass action is fair, with the majority of the fish being caught on plastic worms and crankbaits on points and dropoffs. Lots of bass are being taken from the grassbed at the mouth of the river. Try spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits on the outside edges and frogs and Senkos in the grass. Crappie fishing is fair, with most of the fish being taken on boat docks.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Crappie fishing is fair to good on small minnows. Fish the minnows around any downed wood in the water. Also check the mouths of coves for suspended schools off the points. Most of the fish are in 8-12 feet of water. Lots of crappie, to 1 1/2 pounds, are being taken from the floating dock at Fountainhead Regional Park. Bass action is good, with the better fish being caught on topwater baits early in the morning. After sunup, plastic worms in the back end of coves are producing. Catfish action has tapered off.
BURKE LAKE - Fishing for most species is slow. A few bass are being caught on plastic worms and crankbaits. The fish are coming from the dropoffs, adjacent to grass beds. Lots of crappie and catfish are being taken from the fishing pier. The catfish are running to 12 pounds and are taking squid baits. Panfishermen are taking good stringers on red wigglers and nightcrawlers.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is excellent, despite the constant up and down water levels throughout the river. Lots of fish being taken on topwater baits throughout the day. Baby Chug Bugs, Tiny Torpedos and Rapalas are the choice for topwater baits, while pumpkinseed plastic grubs and small chartreuse or crayfish colored crankbaits are taking good fish in the main river channel. Lots of sunfish and catfish. Plenty of cooperative carp, as well.
MOTTS RESERVOIR - Bass are very active early and late, and may be caught on Pop-Rs and buzzbaits, retrieved parallel to the shoreline grass. As the sun rises, many of the fish position themselves on deeper banks and weedlines, in 8-15 feet of water. Worms and jig 'n pig will take the fish. Concentrations of fish can be found on points and around the downlake island. Carolina-rigs, Texas rigged worms, and jigs are taking these fish. Crappie are still relating to deeper wood and grass (10-20 feet), and may be caught on crappie jigs, countdown rapalas, and minnows. Schools of crappie can usually be found in mouths of bigger coves and on steep points. Channel catfish, 1-3 pounds, are taking clam snouts, chicken livers, minnows and a variety of other baits. Sunfish are cruising the weedlines, hitting small topwaters, crickets, tiny jigs, inline spinners, and most any small fly.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Bass fishing is fair in the tidal sections of the river. Best results come from shad-colored crankbaits, fished along the South shore of the river below Fredericksburg. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, fished in the mouths of coves and creeks, are also producing bass. Plastic baits, worked in the blowdowns along the shoreline, will take some good fish. Blue catfish are still biting well in the deep holes in the river channel, on cut bait and live white perch. Crappie schools are to be found on the outside edges of the shoreline brush. Fish small minnows and tiny jigs to take these tasty fish. Above the city, anglers fishing live crayfish, Rapalas, plastic worms or grubs and topwater lures are taking lots of smallmouth bass, but the fish are small.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Good catches of smallmouth bass are being made on Tiny Torpedos, Rapalas, small plastic grubs, mad toms and tiny crankbaits. Sunfish are taking the same baits, as well as nightcrawlers and Beetlespins. Catfish are cooperating nicely on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - The upper reaches of the Pamunkey are producing some bass, pickerel, catfish, bream and stripers, while the upper end of the Mattaponi is giving up white perch, yellow perch, sunfish and catfish. The lower ends of each are producing good catches of croakers, white perch and a few spot.
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass continue to bite well on main lake points adjacent to the river channel. Fish topwater baits until the sun rises. After sunup, most of the fish are in 15-25 feet of water. Deep diving crankbaits and plastic worms are taking the larger stringers. Walleye are biting well on medium minnows, plastic grubs and nightcrawlers around the Dike Three area. Live minnows are taking numbers of crappie in 15-20 feet of water, from submerged brushpiles and bridge pilings, particularly in the Dillard's Bridge area. Boat docks are also giving up some nice crappie. Striper action is centered around the area from Pigeon Creek to the Splits. The fish are being found in 25-35 feet of water and are taking jigged Hopkins spoons, Sassy shads, Cordell Redfins and live shad.
JAMES RIVER - The big news on this river is the fantastic catfish action. Catfish to over 50 pounds were reported this past week. Bass anglers are being surprised with regularity by catfish taking their bass baits. Bass action is fair to good as the recent rains continue to provide muddy water throughout the tidal sections. The Appomattox River is lightly stained and is giving up some good catches on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The best tidal bass action on the James River is found on the wooden wing dams around Dutch Gap. Some bass action is also available on cypress trees on the tidal flats on outgoing tides. Creeks are holding fish, normally in mouths on wooded points where there is current. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are the preferred baits. Smallmouth bass action in the city is excellent, on Tiny Torpedos, Rapalas, plastic grubs and live bait. Flyrodders are taking lots of quality smallmouth bass.
LAKE CHESDIN - Nice crappie catches continue to come in. Better catches are coming on live minnows. Bass action is good with lots of small fish and a few larger ones being taken on buzzbaits and plastic worms. Catfish action is excellent on cut bait, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Crappie, catfish and sunfish action is good. Lots of good bass are being caught on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Best areas are lily pad fields and standing cypress trees, on outgoing tides. Frogs, fished in the pad fields, are taking some good sized bass. Anglers fishing the creeks are also finding bass in the deeper holes adjacent to cover. Duck blinds in deeper water are excellent producers. Gar are thick throughout the river.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE -Fair to good fishing. Lots of big gar, catfish and bass. Topwater baits, early and late in the day and plastic stick baits, are taking the bass, while live minnows are responsible for the gar and catfish. Concentrate on the lily pad fields, grass flats and standing cypress trees for bass. Crappie are being caught in good numbers by anglers who know the brushpiles. Flyrodders are taking good stringers of fish on topwater poppers in the grass beds.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Some bass in the five pound class are being caught on topwater baits early and late in the day. After the sun comes up, fish drop shots and Senkos, s l o w l y, along deep points and humps. Flyrodders are loading up on bream. Yellow perch are taking small grubs on the bottom and pickerel are taking anything thrown in the water. Crappie are holding in 15-20 feet of water, in or just over the grass, taking tiny jigs and minnows.
BACK BAY - Small shiners and grass shrimp are taking plenty of white perch. Good bass and catfish action is to be had in the creeks, with the bass running 3-6 pounds. Grass beds in the upper end of the Bay are producing lots of bass on frogs and Johnson Silver Minnows, tipped with plastic grubs. Best areas were around the mouths of Hellspoint and Nanny's Creeks.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Fishing is excellent in all lakes. Striper action has tailed off. Large bass are hitting well in Lake Prince, on topwater baits and plastic worms, along with large bluegills and shellcrackers. The water in Western Branch is gin clear, which may explain the slowdown in fishing there. Catfish, white perch and bluegill are available in all lakes.
LAKE GASTON - Good bass action in Pea Hill Creek and Lizard Creek in the early mornings. After the sun comes up, boat traffic from water skiers are causing the fish to go deep and lie dormant. Main creek points are the prime areas for bass, with plastic worms, Carolina rigged lizards and deep-diving crankbaits being the preferred baits. Stripers are taking white bucktails around the steel bridge area. Catfish are biting nicely on cut bait, live shad and chicken livers. A new North Carolina record blue catfish was caught recently. The big fish weighed in at 117 pounds. Crappie are thick around the bridge pilings and brushpiles.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Striper fishing has been excellent. Nutbush Creek from Buoy A-C and the main river channel between Buoy 2 and 7, have been producing nice catches, trolling white or yellow bucktails or Cordell Redfins. Live shad and jigging spoons are also taking fish. Bass action is good, with early mornings being the best time. The fish are holding off main lake points and along the edge of the river channel. The bass are taking deep-diving crankbaits and plastic lizards. Crappie fishing is good to excellent, on crappie jigs, small minnows and worms. Best results come from brushpiles in 8-15 feet of water and around bridge pilings, particularly the Route 58 Bridge. Blue catfish are biting well on cut bream/shad, eel and jumbo shiners. Most are being found on channel breaks in 20-30 feet of water and are in the 20-60 pound range.
BRIERY CREEK/SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Plastic worms, fished early and late in the day, are taking mostly slot bass. Bream fishing is good, while crappie catches are only fair. Catfish are doing well at Sandy River.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper fishing is great, with limits being caught in 20 minutes. Best method is fishing live bait at the dam. Bass are taking june bug and green pumpkinseed worms and crayfish colored Guido Bugs and Stanley Craws on docks, points and submerged brush. The Blackwater River arm is producing better stringers of bass.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Anglers are catching a few stripers on deep trolled bucktails and Redfins, in addition to free-lining live shad. Bass are taking plastic worms and topwater lures. Better action is to be had in the early morning and late at night.
LAKE MOOMAW - Night fishing is producing fair bass fishing on plastic worms and jig 'n pigs. Channel catfish are biting well on chicken livers and live minnows. Trout action has slowed, but some browns, 3-5 pounds, are being taken on live shad, fished in 25-30 feet of water, at night. Anglers, trolling spoons and Redfins at dawn, are also catching some nice trout. A few nice-sized bluegill are being caught during the day.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Largemouth bass are taking live minnows and Rapalas. Brown trout are taking nightcrawlers. Overall, fishing is fair, with better catches at night. Lots of anglers on the Smith River, where flyrodders are taking trout to over 16 inches.
NEW RIVER - Muskie action is fair to good, for anglers fishing live chub minnows on outside bends, adjacent to cover. Excellent smallmouth bass action, on topwater lures and plastic grubs. Catfishing is excellent for 8-10 pound channels.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Lots of action from catfish for anglers fishing in coves or creek mouths with live minnows. Smallmouth bass action is good on jig 'n pig or buzzbaits, at night. Crappie and walleye action is fair.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Good catfish action on live alewives and Catalpa worms. Stripers are biting at night, along with white bass. Preferred bait is live alewives. Some smallmouth bass on plastic worms, along with occasional muskie. Walleye are being caught above the Lighthouse Bridge on deep diving crankbaits.
TROUT STREAMS - Trout streams are in generally excellent condition. Some of the better streams are the lower section of the Pedlar River, Middle and McFalls Creeks, Passage and Stoney Creeks, Little Tumbling Creek, lower section of the Hughes River and Big Cedar Creek. Some of the more successful lures are high floating dry flies such as crickets and Goofus bugs, nymphs such as the Hare's Ear and the Casual Dress, silver Mepps spinners and gold Roostertail spinners.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Flounder action is good, with limit catches being made in the main channel, between Capt. Bob's and Tommy's Place, in the deeper holes. Croaker and sea bass are showing in the catches. Surf anglers are catching sea mullet and pan trout. Offshore, bluefin tuna to 95 pounds, are available outside the inlet, at the Parking Lot and 30 Fathom Lumps. Chopper bluefish are marauding the Parking Lot, along with the bluefin tuna and dolphin. Inshore wrecks are producing tautog, blowfish, spadefish and triggerfish.
WACHAPREAGUE - Offshore, bluefin tuna and dolphin are thick, for anglers chunking with butterfish, at the 21 and 26 Mile Hills. Chopper bluefish are also thick, along with a few king mackerel. Croaker dominate the catches inside the inlet, with pan trout and bluefish mixed in. At the mouth of the inlet, in front of the Coast Guard Station, Flounder are caught in decent numbers. Trollers are finding Spanish mackerel around the mouth of the inlet.
ONANCOCK - Excellent bottom fishing for croaker, spot, porgy, pan trout, snapper blues, small sea bass, sea mullet, flounder and pigfish inside Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds, in 15-18 feet of water. Speckled trout are found in the grassbeds around Fox and Watts Islands, taking chunks of peeler crab. Cobia are sighted daily, but few are being caught.
QUINBY - Many good hauls of croaker, plus some spot and grey trout were made this past week, with the better action coming from the Gap, Quinby Inlet, and along Hog Island.
CAPE CHARLES - Good numbers of cobia are being caught in the Latimer Shoals area, with most fish running 50-76 pounds. Spot, croaker and sea mullet are hitting at the Cement Ships, with larger spot showing at the mouth of the harbor. Tarpon are being caught and released at the seaside inlets out of Oyster. Red drum catches are increasing in the vicinity of the C-10 buoy. Offshore, Billfish, yellowfin tuna and chicken dolphin are available at the Norfolk Canyon, while bluefin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel and bluefish are available at the 21 and 26 Mile Hills.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Plenty of large spot and croaker at the Small Boat Channel, around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands, inside Lynnhaven, Back River Artificial Reef, Twin Stakes, The Lumps inside the York River, and at buoys 22 and Y-9. Fair numbers of flounder are available at the Fourth Island, Small Boat Channel and inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Fair numbers of flounder are being taken by bottom fishermen, drifting between Tue Marsh Light and the AMOCO Pier. Croaker action remains consistent throughout the York River, with the best concentrations being found at the Lump, off Cheatham Annex and the mouths of Parrin and Sarah's Creeks. Cobia action is hot throughout the area, although they are not found on the buoy lines in numbers yet. Spanish mackerel are being caught by trollers just outside the Little Creek Jetty, along the CBBT and off Cape Henry. The Tower Reef is giving up good catches of king mackerel, large bluefish and amberjack.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Headboats are returning with sea bass, croaker and pan trout. Charterboats are taking lots of spadefish, Spanish mackerel, taylor bluefish, a few cobia and amberjack. Almost all of the amberjack are being caught at the Southern Tower. Spadefish and black sea bass are thick at the Chesapeake Light Tower, while some of the offshore wrecks in the same area are giving up blueline tilefish. Billfish action remains excellent, while large yellowfin and bluefin tuna, dolphin and king mackerel are available in numbers at the 26 Mile Hill, the Cigar and in Norfolk Canyon. White marlin action is centered just south of the Cigar.
LYNNHAVEN - Best catches are made early and late in the day, when coupled with incoming tides. Spot and croaker are the main catch, along with a few Spanish mackerel, taylor blues and sea mullet.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Consistent action casting for Spanish mackerel and taylor bluefish. Bottom fishermen are taking spot, mullet and croaker. Some trout are being caught under the lights.
SANDBRIDGE - Bottom fishermen report consistent catches of croaker, spot, sea mullet, small shark, pan trout and flounder, while casters are taking Spanish mackerel and taylor blues at dusk. Cobia are in the area, but none have been landed.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent croaker and pan trout fishing almost anywhere in the middle bay, with more spot and sea bass showing daily. Peeler crab and bloodworm baits are filling coolers. The larger croaker are being found along the east side of the channel at buoy 62, around Tangier Light and in the vicinity of buoy 42. Dameron Marsh and the Target Ships are giving up some speckled trout. Spanish mackerel action is fair for trollers working dropoffs along the shipping channel. The larger fish are coming from deeper water. Flounder are being caught at Blackberry Hang, where 14-18 inch fish are taken. Spadefish are showing at the Cell, where clam necks are the preferred bait.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 1-3 pounds, are being caught around Love Point. A few 2-3 pound trout, lying near the bottom, are caught on peeler crab baits. Black drum are located around the mouth of the Choptank River. Mixed in with the catches are croaker, occasional flounder and grey trout. White perch fishing is good in the Choptank on grass shrimp. Good catches of spot are being made over oyster bars and channel edges on bloodworms in Tangier Sound. White perch are being found in upper creeks and rivers. Weakfish and spot are being found in good numbers in Hooper Straits off Bishop's Head.
OCEAN CITY - A few flounder are being caught along channels and off the Route 50 bridge on live bait and squid. Sea trout are taking grubs and bucktails off the jetties in the evenings. Surf anglers are crying, as only a few small bluefish are reported. Offshore, good numbers of tuna and dolphin are found off Jack Spot and the Hot Dog, along with some huge king mackerel. White marlin are turning up at Baltimore and Poor Man's Canyons. Sea bass and tautog fishing is good on the wrecks.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Pier anglers are making good catches of flounder, puppy drum and trout at Oregon Inlet. Along the Nags Head beaches, moderate catches of sea mullet and spot are available, while pier casters are catching Spanish mackerel and taylor blues. Inshore charter boats are reporting a mixed catch of dolphin, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, cobia, king mackerel and false albacore. Headboats are doing well on sea trout, pigfish, triggerfish and flounder. Offshore, excellent billfishing, good numbers of dolphin, and scattered catches of yellowfin and bluefin tuna were caught SE, behind the Rockpile at the 020 line, or east, around Triple 0's. The Towers are stacked up with amberjack and barracuda, with a few nice king mackerel holding around the 102 Tower.