Fishing Report - August 5, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Lots of catfish, many in the 8-10 pound class, are being caught in Fletcher's Cove. Bass are being caught around bridge pilings, riprap banks, wood cover and dropoffs. Better choice for baits are topwaters early and late in the day, and plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits when the sun is up. Washington Channel anglers are taking bass, catfish and stripers, trolling parallel to the War College Wall.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are orienting to main river grassbeds and wood cover. Plastic baits, topwaters and spinnerbaits are the best producing baits, when fished in the grassbeds. Creeks are also producing good numbers of bass for anglers fishing plastic worms and crankbaits around docks, pilings and other wood structure. Lily pad fields and grassbeds in the creeks are giving up bass on buzzbaits, topwater frogs and plastic creature baits on outgoing tides. Catfish are available on any flat adjacent to a dropoff. Cut crab or eel are the better baits. Use stout tackle when fishing for these fish as some of them are brutes. Forty to fifty pound fish are not unusual, with plenty in the 20-30# class.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Some bass action on the rocky points on the southern bank of the river, in grassbeds on the north side at the mouth of the river and in Belmont Bay. Boat docks are also producing bass, as well as crappie, sunfish and some large catfish. Live minnows and plastics are producing best. Lunker catfish are being caught in the channel, off the islands at the mouth of the river.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Flathead catfish action is good, with the majority of the big fish being taken on clam snouts. Some bass are being caught by patient anglers fishing plastic worms, crankbaits and jig 'n pig on the main lake points and rock walls on the lower end of the lake. An occasional bass is being taken from the wood blowdowns on the upper end of the lake. Crappie, catfish and sunfish are being caught from the fishing pier. Crappie are holding in 12 feet of water.
BURKE LAKE - Decent topwater bite early and late in the day. Fair bass fishing on plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits, fished around the brushpiles and dropoffs. Drifting nightcrawlers across the bottom, very slowly, is producing some catfish, while crappie and bluegill are taking small flyrod poppers, nightcrawlers, red wigglers and crickets.
FARM PONDS - Topwater baits, early and late in the day, and plastic worms when the sun is high, are accounting for some nice bass. Catfish are taking clam snouts, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Bluegill action is best on nightcrawlers and flyrod poppers.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some smallmouth bass are being caught by anglers fishing buzzbaits and small crankbaits on the shorelines early and late in the day, and plastic grubs and Storm Baby Chug Bugs in the main river channel during the afternoons. Zoom Super Flukes are taking some trophy smallmouth, when fished around the shoreline grass. Lots of catfish and carp action on cut bait, live minnows and doughballs.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth bass action is rated good above the city, when the river flow is good. Small chartreuse crankbaits, plastic grubs and topwater baits are taking some good fish. The larger fish are being taken on live crayfish and minnows. In the tidal stretches, largemouth bass are taking shad colored crankbaits and plastic worms, fished around the blowdowns and on the southern shoreline dropoffs. Catfish action is excellent in the tidal stretches, with cut shad and eel being the choice of baits. Lots of pan-sized catfish are being caught throughout the river, with an occasional big blue, to 30 pounds, being caught. Schools of crappie are being found on submerged brush and blowdowns, in 8-12 feet of water. Lower tidal creeks are giving up good bass on small plastic baits, worked down the drop adjacent to the marsh grass banks.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth and sunfish action is good throughout the river. Best lures appear to be small topwaters, crankbaits, plastic baits and small spinners. Baby Senkos in white/gold flake and green pumpkin work well in flat water, while small buzzbaits are taking many fish in the riffles. Some catfish are available for anglers fishing nightcrawlers, clam snouts and cut bait.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Excellent bass action on the Mattaponi, just above the 301 bridge. Crankbaits and topwaters are taking the fish. Otherwise, bream and pickerel are taking small Beetlespins, while peeler crab is enticing stripers, croaker and catfish throughout the lower reaches of both rivers.
LAKE ANNA - Bass are biting well, with plastic worms and grubs, and jigs being the better choice of baits. Best areas are near the bridges and rip-rap areas in 15-25 feet of water and along the outside edges of grass beds on the upper end of the lake. Some of the lower creeks are showing good stands of vegetation. Bass should be hanging in the grass, feeding on baitfish hiding there. Walleye fishing is good around the deep rocky points and in the dike three area. Stripers are taking live shad, worked in 20-30 feet of water. Crappie are taking live minnows around Stubbs and Dillard's Bridge areas, in water depths of 10-15 feet.
JAMES RIVER - Tidal areas are showing a few largemouth bass, on plastic worms, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits. Wood cover, wing dams and creek mouths are the holding locations. Catfish action is excellent for those anglers fishing cut bait, eels or live shad. Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking plastic grubs and worms, along with small crankbaits and spinners. Live crayfish and minnows are also working well.
LAKE CHESDIN - Despite heavy boat traffic and heat, lots of nice bass, 5-7 pounds, are being caught here, with the majority taking buzzbaits, plastic worms and crankbaits. Crappie are hitting small minnows and seem to have gone a bit deeper around the submerged brushpiles and bridge pilings. Better action seems to be coming from the creeks. Some stripers are being caught.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Plastic worms and Zoom Horny Toads are the primary baits for bass in the river. Hydrilla beds and cypress trees are holding the bass downriver, while lily pad fields show some good bass upriver and in the backs of creeks. Topwater baits are effective early and late in the day, adjacent to the edges of lily pad fields and in the creek mouths. Catfish are taking nightcrawlers and large minnows. Anglers using crickets, are filling creels with large bluegills.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Catfish, 10-14 pounds, are taking large minnows. Bass, 4-7 pounds, are yielding to spinnerbaits, plastic worms, large minnows and flyrod poppers. Lots of bowfin are being taken on spinnerbaits and plastics. Topwater baits, such as Bass Assassins and plastic frogs, are taking all varieties, over the grass beds.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - A few large bass are being caught in 25-30 feet of water, on drop shots and Carolina rigs. Lots of smaller bass are found in shallow cover near deeper water and on points. Yellow perch fishing is good, with a few good fish caught this past week. Lots of stripers, to 30 inches, were caught this past week. Crappie are suspended in 18-20 feet of water and taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Bluegills are thick, taking red wigglers and spinners in 10 feet of water.
BACK BAY - Although fishing pressure is light, a number of bass to five pounds have been weighed in. Most were caught on live minnows. Yellow perch remain plentiful and a few catfish are being taken at the upper end of the bay. Action in the creeks has been good for bass, crappie and white perch.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Shellcrackers are still being caught. The big sunfish are taking red wigglers, crickets and grasshoppers. Some good bass, 5-7 pounds, have been weighed in at both Western Branch and at Lake Prince. Prince is also producing a few stripers on live minnows. Lake Meade is giving up lots of bream and a few crappie, but bass and stripers are slow. Lake Smith is giving up bass on plastic worms, along with a number of large catfish. Some walleye, bream and white perch are also appearing in the catches.
LAKE GASTON - Topwater lures produce well in early mornings around brush piles and boat docks. Deep diving crankbaits, worked on light line, are producing larger bass on main lake points. Carolina-rigged plastic worms are taking bass from the stump fields in 6-12 feet of water. Plastic baits, particularly floating worms, are working well in hydrilla bed edges, near docks. Crappie fishing is good, using small minnows around boat docks. Catfish are taking cut bait in channels and deep holes. Deep diving crankbaits and rattling lures are taking good largemouth bass from Big Stonehouse Creek to the dam. The main river channel in the upper end of the lake is showing large schools of bass and small stripers working the shoreline grass. Spinnerbaits and rattling lipless baits are taking good numbers. Also try tossing a topwater frog into the grass edges on each point, no matter how small or shallow the patch of grass. Some good fish are in those grass patches. Stripers have started breaking water on the lower end of the lake in the evening. They are located in 50-60 feet of water in the early daylight hours.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Striper fishing is slow, but picking up. The fish have moved near the dam and can be found from Buoy 2 to 4, with trolling still producing the better catches. Bass fishing is slow, with most fish being caught in 10-30 feet of water, on deep diving crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics. Try a bucktail jig or jigging spoon on rocky points in 18-20 feet of water. Crappie are taking small minnows fished around brush piles and bridges, in 15-25 feet of water.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Lots of medium size bass, some bream and some nice catfish are the fare in both lakes. Bass anglers report catching up to 20 bass in the slot. Most of the fish are being taken on crankbaits 12-16 feet down on points and dropoffs.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Some bass are taking Carolina-rigged plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits, fished in 20-25 feet of water, while jigging white bucktails is producing a few stripers. Trolling Red Eye and Sutton Spoons is also accounting for some good catches of stripers. Crappie fishing is improving throughout the lake.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are taking good strings of bass on buzzbaits, and jigs tipped with pumpkinseed colored, plastic crayfish. Stripers are in the lake and are plentiful in the upper Towles Bridge area. Striper action is also fair in the river, along with flathead catfish in the 17-24 pound class.
LAKE MOOMAW - Bass are taking spider jigs in 18 feet of water. Some trout anglers are limiting out on 2-3 pound fish, caught on live bait, early in the morning. Catfishing is fair, with minnows and chicken livers being the bait of choice. Crappie fishing is good.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Catfish, 5-12 pounds, are being caught on cut bait and live minnows. Night anglers are taking bass and catfish. A few walleye are also mixed in the catches. Nightcrawlers, fished 20-30 feet deep, are taking trout to five pounds as is trolling. Crappie fishing is improving.
NEW RIVER - Small brown baits are taking large numbers of smallmouth bass. Larger baits are taking larger fish. Catfishing has slowed.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Fishing is good for anglers fishing deep. Bass are being taken on brown jig 'n pig and plastic worms. Topwaters are effective, early and late in the day. Crappie are taking small jigs at 20-30 feet and walleye are being taken, trolling 20-25 feet deep. Slow drifting with nightcrawler-tipped Lindy rigs are also taking walleye.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Lots of fish being caught from the 85+ degree water. Catfish make up the majority of the catches, while stripers are taking live shad. Catalpa worms are the bait of choice for the catfish. Crickets are the choice for bluegills and bass are being taken on crankbaits jig 'n pig and plastic worms.
TROUT STREAMS - Most of the trout streams are generally showing favorable conditions, although some of them are low. Some of the better areas include: Pads Creek, Jackson River, Dan River above the powerhouse, Rock Castle Creek, Shoemaker River, North Fork of the Shenandoah River, Passage Creek and Big Stoney Creek. Caddis fly imitations in sizes 14-16 are effective. Blue wing olives in sizes 14-18 are also good.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Bottom fishermen are finding a mixed bag of croaker, spot, sea bass, sea mullet and flounder at the mouth of the inlet. The flounder fishing is excellent, with lots of small fish and a few keeper fish mixed in the catches. Fair numbers of sea bass remain available, but croaker are still dominating the catches. Schools of snapper blues and pan trout are found at Chincoteague Point. Assateague Island surfcasters are taking some bluefish and pan trout. Offshore anglers are finding bluefin tuna, king mackerel, chopper bluefish and dolphin at the Parking Lot and Lumpy Bottom. Sandtiger, dusky and blacktip sharks are available at the 2TL buoy.
WACHAPREAGUE - Bottom anglers are taking croaker, pan trout, sea mullet, triggerfish, and increasingly, small flounder. Best catches are made in deeper sections of the channel at the inlet mouth. Offshore, bluefin and yellowfin tuna are caught, along with lots of bluefish, dolphin and king mackerel.
ONANCOCK - Good catches of flounder, spot and croaker continue in Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Flounder are running to 20 inches and are taking cut spot in 25-40 feet of water. Spot are running to 12 ounces and croaker range up to two pounds. Best catches are made in 30-35 feet of water. Taylor blues are schooled throughout the area. Bottom fishermen are taking dusky shark, sea mullet, porgy, spot and croaker. Speckled trout are showing in the bayside creeks and islands north of Nandua Creek.
QUINBY - Improved catches of trout, pigfish and spot along Eggen Marsh and Conger Channel, while grey trout and croaker are reported from the Gap. A few flounder and sea bass continue to be caught around the mouth of the inlet and along Rebel Island Creek. Skipjack tuna and false albacore abound on the inshore lumps.
CAPE CHARLES - Several red drum were taken near Buoy 36A this past week. Flounder fishing has been excellent at Buoys 36A, 38, 40, 42, and at the Cell with more keeper fish being caught. Bottom fishermen are taking lots of big croaker, but the schools are on the move. Hungar and Plantation Creeks are producing some small speckled trout. Fair numbers of yellowfin tuna are showing at the 20 Fathom Fingers, while inshore "chunking" remains slow for bluefins. A good number of sharks are also being caught, along with the occasional cobia or tarpon.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Loads of flounder are available all along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the fourth island producing plenty of fish, although most of them are too small to keep. Croaker dominate the catches, which, along with spot, are made around the First and Second Islands and along Lynnhaven Beach. Spadefish, to nine pounds, are available around the Third Island. A few cobia, 30-55 pounds, are being caught along the CBBT, around inshore buoys and at Bluefish Rock. Speckled trout catches continue to improve inside Lynnhaven, along with puppy drum. Larger drum are available at Latimer Shoals. Fair to good catches of flounder are made at the First and Third Islands. Lots of taylor blues are available for casters at the north tip of Fourth Island, along with an occasional 30 pound cobia. The Southern Tower is producing amberjack on live bait. Bottom fishermen are making good catches of croaker at the Back River Artificial Reef and just off Factory Point. Large flounder are being caught in the vicinity of the Cell. Excellent bottom fishing is available just south of Twin Stakes, in 29 feet of water, on the edge of the old oyster bed. A mix of spot, croaker, bluefish, trout, blowfish, hogfish and flounder is the catch. Yellow bellied spot are available around buoy 22 in the York River, while the Lumps, just off Cheatham Annex is showing good croaker action.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Offshore boats are reporting decent action on wahoo, king mackerel, chopper bluefish, and false albacore, along with the occasional bluefin tuna. Billfish are providing lots of action, as over fifty white & blue marlin and sailfish were released this past week. Inshore boats are finding plenty of Spanish mackerel within a few miles of the beach and large amberjack at the Tower Reef. Cobia are showing beneath the ocean buoys. A few speckled trout and puppy drum are showing inside Rudee Inlet. Surf anglers are taking good numbers of spot along the resort strip.
LYNNHAVEN - Spot, sea mullet, croaker, flounder and pan trout are taken by bottom fishermen, while occasional taylor bluefish and Spanish mackerel round out the creels. Crabbing is fair to good.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot and croaker, along with fair numbers of sea mullet. Casters take an occasional taylor bluefish or Spanish mackerel.
SANDBRIDGE - Bottom fishermen are taking fair numbers of spot, sea mullet, pan trout and flounder. Croaker are off and on. Casters are catching lots of taylor blues and occasional Spanish mackerel when the water clears.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Baitfish are schooling up and moving down the bay in huge numbers. This has caused a veritable feeding frenzy among other fish. Bluefish and stripers are churning the water to a froth at the mouth of the Potomac River. Under the schools of blues and stripers, the bottom fishing is superb, with large croaker, pan trout and flounder biting very well. In addition, small Spanish mackerel schools are also feeding on the baitfish. Good catches of croaker are available at Blackberry Hang, near Tangier Light, Smith Point and the Mud Leeds. Spanish mackerel action is good for trollers working from Smith Point Light to the SP Buoy and along the western side of Cut Channel. Bottom fishing is excellent at the SP Buoy, in 60 feet of water, for trout and croaker, with peeler crab and bloodworms being the favored baits. Cobia and red drum are active off Deltaville. Good flounder action remains available just north of the Cell and east of buoy 42. Trollers are catching Spanish mackerel between #6 buoy and the R buoy, located off Windmill Point. Bottom fishing for spot is excellent at the Silos and on Windmill Bar. Flounder continue to bite well around the north end of the White Stone Bridge. Bowlers Rock, buoy 16 and the Power Lines area are giving up good sized croaker and spot, while buoy 8 is producing fair numbers of flounder.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 3-6 pounds, abound from Thomas Point, South to Parkers Creek. Spot remain scattered throughout the region. Spanish mackerel continue to please anglers fishing the upper and middle Bay. One of the better concentrations is at the Stone Rock. Small spoons, trolled at 8-9 knots, are producing up to 30 fish per boat. White perch can be found in substantial numbers on virtually any oyster bar or naturally occurring lump North of the Bay Bridges. Peeler crab, bloodworms and grass shrimp are the most productive baits. Bluefish, 2-4 pounds, have been taken trolling small spoons and surgical eels in the following locations: Bloody Point, Brickhouse Bar, Love Point, Gum Thickets and Swan Point.
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. Bluefish, to three pounds, are being taken everywhere on cut mullet and spot in the surf, while offshore boats are finding marlin and dolphin in impressive numbers. Headboats are catching grey trout and croaker, while the inshore wrecks are producing consistent catches of tautog, lingcod and sea bass.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Spanish mackerel and bluefish provide lots of action for both pier and beach anglers. Flounder are being caught inside Oregon Inlet. Croaker are being caught inside the sounds, where speckled trout remain scarce. Bottom fishermen are taking pigfish, croaker, spot, pompano, flounder and a few sheepshead from the piers. Some king mackerel and cobia are reported, but the action is not consistent. Offshore, the charter fleets are still picking up a few bigeye tuna over the 100 pound mark and lots of yellowfin tuna, along with bunches of billfish. Dolphin catches are also great. Best tuna and billfish action has been between the 879 line and Triple O's. Inshore boats are taking good numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish.