Fishing Report - July 29, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Catfishing is excellent in the deeper holes throughout the city. Clam snouts, cut bait, cut crab and bait shrimp are all working well. Bass anglers are taking 2-5 pound fish from man-made cover throughout the city. Blue Plains outfall is giving up lots of good bass for anglers fishing plastic worms around the city dock and associated vegetation. The Columbia Island Marina area is giving up bass on plastics, fished near the surface in the Southeast corner of the cove and around the Marina docks. Washington Channel is giving up some good fish to anglers fishing the vegetation and the dropoff along the War College Wall.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river grass beds are holding good numbers of largemouth bass, particularly those near deeper water. Flood tides are producing hits on topwater baits, such as buzzbaits, Pop-R's, Bang-O-Lures, Plastic frogs, Bass Assassins and flyrod poppers. Ebb tides are producing hits on spinnerbaits and plastic lures, fished on the outside edges of the grassbeds. Above Mattawoman Creek, isolated wood cover and structure are holding most of the bass. Plastic baits and jig 'n pig are the top choice in these areas. Trophy catfish action is centered around High Point at Occoquan Bay and Fort Washington. Cut crab or live white perch are the better choices for bait. Fish the dropoff from shallow flats into the deeper channel. Use heavy tackle and line, as there are real bruisers available. Perch action is excellent on almost anything thrown into the water.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass action is centered on submerged wood, main river points and boat docks. Best success is being had with crankbaits and plastic lures. The last two hours of the ebb tide and the first hour of the flood tide are producing best. When schools of baitfish are seen, switch to a small white or silver spinnerbaits to imitate them. Good bass are frequently holding under the baitfish. At the mouth of the river, bass are being caught in numbers out of the grass beds on the north side while catfish action is hot around the island at the mouth.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are being caught by anglers fishing main lake points and rock walls with crankbaits and plastic worms. Best time is early and late in the day. Catfish action is good, with cut eel being the better bait.
BURKE LAKE - Bass are taking plastic worms, fished in the weedbeds early and late in the day. After the sun comes up, switch to fishing the dropoff on the outside edge of the weedbeds. Crappie and catfish are available from the fishing pier. Muskie action is slow. Panfish action is good for anglers fishing red wigglers, nightcrawlers and live crickets.
FARM PONDS - Lots of fish are being taken on topwater lures early and late in the day, while full sun calls for plastic worms in deeper water. Sunfish are taking flyrod poppers, nightcrawlers and Beetlespins. Catfish are taking live minnows, chicken livers or nightcrawlers.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is good to excellent. Anglers fishing banks early and late in the day, and the river channel during the afternoon, are catching some good fish. Better lures are small topwater baits, flyrod poppers and small crankbaits along the banks, and small topwaters, plastic grubs and small spinners in the river channel. Sunfish action is good, with fish to 3/4 pound being taken downriver of the shoreline weedbeds. Catfish and carp are aggressive, with catfish taking cut bait, live minnows and clam snouts, while carp are suckers for cut corn and doughballs.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Tidal stretches are producing some decent largemouth bass action on crankbaits and plastic worms, fished in the blowdowns along the southern shoreline, and spinnerbaits, fished in the feeder creek mouths. Green Bay anglers are taking some bass on crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms. Catfish, to 40 pounds, are still biting well in the outside bends of the river channel, on cut bait, live white perch and crab.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass action is good to very good. Hellgrammites, live minnows, small topwaters, crankbaits, spinners and plastic lures are taking good numbers of smallmouth, with some to four pounds. Catfish anglers are catching good numbers of fish to 10 pounds, while sunfish are cooperating nicely on small Beetlespins, spinners, tiny crankbaits and flyrod poppers.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Lots of fish being caught in both rivers, with the upper reaches producing bluegill, bass, catfish and crappie, while the lower areas are giving up spot, croaker, white perch and catfish. Stripers are caught throughout both rivers.
LAKE ANNA - Bass are being taken on shallow water points, early and late in the day. Topwaters and shallow running crankbaits produce best. When the sun is up, fish deep dropoffs and points with plastic worms, crankbaits and live bait. Stripers are being caught at the Splits, Contrary Creek mouth and Rose Valley, on live minnows or jigged Hopkins spoons, in 27-30 feet of water. Topwater baits are also working well around Jetts Island. Crappie are hanging around bridge pilings and other deep structure, taking live minnows, small Beetlespins and jigging spoons.
JAMES RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass are biting well on small topwater baits, crankbaits, spinners and plastic grubs. In the tidal sections, bass are taking plastics, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Lily pad fields, creek mouths and standing cypress trees are the best pattern below Hopewell, with better action on the outgoing tides. Bass action just above Hopewell is centered on the wood wing dams along the river channel. Big blue catfish are available in the outside bends of the river channel on cut bait. Gar are still active, taking live minnows or combed nylon rope.
LAKE CHESDIN - Lots of small bass being taken from the lily pads and around weedbeds, despite the boat traffic. Topwater baits, fished early and late in the day, are accounting for most of the fish. During the late morning and afternoons, plastic worms and spinnerbaits are sometimes successful. Catfish anglers are having some success. Crappie catches are picking up.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Most of the bass are being taken upriver from Diascund Creek. Lots of bass being caught by anglers using buzzbaits, small crankbaits plastic frogs and worms in lily pad fields and around cypress trees. Best results are on dropoffs adjacent to the lily pad fields. Creek mouths are producing good numbers on plastic stick baits, fished on moving tides. Catfish action is excellent on cut bait and crab. Yellow perch and bluegills are also aggressive, taking Beetlespins, live bait and flyrod poppers.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass and catfish action is excellent. Anglers should fish early and late in the day with plastic worms, topwater lures and flyrod poppers. Most of the fish are oriented to grassbed edges or over submerged grass.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Lots of fish are being caught. Bass are running 2-5 pounds, taking red plastic worms, drop shot and Carolina rigs in 15-20 feet of water. Crappie are taking small minnows in 15-18 feet of water. Stripers are being caught on deep points on live bait. Bluegills, yellow perch and shellcrackers are taking red wigglers, crickets and nightcrawlers. Catfish and pickerel are mixed in the catches.
BACK BAY - Some bass and white perch action. The bass are running 1-3 pounds and are taking spoons and plastic worms. Better bass are being taken from grass beds in coves on the western shoreline. Topwater frogs and Johnson Silver Minnows are the more successful lures. White perch are taking grass shrimp, Berkley Gulp maggots and white Roostertail spinnerbaits, while successful catfishermen are using peeler crab and bait shrimp. Just about any man-made wood cover will be holding bass, stripers, catfish and/or white perch. Anglers in the creeks are catching bass, perch, bream, catfish and a few small stripers.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Panfish action is fair to good in all the lakes, while bass fishing is fair to good. Best fishing is early in the morning. Bass, 3-5 pounds, are being taken in all the lakes, but they are few in number. Lots of crappie are being caught near the aerators in Western Branch and Prince.
LAKE GASTON - Lots of small bass, with a few larger fish mixed in. Action centers on main lake points and boat docks. Topwaters, fished early and late in the day, and crankbaits and plastic worms, fished during the other times, are producing the bass. Carolina rigged worms are producing well around bridge pilings, where there is moving water, and off deep points. A few stripers are being taken, but most are coming by accident, while fishing for bass. Some catfish are being caught around boat docks. White perch are taking small jigs, rigged on the rear hookholder of Pop R's, on the points.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Stripers are taking trolled Cordell Redfins from buoy 4-7 in the main lake and from the mouth of Nutbush to buoys G & H in the creek. The stripers are skittish due to heavy boat traffic. Best catches are coming at dawn and dusk. Bass are located in 20+ feet of water, with anglers catching the fish on Carolina-rigged lizards and deep diving crankbaits. Crappie action is good around bridge abutments, 16-18 feet down. Catfish are biting well, particularly from Buffalo Creek to the junction of the two rivers. White bass are taking Tiny Traps and Doll Flies from Bluestone to Buffalo Creeks.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Lots of bluegill and small bass being caught, along with catfish at night. Some bass in the 4-6 pound class are being caught on dark colored plastic worms in 16-20 feet of water. Crickets and nightcrawlers are working well for bluegill.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Largemouth bass fishing is good on the upper end of the Roanoke River with four inch, wine colored plastic worms working best. The bass are showing in 15-20 feet of water. Early in the day, Pop-R and Baby Torpedos are also recommended. Big stripers are taken trolling at 20-35 feet with Hellbenders, Big Mac, Little Mac and Mann's Stretch 25. Tying a bucktail 2-3 feet behind the lure increases the catches. Live shad are also taking stripers around the island at the dam, the mouth of Becky's Creek and off the State Park.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are taking limits of bass on buzzbaits, and jigs tipped with pumpkinseed crayfish. Bream are taking small topwater lures. Walleye anglers are catching fish on deep-diving crankbaits, while carp dough and cut corn are luring carp. Flathead catfish, to 25 pounds, are being caught in the Staunton River. Some stripers are being taken on live shad and trolling.
LAKE MOOMAW - Trout action is slow. Only a few are caught trolling very early in the morning. Catfish anglers are coming in with stringers of 5-10 pound fish, being caught late evenings and under the lights. Bass action is fair to good, with lots of limits being taken on plastic worms and crankbaits.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Most fishing is done at night. Good fishing for crappie and catfish. Small minnows and jigs are taking the crappie, while nightcrawlers and stinkbaits are more successful for the catfish. Largemouth bass are taking topwater baits and plastic worms. Before 10 a.m., bass are found under the schools of breaking shad. Rat-L-Traps are taking some nice fish. A few walleye are showing in the catches.
NEW RIVER - Many smallmouth bass are being caught on topwater lures, although plastic crayfish imitations, grubs and small jigs are also producing well. Some nice catfish are being caught.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Some walleye are being taken on Carolina rigs and catfish are taking chicken livers and shrimp in 25 feet of water. Bass action is at a standstill. Crappie anglers are having a hard time finding the schools, but clean up when the fish are found.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Anglers are taking stripers, 10-13 pounds on alewives. Corn is taking some huge carp in the lake. Catfish have really turned on, with catches of 35 or more pounds coming in. Bass are taking topwater baits early and late, and plastic worms during the day.
TROUT STREAMS - Most of the streams throughout the state are in poor condition, with water levels low. Small headwater streams in the National Parks and Forests are producing good action with small caddis flies and terrestrials, while the larger streams are producing well on small spoons, spinners and nymphs. Some of the better streams: Spring Run, Jackson River, Big Wilson Creek, the lower portions of both the Robinson River and the Rose River, Smith River, Goose Creek and Little River.
CHINCOTEAGUE - A mixture of croaker, sea bass, sea mullet, flounder, grey trout and blowfish are being caught inside the inlet. Assateague Island surf anglers are taking a mix of spot, croaker, sand shark and skate. Offshore, tuna and dolphin provide steady action. Mixed in the catches are white marlin, wahoo and false albacore.
WACHAPREAGUE - Good catches of croaker, along with some flounder, spot and triggerfish, are made drifting the mouth of the inlet. Offshore, white marlin and wahoo are being caught at Washington and Norfolk Canyons, where fair numbers of yellowfin tuna are also encountered. Large bluefin tuna and dolphin are thick at the 20 Fathom Fingers and over the 26 Mile Hill. Schools of Spanish mackerel are scattered outside the mouth of the inlet.
ONANCOCK - Good bottom fishing in Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds and off Hacks Rock for spot, croaker and flounder. Spot prefer bloodworms, while the croaker prefer squid. Best catches are made on moving tides. Mixed in the catches are pan trout, sea bass, sea robin, blowfish and sea mullet.
QUINBY - Some spot, trout, mullet and a few flounder are being caught near the inlet mouth. The Rebel Island/Eggen Marsh areas remain best bets for all species. Croaker are thinning out.
CAPE CHARLES - Excellent croaker fishing off Cape Charles, with a few spot mixed in the catches. Large flounder, 6-9 pounds, were caught at will this past week. Cobia and red drum are ranging from C-10 to Latimer Shoals. Croaker to two pounds are taken at the Cape Charles Artificial Reef and the Cell. Speckled trout are scarce in the bayside creeks. Offshore, scattered catches of yellowfin are made from 30 fathoms and out to the Norfolk Canyon. Trollers are also finding a mixture of dolphin, false albacore and jacks.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Fat croaker and spot are biting at the Small Boat Channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Spanish mackerel are available from the Little Creek Jetty to Cape Henry, but have moved into deeper water. Flounder are available at the High Level Bridge. Bottom fishermen are finding a mixture of croaker, spot and flounder inside Lynnhaven inlet. Amberjack are plentiful at the Tower Reef and at the Southern Tower, where a few king mackerel and large Spanish mackerel are also being caught. Cobia are being taken by casting blind to the buoys with live bait from a distance. Wireline trolling around the Fourth Island produced flounder to five pounds and sea bass to one pound. Good catches of croaker and spot are made along the channel at the mouth of Back River, along with a few flounder. Cobia are still taking baits at Bluefish Rock. At the mouth of the York River, spot, croaker and pan trout are being caught at the "old" buoy 21 and at the #5 green daymarker. Taylor blues are being caught along the CBBT rock islands on surface poppers, early and late in the day. Larger croaker are being caught above the Gloucester Bridge on the York River.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Excellent action on bluefin and yellowfin tuna, and blue and white marlin. Good numbers of amberjack are found over most of the inshore wrecks and trollers are taking dolphin and large bluefish. Headboats are dividing time between wreck fishing for sea bass, and bottom fishing around the mouth of the bay for spot and croaker.
LYNNHAVEN - Spot, bluefish and sea trout make up the bulk of the catches.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Buckets of spot, a few croaker and sea mullet are the catches.
SANDBRIDGE - Fair catches of spot, croaker, pan trout, flounder and sea mullet. Casters are taking a few taylor blues and Spanish mackerel from the pier end.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Due to the increased water temperatures, the shallow water bite for stripers has disappeared. The linesided fish are to be found along channel edges in 35' feet of water. Trolling umbrella rigs is the most effective method. Bottom fishermen are doing well at Blackberry Hang and the N2 Buoy, but flounder action has slowed. Fair numbers of flounder are caught at the mouth of the Little Wicomico, while large croaker are found north of Smith Island and at the Cell. Squid is the preferred bait. Plenty of taylor bluefish are available around the mouth of the Potomac River and along both edges of the shipping channel. Chummers on the Middle Grounds, the Mud Leads and around the Target Ship are taking numbers of bluefish, occasional stripers and with any luck, a big cobia. There are reports of amberjack, in the 26"-30" range, being caught chumming, trolling and casting to breaking fish. The rare visitors are reported throughout the bay below the mouth of the Choptank River. White perch, croaker and a few spot are being caught at Bowler's Rock. Weakfish, to 22 inches, are taken on jigged Stingsilvers at Blackberry Hang, while 2-4 pound speckled trout continue to bite over the grass beds around the mouth of the Rappahannock river.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Most of the action in the upper Bay is centered on bottom fishing for spot, croaker, flounder and sea trout, primarily at the mouth of the Choptank River. Trollers are taking 1-2 pound bluefish and Spanish mackerel, 2-4 pounds. The pilings of the Bay Bridge are still giving up nice stripers on live white perch and jigs.
OCEAN CITY - A few flounder are being caught in the Thorofare on minnows. In the inlet, bluefish are being taken early and late in the day. Weakfish are along the South jetty, taking squid and crab baits. A few bluefish, to three pounds, are being taken on cut mullet and spot in the surf, while headboats are catching grey trout and croakers. Plenty of yellowfin tuna, 25-50 pounds, are available near the Jack Spot, approximately 25 miles south of Ocean City. Chunked butterfish are the ticket for bait. Billfish action is excellent in the Canyons.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Surf anglers are reporting a mix of spot, croaker, sea mullet, a few taylor blues and the occasional pompano. Pier fishermen in the Nags Head area are catching the same mixture, plus fair numbers of Spanish mackerel. Action is fair on king mackerel and cobia, using live bait, from the ends of the piers. In the Sound, speckled trout activity is improving, but the fish remain scattered. Decent catches have been reported in the vicinity of Duck Island, the Manns Harbor Bridge, Oregon Inlet and the Little Bridge to Manteo, with best results in the early morning. Pompano staged a good showing last week on Hatteras Island, but the fish are not abundant. Inshore boats are taking Spanish mackerel and taylor blues. The inshore towers remain loaded with amberjack, along with a few barracuda and king mackerel. Offshore, yellowfin tuna provides fair action, along with a great billfish run, NE of the inlet, in the vicinity of Triple O's. Dolphin remain plentiful, with many being taken within three miles of the inlet.