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FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor
POTOMAC RIVER TIDES TWILIGHT
DAY DATE HIGH LOW HIGH LOW A.M. P.M.
Wednesday 11/25 0030 0647 1313 1913 0633 1719
Thursday 11/26 0131 0733 1400 2013 0634 1719
Friday 11/27 0227 0820 1444 2115 0635 1718
Saturday 11/28 0318 0910 1525 2215 0636 1718
Sunday 11/29 0405 1000 1606 2311 0637 1718
Monday 11/30 0449 1051 1647 - - - 0638 1718
Tuesday 12/01 0532 1143 1731 0005 0638 1716
Wednesday 12/02 0616 1236 1817 0056 0639 1716
Thursday 12/03 0701 1330 1905 0145 0640 1716
Friday 12/04 0749 1425 1956 0234 0641 1716
Saturday 12/05 0840 1521 2050 0324 0642 1716
Sunday 12/06 0935 1619 2149 0414 0643 1716
OVERVIEW - Anglers should be aware that it is much colder on the water than
the temperature would indicate. Please dress for the weather. Many layers
of warm clothing with a windbreaking outer shell is best. Also remember to
leave a float plan....where you are going, when you expect to get back and
take along a working cell phone.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fish may be caught throughout the city. Bass will
take small grubs, plastic worms, jig 'n pig, jigging spoons and small
crankbaits. Most are holding on banks where the bottom drops from very shallow
to 10-15 feet. Work small crankbaits across the shallow areas, then probe the
deeper water with grubs or worms. Bass should be caught on the dropoff along
the War College Wall in Washington Channel. Rattle-chambered crankbaits
retrieved slowly along the weedbed edge, and jig 'n pig or plastic grubs fished
on the dropoff, will produce bass in the 2-5 pound class. Crappie are schooled
up around the boat docks along the seafood restaurant wall in Washington
Channel, and under the municipal dock at Blue Plains. These fish will take
small minnows, Berkley Power Grubs, and tiny jigs. The outflow from Blue
Plains is also attracting lots of bass intent on eating the gizzard shad that
are almost always present there. Crankbaits, spoons and small plastic worms
are taking these fish. Shad and carp are being snagged on the crankbaits or
caught on Silver Buddies in 1/4 oz. size. Channel catfish are taking cut bait,
nightcrawlers and chicken livers under the Woodrow Wilson bridge and around
the outlet from the Alexandria Power Plant. The warm water discharge from the
Pentagon, dumping into the pond at Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, is holding
nice bass on the outgoing tide, while crappie are holding there on incoming
tides. Small, shallow draft boats are necessary, as the water is very shallow
adjacent to the parking lot, off the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Action is slow around Fletchers Boat House, but large stringers of crappie
have been taken from the Cove by patient anglers. Small minnows and very tiny
jigs are doing the trick. Smallmouth bass should take live minnows and
crayfish along the Virginia Shoreline above Key Bridge, and small crayfish
colored crankbaits in the channel behind Roosevelt Island. Yellow Perch will
also take crankbaits in the same channel.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Nice stringers of bass are being
taken from the lower creeks off the river. Most of these fish are being taken
from channel dropoffs on plastic grubs, worms and live minnows. Small
crankbaits worked across the shallows are also taking fish, but consistency is
not there. Some of the better areas are Mattawoman Creek, Aquia Creek,
Nanjemoy Creek, and the mouth of Little Hunting Creek. Main river points are
also holding good fish. These points should be fished by casting across them
with plastic worms and jig 'n pig. Retrieve should be very slow across the
point. When the bait comes across the point, let it fall, keeping a taut line
and watching the line. Most of the hits will come on the fall, so when the
line moves the slightest bit, set the hook. The islands off the mouth of
Nanjemoy Creek are loaded with largemouth and stripers. The bass are located
on the bottom and inclines next to the islands, while the stripers are
suspended over deep water. Fish for these trophy fish with bucktails, cast
toward the shore and allowed to bounce down the incline into the deeper water.
Do not hesitate to fish the baits all the way to the bottom. Some good fish
are coming from 30-50 feet of water.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Big crappie and yellow perch should be taken by anglers
fishing live minnows around boat docks and submerged structure. Some of the
crappie exceed one pound, but most are in the 3/4 pound class. Plenty of
yellow perch are located on the bottom, adjacent to dropoffs. Live minnows are
the best choice for these, with tiny jigs and grubs an acceptable second
choice. Bass are located on the dropoffs adjacent to vertical structure. The
wood pilings and the rock walls are the best cover in the river and most
always hold fish. Fish for them with small grubs, plastic worms and small
crankbaits. One of the more successful anglers uses 1/8 oz. jig heads, tipped
with jumbo minnows. His catches usually include bass to six pounds. Work the
baits from shallow water into deeper water. Watch the line very carefully, as
the hits will be very soft and normally will not be felt. Should the bait feel
heavy, or the line move at all, set the hook. Some of the larger fish
initially feel very small. If they are not moved away from cover immediately,
you stand a good chance of losing them.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are holding in the deeper water off the sides of
main lake points. They are moving up to feed on the baitfish that remain
suspended above the points. Crappie are schooled up tight and are located
adjacent to heavy brush, submerged timber, and suspended over creek channels
and points. Minnows and tiny jigs are taking them. Try the area off the rip-
rap, downlake from Sandy Run. There are 20 foot high trees submerged in the
main channel off this bank and they normally hold bass and crappie during this
season of the year. A jigging spoon works wonders at times.
BURKE LAKE - Bass fishing is very slow at present. Live bait is the bait of
choice here for panfish and the few bass that are being caught. Brushpiles in
deeper water are holding the fish.
FARM PONDS AND SMALL LOCAL LAKES - Most of the public boat launch areas are
closed for the winter, but good fishing may still be found in the local farm
ponds and small lakes in the area. Take a large bucket of minnows and a
handful of plastic grubs and head for the pond. These baits, fished in the
deeper water of the pond, or along the dam, will produce good bass, some
crappie and bluegill, until the ponds freeze. The ponds should not freeze
solid for another 2-3 weeks, so good fishing is available. Those anglers who
are able to get hold of crayfish should try free-lining these in the creek
channel or along the dam. There are often much larger bass in farm ponds than
anyone would ever guess.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Try fishing the outflow canal from Dickerson Power
Plant. Smallmouth bass and large channel catfish are active in the current.
Plastic grubs on weedless jig heads, allowed to bump the bottom in the current
of the canal, will take the smallmouth bass, while nightcrawlers, live minnows
or waterdogs are effective for the channel catfish. The feeder creeks off the
main river are holding schools of crappie. These fish are to be found on the
deeper banks, holding in submerged brush. Small minnows or crappie jigs are
the ticket to filling coolers with these tasty fish. Largemouth bass are
taking small crankbaits, plastic worms and live minnows in the feeder creeks.
Fish the deeper bank of the creek, casting toward the bank and retrieving down
the dropoff. Trolling the channel with the current will also produce good
stringers of bass. Most of the bass are running 1-3 pounds, but an occasional
trophy bass will also be taken.
POTOMAC RIVER - GREAT FALLS - Good smallmouth bass should be caught, along
with a few walleye, between Great Falls and Chain Bridge. Live minnows and
crayfish are the top bait choices, while jig 'n pig in small sizes, fished
very slowly, will also take the fish.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Good crappie fishing is to be had just below the city, in
the brush along the banks. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the ticket. Bass
anglers are catching an occasional largemouth, but patience is required. Best
baits appear to be tiny crankbaits, in shad or chartreuse colors, fished along
the shallow banks, around wood cover. Catfish anglers are still doing fairly
well on cut shad and bream, in the deeper channels.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth and largemouth bass are cooperative on jig 'n
pig, live minnows, crankbaits and plastic grubs. Some sunfish are available
for flyrodders and anglers using small spinners, nightcrawlers and small
LAKE ANNA - Stripers, bass, crappie and perch are taking baits throughout the
lake. Stripers are schooled tight and working the baitfish schools. Follow the
birds, is the current advice. When you see the birds diving on the water, a
school of stripers is probably working through a school of shad. Approach the
school quietly and cast across the school, working the bait slowly through the
school. Best areas are from the 208 Bridge up to Jetts Island, Contrary Creek,
Pigeon Creek and the Stubbs Bridge area. Best baits are bucktails, four inch
Sassy Shads and white grubs. Should no birds be seen working, head for the
Jetts Island area and blind cast across the river channel. Lots of good
stripers are taken here. Stripers are also being caught on live shad around
the dikes and on top water baits early and late in the day. During the middle
part of the day, trolling is producing good numbers of stripers in the 8-12
pound class. Crappie are found around beaver lodges, bridge pilings and brush
piles. Small minnows seem to be the best bait, but some crappie fishermen get
upset using minnows because bass will not leave them alone. Tiny crappie jigs
will take the tasty little fish as well. Bass are taking minnows, shad-colored
crankbaits, plastic grubs and worms and jig 'n pig. Work these baits slowly
across the main lake points. Bass will take the baits at all depths, but the
larger fish are generally found in 8-14 feet of water.
JAMES RIVER - The upper stretches of the river are still producing good
numbers of smallmouth bass. The best bait is live minnows, followed closely by
jig 'n pig. The "hottest" location is around Bosher's Dam. In the tidal
section of the river, smallmouth bass are being taken on the dropoffs around
Dutch Gap. Channel and blue catfish are still taking cut bait and live shad in
the channel bends. The larger the bait, the larger the fish. Largemouth bass
fishing is slow, but some patient anglers are taking limits. Best action has
been on steeply dropping banks in the backs of creeks. Crappie are taking
medium minnows fished over brushpiles and submerged structure. Stripers are
still active around the Benjamin Harrison bridge and upstream, near the power
LAKE CHESDIN - Largemouth bass and crappie are providing most of the action,
with the majority of fish being taken on live minnows. Medium to jumbo minnows
are producing the bass, while small minnows are taking the crappie.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Some largemouth bass are being caught drifting large
minnows, at the mouths of major feeder creeks. Yellow perch fishing is fair,
with fish of citation size being caught from docks. Minnows are the preferred
bait. Crappie are biting well on small minnows, around submerged structure.
Catfishermen are still catching fish on cut bait. The cats are running 1-14
pounds. Striper anglers are taking limits of fish at Walker's Dam.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Jumbo minnows are still producing largemouth bass and chain
pickerel. Crappie fishermen are taking good numbers of slabsides on live
BACK BAY - Channel catfish are being caught throughout the main bay, while
crappie, bluegill and a few bass are being taken from Hellespoint and other
nearby creeks. West Neck Creek is giving up lots of crappie and bass to 3 1/2
SUFFOLK LAKES - Striper fishing is picking up at Western Branch, along with
some shellcrackers and a few yellow perch. Bass are feeding at Lake Prince,
where a number of fish over the five pound mark were caught this past week.
Anglers at Cohoon and Meade report only a few medium sized pickerel being
caught there. While anglers at Lake Smith are settling for mixed creels of
crappie, bluegill and white perch, Whitehurst is giving up small bass,
pickerel, crappie and catfish.
LAKE GASTON - Striped bass are being caught by anglers trolling bucktails and
shad around the dam. Crappie are holding in 8-10 feet of water over brushpiles
and around boat docks. They are hitting jigs and live minnows. Largemouth bass
are hitting jig 'n pigs baits, but are also being caught on live shad by
striper fishermen. Better areas include quiet coves adjacent to deep water and
secondary points. Rattling crankbaits and slow-rolled spinnerbaits are also
taking a good number of fish.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Lots of large crappie are being taken from the bridge
pilings and submerged brushpiles on live minnows and tiny jigs. Lots of bass
are being caught, particularly in Bluestone and Grassy Creeks. Shallow running
crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastic worms are the more productive baits.
Striper anglers are taking fish to 14 pounds, trolling Cordell Redfins and
bucktails from Clarksville to the mouth of Bluestone Creek. The area around
Goat Island is also producing some good fish.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Live shad are working well for the stripers in this
mountain reservoir. Lots of 10-14 pounders were taken this past weekend.
Anglers will find stripers feeding on shad in shallow creeks. Surface plugs or
shallow-diving crankbaits at daybreak are working well. After the sun comes
up, switch to deep-diving plugs or bucktails. Largemouth bass are also
shallow, feeding on shad, but are beginning to move to deeper water.
Largemouth bass in the 5-6 pound class are being caught consistently. Crappie
anglers are being rewarded nicely for their efforts. The fish are very
cooperative on live minnows, fished around submerged timber near creek
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Rock bass are still being caught on small minnows and
jigs, along with some white bass. Stripers are reported on crankbaits and live
NEW RIVER - Muskie fishing is good throughout the river. Large Mepps spinners
and double-jointed plugs are working best. Smallmouth bass fishing is slow.
SMITH RIVER - Flyrodders using blue-winged olives and nymphs, are catching
brown and rainbow trout. Spinner-fly combinations and small crankbaits are
also effective. Limit catches are common.
LAKE MOOMAW - Some yellow perch and bass are reported, but no significant
PHILPOTT LAKE - Most successful anglers are using live bait for smallmouth
bass and crappie.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is improving, with both smallmouth and
largemouth bass taking Silver Buddies, jig 'n pig and live minnows. Crappie
fishing is reportedly good. Brown trout are being caught near the dam.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Reports of good smallmouth bass and walleye fishing are
evidence of good fishing this weekend.
SALTWATER - Lots of action for large stripers in the lower bay, from Reedville
to the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Most of the larger fish (40"+) are taking white
bucktails or Sassy Shad baits on umbrella rigs, trolled in 30 feet of water.
The upper and middle bay are loaded with 3-5 pound stripers, with some bigger
fish located in the lower Potomac River and around the Point Lookout area.
Check the channel edges where plenty of fish are marking. The outer banks of
North Carolina are providing excellent surf action on stripers to 30 pounds,
and bluefish to 20 pounds. Red drum action is about over for the season.
Comments about this fishing report may be directed to Charlie Taylor at: