Fishing Report - July 21, 2017

 

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fletcher's Boathouse area is giving up some catches of bass and catfish. Downriver, bass are holding on wood cover and structure from Blue Plains to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Main river bridge pilings are excellent places to find bass, using crankbaits, plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Some fish are available along the riprap above Columbia Island Marina and a few fish are being taken from the War College Wall in Washington Channel. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastic baits are taking the better fish.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Topwater baits and soft plastic stick baits are producing lots of bass in the main river grass beds. Pop R's, Baby One Minus, buzzbaits and Zoom Horny Toads are attracting fish, while swimbaits are also taking their share of good fish. Plastic worms and spinnerbaits are taking fish on main river points, downed wood and man-made cover. In the creeks, bass are oriented to grass beds, lily pad fields, dropoffs and submerged wood. Falling tides are finding the fish aggressive, taking white spinnerbaits, swim jigs and Zoom speed worms, while rising tides find them with their noses buried in the bark of submerged wood or in the thickest parts of the grass beds. Flippin' soft plastic baits is the better method of catching these fish. Catfish action has slowed, but fish are still available on cut bait, clam snouts and crab. White perch are available throughout the river. The larger fish are coming on 1/8th oz. spinnerbaits, Bomber 2A and Shad Rap 7S crankbaits.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Lots of fish are being caught, with most of them orienting to submerged wood or the grass bed at the mouth of the river. Bass, crappie, bream and catfish are available for anglers dropping plastic and live baits adjacent to wood structure. Boat docks are the prevalent structure in the river, producing good numbers of fish. Spinnerbaits, Flukes, Senkos, frogs and Mann's Baby One Minus will take the fish in the grass at high tides, while punching plastic baits through the grass will take them at lower tides.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Lots of bass are available. Most of the bass are taking crankbaits and plastic worms along the rock walls and on main lake points. Crappie anglers are taking some good fish from submerged brush along the river channel, while pier anglers are also taking crappie, small bass and catfish. Clam snouts are good bait for channel catfish anglers fishing the points.

BURKE LAKE - Bass activity has picked up. Fish plastic worms and crankbaits in the edges of the grassbeds and on dropoffs. Some muskie are being caught, with a lot more follows. Occasional walleye are being taken trolling the shoreline from the VDGIF ramp to the fishing pier. Catfish anglers are taking lots of fish in the 8-15 pound class. Preferred baits include cut bait, chicken livers and nightcrawlers. Lots of good fish are coming from the pier, particularly panfish and crappie.

FARM PONDS - Activity has been picking up, with topwater baits taking lots of good fish early and late in the day. Flyrod poppers are taking both bass and sunfish, while plastic worms and Rat-L-Traps are taking fish during the heat of the day. Fish the shallows for sunfish, while the bass are holding in the deeper water around the dam. Trees or bushes with their feet in the water, hold some lunker largemouth bass. Don't discount those ponds with lots of "scum" on the surface. Toss out a floating plastic worm and twitch it seductively. Big bass will frequently come busting up through the algae and take these baits agressively.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass are very aggressive. Small crankbaits are taking good fish in the 1-3 pound range. Chartreuse and orange are the better colors in the stained water while gold and white are better in clear water. The deeper holes and riffles hold larger fish. Best lure choice is small plastic jerkbaits in white and chartreuse and Yamamoto Baby Senkos in dark colors, fished weightless. Bream are also aggressive, taking small spinners, Tiny Torpedos and tiny crankbaits.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth are being taken on topwater lures early and late in the day. After the sun rises, switch to plastic grubs, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits. Bream are active. Tidal water is giving up largemouth bass to anglers fishing shad colored crankbaits and plastic worms, along the Southern shoreline, in downed timber and undercut banks. Best action is found in the Green Bay area of the river. Blue catfish, 15-25 pounds, are taking live white perch and cut bait in the outside bends of the channel. Crappie action is slow.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass are biting well. Small crankbaits, spinners and plastic grubs are taking lots of bass, along with some nice bream. Catfishermen are doing well on chicken livers, cut bait and live shiners. Deeper water is producing the better catches.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Lots of catfish and stripers are taken on peeler crab baits in both rivers. Other species being taken are bass, white and yellow perch and bream. Spot, croaker and a few trout are being caught in the lower parts of the rivers.

MOTTS RESERVOIR - Recent report shows lots of eating size white perch very aggressive. Small spinners, jigs and tiny crankbaits will take the fish when cast next to the shore and retrieved into deeper water. Bass are available on wood cover with plastic worms and jig 'n pig.

LAKE ANNA - Bass are taking Silver Buddies, crankbaits and large plastic worms in 18-27 feet of water on ridges and points. Four inch power worms in june bug and blue fleck are taking some nice bass in 19-21 feet of water, off the main lake islands around Dukes Creek. Schooling bass may be found on points, dropping into deep water. Grubs are the better baits for the schoolers. Pop-R's, Zara Spooks and buzzbaits are taking some fish early and late in the day. Stripers are taking live shad, particularly at Rose Valley, the Splits and Terry's Run. Catfishing is on and off. Crappie schools are suspended over creek channels in 15-25 feet of water and bridge pilings in 35 feet of water.

JAMES RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass are being caught on weightless Senkos and plastic grubs, above Richmond. Largemouth are holding on points and wood cover in tidal waters. Try fishing weightless Yamamoto Baby Senkos around the standing cypress trees in any of the tidal creeks, but be prepared for very aggressive strikes. In the Appomattox, fish large spinnerbaits around the main river channel markers for good quality fish. The outside bends of the river channel are producing good size blue and flathead catfish on cut eel baits.

LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie fishing is improving daily, with better catches coming on live minnows in shallow water. Bass are taking plastic worms in 6-8 feet of water throughout the lake. Aggressive fish are located near the upper end of the lake, taking crankbaits and buzzbaits. Catfishing is excellent on chicken livers, while bream are taking crickets.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Buzzbaits, frogs and plastic worms are the preferred baits for bass anglers, while flyrodders are using poppers. Lily pad fields and cypress trees in deeper water are the best structure, although the hydrilla beds are also giving up some nice fish on plastic jerkbaits and frogs. Docks are always good cover and give up bass on soft plastic baits and small jigs. Catfish are taking turtle livers and nightcrawlers.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Some bass are being taken on flyrod poppers, Zoom Horny Toads, plastic stickbaits and live minnows. Uplake coves are great areas for froggin'. Live minnows are producing good catches of bowfin, pickerel and catfish. Bream are taking crickets and nightcrawlers.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass fishing has improved dramatically. A number of fish in the 5-7 pound class have been caught, most on drop shot, Carolina rigs and Jig 'n Pig. Some small bass and bream are also being caught, along with lots of large pickerel. Stripers, to nine pounds, are being caught on live herring baits, fished on deeper points. Limits of walleye and saugeye are being reported on bottom bouncers with nightcrawlers at 20 feet, trolling near points. Catfish and walleye are taking nightcrawlers around the dam.

BACK BAY - Flounder, white perch and catfish are biting well in the main areas of the bay, while bass, catfish, perch and bluegills are biting in the creeks. Some bass, 4-6 pounds, are being caught in the deeper water along Long Island in Back Bay. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, frogs and Johnson Silver Minnows are the top choice of baits. Lots of stripers are being caught from the Knotts Island Causeway, early and late in the day.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Plastic worms, Rapalas and Rat-L-Traps are successful for a few anglers fishing for largemouth bass. Crickets and red wigglers are the preferred bait for shellcrackers, bream and crappie. Gar and catfish are also active, with live minnows producing best. White and Yellow perch are biting well.

LAKE GASTON - Crappie are holding in brushpiles in 12-18 feet of water and taking live minnows. Downlake, largemouth bass are holding in 12-20 feet of water and may be taken on plastic worms and deep-diving crankbaits. Topwater lures are taking fish early and late in the day. Most of the better fish are located on main lake points and creek mouths. Nice bass are also caught around the willow grass beds adjacent to riprap. Boat docks are also holding a few fish. Small plastic grubs are the ticket for the boat docks. Uplake, fish the grass lines on the main lake points and in the creeks and coves with topwater frogs, floating worms and buzzbaits. Areas between docks, particularly where submerged grass is found, are giving up good bass on plastic worms. Stripers are being caught on rattling crankbaits, fished near the bottom on river channel points. Lots of stripers are available on topwater baits, bucktails and Sassy Shads below the Gaston Dam in Roanoke Rapids Lake.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - The lake is at full pool and stable. Stripers are being caught vertical jigging with Hopkins spoons. Better areas are Nutbush Creek and County Line Creek, on the lower end of the lake. Rattling crankbaits and plastic lures in pumpkinseed or june bug colors are taking largemouth bass. The fish are located in 17-30 feet on main lake points. Crappie are located on brushpiles in 10-12 feet of water. White bass are taking Dollflies, 1/4 oz. Rat-L-Traps and small spinners
from Clarksville to Bluestone Creek.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Bass anglers are catching fish in the 2-4 pound class on topwater baits and plastic worms. Better fish are coming from points and dropoffs. Bass are also being taken from the dollar pads on Zoom Super Flukes and plastic stick baits. Catfish are taking chicken livers and bluegill are hitting crickets and red wigglers.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Fishing is good, with stripers to 20 pounds being caught at the log boom, near the islands, at the "S" turns and off the mouth of Gills Creek. Most of the fish are being taken early in the morning or at night. Largemouth bass are being caught in 18-25 feet of water on deep-diving crankbaits and plastic worms. Topwater lures are taking fish early and late in the day.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass are being taken on plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Stripers are taking trolled Red Fins. White bass are taking Rebel Pop-Rs when the schools of fish are on the surface. When the schools sound, switch to a Rapala Shad Rap. A few walleye are also being caught.

LAKE MOOMAW - Trout are rolling on the surface early and late in the day. A few 5-7 pound brown trout are being taken by anglers fishing deep with live minnows. Channel cats are being caught on cut bait. Bass are taking topwaters early and late, and plastic worms in 15-18 feet during the day.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Some bass and walleye action, but not much. The fish being caught are generally large ones, but patience is required. Fish live minnows early and late in the day. Bass anglers, fishing at night with large spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig are making nice catches of bass. Catfish action is good. Anglers fishing the Smith River for trout are taking limits of trout.

NEW RIVER - Excellent smallmouth bass action for 2-3 pound fish on Baby Torpedos and plastic grubs. Catfish are being taken on cut bait at night. A few musky are reported. Walleye are being taken by night fishermen on live bait, below the dam.

FLANNAGAN RESERVOIR - Trout fishing is picking up, with 16-24 inch fish being caught. Most of the fish are browns, with a few rainbows mixed in. Flathead catfish, 14-21 inches are taking cut bait and bluegills are hitting crickets.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Catfish and walleye are biting well on nightcrawlers. Bass fishing is slow, but some anglers are taking limits on brown jig 'n pig baits. Crappie anglers are doing well on live minnows. All the fish are being taken from deep water.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Catfish and stripers have turned on, taking live shad and alewives at night. Bass anglers are catching lots of bass at night. Walleye are taking spinner/nightcrawler combinations, with the fish averaging four pounds.

TROUT STREAMS - Most of the National Forest and Park streams are producing quite well for fly fishermen using small dry flies, imitating terrestrials. Mepps and Shyster spinners are taking fish for the spin fishermen. Stoney Creek and Passage creek are the best bets for a day trip, while Martin's Creek, the North Fork of the Powell River, Bullpasture River, Jackson River, Cedar Creek and Clearbrook lake are all producing good catches. Beartree Lake, in Washington County and Whitetop Laurel are also giving up some trout. Maryland creeks producing good trout fishing include Gunpowder Creek, Hunting Creek and Savage River. Streamers are the recommended lure, but terrestrials are working well on Gunpowder Creek.

S A L T W A T E R -

CHINCOTEAGUE - Catches include a mixed bag of flounder, croaker, spot, sea mullet and sea bass, with best catches of flounder being made at Turner's Lump just outside the inlet, the Main Channel and around the mouth of the inlet, during clear water. Inside the inlet, croaker, to 18 inches, are biting anything put in the water. Best area is Curtis Merritt Harbor, but limits may be taken anywhere inside the inlet. Offshore, yellowfin tuna and dolphin are being caught in Washington Canyon. Best catches of tuna are made less than 30 miles from the inlet by anglers chunking with fresh butterfish. Bluefin tuna are being caught at the Parking Lot, along with occasional king mackerel and dolphin. Some king and Spanish mackerel are being taken by trollers, while surf anglers are taking fair numbers of flounder, spot and sea mullet. Inshore boats are taking triggerfish over ocean wrecks.

WACHAPREAGUE - A few yellowfin tuna are reported at the 20 Fathom Fingers, while bluefin dominate the catches at the 21 and 26 Mile Hills. A sprinkling of dolphin to 12 pounds, false albacore, king and Spanish mackerel, and amberjack are also being caught. Billfish are thick in the waters of Washington and Poor Man's Canyons. Inside the inlet, huge schools of croaker have arrived, with flounder, sea mullet and trout being mixed in the catches.

ONANCOCK - Excellent bottom fishing for spot and croaker in Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Flounder remain in above average abundance, although lots are undersized. Mixed in the catches are blowfish, dusky shark, sea mullet, small cobia and lots of porgy. Late evening finds speckled trout feeding in the creeks.

QUINBY - Several good flounder have been caught, particularly near the mouth of the inlet, with some hitting on the backside of Hog Island. Croaker and spot are showing well with the croaker approaching two pounds. A few sea trout, 1-3 pounds, have also been showing. Better action has been at the Gap and Eggen Marsh.

CAPE CHARLES - Citation flounder action is excellent in the Buoy 36A area. Cobia and shark are being caught in the buoy 36A and 38A area, along with a few red drum. Excellent fishing for croaker and spot along the channel edge just off the Cement Ships on strips of squid or chunks of peeler crab. Speckled trout are showing with consistency on the bayside creeks. On the seaside, fair to good action on pan trout and flounder, along with 2-4 pound croaker, has been found out of Oyster, near the Tripod buoy.

LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent spot and croaker action is to be had around the First Island and the Small Boat Channel of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Some cobia catches are recorded around the Second and Third Islands. Flounder catches rate an ole' from anglers fishing around the High Level Bridge and Small Boat Channel. Lots of big flounder, to seven pounds are being weighed. A few speckled trout and several puppy drum were caught inside Lynnhaven Inlet, while flounder anglers were doing well at the mouth. Inshore boats were taking sea bass and tautog off the wrecks. Snapper bluefish are taking poppers or spoons cast toward the rocks around the Fourth Island. Cobia catches continue around Latimer Shoals, while York Spit and the Hump are also producing well. Amberjack, to 50 pounds, are taking live fish, drifted around the Chesapeake Light Tower. Fair catches of spot, croaker, flounder and a few trout are being made at Twin Stakes and Y-9, while yellow bellied spot are showing at C-39. Flounder continue to bite well around Plum Tree, the Bell Buoy and Bluefish Rock. Good hauls of spot and croaker, plus a few grey trout are also being made at Buoy 22. Larger croaker are found at the "Lumps", located just off Cheatham Annex, in 35 feet of water. Some speckled trout are being taken from the grass beds at the mouth of Mobjack Bay.

MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent catches of small bluefish are being made from Smith Point Light to Tangier Island in the evenings. Many of the largest fish are found in deep water along the eastern side of the shipping channel. Bottom anglers are taking plenty of keeper spot and croaker, along with some flounder and pan trout at Blackberry Hang. Panfish continue to bite well at Mud Leads, with croaker, spot, flounder and bluefish mixed in the catches. Fair numbers of flounder are showing along the Smith Point Jetty. Taylor blues are abundant around the Smith Point Light. The best bottom fishing in the Rappahannock River for spot and croaker was off Gwynn Island. Speckled trout continue to hit rubber-tailed jigs, fished on the grass flats at the mouth of the Rappahannock River. Some cobia continue to be taken in the vicinity of the Cut Channel. Spot fishing is excellent at the Silos. Some large croaker and a few flounder are mixed in. Good catches of spot are also made at Buoy 16 and Bowlers Light, while one pound croaker are being taken at Bowlers Rock and just below the Power Lines.

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent bottom fishing is available for spot, croaker, flounder and grey trout at Snake Reef, inside the Severn River, near Brick House Bar, around Deale, at the mouth of the Choptank River, Sharps Island Flats, Richland Point, Hooper Island Light and the Old 54 Wreck. Snapper bluefish are available throughout the area. Better catches are coming on small gold spoons, trolled through the schools and topwater baits and spoons, cast into the schools.

OCEAN CITY - Good catches of flounder are available in the bay, while trout and bluefish are available from the jettys. Offshore, dolphin and yellowfin catches are good in Baltimore, Poor Man's and Washington Canyons, along with excellent white marlin action.

VIRGINIA BEACH - Bluefin and yellowfin tuna, and dolphin are the mainstay offshore, while sailfish and swordfish catches are marginally successful. Inshore, amberjack remain active at the Southern Tower and the inshore wrecks, taking drifted live bait. Trolling in the same area produces dolphin and bluefish. The headboats are registering good catches of croaker, pan trout, sea bass and triggerfish.

PIERS -

LYNNHAVEN - Bottom fishermen are catching spot, croaker and sea mullet. Occasional runs of grey and speckled trout spice up the action. Casters are taking bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Crabbing is good.

VIRGINIA BEACH - A good mix of spot, sea mullet, flounder, pan trout and croaker provide good action for bottom anglers. Casters continue to find Spanish mackerel and taylor blues from the end of the pier.

SANDBRIDGE - Spot and croaker provide the bulk of the action, with sea mullet and flounder also reported.

OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Bottom fishing for spot, croaker, sea mullet, flounder and trout has been excellent. Anglers using live bait at the end of the piers are connecting on occasional cobia and king mackerel. Good numbers of speckled trout are found along the beach, but many are small. Snapper blues, spot, croaker and flounder are abundant at Oregon Inlet, while sheepshead and black drum also put in appearances. Boaters are making some good catches of flounder, to four pounds, in Davis Channel. Beach anglers report two pound pompano along with sporadic catches of Spanish mackerel and taylor blues. Outside the inlet, Spanish mackerel are found near Bodie Island Lighthouse, with only a few taylor blues mixed in the catches. The inshore towers are loaded with amberjack, where an occasional king mackerel or cobia is also taken. Offshore, yellowfin tuna action is very good, NE of the inlet, along the 785 line. Good billfish action is also available at the 480 line. Chicken dolphin are plentiful, with limits common. Occasional bigeye tuna, to 200+ pounds, are also available. Headboats are loading up on medium croaker.