Fishing Report - September 9, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Some smallmouth bass are being taken above Fletcher's Cove by anglers using topwater baits around dawn. Stripers are also available in the main channel above Fletcher's Cove. Some catfish are taking bottom baits. The Virginia shoreline from Chain Bridge to Key Bridge and the rock ledges behind Roosevelt Island are giving up smallmouth bass for anglers using small crankbaits. Occasional walleye are taking bottom drifted minnows in the Three Sisters Island area. Largemouth bass action is centered along the Virginia shoreline from Memorial Bridge to National Airport, the main river bridge pilings, Blue Plains discharge and man made cover near deep water. Some striper action on the War College Wall dropoff, Haines Point and the southern shore of National Airport.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Largemouth bass are primarily orienting to the main river dropoffs, wood cover and vegetation. Lily pads and grass beds are holding good numbers of bass for anglers willing to fish them. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits on high tides and plastic worms and jig 'n pig on lower tides are the ticket. Dropoffs are still producing well on deep diving crankbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Grass beds in the creeks and along the main river are producing some fish on plastic baits, punched through the grass. Topwater baits are not producing well at this time. Sugmerged wood cover is producing well on outgoing tides. This would include docks, old pilings, barges, fallen trees and hanging brush. Fish a small plastic worm, allowing the tide to sweep the bait alongside the cover. Catfish are available on flats adjacent to deeper water and in the main river and creek channels. Cut bait, live minnows and clam snouts are the better baits. Crappie are schooled and taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Lots of resident schools of juvenile stripers are found south of Swan Creek. Once a school is found, fish 1/4 oz. Rattling Spots or Rapala Glass Minnows. This catch and release fishing can produce upwards of 50 fish per person in a couple of hours. Be very careful of the flying treble hooks.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Crappie are schooled around boat docks and submerged brush, taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Bass fishing is good, with most fish being caught on buzzbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms near wood cover throughout the river. Some fish are also being taken from the rocky points along the southern shore, above the Route 95 Bridge. The large grass bed at the mouth of the river is giving up some good bass to patient anglers fishing weightless plastic baits on flourocarbon leaders, or plastic baits, punched through the grass.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are holding on main lake points and along rock walls. Schooling bass are chasing shad right up on the rocks. When found, these fish may be taken on Rat-L-Traps or Shad Raps. Otherwise, deep diving crankbaits, jig 'n pig and spinnerbaits are the ticket. Crappie are schooled around points, submerged brush and standing timber. Small minnows and tiny jigs are taking some good fish, although catches are sporadic.
BURKE LAKE - Brushpiles along the shoreline dropoffs are holding good numbers of crappie and bass. Bass are taking plastic worms and crankbaits, while crappie are suckers for small minnows and tiny jigs.
LAKE BRITTLE - Bass action was a little better this week with fish being taken on crankbaits and plastic worms around the fish structures and deep dropping banks. Catfish, walleye, bluegill and crappie continue to bite well on nightcrawlers throughout the lake.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Small buzzbaits and Tiny Torpedos are taking some fish, particularly early and late in the day. After the sun comes up, switch to small crankbaits, tube baits and plastic grubs, worked in riffles and deeper pools. Better areas are around White's Ferry, Edward's Ferry, Point of Rocks and Seneca. Good numbers of panfish are also available.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Good smallmouth bass action is available on topwater lures, spinners and small crankbaits. Tidal sections are producing some good catches of largemouth bass and crappie from the blowdowns along the South shoreline from Fredericksburg to Port Royal. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms are good choices of baits. Lots of catfish, 14-19 pounds, on cut bait. Trophy catfish, to 30 pounds, are available for knowledgeable anglers.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - The North Branch of the river is producing some fish, as smallmouth bass, rock bass and sunfish are stocking up for the winter. Wading the stretch from Mt. Jackson to Strasburg is highly recommended at this time. Small crankbaits, topwater lures and plastic worms should load the boat for anglers drifting the river below Front Royal. Deeper holes and stretches below riffles are the better holding areas. Panfish are also available.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Bass anglers are taking good numbers of fish above Route 360 in both rivers. Better lures are spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. In addition to bass, creels include yellow perch, bowfin, pickerel, crappie, walleye and bream. Catfish anglers are taking fish to six pounds on peeler crab and shrimp below the Route 360 Bridge. A few croaker are mixed in the catches. Stripers are thick in the rivers, taking bucktails and bloodworms.
LAKE ANNA - Bass are in the fall pattern, meaning that they are up shallow during low light hours and move deep when the sun rises. The more successful anglers are fishing secondary points, boat docks and stumps and brush, with topwater and shallow running lures. After the sun is up, switch to plastic worms or jig 'n pig in 12-20 feet of water. Backs of creeks are holding large schools of shad, where Rat-L-Traps, cast beyond the schools and brought back under them, are taking fish. Main lake grass beds are also holding fish. Crappie are biting well with stringers of 1-2 pound fish not unusual. Surface action for stripers is picking up, while drifting live shad in 14-20 feet of water is also successful. Better areas for the stripers are the Power Plant area, Stubbs Point, Rose Valley, the Route 208 Bridge and the Splits.
JAMES RIVER - Fishing is fair to good above Richmond. Small crankbaits, Tiny Torpedos and Berkley Power Grubs are taking good numbers of smallmouth bass. The Watkins Landing and Hugenot Bridge areas, above Richmond, are good. The tidal sections are producing good numbers of largemouth bass for anglers fishing the creeks and barge pits along the river. Plastic worms, soft plastic stick baits, small crankbaits and buzzbaits are the preferred baits. Specifically target downed wood in the tidal flow. Catfish anglers are catching some large blue cats on live and cut shad. For a lot of fun, fish a 3/4 oz. Silver Buddy in 20-25 feet of water in an outside bend of a tidal creek. Plenty of 6-10 pound blue catfish available.
APPOMATTOX RIVER - Bass are holding on the wing dams and channel markers. Best baits for these fish are large, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and plastic baits. Cast above the cover and allow the tide to sweep the baits into the cover. Pye Alley is still holding plenty of fish on the downed wood. Small buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits work well along the banks from Pye Alley to Petersburg.
LAKE CHESDIN - Good crappie action around the Namozine Creek Bridge on live minnows. Bass are taking crankbaits, live bait and spinnerbaits. A few large channel catfish have been caught this week on chicken livers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Catfish and bream are being caught on live bait, while bass fishermen are taking a few fish on plastic worms, small spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and small crankbaits. Edges of lily pad fields, particularly near creek mouths, are producing the better catches of bass. Plenty of stripers in the river.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass and pickerel are taking spinnerbaits and large minnows. Crappie are schooling and may be taken on live minnows over the brush piles. Flyrodders are having a ball on small poppers, fished in the lily pads. Bass, to six pounds, are smacking the poppers with a vengeance. Don't neglect the topwater action of a Zoom Horny Toad, fished through the thickest vegetation you can find. Bass will blow up through the thick stuff to get the toad. Channel catfish are biting well for anglers fishing chicken and turtle livers.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are taking nice fish on drop shot rigs on secondary points in 15-20 feet. Four inch light green finesse worms were the most effective baits. Live herring is producing some good striper and bass. Crappie fishermen are taking fish to 1.5 pounds on tiny jigs and minnows. Stripers and catfish are also biting well on either cast or trolled artificial lures.
BACK BAY - Fishing in the feeder creeks is excellent in the clear water. Bass to six pounds, catfish, perch, crappie and bream are mixed in the creels. Anglers fishing the bay are taking some crappie, bream, catfish, perch, bass and stripers.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Shellcrackers are the main fare at these lakes, and red wigglers are the prime bait. Lots of good fish are being taken at Western Branch, Cohoon, Meade and Prince. Bass action is steady, with a number of fish over the six pound mark. Best action is on topwater plugs. Stripers are active and aggressive, particularly at Lakes Meade and Prince. A few channel catfish and bowfin are also available. Crappie fishing is improving daily.
LAKE GASTON - Bass fishing is good, with most of the better fish being taken from shallow stump fields, adjacent to the main river channel. Other patterns are boat dock brush piles on plastic worm, main lake points on deep-diving crankbaits and grassbeds in shallow water on Horny Toads. Stripers are scattered and running in small schools. Below the dam, lots of stripers in the 12-20 pound class are taking live shad. Anglers jigging half ounce Hopkins Spoons are cleaning house on white perch. Rebel Pop-R;s, with crappie jig trailers on the rear hook are also effective.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass are being caught by anglers concentrating on shad schools, near submerged wood cover, in the creeks. Shallow running crankbaits and plastic baits, cast into these areas, will take the bass. White bass are schooled up in Grassy and Bluestone Creeks, but not in large numbers. Stripers are found deep, with the mouth of Nutbush Creek being the most productive spot. Crappie action is excellent on medium minnows over brushpiles and in 12-15 feet of water, over solid structures.
BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Action this week consisted of plenty of pickerel, crappie, some slot bass and lots of bream. Crappie schools are located at 10-12 feet. The bass were taken on topwaters, swimming worms and crankbaits.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Bass fishing is poor to fair, with most successful anglers keying on shad schools in the back of creeks and coves, and main lake points. Rat-L-Traps and small swim baits, cast anywhere around the shad, are producing bass. Small crankbaits are also taking bass when cast onto riprap banks in 5-8 feet of water, near boat docks. Crappie fishing is very good on small minnows. Best catches are around boat docks. Stripers are scattered in small schools and are hard to find. Live bait and trolling are the better methods. Best areas are the sides of points in 30-32 feet of water. Some fish are available between markers 13-30 on the Roanoke Arm and 11-28 on the Blackwater Arm.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is exceptionally good, with lots of 3-5 pounders being taken on crankbaits, plastic worms and jigs. White bass are schooled and actively feeding. Small crankbaits and jigs are taking the fish. Crappie are actively taking medium minnows. Stripers are beginning to feed, but catches are low.
LAKE MOOMAW - Bass anglers are catching a few fish on plastic worms and jig 'n pig, primarily on main lake points. Catfish are taking minnows, nightcrawlers and chicken livers. Trout action is at a standstill.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Fishing is improving with smallmouth bass catches leading the way. Better choices of baits include crankbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Plenty of large crappie are available and a few walleye. Most of the walleye are being taken by jigging Hopkins Spoons. Trout catches are picking up on the Smith River.
NEW RIVER - Excellent smallmouth catches, primarily on plastic grubs and live bait. Some catfish, to 10 pounds, have also been caught.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Walleye are biting well around the Bristol Water Intake. Anglers fishing minnows on the bottom in 20 feet of water, are taking smallmouth bass and crappie. Smallmouth bass are also taking spinnerbaits in the upper end of the lake.
TROUT STREAMS - Trout fishing is very good in the streams of the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson National Forests, from Harrisonburg to Mt. Rogers. All in all, native brook, along with brown and rainbow trout fishing, is prime in all mountainous streams. Muddler minnows are producing well and the streams should remain excellent for the balance of the month.
CHINCOTEAGUE - Little angling pressure resulted in a few large flounder. There were some catches around the mouth of the inlet, along with a few blowfish. Surf anglers are taking red drum, bluefish, flounder, trout and sea mullet. Grey trout are available at Turner's Lump. Inshore wrecks are providing lots of sea bass, while offshore boats are taking yellowfin tuna, dolphin and false albacore.
WACHAPREAGUE - Good catches of pan trout are being made on squid strips, a few miles outside the inlet. Inshore, pan trout and croaker are found just outside Metomkin Inlet and off Hog Island. Offshore boats are finding yellowfin tuna, dolphin, blue and white marlin, with the best action being found just inside Washington Canyon at the "Lumps", in 30 fathoms of water.
ONANCOCK - Loads of large spot remain inside Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. The larger spot appear tightly schooled and on the move. Croaker are abundant, with the larger ones running to one pound. Flounder, porgy, taylor blues and pan trout are mixed in with the spot and croaker. A few larger grey trout are showing, but these are generally caught after dark, in the grassy shallows, on peeler crab. Most areas of protected, shallow water are holding loads of speckled trout and school sized stripers. Trollers are finding a few Spanish mackerel.
QUINBY - A mixture of large bluefish, false albacore and dolphin on the Offshore Lumps. Trout and a few croaker are being caught just off the beach. Most boats are fishing off Metomkin Island. Inside the inlet, a variety of small bottom fish are being caught, but none are abundant. Catches include sea bass, snapper blues, spot, trout and flounder.
CAPE CHARLES - Good catches of panfish are still coming from the area of the old C-10 Buoy, with spot, porgy, sea bass, croaker, sea mullet, flounder and trout showing in the catches. Red drum are showing again in catchable numbers, with late evening tides producing the best action. Cut bait, such as mullet, spot or menhaden, should be fished on the bottom in 20-35 feet of water. Fair numbers of sharks can also be expected. Good catches of flounder are coming from the area between old C-10 and Plantation Light. Grey trout are on the increase, with best concentrations being found at the Cape Charles Artificial Reef Site, the Cement Ships and the High Rise. Peelers are the better choice of bait. Speckled trout catches are good one day and slow the next.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Puppy drum are making a fair showing along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the best catches coming from the Fourth Island area. Spot appear to be moving, with good catches still being made at the First and Second Islands. Fair to good action on puppy drum and speckled trout inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Some large grey trout are beginning to show around the Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands. Fish are being caught on bucktails, tipped with squid, trolled or cast around the tunnel tubes. Bluefish are found around all four of the rock islands, with the larger fish showing at the Fourth Island. Bottom fishermen, using cut crab, report tautog to six pounds, nice sea bass and a few trigger fish around the rock islands and nearby wrecks. Offshore, the Southern Tower area is producing good catches of amberjack. Most of the jacks have migrated south, but live spot will still take some fish. Citation size sea bass are also available on the Tower. Tautog are biting around Fort Wool and the Third and Fourth Islands. The Twin Stakes area is producing good catches of large spot, sea mullet, porgy, blowfish and some pan trout. Good catches of spot are being made just inside the Back River Bell Buoy and just off Factory Point. Speckled trout fishing is excellent inside Mobjack Bay, with the mouth of the North and Ware Rivers being the top spots. Peeler crab, fished on the bottom, or a slowly retrieved rubber tailed jig or plug are the best bets. Bottom fishermen are reporting large spot at the Y-9 Buoy and the mouth of the York River. Good catches are also made at Gaines Point, the mouth of Sarah's Creek and Buoy 22. Speckled trout are hitting near the Amoco Pier on the York River.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Rudee Inlet is producing good catches of big spot and croaker. Headboats are coming in with good catches of sea bass and croaker. Inshore trollers enjoy fast action on Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore and bonito. The mackerel are found from the CB Line out to the Chesapeake Light Tower/Artificial Reef and south to the V Buoy. Most kings are running 6-12 pounds, but fish to 30 pounds have been taken. Several large false albacore have been caught in the vicinity of the Dump Buoys, located just outside Rudee Inlet. Offshore, yellowfin tuna, blue and white marlin, and wahoo, along with good numbers of dolphin are being taken in the area from the Cigar to the Triple O's, in 30-50 fathoms of water.
LYNNHAVEN - Spot and croaker to nearly three pounds, are biting well all day, while speckled trout provide action in the evenings and early mornings.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Good spot and croaker action all day, with puppy drum mixed in the catches. Occasional schools of taylor bluefish.
SANDBRIDGE - Good spot action, with some puppy drum mixed in. A few sharks have also been taken. Occasional runs of croaker to two pounds.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 2-5 pounds, and stripers are providing the best action for chummers on the Southwest Middlegrounds. Mixed in the chum lines are sea bass, Spanish mackerel, pan trout, flounder, tautog and oyster toads. Sea trout are located all over the Tangier Wrecks, taking peeler crab, bloodworms and squid. Puppy drum are still located around the Smith Point Jetty and Lighthouse. Some fish are also being taken around the nearby marsh grass. Good catches of spot and croaker are coming in from the N-2 and C-79 Buoys. Spanish mackerel have been replaced by taylor blues at the mouth of the Rappahannock River and at the Cell. Speckled trout continue to provide good sport off Windmill Point, while puppy drum catches are declining. Several good catches of 2-4 pound flounder were made east of Buoy 42 and just north of the Cell. Good catches of jumbo spot near the White Stone Bridge. More pan trout are showing in the river and fair catches of flounder continue to be made.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Large schools of bluefish and stripers are found throughout the upper bay, with surface feeding occurring near Kent Island, Key Bridge on the Patapsco River, Forts Smallwood and McHenry, Sharps Island Light, Hooper Island Light, Hooper Straits and the mouth of the Little Choptank River. Spot, sea trout, flounder and a few croaker are plentiful throughout the upper bay.
OCEAN CITY - Offshore boats are finding yellowfin tuna and small dolphin in Poormans Canyon. Billfishing is slow, with very few sightings. A few sea trout are still being caught around the jetties, but taylor blues are providing most of the action.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Speckled trout, spot and channel bass are moving through the area. Excellent surf and pier fishing along the outer banks for large spot, croaker to two pounds and puppy drum to 12 pounds. Speckled trout catches are being made north of Kitty Hawk Pier, the pond on the north side of the inlet and the old Coast Guard channel, on the south side of the inlet. False albacore are also making a strong showing in the surf. Beach fishermen report seeing good numbers of puppy drum, but most are under the minimum size limit, along with bluefish, lots of pampano and flounder. A few large king mackerel have been taken from the piers. Offshore, when the weather cooperaates, tuna action is excellent, with limits of yellowfins, running 20-40 pounds. Billfish action is noted as good to excellent with 10-30 releases per day being recorded by the charter fleet. Bigeye tuna, to 295 pounds, are also being taken. Inshoe, good numbers of king mackerel are being caught near the mouth of the inlet and just inshore of the Point. Fair numbers of false albacore are being caught by the half day boats. Headboats, fishing the rough bottom just south of the inlet, are returning with good catches of sea bass and large triggerfish.