Fishing Report - October 7, 2016


OVERVIEW - With the recent rains throughout the state, waters are bound to be a little stained. Since the rain was cold rain, water temperatures have also dropped. In addition, colder temperatures are on their way and this should have the fish turning on and feeding heavily. Use extra caution and WEAR your PFD as hypothermia can be deadly.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Smallmouth bass action is good around Fletchers' Boat House on live crayfish. From Chain Bridge to 14th Street Bridge, along the Virginia shoreline, crankbaits are taking most of the fish. The Kennedy Center seawall is holding a good number of quality fish for anglers fishing crankbaits and plastics. Bridge pilings, wood cover and dropoffs are holding numbers of largemouth throughout the city. Crankbaits, slow-rolled spinnerbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms are the better choice of baits. Crappie are available throughout the river, orienting to submerged brush in 10-15 feet of water. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the preferred bait. Catfish action has slowed considerably, with little success reported. Stripers are available around Fletcher's Boathouse, National Airport, 14th Street Bridge pilings and the National War College Wall. Bucktails, Kastmaster Spoons and Rat-L-Traps are the more productive baits.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Water temperature is 58-64 degrees. Bass are holding on dropoffs and around submerged wood structure on the main river. Crankbaits, plastic worms, and jigs are taking these fish. In the creeks, most of the fish are found from the mouth to the secondary points and along the creek channels. Grass beds which still have green grass, are holding largemouth bass and snakeheads. These fish are taking topwater frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, Senkos and plastic creature baits. Shallow gravel banks are also holding fish. Tiny Tubes in 1/16 ounce size, small crankbaits and small spinnerbaits will take these fish. Small crankbaits, retrieved parallel to the lily pad edges, will take some bass. The most consistent pattern for bass is to fish 3" black or smoke/metalflake plastic grubs or Carolina-rigged plastic worms in 8-15 feet of water on points or dropoffs. Catfish are active, taking anything they can find. Bass anglers are consistently surprised by 10-20 pound fish taking bass lures.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW ROUTE 301 - School Stripers are marauding baitfish on the shoals below Monroe Bay and around the grassy islands and points throughout the lower Potomac River. Sassy Shads, Rat-L-Traps and topwater baits are producing well. Flyrodders are doing well with Lefty's Deceivers and Clouser Minnows in red and white. Lower tributary creeks are off and on, with best action coming on swift running tides at sunrise and sunset. Fish bridge pilings, points and dropoffs with Rebel Fastrak Minnows, Rat-L-Traps, bucktails and Sassy Shads.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Water temperature is 60-65 degrees. The grass bed at the mouth of the river is still holding fish. Topwater baits, Senkos and spinnerbaits are the better choice, although Manns Baby One Minus crankbaits and chatterbaits are taking bass over the grass on high tides. Some bass are available around the wood pilings below the Route One Bridge. Crankbaiting or flippin' small plastic worms will take these fish. Bass are also being taken on main river points, adjacent to dropoffs, along the rock wall and around wood blowdowns. Better choices of baits include small crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic lures. Crappie are schooled around submerged brush and boat docks. Small minnows are the ticket. Small yellow perch are schooling on the flat below the Route One Bridge. Jigging small Silver Buddies in gold colors will take these fish.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Fishing is good. Largemouth bass to five pounds are being caught by anglers using jig 'n pig and slow-rolled spinnerbaits in the upper reaches of the lake, particularly in the Bull Run arm. The fish are concentrated around blowdowns in 2-10 feet of water. Downlake, the fish are located on secondary points in 15-20 feet of water. Most successful anglers are using jig 'n pig. Water temperatures are ranging around 63 degrees. Crappie fishing is fair with lots of small fish being taken from the fishing pier.

BURKE LAKE - There are few reports of anglers on the lake. Those who are out report catching bass, crappie and yellow perch. Most of the fish are being taken on live minnows. Some bass are taking jig 'n pig baits, fished on dropoffs in 8-12 feet of water. Good success from the Park fishing pier.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Lots of smallmouth activity on small jigs, tiny crankbaits and slowly retrieved spinners, with the deeper pools holding the larger fish. Some better areas are just below Point of Rocks, just above White's Ferry and around Edward's Ferry. Crappie are schooled, off and on, at the mouths of Goose Creek and Broad Run. Catfish action is very slow.

LAKE BRITTLE - Bass fishing has been good. Slow-rolled spinnerbaits and live minnows are taking bass to 4.5 pounds. Bluegills are biting well, along with a few catfish.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking live bait and tiny crankbaits in the deeper pools. Water level is rising and leaves are abundant. In the tidal sections, crappie are schooled and biting well. Bass anglers are catching good fish below the Route 301 Bridge. Plastic worms and jig 'n pig are the better baits. Blue catfish, to 30 pounds, are biting on cut bait in the river channel. Stripers are biting, but most are small, at both the Port Royal and the Tappahannock Bridges.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfish and crappie are the main fare on the Mattaponi, although some smallmouth bass are taking Rat-L-Traps in the extreme upper end of the river. Pamunkey anglers report catfish and white perch on peeler crab baits at Lester Manor, bass to three pounds on Teeny Craws, plastic worms and spinnerbaits near Williams Landing, and catfish, white perch and some pickerel around the Route 360 Bridge. Stripers are spread throughout the river, from Aylett to below West Point, but no concentrations or good catches are reported.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Water temperature is in the low 60s. Excellent smallmouth bass fishing for those who can put up with the annoyance of floating leaves. Small crankbaits and plastic grubs are the hot baits and Bixler Ferry Bridge is the hot area.

LAKE ANNA - Bass are holding on main lake and secondary points in 4-12 feet of water, around boat docks and some bridges. Better baits are large crankbaits, jig 'n pig and shaky heads. Stripers are active, particularly at the Splits, Jetts Island, Stubbs Bridge, Dike Three and Rose Valley. Live shad, Sassy Shads, Storm Swim-Baits, Cordell Redfins and Hopkins jigging spoons are the better choices of baits. Fishing is good for crappie, and walleye are cooperative, but they are holding in deeper water.

JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass are hitting small crankbaits, spinners, plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. 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 worms, 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. Stripers are on the move throughout the river, taking almost any large bait thrown into the water. Check almost any large wood structure, with current swirling around it. Better areas are the Benjamin Harrison Bridge and wood pilings around the power lines at Sturgeon Point.

LAKE CHESDIN - Bass and crappie are cooperating nicely, with bass, 5-7 pounds, being caught on spinnerbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms, while crappie are taking small minnows. Some nice sized stripers and an occasional pickerel are also being caught.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Best fishing is upriver, above Diascund Creek. Lots of bass, to five pounds, are being taken on small crankbaits and plastic worms, fished around wood structure, adjacent to dying lily pads. Live minnows are accounting for some large bass, as well as crappie, yellow perch, bream and catfish. Stripers are being caught on Rat-L-Traps and topwater lures, particularly near the dam.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Lots of action for largemouth bass, pickerel and bowfin on live minnows or topwater baits. Most of the bass range 2-6 pounds, while the pickerel run to over four pounds and bowfin tip the scales at over ten pounds. Large, slow-rolled spinnerbaits are also accounting for some large bass. Yellow perch and crappie are also being seen in the catches. Most of the fish are being caught on live minnows, fished on points and over grassbeds.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass, 1-5 pounds, and pickerel to four pounds, are the main fare. Crankbaits, Jerk Baits, Topwaters, plastics and live minnows are the preferred baits. Crappie are also biting well, on live minnows and tiny jigs. One report says nice bluegills were caught on fly rod poppers and red worms in water as shallow as two feet in the backs of coves.

BACK BAY - Very few fishermen out on the Bay. Those who are fishing are catching small bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Crappie fishing has improved in West Neck Creek. Fishing the North Landing River and Currituck Sound is producing some good bass for those anglers who dare to brave the wakes from cruisers on the Intercoastal Waterway.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Western Branch reports shellcrackers, crappie and yellow perch providing most of the action on worms and small minnows. Stripers are coming on, with Sassy Shads, bucktails and live bait taking fish to 11 pounds, with the majority in the 5-7 pound class. Burnt Mills is reporting the same, with some larger bass being taken. Lake Prince is giving up some stripers, to 16 pounds, along with the shellcrackers and bass. Crappie and pickerel action is good at Meade and Cohoon, while anglers at Lake Meade are also catching some large bass. Lake Smith anglers are catching fish. Walleye, white and yellow perch, bass, pickerel and crappie are all taking baits aggressively. Most of the walleye and crappie are taking live minnows, while small to medium bass are taking spinnerbaits and plastic worms.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Most of the bass are in the slot, with an occasional five pounder being taken. Crappie, topping one pound, are seen daily, but bluegill catches are down. Live minnows are the better choice of bait.

LAKE GASTON - Best action is down lake. Poe's, Pretty and Lee's Creeks are good areas to fish. Bass can be caught by crankbaiting main channel points and fishing jig 'n pig around rocks and stumps in 4-10 feet of water. Best crankbait colors are shad and silver. Uplake, Pop-R's and twitch worms are taking bass in the willow grass beds, while crankbaits and Carolina-rigged worms are taking them on the outside edges of the grass. Early and late in the day, some large bass are being taken on topwater baits, fished in the back ends of coves, where there are leaves on the water. Stripers are being taken, trolling bucktails and Cordell Hot Spots in the main river channel. The fish are suspended in 16-20 feet of water. Crappie anglers are having good success fishing small minnows over brushpiles and solid structures.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water level is at 307 and rising. Lots of bass are caught on spinnerbaits on shallow points with flooded bushes. Bass may be caught shallow in 2-3 feet of water, medium in 5-6 feet of water or by fishing deep in 11-12 feet of water. Shallow fish are holding in backs of pockets on rockpiles or on dropoffs near flooded buckbrush. Use shallow running or rattling crankbaits with a high speed retrieve over rockpiles or adjacent to brush. Medium depth fish are taking spider jigs and grubs on points or wood structure. The deep fish are relating to normal cover such as humps, road beds and ledges near dropoffs. Crappie anglers are loading coolers, using small minnows over brushpiles and around bridge pilings. Schools of breaking stripers are being found between Buoy 16 and the Clarksville Bridge, and at the mouth of Bluestone Creek. Trolling Cordell Redfins and Rebel FasTrak minnows along the river channel is producing some good catches of stripers, but don't be surprised if you end up with a 30 pound flathead catfish. White bass to four pounds, are taking trolled Rooster Tails and pearl color Short A's around the mouth of Bluestone Creek. Most main lake coves also have a few white bass in them. These fish are suckers for tiny white crankbaits and in-line spinners.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Anglers are catching a few fish. Live shad, bucktails and Cordell Redfins are the best striper baits. Impressive stringers of crappie are also being caught, along with a few largemouth bass. Striper anglers should fish points and dropoffs. Bass are in shallow water, cruising the banks and points. Live shad and deep diving crankbaits are good bets, although some good bass are taking topwater baits on the points. Smallmouth bass are still located in 30-50 feet of water, taking tube baits and plastic worms. There are lots of bait fish on the lake and schools of bass and stripers are feeding under the bait fish.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Fishing is improving, with largemouth bass being taken on live minnows and jigs. Crappie are still biting, along with lots of redeyed bass. Stripers have quit feeding.

LAKE MOOMAW - Action is limited to crappie, 1-2 pounds, bass and a few brown trout. Bass anglers are catching fish on points and around the standing timber. Live bait and jig 'n pig are the most productive baits, although topwater lures are taking fish at night. The brown trout are beginning their spawn, evidently near the Fortney Ramp, as a few keepers have been caught there.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Fair largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and walleye fishing, with a few limits of fish. Most of the fish are holding at 15-20 feet and are taking live minnows and crayfish. Crappie anglers are bringing in good numbers of fish, caught on live minnows. Best areas are Fairstone Cove and above the Union Bridge. The Smith River is receiving heavy fishing pressure, with resultant catches improving in quantity, if not size.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Good fishing. Crappie and bass are available on live minnows, on points and at creek mouths.

FLANNAGAN RESERVOIR - Shad schools are located in the middle of the lake, where schools of smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish and trout are chasing them. Lots of large bass are being caught. Early mornings and late evenings see the better catches.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Striper action in the Peak Creek area is good on live minnows and alewives. Patient anglers are taking limits. White bass are schooled and taking small jigs and Rat-L-Traps. Crappie action is good on live minnows. Catfish action is steady for 10-14 pound fish. Bass anglers are taking a few good fish each.

NEW RIVER - Few anglers are out, but those who do venture forth are catching bass and catfish on live minnows. Some small muskie are being caught.

CLINCH RIVER - Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good, with minnows producing the better catches. Catfish are mixed in the catches.

TROUT STREAMS - The best trout areas are Big Stoney in Shenandoah County; Cedar Creek, West of Strasburg; and the Bull Pasture River, close to Williamsville. Small streams in the George Washington National Forest are producing good trout fishing. Hares ear nymphs and Mr. Rapidan flies are some of the better flies to use. Dardevle spoons and #0 Mepps spinners are good for spin fishermen. In the Hot Springs area, there are some late hatches of blue wing olives, midges and black caddis flies. Bluewing olive in size #16 and #18, cream and olive midges and black caddis flies will be the best to use.