Fishing Report - August 18, 2017

 

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Bass anglers in the city are finding bass on the main river bridge pilings, riprap and other man-made structure. Lots of good bass are also being taken from Blue Plains Sewage Treatment outfall and The Spoils. Best choices of lures are crankbaits, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Catfish anglers are taking some large catfish on cut bait, cut crab and clam snouts. Some smallmouth bass, an occasional walleye and some crappie are being caught above Key Bridge by patient anglers. Stripers and catfish are being taken in Washington Channel and the Anacostia River, particularly after rains that decrease water temperatures. Some snakeheads are reported being caught in the Anacostia River on topwater baits.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river grassbeds, with adjacent dropoffs, are producing some bass. Crankbaits, Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater frogs and plastic stick baits are the better lures. Bass are also being caught in the very back ends of creeks where the baitfish are thick. Best lures are topwater poppers, spinnerbaits and small plastics. Catfish are taking cut bait, crab and clam snouts from deeper holes, adjacent to flats. The point at Fort Washington is a hot spot for trophy blue catfish. Lots of catfish are being caught on shallow running crankbaits, fished parallel to the outside edges of grassbeds. Bass and perch are also taking Beetlespins fished in the outside edges of the grassbeds. Northern snakeheads are present in almost any shallow grassbed. These fish are suckers for white topwater baits and spinnerbaits.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Striper action is fair around sunrise and sunset, in the back end of the river. Large minnow-imitating lures, Rat-L-Traps and bucktails are the most productive lures. Boat docks are holding some bass, crappie, sunfish and catfish. Flippin' plastic grubs and worms or live minnows around the pilings will result in mixed catches of fish. Lots of good sized bass are being caught from the grass bed at the mouth of the river, on spinnerbaits, toads and other small plastic baits.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Some sunfish, catfish and crappie are being taken from the pier. Bass action is centered on the main lake points, early and late in the day. Best baits are crankbaits and plastic worms, fished in 6-10 feet of water.

BURKE LAKE - Fishing will pick up as the weather cools. Bass anglers are taking occasional fish from the points off grassbed edges. Plastic worms, worked down dropoffs into 15-20 feet of water, are taking the fish. Catfish and crappie action is fair from the fishing pier. Occasional walleye and muskie are being taken by trollers.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is good. Best baits are plastic jerkbaits, fished around the edges of any available cover. In deeper water, small topwater lures and highly visible crankbaits should be used. Fly fishermen should have a field day on topwater poppers, around the grassbeds. Some sunfish, catfish and carp are also active.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Smallmouth anglers should catch good numbers of fish on topwater lures, plastic grubs and live crayfish. Tidewater sections of the river are producing largemouth bass from the blowdowns along the Southern shore and blue catfish, 23-35 pounds, from the outside bends of the river channel. Jumbo minnows and cut gizzard shad are the better choice of bait.

MATTAPONI & PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Bass, perch, catfish and bream are being caught in the upper reaches, while croaker, perch and sea trout are hitting in the lower reaches. Peeler crab, nightcrawlers and minnows are the top baits. Stripers are taking live minnows, peeler crab, Rat-L-Traps and Cordell Redfins throughout both rivers.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass and good sized bluegill are being caught. Topwater lures, plastic grubs, small spinners and tiny crankbaits are the chief lures. Catfish are taking mad toms. Lots of algae throughout the river is making fishing difficult in some places.

LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass are holding in 12-20 feet of water, moving up on points early and late in the day. Topwater baits, plastic worms, deep diving crankbaits and large minnows are effective baits. Drop shot rigs and shaky heads are taking the bass from humps. Stripers are hitting at Dike 3 on Cordell Redfins, spoons and live bait. Crappie are taking small minnows on boat docks, bridge pilings and submerged brush. Catfish anglers are taking some nice fish on live and cut shad.

JAMES RIVER - Anglers should find excellent smallmouth bass action above the city on crankbaits and pumpkinseed plastic grubs. Flyrodders should have good success on black Wooly Buggers. Tidal anglers should catch good numbers of bass from submerged wood cover and lily pads. Standing cypress trees are holding good bass, particularly at the mouths of creeks. Inside the creeks, bass are hanging on any available piece of cover in the tidal flow. Senkos and other plastics, fished weightless, will take the fish. Catfish action is still good and crappie are beginning to turn on.

LAKE CHESDIN - Bass action is excellent, with 5-7 pound fish being caught. Catfish and crappie are still being caught in good numbers.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Many small bass may be taken from the wedge shaped lily pads throughout the upper portion of the river. Better choices of lures are topwater frogs, small spinnerbaits, floating worms and Senkos. Drop Shot rigs are taking fish from the dropoffs. Standing wood should also be holding bass. Shallow running crankbaits and topwater lures will take bass and pickerel from creek mouths. Catfish action is still good and bream are taking worms and flyrod poppers.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass action is good on flyrod poppers, topwater frogs, Senkos and spinnerbaits. Lots of pickerel, gar and bowfin are being taken on jumbo minnows. Bream anglers are taking fish on grass shrimp, nightcrawlers, red wigglers and flyrod poppers.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - The lake is at full pool. Drop shot rigs, live minnows and herring are taking bass to five pounds on the edge of the grass. Catfish anglers are doing well on sunfish, shad and herring baits. Panfishermen are taking limits on red wigglers and crickets, with most of the fish being small. Stripers are still available on secondary and mid-lake points on live bait. Trolled deep diving crankbaits are also taking fish.

BACK BAY - Indian Cove, West Neck and Hellespoint Creeks are the local hotspots, with anglers catching white perch, crappie, largemouth bass and channel catfish.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Striper and bass action is good at Western Branch, while bream dominate the catches at Lakes Cohoon and Meade. Lake Prince is producing some large bass on red shad plastic worms. Lake Smith anglers report white perch and bream.

LAKE GASTON - Bass fishing is good, particularly in the lower and upper parts of the lake. Topwaters are producing early and late in the day. Main lake points are producing bass on crankbaits, carolina-rigged plastic worms and spinnerbaits. The key to fishing this lake is finding the baitfish. Once you find baitfish, cover the area thoroughly with every bait you can imagine. Start with lipless crankbaits, then spinnerbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Always keep a Rat-L-Trap on deck for casting to breaking fish. Docks on main lake points are holding large schools of baitfish. These baitfish will attract breaking fish sometime during the day. Check out the extreme back ends of the coves and creeks where bass may be taken on buzzbaits in 6-12 inches of water, around thick willow grass. When the sun is high overhead, work the main lake points where there is grass in 10 feet of water, with small plastic baits. Stripers are holding in deep water, feeding during the night. Crappie anglers are catching good numbers of fish from the bridge pilings and submerged brushpiles in the creeks.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass fishing should be improving with the falling temperatures and stabilizing weather. Best pattern appears to be a Carolina rigged, pumpkinseed Zoom lizard, fished in 20-25 feet of water on main lake points. Working these baits across the middle of coves in the creeks, is also producing well. Striper action is slow, but some fish are feeding on the surface near Clarksville. Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish along the Route 58 bridge at Clarksville and over brushpiles in 12-18 feet of water in Rudd's Creek. Live minnows and white/pink jigs are the baits of choice.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Anglers are catching stripers on large minnows, drifted in the main river channels, and crappie on small minnows, fished around boat docks and blowdowns. Bass are taking plastic worms and stick baits, fished on points and in the backs of coves.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass action is good, with best success coming on plastic lizards. Crappie and white bass are biting well, along with some trophy flathead catfish.

LAKE MOOMAW - Trout action is almost non-existent, but a few bass and lots of catfish are being caught.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Crappie fishing has improved. The schools are located 15-20 feet deep. Bass fishing has picked up, with most of the fish being taken on live minnows. Night fishing for bass is showing some good catches on plastic worms and spinnerbaits.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is good, with most fish being taken on Silver Buddies and chartreuse crankbaits on main lake points. Crappie fishing is good on live minnows. Some trout are taken near the Bristol water intake, at 40 feet. Walleye are being caught in the upper end of the lake, trolling nightcrawlers.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Good smallmouth bass fishing on crankbaits and jig 'n pig. Some catfish and lots of stripers being taken on alewives at night.

TROUT STREAMS - Most streams throughout the state are still low, even with the recent rains. Even so, South and West of Waynesboro, fishing is excellent. Small dry flies in sizes 16-18 are the key. The larger stocked streams are showing good action on nymphs and maribou muddler minnows.

VIRGINIA SALTWATER

CHINCOTEAGUE - Good flounder action along the Narrows, just inside the inlet, along the Hook and around buoy 14. Yellow-bellied spot, croaker, pan trout and snapper blues are available throughout the bays. Small sea bass are available along the oyster bottom, with larger fish being found around the bridge pilings. Outside the inlet, Spanish mackerel are found close to the beach and big flounder, black sea bass, triggerfish and spadefish are found on the inshore wrecks. Surf anglers are catching a mixed bag of spot, sea mullet and small sharks. Inshore anglers are finding croaker and a few pan trout taking squid at the 2TL Buoy. Red drum are starting to show in the same area. Offshore catches consist of dolphin, yellowfin tuna and false albacore. Chunkers are having great results on 30-50 pound yellowfin at the Lumpy Bottom. Trollers are working the 20 fathom contour.

WACHAPREAGUE - Good fishing action in the Washington and Norfolk Canyons this past week. Dolphin are plentiful. Yellowfin tuna and white marlin make up the balance of the catches, plus an occasional wahoo. Farther inshore, false albacore, skipjack tuna and Spanish mackerel are found on the inshore hills. Small pan trout are showing 1-3 miles off the beach, with some croaker mixed in. Flounder, pan trout and croaker are available around the mouth of the inlet.

ONANCOCK - Spot are schooling inside Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Croaker are mixed in with the spot. Sea mullet, flounder, pigfish, porgy, blowfish and taylor blues were mixed in the catches, which were curiously devoid of trout.

CAPE CHARLES - Plenty of medium spot and sea mullet, plus lots of croaker in the vicinity of C-10. Red drum and cobia action has slowed. Good action on big flounder and speckled trout over the past few days. Flounder are being caught just inside Plantation Light and off the Cement Ships. Speckled trout are hitting on most of the bayside creeks, with Hungars Creek the favored location. Inshore wrecks are producing a mixed bag of triggerfish, black sea bass and flounder.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Large spot are available around the First and Second Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Cobia blitzed the CBBT this past week. Best Spanish mackerel catches continue to come from the Third Island area, while impressive catches of flounder are being made on the bayside of the Fourth Island. Croaker, to two pounds, have moved into the mussel beds at the First Island, but more consistent action is found around the Lesner Bridge and inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Spot and croaker are caught by bottom anglers working just outside the Lesner Bridge and along the Small Boat Channel. An increase in flounder action was noted from the mouth of Back River to the Bell Buoy. Large croaker and spot, plus a few pan trout, in the vicinity of Q-1. The Twin Stakes area continues to hold good numbers of spot and croaker plus a few keeper flounder. Puppy drum continue to provide good sport on Back River, with most fish exceeding the 14 inch minimum size limit. Good catches of spot were made near the Back River Bell Buoy and Buoys 17-18 this past week. Flounder, to four pounds, were taken from the area around buoy 42, located at the Cell. Good catches of spot are being made at buoy 22 on the York River. Puppy drum are caught during high tide, inshore of buoy 22, along the grass beds, on peeler crab. The Ware River has also been good for puppy drum, plus a few speckled trout. Offshore, consistent action is seen on dolphin at the NOAA weather buoy, located just NE of the Cigar. This same area is producing scattered catches of 30-60 pound yellowfin tuna. The Southern Tower, located 50 miles SE of Rudee Inlet, still holds good numbers of willing amberjack and a few large barracuda.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Yellowfin tuna are again showing in good numbers. Best action has been between the 200 and 400 line for tuna running 30-60 pounds. Dolphin, 2-15 pounds, continue to be abundant, along with occasional bull dolphin, to 49 pounds. Cobia remain off Virginia Beach, with the more consistent catches coming from the area south of Rudee Inlet. Live bait and rigged eels are working for the cobia. A few large king mackerel are available in the same area. Small kings and large Spanish mackerel are available at the Chesapeake Light Tower/Artificial Reef. A few billfish and plenty of dolphin are being caught in the vicinity of the Cigar. Ballyhoo, pulled behind a Seawitch, has been the favored lure combination. Inside Rudee Inlet, speckled trout action remains slow, but small spot and croaker are plentiful. Along the resort beaches, surf anglers report good catches of spot and croaker, plus a few puppy drum.

PIERS -

LYNNHAVEN - Good action on spot, along with a few puppy drum each day. best action has been on the early morning tide.

VIRGINIA BEACH -Good catches of spot and puppy drum. Best catches are made in the early morning hours. A few small Spanish mackerel and keeper sized striped bass are being caught from the end of the pier by casters.

SANDBRIDGE - Spot are the mainstay, but puppy drum, sea mullet and croaker are mixed in the catches.

MARYLAND SALTWATER

MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Blues, 2-6 pounds, are being taken by chummers south of the Middlegrounds, when the rockfish will leave the baits alone. Spanish mackerel action is good, with better catches being made trolling small, gold spoons around the mouth of the Potomac, and in 60 feet of water in the vicinity of C-73. Puppy drum are being found in every creek, with live minnows being the better bait. Bottom fishermen report good catches of spot at the N-2 buoy, around C-34 and at Blackberry Hang. Pan trout are also available at Blackberry Hang. Peeler crab, cut spot and bloodworm are the preferred baits. Bluefish, 3-6 pounds, are available at the mouth of the Coan River. Bottom anglers are catching croaker and spot in the 50 foot hole just south of the Tangier Light. Fair to good numbers of Spanish mackerel are available west of Windmill Point and along Cut Channel. Best lures are #1 planers and small spoons. A few cobia are still available beneath the Cut Channel buoys. Speckled trout and puppy drum continue to provide good action in the Windmill Point area. Fair catches of flounder in the White Stone Bridge area. Spot fishing is good in the Rappahannock River.

NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER

OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Spot continue to dominate the fishery, with pier and surf anglers making good hauls of spot to 12 ounces. Mixed in the catches are small puppy drum, pompano and sea mullet. King mackerel and cobia have been scarce this past week, with only a handful of Spanish mackerel being decked. At Oregon Inlet, puppy drum, flounder and speckled trout are being caught from the beach on the north and south sides of the inlet. The "pond" is also producing some nice speckled trout. Night anglers are taking fair to good numbers of speckled trout and puppy drum from the Catwalk. Medium croaker are available in the Sound, with some speckled trout around Duck Island. Outside the inlet, good catches of Spanish mackerel and false albacore are reported around the mouth of the inlet, south to the Boiler Wreck and north to Bodie Island Light. King mackerel and false albacore are showing around the 102 and 65 degree Towers. Weedlines within 10 miles of the beach hold dolphin to 12 pounds and false albacore. Sailfish have been reported in the vicinity of the 102 Tower. The bluewater fleet reported fair catches of dolphin for the week, and excellent white marlin catches. Bluefin tuna action improved as most boats reported catching several tuna in the 50-60 pound class. Best catches were made NE of the inlet, along the 900 line. A number of bigeye tuna in the 100+ pound class were also landed.