Fishing Report - July 15, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Bass are being taken on crankbaits and topwater lures along the Virginia shoreline from Key bridge to Chain Bridge, while blue catfish are taking cut bait, clam snouts and live perch on the bottom. Downriver, bass are holding on dropoffs, bridge pilings and wood cover. Buzzbaits and Baby Torpedos are working well early and late in the day, while spinnerbaits and Berkley Power Worms are the better choice later. Jig 'n pig baits are preferred for working dropoffs in swift moving tides. Better areas include the Virginia shoreline from National Airport to Memorial Bridge and the War College Wall in Washington Channel. Nightcrawlers fished on the bottom around the Woodrow Wilson Bridge can result in bushel baskets of catfish in a few hours.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - On the main river, bass are orienting to bottom structure, grass beds and wood cover. Lots of 2-4 pound bass are taking crankbaits, plastic worms, jig 'n pig and topwater baits. In the creeks, bass are orienting to grass beds, lily pad fields, dropoffs and submerged wood. Falling tides are finding the fish aggressive, taking chartreuse or shad-colored crankbaits, while rising tides find them with their noses buried in the bark of submerged wood or slowly cruising the submerged grass. Flippin' plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits is the better method then. Below Mattawoman Creek, the main river grass beds are holding plenty of quality bass. Topwater lures on high tides and wake baits, worms, swimbaits and plastic stick baits on lower tides are taking the fish. Catfish action is excellent, with the fish taking cut bait, clam snouts and crab.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Good catfishing in the mouth of the river, around the islands. Best bait is clam snouts. Most of the whiskered fish are in the 6-13 pound class, but numbers of 25+ pound fish live here as well. Bass, crappie and bream are available for anglers dropping plastic and live baits adjacent to wood cover and over submerged grass. Boat docks are the prevalent cover in the river, producing good numbers of fish. The grass bed at the mouth of the river is giving up some good bass to patient anglers fishing wake baits, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, Super Flukes, floating worms and frog baits.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are being taken from main lake points and creek mouths. Most of the fish are caught on plastic worms and deep-diving crankbaits, although some anglers are taking fish on topwater baits, early and late in the day. Crappie are biting well, with a few good fish being caught. Channel catfish are taking jumbo minnows and clam snouts, fished on the bottom in the main river channel.
BURKE LAKE - Bass are taking crankbaits and plastic baits on dropoffs adjacent to weedbeds. Brushpiles are also producing some bass, along with lots of crappie. Muskie action is picking up, with successful anglers trolling jointed Believers or large spinnerbaits.
LAKE BRITTLE - Bass action is good on small plastic worms. Small walleye are taking live minnows on points early and late in the day. Bluegill and shellcracker action is excellent, with the fish taking small jigs and live minnows. Catfishing is holding up well with the fish weighing in at 1-5 pounds. Pier and dam anglers are taking carp, to 15 pounds, on doughballs.
FARM PONDS - Lily pad fields in shallow water, are producing bragging size sunfish on nightcrawlers. Live minnows and tiny jigs will take crappie, while plastic worms, worked in deeper water around the dams, will take the bass. Topwater baits, fished early and late in the day or at night will generally take larger bass.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is very good. Better baits are small crankbaits, plastic grubs and Yamamoto Baby Senkos. The deeper holes and riffles will hold the better fish, while smaller fish will take small plastic baits in white and chartreuse. Don't neglect buzzbaits along the shoreline early and late in the day. Bream are also aggressive, taking small spinners, Tiny Torpedos and tiny crankbaits. Carp are taking doughballs and cut corn, while catfish are still taking nightcrawlers, clam snouts and cut bait.
MOTTS RUN 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. Carolina-rigs, Texas rigged worms, Chatterbaits, 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 - Smallmouth action has picked up a little this week. Lots of smallmouth bass are being taken on noisy topwater lures, early and late in the day. Bream are active. The tidal sections of the river are giving up a few largemouth bass to anglers fishing firetiger colored crankbaits and 4-5 inch plastic worms along the Southern shoreline, in downed timber and undercut banks. Bass action is consistently good in the Green Bay to Leedstown area. Best action is coming from the mouths of feeder guts and creeks. Large blue catfish are taking cut bait and live white perch in the outside bends of the main river channel. Crappie action is slow.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass are cooperating nicely. Small crankbaits, spinners and plastic grubs are taking good numbers of bass, along with lots of nice bream. Catfishermen are also successful on chicken livers, cut bait and live shiners. Deeper water is producing the better catches.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfish are the chief catch these days, with chicken livers, clam snouts and cut shad being the best choices of baits. Some bass are available to anglers using spinnerbaits and plastic worms in the lily pads and creek mouths. Buzzbaits and Jitterbugs are also effective early and late in the day. Bream anglers are doing well with live crickets.
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass have moved deeper with the summer heat. The fish are taking crankbaits and drop shot rigs in 12-27 feet of water, on ridges, humps and points. Riprap along the bridge approaches are also producing some bass on deep diving crankbaits. Walleye continue to be caught on rocky points, bridge pilings and around Dike Three. Lots of crappie action, with bridge pilings in 25-40 feet of water holding the better fish. Tiny Beetlespins, Hopkins spoons and live minnows are working best. Stripers are taking live shad around the 208 Bridge area. Best results are to be had by free-lining the shad. Trollers, using the Mann's Stretch 25, are taking stripers in the upper end of the lake and at the mouth of Sturgeon Creek. Catfishing is excellent.
JAMES RIVER - Largemouth bass are being caught on plastic worms, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. Points and wood structure are the better areas. The outside bends of the river channel are producing blue catfish, to 50+ pounds, on cut shad and eel baits. Above the city, smallmouth bass are cooperating on Tiny Torpedos, small plastic grubs and crankbaits, such as the Bandit 100 or Bill Norman's Tiny Deep N. Flyrodders are using hellgrammite or crayfish imitations and wet flies. Try large buzzbaits along shoreline brush early and late in the day for larger fish. Lots of carp and catfish.
LAKE CHESDIN - Bass are taking plastic worms in 6-8 feet of water throughout the lake. Aggressive fish are located near the upper end of the lake, taking crankbaits and buzzbaits. Crappie action is good near the bridge on live minnows, while catfish to seven pounds are taking nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Occasional walleye are caught by bass anglers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Normal summer conditions prevail. Largemouth bass are taking buzzbaits, floating plastic worms and grass frogs in the lily pads and hydrilla, plastic worms and grubs in creek mouths on moving tides, and Rat-l-traps, spinnerbaits and plastic worms on cypress trees. Lots of good sized sunfish on crickets, and catfish on peeler crab, minnows and turtle livers.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - More successful anglers are using live minnows and topwater lures for good stringers of bass. Best lures seem to be the pearl colored Bass Assassin, dark colored Yamamoto Senkos and Zoom Super Flukes. Catfish anglers are having good success on peeler crab. Bream and bluegill are taking crickets, while crappie are biting well on live minnows. Most of the fish are located on points and submerged grass. Lots of pickerel and bowfin are also being caught.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Patient bass anglers are catching bass to four pounds with plastic worms in 12-15 feet of water. Lots of good sized bream, seemingly everywhere. A number of large pickerel and nice catfish round out the catches in this lake. Best success is coming by fishing deep points.
BACK BAY - Some bass are being caught at Lagamar Canal, West Neck Creek, Hellspoint Creek and around Knotts Island. Stripers, to eight pounds, are also foraging in the creeks. White perch are being caught on grass shrimp and bloodworms, with some flounder mixed in the catch.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Plastic worms, Rapalas and Rat-l-traps are successful for anglers fishing for largemouth bass. Topwater lures are also effective early and late in the day. Crickets and red wigglers are the preferred bait for shellcrackers, bream and crappie. Gar and catfish are also active, with live minnows producing best. Some striper action available in Lake Meade on live, jumbo minnows.
LAKE GASTON - Crappie are holding in brush piles in 12-18 feet of water and taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Largemouth bass are holding in 12-20 feet of water and may be taken on plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits. Red seem to be the most productive color in the clear water. Most of the better fish are located on main lake points and creek mouths. Don't neglect a floating frog or Zoom Super Fluke in the grass lines on main lake points. Bass are also being taken in the areas between docks. Better baits are drop shot, wacky rigged Senkos and small plastic worms. Stripers are being caught on rattling crankbaits, fished on the bottom on river channel points. A few stripers are being taken by trolling bucktails in the main river channel from Eaton Ferry Bridge to Gaston.
Buggs Island - Stripers in the 15 pound class are being caught vertical jigging with Hopkins and Salty Dog spoons and jigs. Trolling with bucktails and Redfins is also working well. Better areas are Nutbush Creek and County Line Creek, on the lower end of the lake. Topwater lures are taking bass early and late in the day. Try large popping baits, retrieved rapidly on windblown, rocky points. Deep diving crankbaits and plastic lures in pumpkinseed or june bug colors, fished on points and adjacent to wood, are taking bass from 10-15 feet of water, on dropoffs. Crappie are located on brush piles in 10-12 feet of water.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Lots of bass in the slot are being caught in the lakes, along with some nice crappie. Lots of bream are taking crickets, along with plenty of small bass. Bass, shellcrackers and crappie are taking live minnows and nightcrawlers. Catfish to 10 pounds are taking chicken livers, nightcrawlers and live jumbo minnows.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Good numbers of stripers are being caught on topwater lures, live shad and by trolling large, deep-running lures, such as Rebels, Big Macs, Hellbenders and Waterdogs. Most of the fish are located 18-32 feet deep. The stripers are feeding around 9 a.m., mid-afternoon and late evenings. Some of the better areas are from buoy markers 22-31 on the Roanoke River and markers 11-14 on the Blackwater River. Largemouth bass are being caught in 15-18 feet of water on deep-diving crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. Topwater lures are taking fish early and late in the day.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Good largemouth bass action throughout the lake. Shad Raps, fished across points, are taking some fish, while plastic worms and lizards are also working. Striper action has slowed.
LAKE MOOMAW - Trout fishing is good, with rainbows and browns, to four pounds biting on live minnows. Catfish, to 17 pounds, biting on nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Bass are hitting buzzbaits at dusk, but otherwise are found very deep.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Fishing is good, with good catches of bass reported on plastic worms at night. Crappie and catfish action is steady, on small minnows, jigs, nightcrawlers and stink baits. Walleye are taking nightcrawlers. Action on the Smith River has slacked off, but some trout are still being taken from the low, clear water.
NEW RIVER - Excellent smallmouth bass action. The fish are taking plastic grubs, worms and Senkos in pumpkinseed and motor oil colors. Small crankbaits and topwater baits are also taking some nice fish. Muskie to 28 inches are also being taken, along with catfish to 10 pounds.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Fishing is slow. Some catfish are being caught by anglers night fishing under the lights. A few smallmouth are also being reported taking jig 'n pig. Crappie are biting early in the day.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Stripers are taking live alewives and jigging spoons at the 20 foot level, along the cliffs. Plenty of catfish are being caught in the deeper water, near the dam, on live alewives and catalpa worms.
TROUT STREAMS - Most of the National Forest and Park streams are producing quite well for fly fishermen using small dry flies, imitating terrestrials. Mepps and Shyster spinners are taking fish for the spin fishermen. Stoney Creek and Passage creek are the best bets for a day trip, while Martin's Creek, the North Fork of the Powell River, Bullpasture River, Jackson River, Cedar Creek and Clearbrook lake are all producing good catches. Beartree Lake, in Washington County and Whitetop Laurel are also giving up some trout. Maryland creeks producing good trout fishing include Gunpowder Creek, Hunting Creek and Savage River. Streamers are the recommended lure, but terrestrials are working well on Gunpowder Creek.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Fair to good catches of keeper flounder are being made at Queens Sound, Cockle Creek and in the vicinity of the 2TL Buoy. The inlet mouth has lots of smaller flounder, while bottom fishermen are taking croaker, with a few spot, puffers, snapper blues and sea mullet mixed in the catches. Squid is the better choice of bait. Sea bass are plentiful around the bridge pilings and on the old oyster beds. Surf anglers are taking spot on bloodworms. Offshore, bluefin tuna action is picking up at at the Parking Lot. Chunking butterfish and trolling cedar plugs are producing bluefins to 100+ pounds. Mixed in the catches are yellowfin tuna to 100+ pounds, Bigeye tuna to 100+ pounds, king mackerel, large bluefish and an occasional dolphin.
WACHAPREAGUE - Flounder fishing is holding up well, although croaker are pouncing on the baits before the flounder get a shot at it. The old Coast Guard Channel is producing triggerfish. Offshore, anglers fishing the inshore hills are taking bluefin tuna, wahoo, false albacore and lots of dolphin. Yellowfin tuna and white marlin are off and on in the canyons. Amberjack are showing at the #10 buoy. Tarpon are being caught on live spot inside Hog Island.
ONANCOCK - Excellent bottom fishing for croaker inside Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Bloodworms, peeler crab and squid are the top baits. Best catches are made in 18-25 feet of water on the early morning moving tide. Flounder fishing is good, with more small fish being taken daily. Best catches are made in 18-40 feet of water along a dropoff. Mixed in the catches are taylor blues, Spanish mackerel, porgy, pigfish, blowfish, sea mullet and dusky shark.
QUINBY - Flounder fishing is fair for those who hit the tide and time of day exactly right. Others fish long and hard for a strike. Croaker, to two pounds, may be taken almost anywhere, with the mouth of Rebel Island Creek being especially productive. Lots of small trout are being caught, but the fish remain scattered.
OYSTER - Tarpon are showing in the shallow waters, with sightings and hookups reported daily. Lots of big Southern Rays and sharks mixed in with the silver kings.
CAPE CHARLES - Good bottom fishing for trout and croaker is available in the vicinity of C-10. More flounder are showing on the bayside, with lots of citation fish, to seven pounds, being caught. Lots of large cobia, to 50+ pounds, are being caught on Latimer Shoals. Speckled trout are available inside Hungars Creek. Spadefish are taking clam bits at Old Plantation Light. Tarpon are rolling inside the Barrier Islands, but few are caught. Spanish mackerel are everywhere.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Croaker, flounder and Spanish mackerel are available around the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Some cobia and occasional black drum are also available. Fair numbers of flounder are showing inside Lynnhaven Inlet and along the Small Boat Channel. Offshore, the Southern Tower is loaded with amberjack. Live baits and poppers are taking the 46-56 inch fish. Bottom fishermen are catching loads of croaker and flounder off Back River. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel are available throughout the area. Inside the York River, croaker are found at the Lumps, while flounder are still reported around Gloucester Point. Some cobia are still being caught at York Spit.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Fair numbers of keeper spot and small croaker and flounder are being caught inside Rudee Inlet. Trollers, working from Sandbridge to Cape Henry, are taking a mixture of taylor blues and Spanish mackerel. Sheepshead and grey triggerfish are taking fiddler crabs along the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Spadefish are taking fresh clams at the Chesapeake Light Tower, Tower Reef, Bay Bridge Tunnel and The Cell. Offshore, tuna action continues, with the best action to be had on the 26 Mile Hill. Billfish action has slowed but some fish are being caught in Norfolk and Washington Canyons and the area around the Cigar. Amberjack catches have improved, with the bulk of the action centered around the Southern Tower and Tower Reef. Yellowfin tuna are reported from The Fingers. Wahoo and Dolphin are available, along with occasional bigeye and bluefin tuna. Headboats are returning from the inshore ocean wrecks with good catches of sea bass.
LYNNHAVEN - Excellent spot, bluefish and trout action, with a few croaker and sea mullet thrown in. Excellent crabbing.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot, croaker and sea mullet are the main catch. Spanish mackerel and bluefish show during daylight.
SANDBRIDGE - Spot, sea mullet, croaker and flounder are the mainstays, while Spanish mackerel and bluefish are taken by casters. Cobia are hooked daily.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent bottom fishing is available just off Hull Creek, where spot and large croaker are being caught. Spot and croaker are also available on the Soundside of Tangier Light. Trollers around the Smith Point Light are taking limits of taylor blues daily. Good catches of 12-14 inch grey trout are being made early and late in the day at the Smith Point Light. Bottom fishermen are "loading their boats" with spot and croaker in the evenings. Better areas are the channel edges in 30 feet of water, and particularly the SP buoy, Blackberry Hang and the Asphalt Pile, located off the Great Wicomico River. Pan trout, usually thick throughout the Southwest Middlegrounds, are conspicuous by their absence this year. Cobia, however, are present in good numbers around the Target Ship, the Middle Grounds and off Smith Point. Most boats are chumming and drifting cut bait back to them. Spanish mackerel are present at the mouth of the Rappahannock River. The area around Windmill Point continues to yield speckled trout, early and late in the day. Spot and croaker are being caught off Gwynn Island and at Hole-in-the-Wall. Flounder fishing is excellent just east of buoy 42, with most of the fish in the 2-5 pound range. Good spot and croaker action is available on the hard bottom found at the Silos. Flounder are being caught around the White Stone Bridge on live minnows and cut bait. Bottom fishing for spot and croaker is also good at Bowlers Rock and Morattico Bar. Catfish are hitting cut bait, fished around the Tappahannock Bridge.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 1-3 pounds, are being caught in good numbers at Stone Rock, the Gooses and Claybanks. Breaking blues are also found off Chesapeake Beach. Sea trout catches are improving at Stone Rock and on rocks off James Island. Herring Bay, inside the Choptank River, is producing good catches of large white perch on peelers and grass shrimp. Spot are on the channel edges and over oyster bars. Large white perch are being found throughout the upper Bay. The West side of the Bay Bridges, Baltimore Light area, Bodkin Point, Swan Point, Hart-Miller Island rocks, Tolchester piling in Patapsco River, and Key Bridge are all good areas. Breaking bluefish are available in the Chester River, near Love Point and Swan Point.
OCEAN CITY - Spot are found everywhere in the back bays. Flounder catches are fair. Trout are being found at high tide, near the South jetty of the Inlet, on bucktails and live spot. Surf anglers are taking snapper bluefish, flounder, dogfish and kingfish on mullet, squid and bloodworms. Offshore, yellowfin tuna are being caught at the canyons by trolling chunking, as well as near the 30 Fathom Line. Dolphin, wahoo, white marlin and a few bigeye tuna round out the offshore mix. Headboats are finding ling cod, sea bass and occasional tautog over the wrecks. Bluefish, 6-10 pounds, are also caught in good numbers.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Fair numbers of spot, pan trout and croaker are caught by pier and surf anglers in the Nags Head area. Croaker are biting better at night. Some decent catches of Spanish mackerel have pier regulars excited, as casters are taking the fish from the clear water, early and late in the day. King mackerel and cobia anglers are decking fish daily from the piers. Inside the sound, good numbers of speckled trout are being taken from the Little Bridge to Manteo and the bridge to Roanoke Island. Outside the inlet, limit catches of Spanish mackerel and plenty of taylor blues. Offshore, plenty of white marlin, blue marlin and sailfish are being caught and released in the vicinity of the Point or slightly to the NE. Bigeye and yellowfin tuna catches have been great between the 630 and 950 lines, from 30 fathoms out. Dolphin catches are good. Plenty of amberjack remain on the inshore towers along with fair numbers of king mackerel and a few barracuda.