Fishing Report - October 28, 2016
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Smallmouth and largemouth bass will be hungry and taking live bait, fished along the Virginia shoreline, from Key Bridge to Chain Bridge. Downstream, bass will be orienting around bridge pilings and on dropoffs throughout the city. Washington Channel, Blue Plains, The Spoils and Washington Sailing Marina should be the more productive areas. Plastic grubs, crankbaits, jig 'n pig and live bait are the most productive baits. Large bladed spinnerbaits, slow-rolled down the dropoffs near downed wood or points on moving tides, should produce some large bass for patient anglers. Crappie schools will continue roaming, but never far from submerged cover or creek channels. Live minnows are the ticket. Trolled broken-back minnow imitating baits will take some stripers in the Washington Channel and under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Largemouth bass will be orienting to very shallow cover in the cooler water. They may be taken on jigs and colorado bladed spinnerbaits, worked slowly around the heavy cover. Water temperature is running from 55-63 degrees. 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 or slow-rolled spinnerbait. Baits with a wide wobble seem to be more effective. Some of the better areas are the mouth of Swan Creek, Belle Haven Cove, Mount Vernon dock area, Pohick Bay, Mattawoman, 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, but most are small and there is no consistency. Catfish anglers are taking good numbers of blue catfish on cut shad in less than 20 feet of water on outgoing tides.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW ROUTE 301 BRIDGE - Stripers have moved into the area in numbers. Lots of keeper sized fish. Target any current breaking cover in the main river. Pay particular attention to the outflow from the Morgantown Power Plant, Morgantown bridge pilings and humps in front of Colonial Beach. Bucktails, Sassy Shads and Mann's Stretch baits will take most of the fish.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass are located around the grass bed at the mouth of the river on spinnerbaits, topwater baits and Mann's Baby One Minus crankbaits. Bass are also found on dropoffs adjacent to cover. Best results are to be had in 6-16 feet of water on small plastic worms, small crankbaits, live minnows and jig 'n pig. A few small stripers have shown up, early and late in the day, near the rocks in the back end of the river. Crappie are present around submerged brush and boat docks. Live minnows are the key.
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. Downed wood is holding some large bass for anglers slow-rolling large spinnerbaits. Crappie are available around standing timber and beaver lodges. Small, live minnows are the proper bait.
BURKE LAKE - A few bass are being caught on live minnows, fished along the shore, near wood cover or grass.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass should be biting well on live crayfish, jumbo minnows, and small jig 'n pig baits. Crappie are visiting the creek mouths from time to time, but results are iffy. Catfish and smallmouth bass are biting aggressively in the clear water 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 wood cover. Blue catfish are still taking cut bait when fished in the outside bends of the main river channel. Some small stripers are being caught below the Route 301 bridge, but results are iffy.
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 - Huge schools of baitfish are roaming the lake. Schooling bass and Stripers are all over them. When such a school is found, stay in the area and fish the nearest cover with shaky heads and drop shots. When fish are busting the baitfish, toss shallow running crankbaits or swimbaits on the outskirts of the schools. During the day, jigging spoons and trolled, deep-diving crankbaits are the better choice for stripers. 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. Shaky Heads with Zoom Trick Worm trailers and jig 'n pig baits are the chief lures, but jumbo minnows will out-produce them. 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. Diascund Creek is producing well on 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, particularly around the Route 5 bridge. Jumbo minnows, Sassy Shads and Rat-l-Traps are the more productive baits.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Pickerel, bowfin, 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. The uplake grass beds are producing good fish on Zoom Horny Toads and hollow frogs. 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 - Water temperature is 65 degrees, with a visibility of 13 feet. Swim baits, jerk baits, flukes and stick baits are catching bass and stripers. Crankbaits should come into their own with the dropping water temps. Large bluegills, yellow perch and occasional crappie are being caught on red worms and minnows.
JAMES RIVER -Tidal areas are producing well on crankbaits, retrieved aggressively around wood cover on moving tides. Yellow perch and sunfish 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. Wing dams are producing good fish on the downtide side on moving tides. Better success seems to come on the incoming tide. 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. 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 50+ pounds, are taking large strips of cut shad, fished in the outside bends of the river channel.
LAKE CHESDIN - Stripers, largemouth bass and crappie are off and on. The colder temperatures should put them on a more consistent feed. Stripers are hitting topwater lures early and late in the day, while most anglers go after bass and crappie in between. Live minnows are the most productive bait for all species.
BACK BAY - Catfish and largemouth bass may be caught by anglers fishing jig 'n pig, wide wobbling crankbaits, spinnerbaits and live minnows, up in the creeks.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Bass action is fair to good, with fish being taken by anglers using live minnows, jig 'n pig and plastic grubs. Crappie are schooled and taking live minnows. Some large stripers are being taken on jumbo minnows and bucktails. Very few anglers are out.
LAKE GASTON - Striper fishing is fair to good. The fish are schooled up and show up well on electronics. Topwater lures early and late in the day, and Alabama Rigs, Hopkins spoons and rattling lures after the sun comes up, are best choices for lures. The main river channel, from Eaton Ferry Bridge to the mouth of Pea Hill Creek 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. Any slow-fished lure will take the bass when shad are present in the area. Best bet is a 3/4 oz. spinnerbait, with large gold willowleaf blades, slow-rolled across points and down the dropoff. A number of quality bass have been taken by this method in the past 10 days. Crappie are schooled around brush piles and solid structure. White perch are taking 1/4 oz. Hopkins jigging spoons.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - 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 in backs of pockets. They may also be found holding on points or wood structure 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 to good. 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. Most of the fish are taking smoke/purple or salt/pepper plastic worms, jig 'n pig and plastic grubs in the backs of coves. 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.
LAKE MOOMAW - A few small trout are being caught by anglers fishing live bait. Smallmouth bass are being taken by anglers fishing jig 'n pig and spinnerbaits on points, dropping into 20+ feet of water. Trout fishing is good in the Jackson River, below the dam.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing overall 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.
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.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Smallmouth bass to five pounds are being caught on live minnows and brown plastic grubs in 25-30 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.