Fishing Report - January 5, 2018


FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor

OVERVIEW - Ice is prevalent throughout the state. Check ahead before planning a fishing trip. Hypothermia is a constant companion for anglers who don't take proper precautions with clothing. Dress in layers to provide air spaces for insulation between layers. Whenever you fish in this type of weather, please wear Life Jackets, don't fish alone and inform someone on land where you will be fishing and when you will return.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Boaters need to be especially careful when launching boats. Each trailer coming out of the water deposits water on the cold concrete ramps. When temperatures are below 30 degrees, the water freezes quickly, leaving a potential ice slide for the next trailer on the ramp. Most anglers are fishing the outflow from Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant and the Spoils when ice allows fishing. Some anglers are taking bragging sized largemouth bass from the Spoils. Most of these fish are coming on Silver Buddies, small plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Four Mile Run is giving up some good fish at the Route One bridge and the treatment plant on Silver Buddies, small lipless rattling crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Count on losing a bunch of lures to the wire riprap enclosures.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Ice is generally present in shallow areas. Bass are being caught on plastic grubs, small crankbaits, live minnows and jig 'n pig baits. Fishing these baits on flats along steeply dropping banks from shallow to deep water, should have bass picking up the baits as they cross the lip of the dropoff. Areas where the creek channels meet the main river channel, are the better holding areas. Slow presentations, about two hours into the incoming tide, should prove to be more successful. Boat docks in deeper water will also hold bass. Crappie and yellow perch anglers are taking these panfish from Mattawoman, Aquia and Nanjemoy Creeks on live minnows.

POTOMAC RIVER - ROUTE 301 BRIDGE - Stripers are feeding off and on in the outflow of the Morgantown Power Plant. If the commercial netters don't get them first, anglers tossing 1/2 ounce bucktails and four inch Sassy Shads into the current, allowing them to fall to the bottom and bouncing them along with the tide, will be rewarded with strong fighting fish to 8 pounds. Catches of 10 or more per day are not at all unusual during this season of the year. Be prepared with the correct tackle and clothing.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Small to medium, male, yellow perch are holding on the flat below the Route One Bridge. The female spawners are slow arriving, but are expected to show within the next week or so if the cold weather continues. Medium minnows, Silver Buddies and yellow plastic grubs are enticing the tasty fish. Occasional bass are taking the same baits, although better bass fishing is to be had along the rock wall on the north bank of the river. Small plastic grubs, retrieved slowly, and jig 'n pig are the better baits. Crappie are schooled up around the boat docks and over submerged brush. Live minnows and small jigs are the preferred bait.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Before the cold and windy weather came, largemouth bass were being caught on the main lake points by patient anglers using jig 'n pig, minnows and plastic baits. Intersections of feeder creek channels and the main river channel were also holding bass. Crappie are schooled, holding in the creek channels, in submerged timber and deeper brushpiles.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Lots of ice is present on the river. Smallmouth bass are being taken from the deeper rock ledges throughtout the river. Better areas are just below Point of Rocks, Noland's Ferry, White's Ferry and River Bend. Small plastic grubs, jig 'n pig, live minnows and nightcrawlers are the preferred baits.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Very few anglers are out, with no catches to report.

LAKE ANNA - Bass and stripers are on the feed on the cold side. Fish the main lake points below the 208 bridge with jumbo minnows, live shad, jig 'n pig or shaky heads. Top water baits, such as the Zara Spook, will take stripers, while small Hopkins spoons, fished on the bottom, will take perch, crappie and bass. Patience is required, but good stringers are coming from the lake. At least one report has stripers and bass being taken at Dike 3 on the Alabama Rig. Look for larger bass and stripers on submerged islands and humps in the main creek channels. Yellow perch are also schooling up in the creeks, with Contrary Creek being one of the better areas.

JAMES RIVER - Excellent catfishing in the tidal sections of the river, with large blue cats reported last week. Largemouth bass action is also reported as good. Above the city, smallmouth bass action was fair to good on live minnows. Crappie fishing was excellent in the area of Dutch Gap, with 20 fish per day not at all unusual. Some of the better stringers were taken on the dropoffs along the islands in the Dutch Gap area, and in the barge pits. Live minnows and tiny jigs are the preferred baits, with lots of smallmouth bass taking the baits as well. A few walleye are caught on white grubs, bucktails and live bait above Dutch Gap.

LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie continue to hit very well around the dam and bridges. Minnows and small jigs are working best. Anglers slowly retrieving crankbaits are catching occasional 2-3 pound bass.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Good numbers of largemouth bass in the two pound class are being caught in the tidal sections. Live bait fished in the mouths of the feeder creeks and on steeply dropping banks with good tidal flow, are responsible for most of the fish. Crappie and yellow perch are also taking the live minnows, along with Silver Buddies. The Walker's Dam area is also producing lots of crappie, catfish and yellow perch.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Pickerel, crappie and bass are consistently being caught on live minnows throughout the lake. Action centers on the submerged brushpiles.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass are holding in 15-20 feet of water, stacked up along shelves and ledges. Most bass are caught on suspending jerk baits, jig 'n pig and blade baits. The East end of the lake is producing best with bass to four pounds, crappie to 2.5 pounds and 16 inches, as well as stripers, catfish and pickerel. Stripers to six pounds are taking suspending jerk baits and large minnows, while large crappie are taking small jigs and minnows along the outside grass lines in 15-18 feet of water.

BACK BAY - Some white perch and catfish are available around the West Neck Creek area, while Hellespoint and Tabernacle Creeks are giving up small bass, crappie and white perch. Small to medium stripers are being caught and released.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Western Branch is reporting lots of small stripers. Yellow perch and crappie round out the catches. Lake Prince anglers are catching some nice bass, to seven pounds, on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Stripers and yellow perch are also hitting well in the lake. Some crappie are being found at the 20 foot level. Crappie are also hitting well at Lake Smith. Lake Smith is also giving up nice pickerel.

LAKE GASTON - Striper fishermen trolling live bait or deep-diving plugs around the lower end of the lake are catching 10-15 pound stripers. Anglers fishing live shad baits are taking 8-14 pound stripers at the base of the dam, with some running to 20 pounds. Dark colored jig 'n pig combinations are responsible for largemouth bass catches in 3-7 feet of water. Some anglers are catching them on jerk baits and Silver Buddies on ledges and points, close to deep water. Pond anglers are taking good stringers of crappie, but lake fishermen are having a difficult time locating the schools. Best crappie action is coming from brush piles in 10+ feet of water. Pea Hill Creek is producing good stringers of stripers to 15 pounds on bucktails. The striper activity should only get better. Uplake, bass anglers are reporting no activity.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Largemouth bass are catchable by working spoons and spinnerbaits in 20-25 feet of water on dropoffs, in the lower end. The sun in the afternoon is bringing them up on rocky points to feed. Jig 'n pig and fat plastic grubs are the ticket. Crappie are slow to hit, but can be located around brushpiles in 20 feet of water. Best method for catching the crappie is using a small jig and six pound line. Still fish the jig over the brushpiles. Stripers are holding in 30-35 feet of water with one of the better areas being Nutbush Creek.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Drifting live shad, and trolling bucktails and Redfins are producing good striper action. Best action is around Beaver Dam Creek and in the Roanoke River arm of the lake. After the sun comes up, live shad should be drifted in the back ends of the coves. Most of the better fish are being found in 30 feet of water. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught on jigs, grubs and live bait, primarily on main lake points. Walleye are taking live minnows, drifted along the bottom, over rockpiles.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Striper fishing is good. Anglers trolling deep-diving Redfins in 15-20 feet of water are catching large stripers. The fish are hitting the trolled lures very aggressively. White perch fishing is also very good, with the fish taking small Hopkins spoons in 20 feet of water.

NEW RIVER - Several anglers fishing for muskie have caught small ones. However, very few anglers are fishing the river.

LAKE MOOMAW - Some bass are being caught on Silver Spoons, fished deep. Below the dam, fly fishers are taking trout on size 22-28 flies in black, olive and brown. Most of the fish are running 8-12 inches, with a few topping 16 inches. The entire area is designated catch and release.

PHILPOTT LAKE - A few walleye and smallmouth bass are being taken on live minnows. Some good smallmouth and largemouth bass were taken on jigged Hopkins spoons.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Light fishing activity, with no reliable catch reports.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Walleye are beginning to take live baits at the upper end of the lake, near the rapids. Smallmouth bass and striper catches are also up.

TROUT STREAMS - Reports of catches are limited to the Jackson and Smith Rivers, where fly fishers are taking nice rainbows and browns in the small pockets at the edges of the swift running water.