Fishing Report - December 22, 2017


POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - The warmer temperatures have not stopped the fish from biting, when the wind and rain allow anglers to get out. Some anglers are still taking fish daily from a limited number of haunts throughout the city. Look for largemouth bass holding on dropoffs in 8-20 feet of water and on flats adjacent to the drops. Small plastic grubs, liberally doused with fish attractants are taking the fish in the deeper water while crankbaits and spinnerbaits are doing the trick in the shallow water. The slower the bait is fished, the more successful it will be. Letting the bait sit on the bottom motionless will often produce better than moving it. The outflow from Blue Plains is still a local hot spot, giving up bass and crappie. Just inside the mouth of Oxon Cove and the Spoils are two more areas that are giving up fish. Crappie are schooled up and taking small minnows and jigs in Washington Channel and the Spoils. There is also at least one report of striper activity in Washington Channel.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river dropoffs are producing some decent sized largemouth bass for patient anglers, fishing small plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Some of the better dropoffs are located at the mouths of most of the creeks, where the creek channel meets the main river channel. These areas frequently have visible lines where muddy or colder creek water mixes with the clearer or warmer river water. Fish this line with lipless rattling crankbaits and swimming grubs. The Morgantown Power Plant discharge, normally a hot spot at this time of year, is giving up very few fish.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - When the rain and wind allow, lots of bass are being caught on dropoffs near the mouth of the river and on dock pilings throughout the river. Crappie are schooled up around the submerged brushpiles and boat docks. Yellow perch are showing near the mouth and are taking small grubs and minnows, fished on the bottom in 15-20 feet of water. Some small stripers are working under the foot bridge at the back end of the river when the water is clear. Sassy Shads, Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Red Fins and jumbo minnows are taking the fish.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Anglers fishing the main lake points with plastic grubs and jig 'n pig baits are catching fish. The bass are located in the deeper water off the points and are coming up on the points to feed. Crappie are thick in the submerged brush and timber, and suspended over the creek channels. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the ticket here.

BURKE LAKE - No report this week.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some smallmouth bass are being taken from the mouth of the warmwater discharge canal at Dickerson Power Plant. Lots of big channel catfish are to be found at the same place. Fish small smoke grubs on 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jig heads in the swift current. Allow the current to sweep the grub downstream, keeping the line taut in order to feel a strike. Live minnows and nightcrawlers are also tempting the fish. Smallmouth will also be feeding heavily downstream from the power plant to White's Ferry, as the water discharged by the power plant affects the water temperature all along the Maryland shoreline. Try dropshot rigs here with circle hooks. This will enable you to feel the strike much easier and by simply raising the rod tip, hook the fish. Crappie anglers report schools of the tasty fish at the mouths of Goose Creek, Broad Run and the Monocacy River.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Lots of blue catfish, in the 20 pound class, are being caught on cut shad and eel chunks.

LAKE ANNA - Walleye action is good around the rocky points at Dike #3. Live herring is the better bait for walleye weighing four pounds or more. Stripers are also active around this dike, where the water temperature is a couple of degrees warmer than the balance of the lake. Surface activity is limited on the main lake, but the stripers do surface. When they do, Cordell Redfins are taking the big fish. Better fishing is coming downlake, from the 208 bridge to the dam. Bass are located on the main lake points. Fishing Hopkins spoons and live jumbo minnows off the points, into the deeper water, are accounting for some good sized largemouth bass. Jerkbaits, Sassy Shads and jig 'n pig are also effective. The bass are running to seven pounds. Crappie are holding around submerged brush, bridge pilings and suspended over creek channels. Most of the fish are located in 12-20 feet of water.

JAMES RIVER - Blue catfish action is still in full swing, as some anglers are catching fish to 50 pounds. Most are being caught on cut gizzard shad and eel baits from Dutch Gap to Hopewell.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Isolated stripers, 8-10 pounds, are being caught at Western Branch. Most of the fish are being caught on minnow-imitating lures. Citation white perch and bass are also being caught. Lake Prince reports nice crappie, lots of large bass and yellow perch. Both Lakes Cohoon and Meade are giving up large crappie. Crappie fishing is good at Lake Smith.

MATTAPONI & PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Blue catfish are the fare here, with fish to 20 pounds being weighed.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Most anglers here are fishing for crappie and finding nice schools of the tasty fish. The crappie are hanging around submerged brush and are taking small minnows and tiny jigs. Check both outside edges of each boat dock for brush piles. Rod holders are a dead giveaway. Rat-L-Traps, Berkley power worms and Jig 'n pig are taking some nice bass from Walkers Dam to Chickahominy Haven.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass, pickerel and crappie are being caught on live minnows and Bomber Speed Shads. Fishing pressure is light, but most anglers venturing out, are catching fish.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Fish have moved to deep water and are holding there. Fish for bass at 18-20 feet over 30 feet of water. Best lures are Alabama Rigs, jigging spoons and blade baits. Some fish are holding in deeper water off points and coming up on the points to feed. Some yellow perch and catfish are available for those fishing live minnows and nightcrawlers on the bottom in 18+ feet of water.

LAKE GASTON - Stripers, 10-13 pounds, are hitting sporadically around the mouth of Pea Hill Creek and in front of the Gaston Dam. Jigging bucktails and Sassy Shads seems to be the most successful method. Largemouth bass, 4-10 pounds, are schooling with the stripers. Bass are being taken on plastic baits on the downcurrent side of bridges throughout the lake. Crappie are found on brushpiles in 8-12 feet of water.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Largemouth bass may still be caught in 3-4 feet of water on Speed Shads and square billed crankbaits. A stop-and-go retrieve is working best. Crappie are hovering around deep brushpiles. Vertical jigging minnows over the brushpiles will produce the better fish. Striper fishing is slow, but some fish are being caught at the 25 foot level, over 60 feet of water.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Stripers are breaking in singles off deep mud points on the main channel at creek mouths. Look for shad and slowly swim bucktails, or retrieve Bomber Speed Shads across the points and along the dropoffs. The larger fish are being caught in eight feet of water on 12-13 inch shad drifted across the coves and pockets under a bobber. Lots of fish in the 8-15 pound class are being weighed in. Largemouth bass are located in 15-20 feet of water. Vertical jigging is best. Crappie anglers are doing well, fishing live minnows on brushpiles in 15-20 feet of water.

LAKE MOOMAW - A number of keeper brown trout were caught this past week, on live minnows and jointed Rapalas. Smallmouth anglers are also catching some fish, including a couple over the four pound mark. Yellow perch and crappie anglers are filling coolers.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are being caught by anglers jigging Hopkins spoons in 30-40 feet of water. Trout anglers are taking numbers of rainbows over the two pound mark.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Flathead catfish, to 30 pounds, are still biting well, along with smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie and stripers.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - The water temperature has warmed and those anglers who are fishing, are taking smallmouth bass and crappie.

LAKE CHESDIN - Some crappie are available for patient anglers. Occasional bass and chain pickerel on live bait. Stripers in the 10-15 pound class are taking Rat-L-Traps and Red Fins.

TROUT STREAMS - Most streams throughout the state are full. Fishing conditions should be good in the larger streams.

VIRGINIA SALTWATER - Sea run stripers have invaded the Chesapeake Bay, around buoys 38 and 40 along the Eastern Shore. Fish are running 40-50+ pounds and are taking drifted live eels. The Virginia Beach area and around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is showing schooling stripers in the 22-38 inch range. Best success is still coming from drifted live eels, however, umbrella rigs are also taking good fish.