Fishing Report - October 21, 2016


POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Smallmouth and largemouth bass are hungry and taking live bait, fished along the Virginia shoreline, from Key Bridge to Chain Bridge. A few walleye are being taken from the upstream point of Three Sisters Islands, drifting nightcrawlers and live minnows across the bottom. Downstream, bass are orienting around bridge pilings and on dropoffs throughout the city. Washington Channel, Blue Plains, The Spoils and Washington Sailing Marina are the more productive areas. Plastic grubs, crankbaits, jig 'n pig and live bait are the most productive baits. Some quality bass are being caught slow-rolling spinnerbaits on the flat above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, on high tides. Crappie schools are roaming, but never far from submerged structure or creek channels. Live minnows are the ticket. Small stripers may be taken on trolled baits in Washington Channel.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are being taken on banks dropping into 12-18 feet of water on plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Water temperature is running in the 60's. Most of the fish seem to be larger than average, as 2-5 pound bass seem to be more common. When the dropoff is adjacent to rocky or gravel shorelines, with some flat, try a slowly retrieved crankbait. Baits with a wide wobble seem to be more effective. Silver Buddies have come into their own, as anglers fishing them down the dropoff are taking some good fish. Jigging them at the base of the dropoff is also producing good catches. Those creeks with hydrilla beds are giving up lots of good fish on spinnerbaits, topwaters, 1/4 oz. Rat-L-Traps and Senkos. The topwaters are best fished over the grassbeds, while the other baits take fish on the outside edges where there is tidal movement. Some of the better areas are the mouth of Swan Creek, Mount Vernon Dock, Pohick Bay, Mattawoman, Chickamuxen, Aquia and Nanjemoy Creeks. Crappie are schooled in the creeks and will take small minnows fished over submerged brush or around boat docks. Stripers are being caught throughout the area.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - The grassbed at the mouth of the river is still holding bass. White spinnerbaits, crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps are taking the fish. Bass are located on dropoffs adjacent to structure. Best results are to be had in 6-16 feet of water on grubs, crankbaits, Chatterbaits and jig 'n pig. Crappie are present around submerged brush and boat docks. Live minnows are the key. Anglers waiting for stripers will have to wait until the water temperature drops a few more degrees and the shad head for the backs of the creeks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are being caught on the main lake points, dropping into 15-20 feet of water. Plastic grubs, jig 'n pig and live bait are the key. Crappie are available around standing timber and beaver lodges. Small, live minnows are the proper bait.

BURKE LAKE - Crappie are biting well on one inch Berkley Gulp minnows, fished two feet under a bobber around brushpiles.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER -Smallmouth bass are biting well on tiny crankbaits, tubes, grubs and Super Roostertail spinnerbaits. Crayfish and jumbo minnows are producing larger fish. Crappie are visiting the creek mouths at dawn and dusk, where live minnows are taking bragging size fish. Catfish and smallmouth bass are biting aggressively at the outflow from Dickerson Power Plant. Live minnows and small plastic grubs are preferred baits.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass are active and taking any slowly-fished bait. Horsehead jigs with spinners are very productive during this season. Fish them very slowly, bumping them on the bottom every foot or so. The 1/8 oz. size, in white, seems to be the best choice.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - A few bass are being caught by knowledgeable anglers, fishing the blowdowns on the South shoreline of the tidal section. Spinnerbaits, tipped with pork chunks, are the most productive bait, but jig 'n pig and grubs are also taking their share. Crappie are also schooled around structure. Blue catfish, to 35+ pounds, are still taking cut bait when fished in the outside bends of the main river channel. Around the Route 301 Bridge, lots of bass are being caught on spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Schooled crappie are taking small minnows and Beetlespins. Stripers are taking bloodworms and peeler crab baits, from Aylett to the York, with the best action being around the West Point bridges. White perch are being taken on bloodworms and small minnows. Bass action is limited, but some fish are being caught on flats adjacent to the river channel. Best baits are small crankbaits, plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Catfish action has slowed.

LAKE ANNA - Stripers are very active early and late, on the surface. During the day, jigging spoons and trolled, deep-diving crankbaits are the choice. Better areas are the mouth of Contrary Creek, Rose Valley and the area around Jetts Island, at the Splits. Bass are orienting to steep dropping banks and points. Early and late, they move up into the shallows to feed, then drop back down into the deeper water to hold. Large plastic grubs and jig 'n pig baits are the chief lures, but jumbo minnows will out-produce them. Boat docks in deep water (8-15 feet) are also holding bass that will readily take Shakey head baits. Crappie are schooled tight, with the larger fish suspending over creek channels in the backs of the creeks. Beaver lodges are holding lots of crappie, as well.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Bass are holding on dropoffs on the main river, as well as the creeks. Concentrate on the dropoffs at the edge of lily pad fields. Diascund Creek is producing well with bottom-fished lures, near wood cover in deeper water. Mann's Stingray grubs are producing well for bass, but small crankbaits, jig 'n pig and live minnows are taking more fish. Yellow perch and crappie fishing is excellent throughout the river. Live minnows and grubs are the better choice for bait. Stripers are available for those who are fishing for them. Jumbo minnows, Rat-l-Traps and Rebel Fastrak Minnows are the more productive baits.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Pickerel, bass and crappie are all being caught on live bait around the submerged brushpiles and shoreline points. Some of the bass and crappie are of trophy size. Yamamoto Baby Senkos are taking lots of bass and pickerel when flipped to the base of cypress trees, adjacent to dropoffs. Some catfish and stripers are also being caught in the lake. Stripers are running 6-10 pounds and are taking Cordell Red Fins.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Lots of crappie are being caught, along with pickerel and largemouth bass. Live minnows are taking most of the fish, but plastic worms are accounting for some trophy bass. Most of the fish are caught on points adjacent to vegetation throughout the lake. Nice bass are also being caught on fluke and jerk baits when bass are busting bait on the surface.

WALLER MILL RESERVOIR - Fishing for bass, stripers and crappie is good. Bass are taking crankbaits and plastic worms, while stripers are taking topwater baits and Sassy Shads. Crappie are responding well to live minnows.

JAMES RIVER - Tidal areas are not producing well, as most of the creeks are very shallow. When steep dropoffs are found in the creeks, however, bass are normally stacked up in the holes. Jig 'n pig, plastic grubs and small, deep-diving crankbaits are the ticket for these fish. Yellow perch are taking small spinnerbaits, grubs and horsehead jigs, fished on the bottom around wood structure. The barge pits are producing lots of crappie and bass. Just below the city, lots of smallmouth bass are being taken, along with a number of largemouth bass. Most of the fish are coming from the steep banks on the North side of the river, above the I-295 bridge. Small spinnerbaits, plastic grubs, jig 'n pig and live bait are the best choice of bait. Some stripers are being taken from pilings in the Hog Island area and around the power lines downstream from Jordan Point. Blue catfish, to 35+ pounds, are taking large strips of cut shad, fished in the outside bends of the river channel.

LAKE CHESDIN - Largemouth bass and crappie are biting well. Occasional stripers are hitting topwater lures early and late in the day, while most anglers go after bass and crappie in between. Spinnerbaits and live minnows are the most productive baits for all species.

BACK BAY - Some nice puppy drum are being caught at the Causeway on squid, bucktails and shad. Stripers are also being caught on shad and bucktails. Bass are being caught in the creeks, on low, outgoing tides. Along with the bass, are white perch, yellow perch, catfish and the occasional bowfin. Some nice crappie are also available in the creeks.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Bass action is on and off in all the lakes, with the fish being taken by anglers using live minnows, jig 'n pig and plastic grubs. Crappie are schooled and taking live minnows. The best crappie fishing is in Lake Meade, while the better shellcrackers are coming from Western Branch. A few stripers are being taken on jumbo minnows and trolled Rebel Fastrak Minnows. Catfish are still biting in Lake Smith. Very few anglers are out.

LAKE GASTON - Striper fishing is excellent. Topwater lures early and late in the day, and live alewives, bucktails and rattling lures are best during the day. The main river channel downlake is the best area to hunt, paying particular attention to areas with 16-24 feet of water. Bass anglers are doing well on main lake points, adjacent to channels and in the creeks, where the channel bends close to the bank. Best spots are the outside edges of the willow grass beds on crankbaits and topwater baits. Zoom Horny Toads, hollow frogs and floating worms are some better baits. Any slow-fished lure will take the bass when shad are present in the area. Crappie are schooled around brush piles and solid structure, particularly the Pea Hill and Lizard Creek bridges.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - The lake level is at 303 and falling. Fishing is improving as the water falls and clears. Crappie anglers are loading coolers with 1-3 pound fish, using small minnows over brushpiles and around bridge pilings. Bass may be taken in shallow water, holding on rockpiles or in buck brush in backs of pockets. They may also be found holding on points or wood cover in 4-6 feet or water, and on humps, road beds and ledges, in 10-14 feet of water, near dropoffs into river or creek channels. Depending on depth, most productive lures are slowly retrieved crankbaits, plastic grubs or spider jigs, jig 'n pig and jigging spoons. Stripers are active, hitting Sassy Shads on 1/4 ounce jig heads, fished under the schools of shad minnows, close to the shoreline.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper fishing is fair, and should only get better with the colder temperatures coming in next week. Live shad or alewives are the better bait, fished in submerged standing timber in the coves. Trolling with bucktails will also produce some fish, as will topwater lures when the big fish are feeding on shad schools. Bass fishing is good to excellent when they are pulling water. Otherwise, catching is fair. Most of the fish are taking smoke/purple or salt/pepper plastic worms, jig 'n pig and plastic grubs in the backs of coves or topwater baits on downlake points. Suspending Shad Raps are also taking bass in the coves when fished over the dropoffs and points. When schools are bait are found, fish a lipless, rattling crankbait through the schools, banging into the shad. This technique will bring bone-jarring strikes from largemouth bass. Crappie are being caught on live minnows and tiny jigs over brushpiles in 10 feet of water. Trout are biting well on the Roanoke River.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Striper action has picked up. Live alewives and crankbaits are taking the fish. Lots of rock bass are being caught. The redeyes are taking small minnows and jigs.

LAKE MOOMAW - Smallmouth bass are being taken by anglers fishing jig 'n pig and spinnerbaits on points, dropping into 20+ feet of water. Catfish and yellow perch are the most consistent catches. Trout fishing is good in the Jackson River, below the dam.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing is slow. Striper action is still good on topwater lures, early and late in the day. Crappie are biting regularly on tiny jigs and minnows, fished over brushpiles.

CLINCH RIVER - Some good smallmouths, 2-3 pounds, are being caught, along with drum to three pounds and some catfish.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Smallmouth anglers are catching a few fish, using spinnerbaits in shallow water, near dropoffs, and jig 'n pig in deeper water, off ledges.

NEW RIVER - Top water lures continue to take many smallmouth bass. Best method has topwaters fished with no action, and Rapalas twitched quickly under the surface. Leaves on the water are hampering efforts to fish these lures, but the results are worth the aggravation.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Smallmouth bass to 5 3/4 pounds are being caught on live minnows and brown plastic grubs in 15-20 feet of water. Largemouth bass are taking spinnerbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms on points adjacent to creek channels. Crappie and catfish are still taking live bait. Trout action has been good on the Smith River.

TROUT STREAMS - Good catches of trout for anglers using nymphs, streamers, and small spinners in the Tye River. The South Fork of the Holston River in Smyth County is also providing anglers with nice catches. Rainbow trout are hitting nymphs fished just under the surface at Silver Lake in Rockingham County. Another good spot for trout fishermen is the Tomahawk Pond in Shenandoah County.


Stripers are still roaming in large schools on the Southwest Middlegrounds. Boats from Smith Point and Point Lookout are making good catches, trolling, jigging and chumming. Some bluefish are also available for anglers. Speckled trout and red drum are available throughout the lower bay and lots of yellowfin tuna are being boated by offshore anglers.