Fishing Report - September 2, 2016

 

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Smallmouth and largemouth bass are being taken from the Virginia shoreline above Key Bridge on crankbaits and spinnerbaits, but patience and bright colors will help. Catfish are thick throughout the area, taking cut bait and clam snouts. Crappie are schooled up and biting aggressively on small minnows. In the city, bass are holding on main river structure. Crankbaits and plastic worms are the preferred baits. Some fish are available on outgoing tides on the grass bed along the Fort McNair seawall in Washington Channel. Plastic worms, spinnerbaits and topwater frogs are the preferred baits.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most of the bass action is on main river cover, although the middle of the creeks should be holding many bass as well. The fish are orienting to points, lily pads, grass beds and submerged wood. Small crankbaits, Chatterbaits, Senkos and creature baits are the baits of choice. Main river bass are holding on wood cover, dropoffs and points. Crappie are schooling in the creeks, with live minnows and tiny jigs taking good stringers. Stripers are cruising all over the river. Any crankbait or spinnerbait, fished on the main river, is liable to be slammed by a foraging striper or blue catfish.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass action is picking up, with fish holding on submerged wood and points. Crankbaits, Silver Buddies and plastic worms are the preferred baits. Catfish action is steady and crappie are schooled and holding on boat docks in the back of the river. Stripers are available in the back of the river on crankbaits, bucktails and Sassy Shads.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are holding in the main channel, adjacent to points and rock walls. When they move onto the points and walls to feed, they may be caught on crankbaits, plastic worms, drop-shots and jig 'n pig. Crappie are schooled up and biting well on small minnows and tiny jigs. Catfish are taking nightcrawlers, cut shad and clam snouts, but action is slowing for the year.

BURKE LAKE - Bass are attacking crankbaits viciously, when retrieved down the dropoffs adjacent to the grassbeds and brushpiles. Plastic worms and jig 'n pig are taking the fish on points. Nightcrawler or minnow-tipped jigs, worked slowly across the bottom, near the dam, can result in some nice walleye being taken. Crappie are thick and biting well on small minnows. Catfish action has slowed considerably.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass are biting on small crankbaits, tubes, Senkos, and plastic grubs, fished in the holes in the middle of the river. A topwater bite is available early and late in the day along the banks and in the afternoon in the middle of the river. Crappie are beginning to school at the creek mouths, while catfish are taking cut bait, live minnows, and nightcrawlers, in the main channel.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - No report this week.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - No report this week.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - The middle to lower reaches of these rivers are fishable and anglers should have success with bass, pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill, catfish, gar and bowfin. Lower water temperatures have started fish feeding heavily. Better choice of baits include spinners, stick baits, plastic worms and peeler crab. The lower ends of the rivers are also giving up lots of stripers.

LAKE ANNA - Bass are moving to the back of the creeks and coves, holding on cover with deep water access. Topwater baits are working well, early and late in the day, while crankbaits, plastic worms, grubs and jig 'n pig baits are taking fish in 12-18 feet of water when the sun is high. An excellent pattern is to fish plastic worms on main lake and secondary points. Select those points that drop off into deep water and contain brush or rocks. If grass is present, fish the worms from the bank to the edge of the grass beds. Most of the hits will come as the worm is pulled out of the grass edges. Crappie are schooling around bridge pilings. Stripers are becoming active around Stubbs Bridge and Jetts Island. Live shad is the bait of choice, although topwaters are taking the big fish, early and late in the day.

JAMES RIVER - Below the city, crankbaits, fished around shoreline structure, are taking good numbers of bass, as are jig 'n pigs and plastic worms, fished on deep structure. Catfish are being caught in the main river channel on cut shad and eel baits. The creeks are giving up bass on plastic worms, topwater baits and small crankbaits. Crappie are beginning to turn on in the barge and gravel pits on live minnows and tiny jigs.

LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie fishing downlake is good. Catfish are taking liver and nightcrawlers. Bass are taking plastic worms, jig 'n pig and crankbaits. Some stripers are showing.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Topwater baits, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, worked along the grassbed edges, are accounting for good numbers of bass, while plastic worms and Zoom Flukes are taking the fish back in the pads on incoming tides. Zoom Horny Toads and floating worms, fished over the hydrilla beds, are taking some bass, particularly when the grass is in three feet or more of water. Drop-Shot rigs are working well on dropoffs and boat docks. Crappie fishing is excellent around submerged brush and in creek mouths. Catfishing remains excellent on nightcrawlers, turtle livers and clam snouts.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Live minnows, buzzbaits, and crankbaits are the prime baits in this lake, as the bass, bowfin and pickerel are feeding heavily. Zoom Horny Toads, worked across the thickest grassbeds in the lake, will produce good bass for patient anglers. Anglers working the baits along the vegetation edges are taking good stringers of fish. Plastic worms and grubs are also taking fish, when worked through the lily pads and submerged brush. Catfish are active, taking clam snouts and live minnows.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Stripers are drawing most of the attention, being caught on live bait on points. Carolina rigs are producing the larger bass, while smaller bass are being taken on crankbaits, Texas rigged worms and live minnows. The bass are generally suspended at 15-20 feet. Crappie are taken on minnows in 18 feet of water, while other pan fish are concentrated in 10-12 feet of water.

BACK BAY - Yellow and white perch, catfish, crappie and bass are available in the creeks, along with lots of small stripers. White perch are thick in the main bay. They may be taken on Gulp maggots, Super Rooster Tails and tiny crankbaits.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Bream and crappie are very active, taking crickets and red wigglers. Lots of bass, to six pounds, are being caught on topwater baits, plastic worms and crankbaits. Stripers are very active, taking Shad Raps, Rat-L-Traps and jumbo minnows. Catfish are taking cut squid and live bait.

LAKE GASTON - Crappie are holding in 12-15 feet of water, hitting live minnows and tiny jigs. Largemouth bass are holding on main lake points and boat docks, adjacent to creek channels. Uplake, the fish are generally in 6-10 feet of water, while they are a little deeper downlake. Crankbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig baits are the choice, although topwaters, fished early and late in the day, are accounting for their share of fish. Stripers are suckers for trolled baits and the one ounce Cordell Hot Spot, near the dam. White perch are taking jigged Hopkins spoons at creek mouths.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - When fish are found, anglers can load the boat, but finding them is the trick. Best action is coming from midlake and downlake areas, and seems to be centered around the points halfway back in the creeks and in the edges of the flooded cover in the coves. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig are taking most of the fish, although topwater baits are accounting for some fish early and late in the day.

BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Fishing is fair. A number of catfish, numerous bass and crappie are being caught.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught by anglers fishing topwaters, plastic worms and jumbo minnows around boat docks, adjacent to deep banks. Stripers are taking live shad and bucktails above and below the "S" turns on the Roanoke arm and around the mouth of Gill's Creek on the Blackwater arm. Fish the bucktails in 8-12 feet of water. Topwater lures are also taking stripers early and late, from Hales Ford Bridge uplake. The fish are also being caught trolling, on Sutton spoons, Sassy Shads and Little Macs. Good numbers of 14-19 pound stripers are also being caught by jigging Pet Spoons in 50 feet of water off main channel points.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass are hitting with regularity on crankbaits and plastic worms, while white bass schools are attacking small spinners, jigs and crankbaits. Anglers are catching a few stripers by trolling over the points and fishing live shad in coves, but action is not consistent. Walleye anglers are taking good stringers, fishing live minnows on the bottom.

LAKE MOOMAW - Bass action is picking up. More successful anglers are fishing topwater baits early and late in the day over main lNow you Now you ake points and live minnows when the sun is high. Ringworms, fished in 18-20 feet of water, are also producing bass. Trout action is off. Some catfish are being taken, along with large bluegill. The 'gills are located in 20-30 feet of water.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Crappie are the big news here. Schools of 1-2 pound fish are being found moving downlake in mid-channel. Live minnows are the preferred bait. Walleye are also biting well. Nightcrawlers and minnows, slowly drifted across points, are taking 4-7 pound fish. Smallmouth bass fishing is improving. The Smith River is producing small fish on bluewing olives in sizes 20-22.

NEW RIVER - Some good smallmouth bass and catfish are being caught, along with some small muskies.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie fishing is excellent on fly and minnow combinations. Bass are biting well on rocky points, on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Catfish action is picking up at the mouths of coves on stinkbaits. Walleye anglers are catching a few fish by trolling.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Lots of catfish and a few crappie are being caught. Some trophy smallmouth bass are being taken on topwaters and spinnerbaits. White bass are schooling in Peak Creek.

TROUT STREAMS - Most streams throughout the state are in excellent fishing condition.

VIRGINIA SALTWATER

CHINCOTEAGUE - Snapper bluefish, flounder, weakfish, blowfish and sea bass are the catch by bottom fishermen. Fair numbers of croaker remain at Turner's Lump, along with some pan trout. Offshore, fair numbers of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and white marlin are available in 30+ fathoms of water, while shallower water holds plenty of false albacore, skipjack tuna and Atlantic Bonito. Sea bass and tautog action is improving on the inshore wrecks. Red drum action is good in the Assateague Island surf.

WACHAPREAGUE - Several large flounder have been caught in the past few days, with the best catches coming from around the mouth of the inlet and along the channel in front of the Coast Guard station. Offshore boats are finding Yellowfin tuna just east of the 21 Mile Hill, along with a mixture of white marlin, wahoo and dolphin at the Washington Lumps and Washington Canyon.

ONANCOCK - Good bottom fishing in Pocomoke Sound. Large spot are found in 20-50 feet of water. Mixed in with the spot are blowfish, sea mullet, porgy and taylor blues. A few croaker remain. Flounder are still available, biting fresh cut spot, drifted along channel drop-offs. Peeler crab baits, fished around the islands and marshes outside the harbor, are being taken by speckled trout and red drum.

QUINBY - Excellent bottom fishing for 1-2 pound trout, with the best action being along Eggen Marsh, where spot, mullet, sea bass and taylor blues also provide steady action. Some anglers are anchoring, while others are drifting the squid strips. Large flounder are surprising bottom anglers.

CAPE CHARLES - Fair numbers of red drum are available in the C-10 area, while fair numbers of croaker and spot are being caught around C-12 and the Artificial Reef. Flounder fishing remains consistent from C-10 to the Cement Ships, but lots are small. Speckled trout are biting well in the creeks. Seaside, muddy water conditions prevail, but trout to six pounds were caught, along with hogfish, big spot and croaker.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Good catches of flounder, croaker and spot are being taken from all the rock islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Several red drum have also been landed around the Second Island. Inside Lynnhaven Inlet, some flounder, croaker and speckled trout are available. The Fourth Island is yielding taylor blues, triggerfish and sea bass, in addition to the flounder. Good spot and croaker action is available just off Factory Point and at the entrance to the Salt Ponds. Twin Stakes anglers report good bottom fishing for porgy, sea mullet, croaker and an abundance of "yellow-bellied" spot. Good bottom fishing for spot and croaker in the Small Boat Channel, located just off Back River. Some grey trout are showing around Thimble Shoal Light, while flounder action has been best on Plum Tree Bar and around Forts Wool and Monroe. Spot and croaker are also available off Cheatham Annex. The York Spit area is good for taylor blues, while speckled trout are hitting inside Mobjack Bay, around the mouths of the Ware and North Rivers. Cobia are still thick throughout the area, with Bluefish Rock, most bridge pilings and lower bay buoys prime spots.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Offshore boats are finding yellowfin and bluefin tuna, and dolphin action in the vicinity of the Cigar. Plenty of white marlin are also available, blind trolling, with catches of up to nine to the boat reported. Inshore, skipjack tuna, false albacore and a few king mackerel are being caught, with fish showing from the CB Line to the Tower Reef to south of Sandbridge. Amberjack remain plentiful at the Tower Reef.

MARYLAND SALTWATER

MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent spot and croaker action at Blackberry Hang, Bluff Point and the Great Wicomico Light. Chummers on the SW Middlegrounds are catching limits of blues to five pounds, limits of stripers to 20 pounds and some keeper flounder on slack tides. Limit catches of Spanish mackerel are being made around Smith Point, in the Cut Channel and around Buoy 62. Good catches of large spot and sea mullet at buoy 79. Some flounder remain around the Smith Point Jetty. Mosquito Point and the R-5 buoy area are favored locations for bottom fishermen this past week. Good speckled trout action has returned to Windmill Point and Hole-in-the-Wall. Large spot are tightly schooled and moving all the time, but anglers are loading up at the mouth of Locklies Creek and at Bowlers Light.

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Taylor blues, 2-5 pounds, are being caught at Stone Rock and the Sharps Island flats, trolling surgical eels. Spike trout are in the Choptank River, near Chlora Point. Peelers and cut spot produce best. Snapper bluefish are breaking throughout the upper bay, and at the mouths of the Severn and Chester Rivers. White perch, to 12 inches are being caught at the Bay Bridges, Mountain Point bar, Key Bridge, Carroll Island, Hart-Miller Island, Love Point and at creek mouths and oyster bars in the Chester River. Small grey trout are spotty along the Kent Island shoreline. Trolling bucktails, tipped with crab, is the better method.

OCEAN CITY - Flounder are being found near the inlet, off the Route 50 Bridge and the Ocean Pier. Best baits are minnows, cut spot and squid. Snapper bluefish have moved into the Inlet, where cut baits and small spoons are taking the fish. Trout fishing is improving daily, as the water clears, but most are undersized. Surf anglers are fishing cut mullet to fill coolers with 2-3 pound bluefish. Offshore anglers are taking white marlin, dolphin, yellowfin tuna and wahoo in the Canyons.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Offshore boats are finding yellowfin and bluefin tuna, and dolphin action in the vicinity of the Cigar. Plenty of white marlin are also available, blind trolling, with catches of up to nine to the boat reported. Inshore, skipjack tuna, false albacore and a few king mackerel are being caught, with fish showing from the CB Line to the Tower Reef to south of Sandbridge. Amberjack remain plentiful at the Tower Reef.

NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER

OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Large spot provide good action for pier anglers, along with a few puppy drum to 10 pounds, taylor blues, sea mullet and Spanish mackerel. Some nice catches of large croaker are made at the inlet, where surf anglers are also taking 5-15 pound red drum in the evenings. The Little Bridge to Manteo is yielding a few speckled trout and taylor blues. Offshore, dolphin fishing is good, billfish action above average and tuna catches excellent. Most of the tuna are yellowfin, although a dozen bigeye tuna over the 125 pound mark were taken this past week. Most of the tuna action is centered east of the 70 Degree Tower, near the Triple 0's. Inshore charters are taking limit catches of Spanish mackerel, plus taylor blues, around the mouth of the inlet. Live bait anglers have good success drifting between Jennette's and Outer Banks piers for king mackerel to 20 pounds. Headboats are making consistent catches of croaker, sea mullet, triggerfish, sea bass and pigfish on rough bottom just outside the inlet.