Fishing Report - August 11, 2017

 

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Largemouth bass are thick around the river vegetation. The hydrilla and wild celery are thriving and are holding the fish. Top water lures are effective early and late in the day, particularly when the wind is not blowing. Other times, spinnerbaits and plastic baits of all kinds are the ticket. All lures should be worked as close as possible to the vegetation. Main river bridge pilings are holding fish. Senkos, plastic worms and creature baits are the baits of choice. Washington Channel anglers are taking fish from the War College Wall dropoff on Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, deep-diving crankbaits and plastic worms. All the wood pilings are potential hiding places for bass, especially on outgoing tides. Crappie are schooled up along the seafood restaurant wall. Small minnows and jigs are helping fill stringers here. Catfish are suckers for clam snouts or cut bait, fished on flats adjacent to the channel or in outside bends of the river channel.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river hydrilla beds from Swan Creek to Nanjemoy Creek are holding large numbers of good sized largemouths. Likewise, the grass beds on the Virginia side, from Mt. Vernon to below Potomac Creek. Best action is occurring on the bottom end of the tide and on the far outside edges of the grass. Berkley Power Worms in red shad color and green pumpkin plastic stick baits, dropped in the outside edges, will trigger strikes. Topwater lures, particularly plastic frog baits, worked over the grass early and late in the day, will take good numbers of fish. Any submerged wooden cover adjacent to the grass will also hold bass. In the creeks, bass are roaming the lily pad and hydrilla fields and dropoffs. Buzzbaits and frogs in the mornings and plastic worms and spinnerbaits later in the day, are the preferred methods. When fishing marsh grass edges and shallow grass flats, be aware that snakeheads are prowling these areas and will take just about any moving bait.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Largemouth bass action has picked up with lots of 2-4 pound bass being taken on firetiger crankbaits along the rock wall at the mouth of the river. Anglers fishing points with plastic worms are also doing well with bass. The grass bed at the river mouth should be holding good numbers of bass, but action has been slow. Best results are on small white spinnerbaits, chatterbaits and plastic creature baits. Best areas are the drop into the river channel, around the mouth of Massey Creek and into Belmont Bay. Crappie action is beginning to pick up for fishermen using small minnows around boat docks. Catfish are taking clam snouts, nightcrawlers and cut bait.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are suspended off points in 15-30 feet of water. The fish are normally sitting at about 12-15 feet. Jigging Hopkins Spoons or running rattling crankbaits through the fish occasionally turns them on. Do-Nothing worms also take a few fish. Catfish action is good, with the fish taking clam snouts and shrimp baits. Crappie are biting very well, with lots of stringers being filled by anglers fishing small minnows off the floating dock at Fountainhead Park.

BURKE LAKE - Crappie, yellow perch and bluegill are being caught at will. Red wigglers and nightcrawlers are the productive baits. Largemouth bass are being taken on small crankbaits and plastic worms around the weedbeds and points. Brushpiles are productive at times. Catfish are taking clam snouts, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.

FARM PONDS - Local ponds with clear water should show bass taking topwater lures early and late in the day and plastic worms and Senkos in the deeper areas during daylight hours. Ponds that are covered with algae are better fished with Zoom Horny Toads. Sunfish are suckers for flyrod poppers and Beetlespins.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass are hanging out around the rocks on the edge of the river channel, smashing baits that are presented naturally. Small crankbaits, spinners and plastic grubs are the prime baits, while topwater baits are more effective in the river channel. The stretch from Brunswick to Lander is particularly productive for larger fish.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - A few smallmouth bass are being caught above the city and catfish action is again picking up in the tidal reaches. Stripers are showing in numbers well below the city, being caught on Rat-L-Traps and Sassy Shads. Bass action is fair, with spinnerbaits and small crankbaits, fished in creek mouths, being the most productive method.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Anglers are catching good numbers of smallmouth bass on plastic grubs, spinners, topwater lures and tiny crankbaits. Catfish are biting well on live minnows and madtoms. Stringers of large sunfish are easily taken on flyrod poppers and small topwater baits.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Fishing has been excellent on these rivers. Bass, white perch, yellow perch, bream, stripers, gar, pickerel and catfish are the species caught. Better lures include Beetlespins, peeler crab, nightcrawlers and Roostertails. Catfishing is particularly good. From West Point south, croaker fishing is fair to good on squid and crab baits. Schools of Taylor blues are noted, breaking on the surface in the lower reaches.

LAKE ANNA - Smaller bass are orienting to main creek points in 5-8 feet of water. Lots of fish in the 10-14 inch class. It is not unusual to take 20 or more in a day's fishing. Plastic worms and grubs are the better choice for lures. Larger fish are holding in 15-25 feet of water, where large plastic worms, jig 'n pig, drop-shot and deep-diving crankbaits are the baits of choice. Topwater baits, early and late in the day, are taking fish on points, both uplake in the stained water, and downlake where the water is clear. Crappie schools are holding deep around bridge pilings and around beaver lodges. Some stripers are being caught at the Splits and the Third Dyke.

JAMES RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass and sunfish are very active, taking topwaters, plastic grubs and worms, and small crankbaits. Through the city, smallmouth are hitting well on live minnows, plastic grubs and Beetlespins. In the tidal sections, bass are being taken on crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Creek mouths are producing well on falling tides, while the lily pads fields are the better choice on flood tides. Creek channels are producing bass for anglers fishing Senkos around each piece of wood in the channel. Outgoing tides are producing best. Crappie are taking small minnows and jigs around submerged brush. Jumbo blue catfish are taking cut eel in the outside bends of the river channel. Above Hopewell, bass are holding and feeding on the wing dams. Fish the downtide side of the dams with spinnerbaits and crankbaits on the falling tide. Pick apart the ends of the dams with plastic baits. Heavier sinkers will be necessary in the swift-running tide.

LAKE CHESDIN - Bass action has slowed, but should pick up with cooler weather. Plastic worms are taking the larger fish. Crappie fishing is picking up, with most of the fish being caught on live minnows and tiny jigs. Catfishing is excellent on chicken livers.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Topwater baits, small crankbaits and plastic worms are the better choices of lures for largemouth bass. Anglers having the most success, are fishing main river lily pads, isolated cypress trees and creek mouths. Catfish are taking chicken livers, while crappie are still taking live minnows. Yellow perch are suckers for Beetlespins, fished around submerged wood, in the lower creeks. Occasional pickerel and gar are taking baits throughout the river.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Swimming worms, crankbaits and small spinnerbaits, fished over the grass beds, are producing largemouth bass and pickerel. Bass are also taking topwater lures, early and late in the day. Catfishing is good on chicken livers or cut crab. Live minnows are producing a mixed bag of bass, catfish, crappie, bowfin and gar. Bream and white perch are taking nightcrawlers.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass action is good, with fish to five pounds being caught. Some larger fish are taking drop-shot, plastic finesse worms, trolled Rat-L-Traps and live bait, but the best action was on Carolina rigs adjacent to the grass. Best action for all species is found by fishing points. Catfish and bream are showing in the creels, with a few walleye mixed in.

BACK BAY - Little fishing pressure. The bay is showing grassbeds, particularly on the Western Shore. Bass anglers are taking up to 15 bass per day, with weights to 5-6 pounds. The creeks are giving up bass, catfish and white perch, along with bluegills and small catfish. Some crappie are also taken.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Fishing is excellent. Best action is on shellcrackers, where limit catches of 1/2-3/4 pound fish are common. Yellow perch and crappie have also turned on, with good numbers being taken. Some good bass are taken on jerk baits and plastic worms. Gar are providing most of the big fish action, with fish over 10 pounds being caught daily.

LAKE GASTON - Bass action is good for anglers using topwater lures early and late in the day. After the sun comes up, plastic worms and crayfish colored grubs are taking fish on main lake and creek points, and boat docks. Best areas for bass are the willow grass beds adjacent to riprap throughout the lake. Topwater baits early and late in the day, and jigs and plastics, punched into the grass during the daylight hours, are the better techniques. Crankbaits, worked at the 12-15 foot level are also taking bass. Crappie, to two pounds, are taking live minnows around bridge pilings and submerged brush. Catfish and bream action is good throughout the lake. White perch are taking live minnows in 15 feet of water.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass action has picked up in the past week. Some good fish are being taken by fishing red mud points with stumps. Long tapering points on islands are also producing fish on deep diving crankbaits and plastic grubs. Spinnerbaits, slow-rolled in shallow water, early in the mornings will take some fish. Crappie action is fair over brush piles, in 25-30 feet of water, on small minnows and jigs. Striper action in the lake is slow, but good numbers of fish are being taken toward the dam, off North Bend State Park. Best baits are Cordell Redfins in fluorescent red or silver/black back. Some anglers are using lights to attract shad and stripers. White bass are taking trolled Doll Flies and small Rat-L-Traps.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Excellent bass fishing, with lots of fish being taken from these small lakes on plastic worms, large minnows and spinnerbaits. Most of the fish are in the slot limit. Catfish, to 10 pounds are taking chicken livers. Some nice crappie and bluegill are reported, along with a few small pickerel.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Bass are hitting small shad-colored crankbaits from dawn to mid-morning. Plastic crayfish, on Carolina rigs in 12-14 feet of water, are taking bass during the day. Stripers are still being caught near the log boom at the dam, on live shad, fished under balloons. The big fish are also biting well in the Blackwater River, Gills Creek, Bull Run and Little Bull Run. Plenty of catfish and crappie are being caught by regulars on the lake.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is fair, with best success reported on purple plastic worms, pumpkinseed crayfish and crankbaits. Some walleye are showing as the water begins to cool. Occasional stripers will take white bucktails and trolled Redfins.

LAKE MOOMAW - Catfish and a few bass are caught at night by anglers fishing under the lights with live minnows. Bass tournament anglers are weighing limits, to 14 pounds, in night tournaments. Most of the fish are taken on jig 'n pig or plastic worms.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Brown trout are hitting beetles and grasshoppers. Bass anglers are using large minnows and catching some good smallmouth, mostly at night. Crappie and bluegill action is good on tiny crankbaits and jigs.

NEW RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass are reported taking crayfish-colored baits and plastic worms. Walleye fishing is good, with anglers taking fish on jigs and bucktails. Flyrodders are catching bass on brown wooly-boogers and muddler minnows. Fishing is best in the late evenings.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Bass anglers are having success on Silver Buddies and spinnerbaits. Best areas are rocky points. Crappie are taking small minnows and trolled baits, primarily in feeder stream mouths. Catfish anglers are scoring big, with fish to 12 pounds plus. Bluegill fishing is good, with best action being on crickets and flyrod poppers. A few walleye are being taken in the upper end of the lake.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Catfishing is excellent on cut alewives and shrimp. Bass action is picking up, with live alewives taking the fish. Stripers, 6-10 pounds are being caught in Peak Creek, generally in the late evenings.

TROUT STREAMS - Big Stoney Creek, White Top Laurel and Cedar Creek are all producing well for rainbows. Best results are being had on small spinners and small to medium dry flies and Caddis Flies. Elk Creek in Grayson County is producing on small black ants and small brass spoons. Brookies are active in the German River in Rockingham County. In general, small stream anglers should be using small dry flies, such as beetles, crickets and grasshoppers, while larger streams call for small mayflies and terrestrial patterns. Anglers using spinning gear should opt for small spinners and brass spoons.

VIRGINIA SALTWATER

CHINCOTEAGUE - A mix of sea bass, spot, croaker and flounder are available in the deeper water around the mouth of the inlet. Outside the inlet, medium spot are abundant at the 2TL Buoy. Offshore, yellowfin and skipjack tuna, false albacore, large bluefish, dolphin and Spanish mackerel are being caught. Best catches come from 20 fathoms of water.

WACHAPREAGUE - Good flounder action, with best catches around the mouth of the inlet. Spot, croaker and a few sea mullet are found in the same area. Offshore, dolphin, yellowfin & skipjack tuna, wahoo and lots of blue & white marlin are being caught in and inshore of the Norfolk and Washington Canyons.

ONANCOCK - Bottom fishing is good, with best catches being made along the channel edge from Hacks Rock south. Large spot are schooled in 40-60 feet of water, taking bloodworms. Croaker are taking cut fish and squid. Flounder are caught along the edge of the channel in 20+ feet of water. Porgy, pigfish, blowfish and a few pan trout are mixed in the catches. Moving tides are best.

QUINBY - Peeler crab baits are taking nice croaker, pan trout and spot, while drifting the "Chesapeake Sandwich", consisting of squid and live minnow, is responsible for flounder. The action in this area is red hot and getting better, as the fish fatten up for the migration South.

CAPE CHARLES - Flounder continue to bite well off Cape Charles with some excellent catches coming from buoy 36A and at the Cell. Red drum and cobia are being caught around buoy 36A. Croaker action has slowed, but excellent croaker catches are coming from the seaside port of Oyster. Speckled trout catches are rated excellent in the Bayside creeks, particularly Hungars and Plantation Creeks.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Loads of croaker and spot along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, with the better creels coming from the mussel beds at the First & Second Islands. Flounder action is excellent at the Small Boat Channel, at the mouth of Lynnhaven Inlet and just inside the bridge, in the area known as the Turning Basin. A few speckled trout are being taken inside Lynnhaven Inlet at the Ditch, Broad Bay and Dunkard's Hole. Good catches of triggerfish and spadefish are made from around one of the buoys off Cape Henry and large amberjack are available at the Southern Tower. The spadefish and triggerfish are hitting fresh clam strips, while the jacks take large, live spot. Cobia action is still available, but has slowed significantly. Most of the cobia are coming from the northern end of the CBBT. The Twin Stakes area is producing some catches of spot, croaker, blowfish, flounder and a few trout. The Newport Light area is good for jumbo spot, plus some trout and croaker. Excellent action for taylor bluefish and Spanish mackerel is available around the Third and Fourth Islands of the CBBT, casting jigs and poppers near the rocks. Croaker are available at the Cell. Bottom fishing in the York River is very good for large spot and croaker, plus an occasional trout. The mouth of Sarah's Creek and the "Lump", off Cheatham Annex, are favorite spots. Croaker to two pounds are being caught all the way to West Point.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Some white marlin success, with the best action being between the Cigar and Triple 0's. Large dolphin and yellowfin and skipjack tuna are included in the catches, although this action is better just east of the 26 Mile Hill. Amberjack action continues excellent at the Southern Tower. Headboats are fishing the mouth of the bay and returning with good catches of large croaker.

PIERS -

LYNNHAVEN - Spot and croaker catches are satisfying all anglers.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot and croaker action is excellent, with anglers also catching some sea mullet, pan trout and a few flounder. Snapper blues and Spanish mackerel are being taken by casters at the end of the pier.

SANDBRIDGE - Action is steady for medium spot, croaker and sea mullet. Several sheepshead have also been caught. Snapper bluefish and Spanish mackerel are available for casters in the evenings.

MARYLAND SALTWATER -

MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Jumbo spot are available at Blackberry Hang. Trollers working between Bluff Point and Smith Point Light are taking limits of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues. Pan trout are starting to show in the commercial nets at the mouth of the Great Wicomico and off Fleeton Beach. Croaker, to two pounds, are available, along with plenty of spot, south of the Smith Point Light and around the SP Buoy in 30 feet of water. Peelers and bloodworms are the favored baits. Chummers on the Southwest Middlegrounds are returning with limit catches of 3-5 pound bluefish. The mouth of the Potomac River is showing large schools of breaking stripers and bluefish. Some large Spanish mackerel are being taken off Windmill Point. Speckled trout continue to hit grubs and plugs fished in the grassy areas around Windmill Point. Several cobia have been taken around Buoy 42. Gwynn Island, Hole-in-the-Wall and the #3 Buoy are top picks for large spot. Excellent jumbo spot action in the mouth of the Rappahannock River. Flounder continue to bite well from the White Stone Bridge to the Silos. Fair numbers of flounder are being found at Morattico Bar. Striper anglers are taking limits of rockfish to 36 inches. The larger fish are being taken along the western shore from Franklin Manor to the Flag Ponds, in 27-35 feet of water. Bucktails with Sassy Shads and parachutes have been catching the larger fish, under schools of breaking fish.

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish are feeding heavily throughout the upper bay area. From the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Point Lookout, the blues may be taken by casters, using small spoons, eels, baitfish imitating plugs and spinners. Flyrodders may also take these fish with white or silver streamers and topwater poppers. Cast into the schools and hang on. The fish will dictate the rest of the action. Bottom fishing in Tangier Sound is excellent for trout, spot, croaker and flounder. Peeler crab and bloodworms are the better baits. Some sea trout, to 3-6 pounds are being taken by trollers using bucktails tipped with green grubs, off Hooper Island, around Richland Point. Drum Point anglers are taking large flounder on minnows, while bloodworm fishermen are taking jumbo spot in the same area. Choptank River piers report good catches of snapper blues, white perch and spot. Some of the largest fish of the year are being taken now, on cut bait and bloodworms. Striped bass to 40 inches, are being taken on drifted eels or in chumlines, at Love Point, Hickory Thickett and Black Beard's Bluff in the Chester River. The lumps off the Magothy have also produced some nice fish, but the action has been erratic. The hottest spot in the upper bay has been the fuel pier at the mouth of the Patuxent River.

OCEAN CITY - Trout anglers are filling coolers with these tasty fish, while fishing peeler crab and bloodworms in the back bays around Ocean City. Larger fish are being taken livelining small spot at the jetties or the Route 50 Bridge. Croaker are abundant from the Route 90 Bridge to the Route 50 Bridge. Offshore, yellowfin tuna are available at the Hambone and the Hot Dog. Trolling has been more productive than chunking. Dolphin are being reported from the weedlines and the Jackspot has been turning up good numbers of chopper bluefish, along with a few king mackerel. Surf anglers are making good catches of stripers, weakfish, kingfish, spot, snapper blues and small dusky sharks, to 40 pounds. Flounder fishing has been only fair in the back bays. Surf anglers are taking good numbers of kingfish and jumbo spot on squid and bloodworms off Assateague Island. Lots of sand sharks are also being landed.

NORTH CAROLINA SALTWATER

OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Bottom fishing from piers and beaches has been very good for spot. Speckled trout also showed briefly north of Kitty Hawk over the weekend. Some taylor blues and Spanish mackerel are caught by casters on the ends of the piers. King mackerel were taken from the piers last week. Best Spanish mackerel catches are made south of Oregon Inlet. Sea trout are available on the southside of Oregon Inlet for bottom fishermen. Sea mullet provide steady action at Avon Beach, while spot and croaker are the mainstays for surf anglers at Cape Point. A few large pompano are showing. Offshore, lots of yellowfin tuna and dolpin are being caught and the billfish bite is described as outstanding. Some blue marlin and sailfish are also being caught. Bigeye tuna, in the 100-150# range, are roaming the area as well. Inshore boats were finding fair numbers of taylor blues, Spanish mackerel and false albacore just outside the inlet. The nearshore ocean towers are loaded with amberjack and a few king mackerel. Headboats are catching a mixture of pigfish and croaker.