Fishing Report - August 26, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Crappie are beginning to school around the Fletcher's Cove area with some catches made on small minnows. Catfish are still biting well on nightcrawlers and clam snouts. Smallmouth bass are taking small crankbaits, live crayfish and spinnerbaits along the banks, above Fletcher's. The Virginia shoreline is holding good largemouth bass all the way to National Airport. Rattling crankbaits are the preferred baits. Main river bridge pilings are giving up some good fish to patient anglers fishing soft plastic baits and deep diving crankbaits. Washington Channel sea wall is holding crappie schools and some bass. Plastic baits, fished slow, are taking the bass. The cover around Blue Plains and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge are also producing good bass on topwater baits and plastic worms.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are holding in the main river grass beds below Piscataway Creek. Better choice of baits are buzzbaits, frogs, soft jerk baits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. In the backs of the creeks, crankbaits and plastic worms are producing some bass around submerged wood. Plastic baits, tossed into spatterdock fields, are taking some largemouth bass in the creeks. Zoom Horny Toads are taking fish from thick matted grass beds. Spinnerbaits and swimbaits are taking fish from the marsh grass banks. Crappie are schooling up tight and biting well on small, live minnows. Catfish are taking cut bait, live minnows, clam snouts and nightcrawlers. Northern snakeheads are taking topwater baits tossed in weed choked waters 1-2 feet deep.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass are turning on with the coming of the cooler nights. Lots of bass are being taken on crankbaits around submerged cover. Crappie are schooling and taking small minnows. Catfish continue to bite well on clam snouts, nightcrawlers and cut bait. Some stripers are available in the back of the river on Sassy Shads, bucktails and large minnow imitating lures.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are hitting crankbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits, fished on main lake points and creek channels. Some fish are also being taken from the rock walls on the lower end of the lake. Catfish are biting well on clam snouts, while crappie are schooled and taking live minnows and tiny jigs, around submerged cover.
BURKE LAKE - Bass beginning to feed actively. Some big fish are taking small crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are schooled up and taking live minnows and tiny jigs.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth action is good, with lots of decent sized fish. Most of the fish are being caught on plastic worms or grubs and small spinnerbaits. Good action on topwater baits, around and over the flooded shoreline grassbeds. Catfish are still taking cut bait, nightcrawlers and live minnows. Crappie beginning to school up around the creek mouths.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth action is good above the city on minnows, crayfish and Baby Chug Bugs. In the tidal sections, largemouth bass are available above the Route 301 Bridge, taking small crankbaits and plastic worms around the wood cover in the main river. Some bass are also available at the tide line around the city. Large catfish, to 30 pounds, are still taking cut baits in the main channel bends below the city.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - This river is in good shape for smallmouth anglers, although there is lots of filamentous algae in the river. Most fish are taken on live minnows, madtoms and crayfish, but nice fish are also being taken on plastic worms, grubs, spinnerbaits, Tiny Torpedos and small crankbaits. Sunfish and catfish are biting well.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfish action is excellent. Minnows and nightcrawlers are producing bream, bass, bowfin, crappie, walleye, pickerel and stripers in the upper ends of both rivers. Croaker are being taken from mid river to the mouth.
LAKE ANNA - Bass action is slow to fair. The bass are on the move with the cooler temperatures. Best action from dawn to about 10 a.m. is near shallow flats. Topwater lures are the best choice, with crankbaits and plastic worms also producing. Rocky points are also producing bass on plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Crappie are schooled up around the bridge pilings, where live minnows and tiny jigs are taking good stringers. Stripers are active around Dike Three, the Splits, Jetts Island, Rose Valley and Stubbs Bridge. Some topwater action for stripers is available in the mouths of Sturgeon and Contrary Creeks, early and late in the day.
JAMES RIVER - Bass are tough to find in the tidal creeks. Best action is on plastic worms, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits in the back ends of creeks and the headwaters of the river. The gravel pits are also producing good numbers of bass and crappie. Above the city, smallmouth bass action is good. Best lure choices are plastic grubs, small crankbaits and small topwater lures. Catfish to 50 pounds are biting well throughout the tidal sections.
LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie are biting well, along with bass in the 3-4 pound class. Spinnerbaits are the better bait for bass, while crappie are taking small minnows. Catfish action is excellent, with a number of large fish being caught.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Fair fishing for bass, with crankbaits, minnows, plastic worms and buzzbaits taking most of the fish. Better action is to be had by fishing back ends of creeks and lily pad fields in the upper reaches of the river. Most of the fish are small, but some good fish are being caught. Bream are also being taken in large numbers. Catfish action is excellent on turtle livers and peeler crab. Lots of crappie are starting to show on submerged brush. Big blue catfish are available on cut eel baits.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass catches are good, with fish to six pounds being caught. Catfish, bream, pickerel and grindle are also showing in the catches. Catfish are taking shrimp, peeler crab and clam snouts. Pickerel and bass are taking jumbo minnows, plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits, while bream anglers are taking most of the fish on red wigglers and flyrod poppers.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Some good sized bass and pickerel are mixed in the creels, along with smaller bass and bream. Topwater and plastic lures are the best baits for bass, while bream are taking red wigglers, crickets and flyrod poppers. Stripers are being caught on live herring. Larger bass are taken from deep points on drop shot or Carolina rigs.
BACK BAY - Small bass, nice bluegill, small crappie and large catfish are being caught in the upper ends of Hellespoint and West Neck Creeks. The Sandbridge area is producing catfish to nine pounds and a few perch. Crappie and white perch are being caught on small minnows throughout the bay.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Fishing is fair in all the lakes. Shellcrackers are taking red wigglers and crickets in 9-10 feet of water. Bass are taking spinnerbaits, plastic worms and crankbaits. Striper action is good on jumbo minnows in Western Branch and Prince. Bream and gar are biting well in Lake Prince, while crappie are biting well on live minnows.
LAKE GASTON - Largemouth bass are taking red plastic worms and clear crankbaits, around boat docks. Crappie are taking live minnows and red and white jigs. Night fishing for catfish is excellent with almost any kind of bait. Trolling white bucktails and Cordell Redfins, is the preferred method for catching striped bass. White perch are taking crappie jigs dropped from Pop R's, on points.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass are schooled up on structure and can be consistently caught on old road beds and points in 4-10 feet of water. Fish are aggressively hitting lures bumped on structure. Best lures are plastic worms and grubs in light colors, fished on Carolina rigs. Striped bass are being caught by trolling with bucktails, Cordell Red Fins and live shad from buoy 5 through buoy 8. Crappie fishing is good all over the lake, around brushpiles and bridge pilings. The fish are located at the 10 foot level. The mouths of Grassy and Eastland Creeks are showing good catches of white bass. The fish are being caught, jigging Little Georges just off the bottom, in 20 feet of water.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Lots of slot fish being caught in Briery Creek. Numbers are caught on plastic baits on shallow flats in the upper end of the main lake. Bigger fish are taken by dropping 7" Yum dingers or 10" plastic worms through the branches of standing trees, allowing them to hit each limb. The fish are taking the baits on the fall and swimming away from the trees. Laydowns on the shoreline are also holding good fish, but are difficult to pull out of the thick stuff. A few fish are taken by dragging plastic baits across the dollar pads and dropping them on the outside edges. Lots of large bluegill are also being caught. No report on Sandy River.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Bass action is picking up, with most of the fish being caught in 5-8 feet of water, on crankbaits and topwater lures. Some bass are being caught around boat docks in the Craddock Creek section. Main lake points in the Roanoke arm are also producing some bass on plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits. Striper action is excellent in the lower end of the lake on trolled Red Eye Spoons and live shad. The fish are running 8-11 pounds.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Live minnows and crankbaits are the better choices for baits to catch largemouth and white bass. Most of the fish are schooled and are actively feeding. Crappie are taking medium minnows. Stripers, 7-12 pounds, are being taken trolling bucktails and Cordell Redfins.
LAKE MOOMAW - Trout fishing is at a standstill, with only a few 2-3 pound fish being caught. Most of the action on the lake centers on bass, yellow perch and channel catfish.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Bass and crappie fishing is fair, with live minnows being the bait of choice. Trout fishing has just about stopped, while catfishing is good. Trout fishing in the Smith River is good for small fish.
NEW RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass are being caught early and late in the day, in the deeper holes. Best lures are live bait and soft plastic lures in brown and chartreuse colors. Catfishing is fair.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Smallmouth bass are biting well on jig 'n pig, Silver Buddies, crankbaits and live minnows, fished off points in 10-12 feet of water. Catfish are taking nightcrawlers. Crappie are schooling and taking small minnows.
CLAYTOR LAKE - White bass are starting to appear in Peak Creek and some crappie are being caught. Channel catfish are biting well, and stripers are starting to bust the surface, early and late in the day. Some small bass are being caught.
TROUT STREAMS - Fair action should be anticipated with the advent of the brook and brown trout spawn. Casters should have good success on small spinners and spoons, while flyrodders should make good catches on streamers and nymphs in sizes 8-10 on larger streams and rivers.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Good flounder action along the Narrows, just inside the inlet, along the Hook and around buoy 14. Yellow-bellied spot, croaker, pan trout and snapper blues are available throughout the bays. Small sea bass are available along the oyster bottom, with larger fish being found around the bridge pilings. Outside the inlet, Spanish mackerel are found close to the beach and big flounder, black sea bass, triggerfish and spadefish are found on the inshore wrecks. Surf anglers are catching a mixed bag of spot, sea mullet and small sharks. Inshore anglers are finding croaker and a few pan trout taking squid at the 2TL Buoy. Red drum are starting to show in the same area. Offshore catches consist of dolphin, yellowfin tuna and false albacore. Chunkers are having great results on 30-50 pound yellowfin at the Lumpy Bottom. Trollers are working the 20 fathom contour.
WACHAPREAGUE - Good fishing action in the Washington and Norfolk Canyons this past week. Dolphin are plentiful. Yellowfin tuna and white marlin make up the balance of the catches, plus an occasional wahoo. Farther inshore, false albacore, skipjack tuna and Spanish mackerel are found on the inshore hills. Small pan trout are showing 1-3 miles off the beach, with some croaker mixed in. Flounder, pan trout and croaker are available around the mouth of the inlet.
ONANCOCK - Spot are schooling inside Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Croaker are mixed in with the spot. Sea mullet, flounder, pigfish, porgy, blowfish and taylor blues were mixed in the catches, which were curiously devoid of trout.
CAPE CHARLES - Plenty of medium spot and sea mullet, plus lots of croaker in the vicinity of C-10. Red drum and cobia action has slowed. Good action on big flounder and speckled trout over the past few days. Flounder are being caught just inside Plantation Light and off the Cement Ships. Speckled trout are hitting on most of the bayside creeks, with Hungars Creek the favored location. Inshore wrecks are producing a mixed bag of triggerfish, black sea bass and flounder.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Large spot are available around the First and Second Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Cobia blitzed the CBBT this past week. Best Spanish mackerel catches continue to come from the Third Island area, while impressive catches of flounder are being made on the bayside of the Fourth Island. Croaker, to two pounds, have moved into the mussel beds at the First Island, but more consistent action is found around the Lesner Bridge and inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Spot and croaker are caught by bottom anglers working just outside the Lesner Bridge and along the Small Boat Channel. An increase in flounder action was noted from the mouth of Back River to the Bell Buoy. Large croaker and spot, plus a few pan trout, in the vicinity of Q-1. The Twin Stakes area continues to hold good numbers of spot and croaker plus a few keeper flounder. Puppy drum continue to provide good sport on Back River, with most fish exceeding the 14 inch minimum size limit. Good catches of spot were made near the Back River Bell Buoy and Buoys 17-18 this past week. Flounder, to four pounds, were taken from the area around buoy 42, located at the Cell. Good catches of spot are being made at buoy 22 on the York River. Puppy drum are caught during high tide, inshore of buoy 22, along the grass beds, on peeler crab. The Ware River has also been good for puppy drum, plus a few speckled trout. Offshore, consistent action is seen on dolphin at the NOAA weather buoy, located just NE of the Cigar. This same area is producing scattered catches of 30-60 pound yellowfin tuna. The Southern Tower, located 50 miles SE of Rudee Inlet, still holds good numbers of willing amberjack and a few large barracuda.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Yellowfin tuna are again showing in good numbers. Best action has been between the 200 and 400 line for tuna running 30-60 pounds. Dolphin, 2-15 pounds, continue to be abundant, along with occasional bull dolphin, to 49 pounds. Cobia remain off Virginia Beach, with the more consistent catches coming from the area south of Rudee Inlet. Live bait and rigged eels are working for the cobia. A few large king mackerel are available in the same area. Small kings and large Spanish mackerel are available at the Chesapeake Light Tower/Artificial Reef. A few billfish and plenty of dolphin are being caught in the vicinity of the Cigar. Ballyhoo, pulled behind a Seawitch, has been the favored lure combination. Inside Rudee Inlet, speckled trout action remains slow, but small spot and croaker are plentiful. Along the resort beaches, surf anglers report good catches of spot and croaker, plus a few puppy drum.
LYNNHAVEN - Good action on spot, along with a few puppy drum each day. best action has been on the early morning tide.
VIRGINIA BEACH -Good catches of spot and puppy drum. Best catches are made in the early morning hours. A few small Spanish mackerel and keeper sized striped bass are being caught from the end of the pier by casters.
SANDBRIDGE - Spot are the mainstay, but puppy drum, sea mullet and croaker are mixed in the catches.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Blues, 2-6 pounds, are being taken by chummers south of the Middlegrounds, when the rockfish will leave the baits alone. Spanish mackerel action is good, with better catches being made trolling small, gold spoons around the mouth of the Potomac, and in 60 feet of water in the vicinity of C-73. Puppy drum are being found in every creek, with live minnows being the better bait. Bottom fishermen report good catches of spot at the N-2 buoy, around C-34 and at Blackberry Hang. Pan trout are also available at Blackberry Hang. Peeler crab, cut spot and bloodworm are the preferred baits. Bluefish, 3-6 pounds, are available at the mouth of the Coan River. Bottom anglers are catching croaker and spot in the 50 foot hole just south of the Tangier Light. Fair to good numbers of Spanish mackerel are available west of Windmill Point and along Cut Channel. Best lures are #1 planers and small spoons. A few cobia are still available beneath the Cut Channel buoys. Speckled trout and puppy drum continue to provide good action in the Windmill Point area. Fair catches of flounder in the White Stone Bridge area. Spot fishing is good in the Rappahannock River.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Spot continue to dominate the fishery, with pier and surf anglers making good hauls of spot to 12 ounces. Mixed in the catches are small puppy drum, pompano and sea mullet. King mackerel and cobia have been scarce this past week, with only a handful of Spanish mackerel being decked. At Oregon Inlet, puppy drum, flounder and speckled trout are being caught from the beach on the north and south sides of the inlet. The "pond" is also producing some nice speckled trout. Night anglers are taking fair to good numbers of speckled trout and puppy drum from the Catwalk. Medium croaker are available in the Sound, with some speckled trout around Duck Island. Outside the inlet, good catches of Spanish mackerel and false albacore are reported around the mouth of the inlet, south to the Boiler Wreck and north to Bodie Island Light. King mackerel and false albacore are showing around the 102 and 65 degree Towers. Weedlines within 10 miles of the beach hold dolphin to 12 pounds and false albacore. Sailfish have been reported in the vicinity of the 102 Tower. The bluewater fleet reported fair catches of dolphin for the week, and excellent white marlin catches. Bluefin tuna action improved as most boats reported catching several tuna in the 50-60 pound class. Best catches were made NE of the inlet, along the 900 line. A number of bigeye tuna in the 100+ pound class were also landed.