Fishing Report - September 16, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught along the Virginia bank above Key Bridge. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and live crayfish are the best producers. Crappie are schooling up, taking small minnows and tiny jigs in Fletcher's Cove and around the docks in Washington Sailing Marina. Catfish are plentiful, taking clam snouts, nightcrawlers and cut bait. Main river bridge pilings and other submerged cover are holding good bass. Some rocky points and shorelines are also attracting bass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic grubs are the preferred baits.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Best fishing is currently on main river points, grassbeds and in the creeks. The Fall movement to the dropoffs has begun in areas lacking grass beds. Many of the better fish have moved to dropoffs and submerged structure. The creeks are producing bass from lily pads, grass beds and wood cover adjacent to dropoffs. Crankbaits are the best producing lures on the dropoffs at this time of year, while Horny Toads, plastic worms, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits are still taking their share of fish in and near the grass beds. Crappie are schooling in deeper water in the back of the creeks. Live minnows and tiny jigs are still the ticket. Yellow perch are beginning to bite in the creeks. White perch are thick on main river points. Best bait is cut white perch belly strips. Catfish are still responding to the usual catfish baits throughout the river. The larger fish have moved to deeper water in the main river channel, but plenty of 3-6 pound fish are available. Stripers are available on points, near cover and vegetation, as long as there is moving water. Best action occurs on the high incoming tide.
POTOMAC RIVER - MORGANTOWN BRIDGE AREA - Striper anglers are taking lots of stripers in the 6-10 pound class. Best methods are trolling large spoons, bucktails, Sassy Shads or Cordell Redfins. Secondary methods are casting Rat-L-Traps, Sassy Shads, live eels or topwater lures around current-breaking structure along the river channel. As the water continues to cool, the baitfish will move to the creeks, with the stripers following them. Casters should think about fishing the flats off Colonial Beach, and rock jetties on the main river.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Lots of largemouth bass are taking plastic worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits in the mouth of the river. The huge grass bed on the north side of the channel has some bass that will bite the right bait. Topwater and plastic baits are taking plenty of fish. The annual Fall migration into the back end of the river has not yet started. Catfish are scarce and those that are caught are small. Crappie are schooled around boat docks and submerged brush, but are on and off, depending on the weather. Plenty of stripers are found at the mouth of the river, around the grass beds, biting well on Rat-L-Traps, Sassy Shads and white spinnerbaits.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are being taken from rock ledges and secondary points in 7-10 feet of water, in the upper part of the reservoir. Crankbaits are the preferred bait. Downlake, bass are being found in 15-20 feet of water, off main lake points and creek channel dropoffs. Again, crankbaits are taking most of the fish. Crappie fishing is excellent, with the fish schooling in 8-12 feet of water, around submerged brush. Catfish, 2-5 pounds, are available on stink baits, clam snouts and nightcrawlers.
BURKE LAKE - Fishing reports are slim on this lake, due to lack of fishing pressure. A few small bass have been recorded, along with some medium crappie and some good catfish.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is good in and around the grassbeds. Small fish may be taken at leisure on small plastic grubs, tiny crankbaits or spinners. Larger fish are taking hair jigs, tipped with pork rind, Zoom Super Flukes, tube baits and small, shallow running crankbaits in crayfish or chartreuse colors. A few fish in the 14-16 inch class are being reported. Catfish are biting, but the overall sizes are small.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth bass are biting above the city on Yamamoto grubs, crankbaits and live minnows, in the deep holes. Below the city, largemouth bass are holding along the South shoreline, orienting to the blowdowns, and in the creek mouths. Shad colored crankbaits and plastic worms are the better choice of lures, while live minnows and crayfish are also taking good fish. Below Green Bay, bass and yellow perch may be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastic worms. Work these baits on outside bends of creek channels, around wood cover, midway back in the creeks. Flip plastic worms to the edges of the marsh grass on outside bends, and work it down the dropoff. These methods will produce 2-5 pound bass in the lower creeks. Crappie are schooled and holding around the submerged wood. Catfish may be had by fishing cut shad or eel chunks on the bottom of the river channel on the outside bends. White perch are plentiful in Green Bay. Stripers are taking baits along the main river channel cover, and at the mouths of creeks and coves. Any shad-imitating bait will produce.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass action on small motor oil grubs, fished on 1/8 ounce jigheads in the middle of the river. Crankbaits, such as Bill Norman's Tiny Deep N or Cotton Cordell's Tiny Big O will take lots of small fish. For larger fish, switch to Bagley's DKB1 in Hot Tiger or crayfish colors. Cast these baits across the river and retrieve at a medium rate of speed, trying to keep the baits close to any cover. The average size of the fish will suddenly increase. The numbers of fish will also decrease. Some anglers report excellent success on three inch Yamamoto Senkos in white/gold flake or green pumpkin. Take care to fish the riffles thoroughly. Lots of good sized sunfish are also available. Best lures for the sunfish are the smaller crankbaits and spinners.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfish are the main catch in these rivers, although a few bass, yellow perch and walleye are also being caught. Striper action is good for 7-8 pound fish, being caught on bucktails, live eels and Sassy Shads in the lower portions.
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass action is good, with topwater action early and late in the day, and crankbaits and plastics taking fish from 13-22 feet of water after the sun gets up. Main lake and secondary points are some of the better areas to fish. Jig 'n pig baits are taking good bass from the dropoffs. Anglers fishing docks in 5-8 feet of water with green pumpkin plastics are catching fish, particularly downlake. Uplake, fish the grassbeds above Christopher Run on both the main lake and the creeks. Small spinnerbaits and soft plastics are taking the fish. Stripers are feeding early in the morning, with the best action being around the Splits, Hunters Landing, Stubbs Bridge, Terry's Run and Rose Valley. Crappie are biting well around bridge pilings and boat docks. Live bait is the best overall choice.
JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass are hitting small crankbaits, spinners, plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Larger fish are being taken on live minnows or crayfish. Crappie are active, taking small minnows and tiny jigs. In the tidal sections, smallmouth are active from the city down to Dutch Gap. Below the Gap, largemouth bass are active around the wing dams, points, barge pits and in the creeks. Plastic baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the preferred baits. Crappie are turned on in the pits, with large stringers being the rule. Blue and flathead catfish are still being caught on cut baits around the Pony Pasture and Dutch Gap power plant.
LAKE CHESDIN - Although water levels are down, fishing is fair to good for bass, walleye and crappie. Preferred baits remain crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Carolina rigged Zoom lizards. Main lake points are still the best type of structure, with lily pad fields a close second. Water temperatures are falling, making for great fishing. Live bait is the ticket for the crappie.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of small bass are being caught on plastic worms and small crankbaits in the lily pad fields, hydrilla beds and around standing timber. The creeks are holding good numbers of bass on downed wood and brush. Plastic worms are still the preferred lure. Yellow perch are beginning to bite well on medium minnows, small spinnerbaits and Silver Buddies. Large minnows and white spinnerbaits are producing large grindle or bowfin in the lily pad edges. Stripers are thick in the river, taking jumbo minnows, Rat-L-Traps, Shad Raps, bucktails and Sassy Shads.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass and pickerel are turned on, with good numbers of each being taken on minnows, crankbaits and plastic worms. Crappie are schooled over the submerged brushpiles, taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Bream are still active, taking red wigglers and nightcrawlers. Flyrodders are having a ball, taking bass, bream and crappie on poppers, fished over submerged grass.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Water temperature has dropped to 78 degrees. Lots of 4-5 pound bass are being taken from the tops of points on stick baits and flukes. Bluegills are taking red wigglers in 8-10 feet of water, while yellow perch are taking live minnows. Crappie are hard to find. Good catfishing though most are caught by striper anglers.
BACK BAY - A few bass, catfish, crappie and white perch are being taken in the creeks. When the water is normal, bass in the 1-5 pound range are being caught around duck blinds and in the canals. Good catches of white perch and bluegill are also reported on small minnows and grass shrimp. Catfish, to six pounds, and a few spot round out the catches.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Lots of action at Western Branch and Lake Prince. Good numbers of shellcrackers are being caught on red wigglers and crickets. Bass are biting well on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Some anglers are catching crappie and yellow perch on live minnows. Some nice stripers are being taken from Lake Prince and Meade. Most are taking live shad. Fishing in Lakes Cohoon and Meade is generally slow. Lake Smith cite improving bass and walleye action.
LAKE GASTON - Riprap along roadways and bridges are good spots to fish, with topwater prop baits, plastic worms and grubs. The lake is cooling and the fish are moving into shallow water. Lipless rattling crankbaits, plastic grubs and spinnerbaits are all good lures. Use small willowleaf blades on spinnerbaits, as the shad in the lake are small. Topwater action is red hot uplake around the shad schools. Striper action is sporadic with a few being taken every now and then. Lots of stripers are breaking the surface, but not on a regular schedule.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water level is at 298 and stable. Bass are holding on points and chasing shad in the coves. Bass are being caught in good numbers, and are hitting aggressively. Grubs are taking bass in the 1-3 pound class, while 1/2 ounce willow-leaf spinnerbaits are taking the better fish. Anchor off a point and cast to shallow water or the edge of any brush, slow-rolling the spinnerbait near the bottom. Zara Spooks are taking fish when fished parallel to red mud banks and rock bluffs. Crappie are still stacked on brushpiles and fishing for them will get better as the water temperatures cool. Stripers are showing at the mouth of Bluestone Creek and around the mouths of the Dan and Staunton Rivers. Lots of stripers are breaking the surface, but not on a regular schedule.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - A few bass to four pounds, some bream and good numbers of crappie are the main action here.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Anglers are catching stripers, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie. Largemouth bass are being caught in 2-4 feet of water on small spinnerbaits and noisy buzzbaits. Most of the fish are located in the backs of creeks, orienting to the shad schools. Rat-L-Traps, cast around the shad, are also producing fish. Stripers are still moving uplake, but are scattered. Most fish are 16-24 feet deep and are being caught on bucktails and shad, or trolling deep running lines.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass are very active, with most of the fish being taken on plastic worms. Crappie are biting well around brushpiles in 4-5 feet of water. Striper and white bass fishing is expected to pick up this weekend and improve over the next 3-4 weeks.
LAKE MOOMAW - A few bass, yellow perch and catfish are being caught. Crappie fishermen are everywhere waiting for the slabsides to turn on. No results yet. Trout catches are nonexistent.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Smallmouth bass have begun to hit. Limits of smallmouth to four pounds have been taken. Hellbenders, Gay Blades and live minnows are the preferred baits. The fish are also taking spinnerbaits at night. Crappie action is good on live minnows. Walleye are beginning to bite.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie and smallmouth bass are abundant. Plenty of fish being caught, but nothing fantastic to report. A few walleye are also being caught, trolling nightcrawlers at 20-25 feet.
CLAYTOR LAKE - White bass are hitting well. Crappie and channel catfish are taking small minnows. Occasional striper action at night on jumbo minnows and topwater baits. Pickerel and bluegill are consistent.
TROUT STREAMS - With low water levels throughout the state, only those larger streams should be targeted for fishing until more rain is received. Most of the smaller streams are very low and success is extremely limited. Best bets are tail race waters such as the Jackson or Smith Rivers.
CHINCOTEAGUE - The Main Channel is giving up sea bass, bluefish, triggerfish, sea mullet and pan trout. Flounder anglers are scoring in Queens Sound. Schools of pan trout are moving through the Turners Lump area and may be caught on squid strips. Surf casters at Assateague Island are taking good catches of red and black drum. Offshore, tuna action is excellent for anglers trolling in 30 fathoms.
WACHAPREAGUE - Paramore Island surfcasters are taking good numbers of red drum in the 30 pound class. Croaker are staged temporarily at the mouth of the inlet, along with a few flounder to five pounds. The wrecks are giving up large sea bass and triggerfish, while offshore anglers are catching gaffer dolphin, yellowfin tuna and longfin tuna, trolling between 30 Fathom Fingers and Washington Canyon.
ONANCOCK - Good bottom fishing for large spot, along with plenty of porgy, pigfish, sea bass and blowfish. Good catches of taylor blues and pan trout are being made on bloodworms and cut spot. Fair to good catches of speckled trout are reported at Tangier Target Ships and deepwater rocks, with best action coming late in the evening. Plenty of puppy drum are being caught around Watts, Tobacco and Fox Islands.
CAPE CHARLES - Tautog are becoming more active, with decent catches made at Plantation Light and around the Cement Ships. Plenty of spot, croaker, sea mullet and a few trout are available. Speckled trout action has slowed in the bayside creeks, while seaside surf anglers are taking red drum to 50 pounds, and puppy drum.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Tautog are providing the most consistent action for bottom fishermen, with a few flounder and large croaker also being taken. Excellent catches of speckled trout and puppy drum are being made inside Lynnhaven Inlet, along with a few large flounder. Best action for croaker is around the First and Second Islands of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, Thimble Shoal, Lesner Bridge, Long Creek and inside the York River, near Cheatham Annex. Inshore wrecks are producing triggerfish, flounder, puppy drum, taylor blues, sea bass and tautog. Seaside, school king mackerel are found south of the 4a Buoy. Spot are still biting in the vicinity of Twin Stakes, with jumbo spot being taken at the M&M Crossing. Flounder and puppy drum are being caught around the mouth of Back River. Excellent trout action at Hampton Bar and Back River Reef, while Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is giving up lots of croaker. At the Tower Reef, jack crevalle are providing aciton. Offshore boats are recording fantastic yellowfin tuna action, along with wahoo and dolphin at the Fingers and the NOAA weather buoy.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Sea bass action is excellent. Some speckled trout and puppy drum are available inside Rudee Inlet. Surf anglers are taking a few spot, taylor blues and puppy drum from the resort strip. Inshore, school king mackerel and Spanish mackerel are being caught just off the beach, while big croaker and spot still linger around the mouth of Rudee Inlet. Offshore, the best yellowfin tuna fishing in years continues from The Fingers to Norfolk Canyon. Most boats are averaging a dozen fish in the 50-60 pound range. A number of billfish are being taken in Norfolk Canyon. The SE Lumps are holding plenty of false albacore, but bluefish are not showing yet.
PIERS - Most reports blame few anglers last week for poor catches. Overall action is slow, with flounder, speckled trout, blowfish, puppy drum and taylor blues being the most frequently mentioned catches.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Striped bass and bluefish are "eating the paint of the bottom of the boats" throughout the middle bay. Most boats are loading up with stripers and 1-3 pound bluefish in less than an hour. Good bluefish action at Buoy 62 and around the Smith Point Light. Flounder are still being caught on the Middle Grounds. Speckled trout and a few grey trout are hitting at the Tangier Target Ships. Striped bass are surface feeding on the Southwest Middlegrounds, mixed in with the bluefish. Best striper action on the Rappahannock River should come from the upriver areas. Good catches of speckled trout came from Windmill Point and Hole-in-the-Wall this past week. Grey trout have moved into the Cell and Target Ships area. Taylor blues have also moved into the Cell area. Flounder are still hitting off buoy 42 and around Mosquito Point. Plenty of stripers are available around the White Stone Bridge, but expect a crowd. Trollers, working off Windmill Bar are registering limit catches of Spanish mackerel on small gold spoons.
NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Outer banks piers report lots of big spot. Speckled trout, puppy drum and flounder are available at the south side of Oregon Inlet. Some spot are taken in the Kitty Hawk area and some taylor blues on the north side of the inlet. Offshore boats are catching yellowfin, blackfin and bigeye tuna to well over 100 pounds. Best action is along the 500 line and at the Point. Trollers are also taking some blue marlin, king mackerel, wahoo, dolphin and false albacore, while the white marlin season appears to be over. Wahoo action is to be had in 25-100 fathoms, between 39800-40100 lines. Inshore action is slow, with only a few taylor blues and some Spanish mackerel providing the action. Best concentrations of fish are found about four miles north of the Point and 13 miles due east of the inlet. Headboats are returning with a mixed catch of croaker, bluefish, speckled trout, flounder, triggerfish, sea bass and pigfish.