Fishing Report - January 12, 2018


OVERVIEW - After a brief respite, colder temperatures are coming back throughout the area. Water will be freezing and so will launch ramps. Be extremely careful to ensure you ONLY launch the boat. Make sure you WEAR your PFD and don't go out alone. Hypothermia is your enemy.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - With temperatures forecast in the low to mid 30's, bass should be available in shallow water, adjacent to dropoffs, only in the late afternoon after the sun has warmed the water. Small jigs, jig 'n pig, Silver Buddies and soft plastic baits should be the better choice of lures. Better areas to start would be Blue Plains, The Spoils, 14th Street Bridge pilings, Washington Channel and Four Mile Run. Temperatures rise in the afternoon. This would be the time to try small, wide wobbling crankbaits on shallow banks with steep dropoffs. Bass will hold in the deeper water and come up on the shallow banks to feed.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - "Trash Point" in the mouth of Mattawoman Creek is producing some good fish on soft plastics, fished on 1/8th oz. shaky heads. The dropoffs on outside bends of the creeks are holding biting fish when the tide is running strong. Jig 'n pig, small grubs and small shallow running crankbaits are taking these fish. Main river points and riprap banks should be showing fish in the afternoon when the sun is high. The Morgantown Power Plant discharge is still attracting large schools of stripers. These fish are generally small, with few approaching 18 inches. The fish are taking 1/2 ounce bucktails and four inch Sassy Shads on 1/2 ounce jig heads. Toss one of these baits into the outside edge of the swirling waters, allow it to sink to the bottom, bounce it along with the tide and hang on. If the commercial netters have left any at all, the stripers will do the rest.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Fish may be caught along the rock wall just above the Route 1 Bridge. Soft plastics, jig 'n pig and Silver Buddies are the best producing baits. Shallow water on the North side of the river will hold fish in the late afternoons, after the sun has warmed the water.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - The main lake points downlake are still producing good fish for those patient anglers fishing the Fairfax County side of the lake in the afternoons. Jig 'n pig and Silver Buddies are producing well. Crappie are suspended over the old creek and river channels. Small Beetle Spins and jigging spoons are taking the fish.

BURKE LAKE - No anglers or catches reported.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass may be found on the deeper water sides of the river ledges in the mornings and roaming the tops of the ledges during the late afternoon. The smallmouth prefer small plastic grubs in smoke or black, hair jigs and small wide wobbling crankbaits. Other fish in the river are taking nightcrawlers, cut bait or live minnows.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Catfish are being taken from the deeper holes in the river channel on cut bait, in the lower portions of the river. Bass action is very slow. Some crappie are being caught in the feeder creeks below Fredericksburg. Perch are in the lower reaches of the river, along with a few stripers.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - No anglers or catches reported.

LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass are hanging on the main lake points and steep dropping banks. Most of the fish are being taken from 10-14 feet of water and are suckers for jig 'n pig, plastic grubs and live jumbo minnows. The best area appears to be the Dyke 3 area of the lake. The bass being taken on the jumbo minnows average 4-6 pounds, but are only available to patient, persistent anglers. Striper fishing is fair to good, with fish averaging 8-14 pounds being taken near the dam and around the mouth of Sturgeon Creek. Live shad and jumbo minnows are the preferred baits, although some success is reported on bucktails, Hopkins and Kastmaster spoons, and Silver Buddies. Crappie are biting well, but are difficult to find. Most are being found over deep brushpiles. Small minnows are the best bait. Small Hopkins spoons, jigged over brushpiles are also producing good catches of perch and crappie, along with some smaller bass.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Some catfish are being caught by bank anglers, with an occasional yellow perch taking small hooks. The yellow perch run should start in earnest this week.

JAMES RIVER - The only news from the James this week is the continued catches of big blue and flathead catfish. These fish are being taken on strips of cut shad and cut eel, around the outflow from the Dutch Gap Power Plant and at the Comstock area of Swift Creek. Some crappie are being taken by anglers fishing the barge pits and around the islands at Dutch Gap. Stripers are also in the area.

LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie and a few bass continue to hit well around the Namozine Creek Bridge, while crappie are also hitting around the Whippernock Creek Bridge. Minnows and small jigs are working best.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass are feeding actively on a Winter pattern. Look for them on points or humps as deep as 35 feet. The bait is there and the bass are after them. Most successful baits are Carolina rigs, jig 'n pig, lipless crankbaits, jigging spoons and tailspinners. The 45 degree water is also giving up crappie to two pounds. Check for them on wood and schooled up at the mouths of coves in 15-20 feet of water. Large pickerel are mixed in with the bass.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Crappie and yellow perch are hitting medium minnows around Walkers Dam. Some 1-2 pound largemouth bass are being caught on small plastic grubs and worms at the mouths of feeder creeks. Catfish action is good on cut bait.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Good catches of bass and yellow perch in the lake, primarily on live minnows.

BACK BAY - Light pressure in the creeks. Anglers are taking some small bass, white perch, crappie and catfish. West Neck Creek is giving up good strings of bluegills on nightcrawlers.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Western Branch anglers are catching lots of large roe-laden yellow perch. Stripers to six pounds and loads of crappie are also reported. Lake Prince anglers report a few bass and crappie. Lake Smith anglers are having considerable success with Shad Raps, taking 2-5 pound bass and crappie.

LAKE GASTON - Very few anglers are out, but those who brave the cold are reporting good fishing. Crappie catches are excellent for anglers fishing live minnows 8-12 feet deep around bridge pilings and submerged brush. A few bass are being taken by anglers fishing live shad along steep dropping points in the Poplar Creek area. Dark colored jig 'n pig combinations are responsible for largemouth bass catches in 3-7 feet of water during the warmer spells. Striper fishing is good to excellent below the Gaston Dam, while a few large fish are being taken in front of the dam. Live shad is the bait of choice, but bucktails, Sassy Shads and Redfins are producing below the dam and trolled Hot Spots and Redfins are working above the dam.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Striper fishing is good with live bait and 3/8 ounce bucktails producing the better catches. One of the better areas is around the Rudds Creek Bridge. Largemouth bass are favoring the main lake gravel points and may be caught on 10+ crankbaits in shad colors, and large spinnerbaits. Crappie are holding above brushpiles in 10-15 feet of water.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Anglers are catching slot bass at both lakes on live minnows, along with some crappie and bream. The bream are being caught on crappie jigs and red wigglers.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Quite a few stripers in the 10-15 pound class, along with an occasional 20+ pounder, are being caught by anglers jigging Hopkins spoons and bucktails off the main lake points, in 10-25 feet of water. Best action is in the late afternoon and evening. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught on jigs, grubs and live bait.

SMITH RIVER - Brown trout are hitting brown Hackle Peacocks, weighted and fished deep. Mayflies are coming off the water, producing good fishing for catch and release anglers.

LAKE MOOMAW - Fishing is very disappointing on the lake. The yellow perch run should be starting within a week or so. Catch and release anglers are taking some nice trout on the Jackson River below the lake. Best success is coming on tiny dry flies.

PHILPOTT LAKE - A few anglers are braving the cold to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass on jig 'n pig, fished 5-25 feet deep, & Hopkins Shorties, jigged 30-45 feet deep. The bass run to five pounds. Some nice walleye are also being caught.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - A few crappie and smallmouth bass are reported. No consistent pattern.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Lots of anglers are on the water, with fair to good catches of smallmouth bass and stripers to 18 pounds.

SALTWATER - The large stripers have just about left the area. Most of the fish being caught are south of Virginia Beach, along the shore. Action is beginning on black sea bass and blueline tilefish on the deep ocean wrecks off Virginia Beach.