Fishing Report - February 17, 2017

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fishing should be good this weekend as temperatures are expected to be in the high 50s and low 60s. Suitable areas for fishing this weekend are The Spoils, Washington Channel, Four Mile Run and Blue Plains. Lots of crappie are being caught around Washington Channel and Washington Sailing Marina docks and in The Spoils. Be aware, as one angler reported this week, that North winds push the water out of the river, leaving little water left in Four Mile Run.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Might want to try Occoquan River this weekend. Bass are being caught on main river points when wind allows. The fish are taking jig 'n pig baits cast into the shallows and worked down the dropoffs. Plastic grubs, retrieved in a swimming motion, will also take nice fish. Larger creeks are producing good catches on jig 'n pig baits, retrieved down dropoffs on outgoing tides. Crappie are schooled tight and holding in 8-12 feet of water, adjacent to shallow gravel banks with good cover. Live minnows and plastic grubs are the ticket. Blue catfish are foraging on flats adjacent to deeper water. Cut shad baits are taking the larger ones, with fish to 40 pounds being caught.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some good size smallmouth are being caught along the Maryland shoreline below the Dickerson Power Plant discharge canal. One angler caught a few smallmouth and a small walleye, fishing from shore. He was using small smoke colored grubs on 1/8th oz. jigheads. He also managed to hook one good sized channel catfish, but was unable to land it. Crappie schools should be located around the mouths of Broad Run and Goose Creek. Small minnows work best for these tasty fish.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - No reports of anglers out this week.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Water temperatures are in the low forties, with poor fishing success.

LAKE ANNA - On the lower end of the lake, big fish are on the move and are beginning to feed heavily. Live bait is at it's best now for trophy bass. Lots of fish are being graphed in 10-40 feet of water. They are making their way into the shallows. The water temperature throughout the lake is in the upper 40's. Other than live bait, try fishing suspending jerk baits on main lake points downlake. Boat docks in deep water on the main lake will be holding schools of crappie. Tiny jigs and live minnows are the ticket for these tasty fish.

BURKE LAKE - No reports of anglers out this week.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - White perch fishing has started downriver, with bloodworms being the bait of choice. Yellow perch are biting minnows and nightcrawlers in the downstream sections.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - No report this week.

JAMES RIVER - No reports of anglers out this week.

LAKE CHESDIN - No report this week.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - The mouths of the feeder creeks are producing some fish for anglers drifting live minnows. Lots of jumbo yellow perch are being caught on medium minnows, while largemouth bass to five pounds and blue catfish to thirty pounds are taking jumbo minnows, cut shad and eel chunks. Crappie fishing is slow.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Largemouth bass, 2-6 pounds, are taking jumbo minnows on the main lake points and over brushpiles in deeper water. Pickerel, 2-5 pounds, are also taking jumbo minnows throughout the lake. At the dam, some yellow perch are being caught on small minnows, in addition to large numbers of good sized crappie.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - No report this week.

BACK BAY - No report this week.

SUFFOLK LAKES - No reports of anglers out this week.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - No report this week.

LAKE GASTON - Bass fishing is picking up, with fish taking jig 'n pig and slow-rolled spinnerbaits, fished on main lake points. Pea Hill Creek is also giving up bass on Speed Shads, swimbaits and C.C. Shads in clear water. Crappie are aggressive once found, but finding them is the trick. Check main creek channels and bends for suspended schools. Stripers are being caught at the lower end of the lake on live shad and bucktails. Most of the lake is still stained, with downlake creeks being clear. Below the dam, white perch are taking red wigglers.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Largemouth bass fishing is fair on main lake points in six feet of water, near rocks. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and five inch chartreuse/pepper grubs are the preferred baits. Crappie fishing is excellent over brushpiles and in the shallows. Slow trolling, with small minnows, in the backs of coves works well. Stripers are taking cut shad in 8-15 feet of water, on the bottom. The schools are located off major creek points. Stripers are also working off buoy 4. Surface action is best at midday, using bucktails and drifting live shad. Watch for gulls.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Stripers are being caught with some regularity on bucktails and live shad. Musky are also taking bucktails, while smallmouth bass are being caught on spinnerbaits. Crappie fishing is excellent on small minnows and jigs in 2-10 feet of water.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Some stripers and walleye are being checked in. Most of the stripers are being caught on Cordell Redfins, although Storm swim baits are coming into their own. The Staunton River, below the dam, is producing walleye up to 4 1/2 pounds on jigs. Largemouth bass fishing is slow, using jigs and crankbaits.

LAKE MOOMAW - Crappie anglers are catching a few large crappie on live minnows, but the best action is on yellow perch, to 1.5 pounds. Some largemouth bass and pickerel are also reported. Tiny black midges are producing for fly fishermen, below Gathwright Dam, in the Jackson River.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Smallmouth bass are taking baits, fished in 5-35 feet of water. Wind has slowed activity, but the few anglers on the lake are catching some fish. Shallow water anglers are having success with small shad-imitating crankbaits, plastic worms and large, slow-rolled spinnerbaits, while deep water anglers are jigging up bass on Hopkins spoons. Anglers fishing for trout in the Smith River are taking some trophy trout, in addition to a large number of smaller fish. Berkley Power Baits, meal worms and salmon eggs are the most popular baits.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie fishermen are doing well around the water intake, on jigs. Fairly consistent success is had by largemouth, smallmouth and trout anglers throughout the lake. Live bait is the best producer, although slow-rolled spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig are also catching bass.

CLAYTOR LAKE - A few stripers are being taken by the handfull of anglers out. Blue catfish are biting on nightcrawlers and cut bait. Walleye are being caught where the New River flows into the lake. Occasional largemouth bass are also reported.

TROUT STREAMS - Trout fishing is generally good in streams throughout the state. Be very careful, as stream banks are slippery and Hypothermia is a given if you slip into the water. Good trout fishing is available in the Smith and Jackson Rivers. Anglers are using size 22 and 24 blue wing olives, weighted nymphs in sizes 10-14 and size 10 streamers. Wild streams had very good reproduction last year and fly hatches are already starting. Nymphs will probably be the best lure for flyfishermen, while small spinners in the 1/16th ounce class will work best for spin fishermen.