Fishing Report - December 1, 2017


OVERVIEW - Throughout the entire state, waters are seasonally cold. All anglers and boaters are cautioned to be extremely careful and WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKETS. Hypothermia is the leading cause of water-related deaths during this season of the year.

BEST LOCAL SPOT - Anglers looking for a good time and plenty of action should head for Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant Outfall. Using ultra-light tackle with 4-6# line and a 1/4 oz. Silver Buddy, numerous species may be taken by casting into the outfall plume and allowing the bait to settle to the bottom. It may take a while as the outfall will cause it to suspend in the flow and move outward. As it falls through the water column, it may attract a largmouth bass, striper, catfish, yellow perch or gizzard shad. If it reaches the bottom, take up the slack and drag the bait across the bottom about 6-12 inches. Drop the rod tip, take up the slack and repeat. The action here should be the same as fishing a plastic worm on the bottom. All the aforementioned species will hit the bait as it starts moving across the bottom. Although you would think that you would be snagging the shad, they will take the bait in their mouths. Make sure your drag is set light, as these fish put up a good fight.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Largemouth bass are being caught by diehard anglers throughout the city. The bass are orienting to steep dropoffs. Fish the shallows early in the morning. As the sun comes up, shift to fishing the base of the dropoff, in 10-15 feet of water. In late afternoons, switch to the sun-warmed shallows, preferably along sand or gravel banks. When fishing the shallows, select small, dark colored plastic grubs, Shaky Heads or jig 'n pig combinations. The base of the dropoff should be fished with jig 'n pig or Silver Buddy. Better areas include the Spoils, Washington Channel, Washington Sailing Marina, 14th Street Bridge pilings, mouth of the Anacostia River, Blue Plains, Oxon Cove, Belle Haven Cove and Fox Ferry. Crappie are found around the artificial islands in the Spoils, the DC Dock at Blue Plains and along the seawall in Washington Channel. Try live minnows or tiny chartreuse power grubs around the floating docks. Adjust the depth to coincide with the bottom of the docks. Crappie appear to hang just under the docks, searching for minnows feeding on algae on the docks. Both bass and crappie are being caught in the "Duck Pond" (Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary), with minnows taking the greatest number. The bass are feeding in the trough between the warm water outlet pipes and the viaduct under the G.W. Parkway, while the crappie are suspended along the bank adjacent to the railroad tracks. Check the trough from the viaduct to the main river for walleye.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are taking small, slowly fished baits, on the bottom, adjacent to steep dropoffs, from the middle to the back ends of the creeks. Success is improved if there is any green grass present. Main river points are also giving up some good largemouth bass, in addition to white perch, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. Fish across the point from uptide to downtide sides, in water from 15 to 25 feet deep. Watch the line carefully as the bait drops off the downtide side of the point. This is where the hit should come. If the line moves at all, set the hook. Some of the better creeks are: Aquia, Mattawoman, Nanjemoy, and the mouths of Little Hunting and Swan Creeks. Crappie are schooled up around submerged brush piles.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Yellow perch are showing up in the river, with only a few large ones at present. More fat females are showing up every day. Bass may be caught on the bottom on small plastic worms and grubs, fished very slowly along the rock wall and around the wood structure. Flipping boat docks with tiny grubs and live minnows will produce livewells full of a wide variety of fish. Patience is the key, along with very slowly fished, small baits. Bass and yellow perch will be found on the bottom and on humps in the middle of the river, while the crappie will be adjacent to cover or suspended in open water over humps, etc. Check your depthfinder for schools of fish suspending on the lip of the dropoff into the river channel. These fish are suckers for Silver Buddies, Shakey Head lures and Drop Shot rigs.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass have moved into deeper water in this lake. Near the dam, the bass are holding in 15-20 feet of water, off main lake points and secondary points near creek channels. Jig 'n pig, plastic grubs and live bait are the most successful baits. Uplake, the more successful anglers are taking bass from blowdowns in 12-18 feet of water, on plastic grubs, jig 'n pig, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and live bait. Crappie anglers are fishing live minnows and tiny jigs in flooded brush, standing timber and over creek channels. Good numbers of crappie are being caught, but sizes vary widely. Once a school of large crappie is found, stick with it as the school roams around. Most of the fish in the school will be about the same size.

FARM PONDS AND SMALL LAKES - These small waters are still giving up bass, crappie and bluegill to the patient angler. Live baits are best, with minnows being the top choice. Small plastic worms, grubs and jig 'n pig will produce well for farm pond bass, while tiny jigs and nightcrawlers will take the crappie and bluegill. Late afternoons, after the sun has warmed the water, will have bass taking small topwater baits. Don't neglect the flyrod for presenting small streamers and terrestrials to the middle of a farm pond.

BURKE LAKE - No reports available.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some smallmouth bass are being taken by patient anglers, fishing small bottom-bouncing baits and live minnows or crayfish. The smallmouth are being found in the deeper holes and on points throughout the river. For larger fish, try jumbo minnows or small jig 'n pig in the areas around Edwards Ferry or the Seneca Flats. Holes in these two areas have been producing good smallmouth bass, including some in the citation class. Largemouth bass are taking small, slowly fished artificial and live baits along the banks and around cover in the creeks off the main river. The mouths of Goose Creek and Broad Run are producing well. Occasional walleye are being taken in the early morning and late evening in the deeper water off the Maryland shore, just below Edwards Ferry. Drift a small white grub just off the bottom, along this dropoff. Allow the grub to drift with the current. Do not add any motion to it. When a definite pull is felt, set the hook lightly and bring the fish in. The mouth of the Dickerson Power Plant warmwater discharge canal is holding good numbers of large channel catfish as well as some smallmouth bass. Nightcrawlers and live minnows will take both species, while plastic grubs bounced along the bottom will also take the smallies.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Tidal sections of the river are giving up some good catfish on bottom-fished cut bait and nightcrawlers, and bass on bottom-fished minnows, jig 'n pig or plastic grubs. Most of the bass are concentrated in schools on the outside bend dropoffs, adjacent to blowdowns or other structure, while the catfish are located in the deeper holes of the river. Crappie schools are positioned near submerged brushpiles and will take small minnows or jigs. Yellow perch are beginning to appear in the river in force, but most of the fish are still small. Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking minnows, crayfish and bottom-fished artificials. These baits should be fished in the deeper holes and below current-breaking structure.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Those few anglers out on the river this past week were reporting some smallmouth bass from the deeper holes below riffles. Most of the anglers were using live minnows, madtoms, crayfish and plastic grubs. Occasional sunfish and catfish taking madtoms and nightcrawlers are reported.

LAKE ANNA - Fishing is excellent at this nearby impoundment. Schools of shad are roaming the lake and all the gamefish are feeding heavily on them. Finding the shad will almost guarantee fish. Start at the Route 208 bridge and head either way for 100-300 yards. This area should yield at least one large school of shad. Fish under the shad for the gamefish. Medium to jumbo minnows and swimbaits are working best for stripers and larger bass. Smaller fish are taking smaller minnows, small plastic grubs and small Hopkins jigging spoons. Lots of jumbo white perch, yellow perch, and crappie are to be had in the creeks on jigging spoons, grubs and minnows. Large catfish are still being taken on nightcrawlers, cut bait, and chicken livers throughout the lake. Trophy bass fishermen should concentrate on main lake points from mid-lake to the dam. These points should be fished with jumbo minnows, large plastic worms or jig 'n pig baits in deeper water.

JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass are being caught on live minnows in the city and above. Below the city, the tidal section is producing good numbers of crappie, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Best success is on live minnows, drifted along the steep dropping banks. Patience is necessary, but good stringers are common. Blue catfish are THE fish for anglers. The Dutch Gap area is the scene, and cut mud shad baits, fished on the bottom of the outside bends of the river channel is the method. Large gar are also being taken.

LAKE CHESDIN - Anglers fishing this lake are reporting few bass, but lots of crappie and a bunch of stripers.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Small bass, catfish, crappie and yellow perch are the fare here. Best action is centered on the upriver creek mouths, with live minnows on a moving tide, being the best method. Trollers are still catching stripers throughout the river. Crappie anglers around Walkers Dam are filling coolers on live minnows and tiny jigs.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Anglers are catching lots of bass, crappie and pickerel around the submerged brushpiles on points. Live minnows are producing well, although crappie jigs are taking numbers of fish after they are located. Large bass, pickerel and bowfin are being caught deep-jigging.

BACK BAY - Anglers fishing the creeks are catching some bass, stripers and white perch. Crappie anglers are rewarded with large catches of good sized fish. Yellow perch are moving in, but the majority are small.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Stripers to 15 pounds are being taken in Western Branch Reservoir. Largemouth bass to eight pounds are also being caught on jumbo minnows. A couple of large gar were also caught last week. Remainder of the catches included some large yellow perch and a few crappie. Lake Prince reports some large crappie, although numbers are not there. Nice crappie are also reported at Lake Cohoon, along with some pickerel and small bass. Lake Smith reports include small bass, a few crappie and some pickerel.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are finding bass suspended at 20 feet, moving up to 15 feet or less as the sun warms the water. Blade baits and lipless crankbaits, as well as jerk baits, slow rolled spinnerbaits and live minnows will take the fish. Crappie and yellow perch are showing well in the catches. Try fishing small minnows in the Beaver huts and other hard cover. Crappie anglers, fishing from the pier, have done well.

LAKE GASTON - Excellent crappie fishing. Most of the catches are being taken from schools suspended over creek channels around mid lake. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the key. Some success by striper fishermen using live bait and large bucktails in the main river channel and below Gaston dam. One report had large school of stripers in Pea Hill Creek, taking jigging spoons. Some good white perch are reported from the main lake and from Pea Hill Creek.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Stripers are hitting trolled crankbaits and bucktails in the vicinity of Bluestone Creek and Clarksville, while the mouths of Rudds and Grassy Creeks are producing stripers on live shad, swim baits and four inch Sassy Shads. Crappie are thick around bridge pilings and brushpiles. No reports of bass catches this week.

BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Anglers are catching bass in the 4-6 pound range on jumbo minnows at Briery Creek. In addition, lots of crappie are being caught on small minnows, along with 3-4 pound bass.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper action is in full swing. Lots of good fish are being caught on topwater baits and live shad throughout the lake. Try the back ends of coves with standing timber on the bottom. When schools of shad are found, the stripers will be under them. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also being caught on live shad and jig 'n pig baits, fished on the rocky points throughout the lake. Some white bass, in the two pound class, were caught this past week. Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish on small minnows.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Live crayfish are taking a few smallmouth bass in the 3-4 pound class, along with a few walleye and some big crappie. Lots of trout are being caught in the Smith River, on Berkley Power Baits and nightcrawlers.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing for smallmouth bass and stripers is fair to good. Most of the bass are being taken on live minnows and jig 'n pig, in Dublin Hollow. Crappie fishing is excellent throughout the lake.

LAKE MOOMAW - Bass activity and resulting catches are improving. Jigging Silver Buddies or Hopkins spoons, and fishing with jig 'n pig and live minnows are the better methods. Crappie and yellow perch activity is also on the increase, mainly on live minnows. A few trout in the 3-4 pound class have been caught, deep trolling.

TROUT STREAMS - Water levels are ideal but conditions are mixed. Sticking to the larger streams will result in trout catches.