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FISHING REPORT By Charlie Taylor
Potomac River Tide Information Twilight
High Point, Occoquan River Hours
Day Date High Low High Low A.M. P.M.
Wednesday 12/23 1114 1741 2331 0516 0654 1721
Thursday 12/24 1156 1832 - - - 0556 0655 1721
Friday 12/25 1242 1930 0026 0639 0655 1722
Saturday 12/26 1334 2033 0125 0727 0655 1722
Sunday 12/27 1428 2140 0225 0819 0656 1723
Monday 12/28 1523 2244 0322 0916 0656 1724
Tuesday 12/29 1617 2342 0415 1018 0656 1724
Wednesday 12/30 1710 - - - 0506 1121 0657 1725
Thursday 12/31 1803 0036 0556 1222 0657 1726
Friday 1/01 1856 0126 0645 1320 0657 1727
Saturday 1/02 1949 0215 0735 1417 0657 1728
Sunday 1/03 2043 0303 0826 1513 0657 1728
OVERVIEW - With temperatures running much colder than normal, the fish have
finally headed for the wintertime haunts, in deep water. Lots of good fish are
being taken throughout the state by anglers who are patient. Plastic baits,
fished at the base of channel dropoffs or on shallow gravel banks dropping off
into deeper water, will take bass, perch, crappie, striper and catfish.
Warmwater discharges are holding lots of active fish. These fish are suckers
for Silver Buddies, small Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits, and white grubs. Species
range from catfish to stripers, carp, bass and yellow perch. Most sewage
treatment plant discharges and power plant cooling water discharges are warmer
than the water into which they are dumped.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Largemouth bass are holding on dropoffs in 15-20 feet
of water throughout the area. Small plastic grubs, liberally doused with fish
attractants are taking these fish. The slower the bait is fished, the more
successful it will be. Letting the bait sit on the bottom motionless will
often produce better than moving it. The outflow from Blue Plains is still a
local hot spot, giving up stripers, bass and crappie. The Spoils is another
area that is giving up fish. The steep dropping banks should be the target for
bass anglers, while crappie fishermen should concentrate on the concrete
islands. Better choice of crappie baits would be live minnows and small tube
jigs in 1/16 or 1/32 oz. sizes. Anglers wishing the ultimate in action should
rig ultra-light equipment with 2-4 pound line and 1/4 oz. Silver Buddies. Cast
these into the discharge at Blue Plains, allowing the bait to fall, and lift
the rod tip sharply. Almost every cast will produce gizzard shad, ranging from
1-3 pounds. Although some will be snagged, most of the shad take the baits
on the fall, and have all three tines of the hook firmly embedded in their
mouths. Allowing the bait to fall to the bottom and lifting it gently will
produce both stripers and big yellow perch.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Main river dropoffs are
producing good numbers and sizes of largemouth bass for anglers patiently
fishing small plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Some of the better dropoffs are
located at the mouths of most of the creeks, where the creek channel meets the
main river channel. Fish these areas with lipless rattling crankbaits and
swimming grubs. The main creek channel of most of the major creeks are also
giving up bass for anglers patiently fishing small grubs or other plastic
baits on banks dropping into 10-20 feet of water. Small, wide wobbling
crankbaits, fished just fast enough to impart vibration to the rod tip will
also take bass in the same areas. Best time is on the end of the outgoing tide
and the beginning of the incoming tide.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Fish may be caught in the river when the water clears.
Currently, it is cold and muddy. Lots of bass are located on dropoffs near
the mouth of the river. Crappie are schooled up around the submerged
brushpiles and boat docks. Yellow perch are showing near the mouth and are
taking small grubs and minnows, fished on the bottom in 15-20 feet of water.
Most of the perch are bucks, but more roe perch are moving in daily.
Occasional stripers are being taken in the area around Hoffmaster's Marina on
Sassy Shads and live jumbo minnows. Bass are also being taken in the back end
of the river, jigging Silver Buddies and Hopkins spoons at the base of the
dropoffs, under the schools of baitfish.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Anglers fishing the main lake points with plastic grubs
and jig 'n pig baits are catching fish. The bass are located in the deeper
water off the points and are coming up on the points to feed. Crappie are
thick in the submerged brush and timber. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Some nice smallmouth bass are being taken from the
mouth of the warmwater discharge canal at Dickerson Power Plant. Lots of big
channel catfish are to be found at the same place. Fish small smoke grubs on
1/8 or 1/16 ounce jig heads in the current. Allow the current to sweep the
grub downstream, keeping the line taut in order to feel a strike. Live minnows
and nightcrawlers are also tempting the fish. The main river is cold and
muddy. As it falls and clears, deeper holes in the river will give up
smallmouth, along with catfish. Try fishing small hair jigs, tipped with pork
rind. Also try fishing small topwater baits slowly along the ledges. When the
sun has warmed the water in the late afternoon, try a 1/8th oz. buzzbait along
the sunny shoreline.
FARM PONDS - Throughout the state, farm ponds that are not iced over, are
giving up good sized bass to patient anglers. Jig 'n pig, plastic baits and
jerk baits are the ticket for trophy sized bass. Good sized sunfish are also
on the feed, taking small plastic grubs, small crankbaits and in-line
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Some largemouth bass should be available in the tidal
sections of the river for patient anglers fishing live minnows and jig 'n pig
baits. The steeper dropping banks are holding the fish, although some nice
fish should also come from the blowdowns along the shore. Above the city, the
smallmouth bass will also be taking live minnows and crayfish, fished in the
deeper holes in the river. Catfish like cut baits, fished in the deeper
outside bends of the river channel.
LAKE ANNA - Walleye action is good around the rocky points at Dike #3. Live
shad is the better bait for walleye weighing four pounds or more. Stripers are
also active around this dike, where the water temperature is a few degrees
warmer than the balance of the lake. Surface activity is limited on the main
lake, but the stripers do surface. When they do, Cordell Redfins are taking
the big fish. Better fishing is coming downlake, near the dam. Bass are
located on the main lake points. Fishing small baits very slowly off the
points, into the deeper water, is accounting for some good sized largemouth
bass. Trophy hunters are using live jumbo minnows. Crappie are holding around
submerged brush, bridge pilings and suspended over creek channels. The cooling
ponds are loaded with small bass. Almost anything thrown in the water will
take these aggressive fish. Schools of surface-feeding stripers and largemouth
bass are common at dawn and dusk. Topwater baits, bucktails and live minnows
will entice them. During the day, the stripers may be found along road beds
and around islands, particularly in Elk Creek and the mouth of Mill Pond
Creek. The canals are holding bass and walleye. Drifting live bait, small
plastic grubs or jig 'n pig with the current, will take these fish. Jigging
spoons will also take largemouth bass in the canals, particularly around the
JAMES RIVER - Fishing is slow, but fish are being caught. The area around the
Dutch Gap Power Plant has been giving up some good fish. Blue catfish in the
30 pound class were caught last week, along with some 3-6 pound walleye,
plenty of crappie and 3-4 pound bass. The crappie and bass were taken from the
old barge pits, while the walleye and catfish were taken from the main river.
Smallmouth bass are also available on island dropoffs and rocky points.
Catfish are taking cut shad, while the other species are taking small plastic
grubs, live minnows and nightcrawlers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Crappie and yellow perch are the main attractions here.
Although bass are being caught by skilled and patient anglers, most of the
fishermen are after panfish. The mouths of feeder creeks and the steeper-
dropping banks in the backs of the larger creeks are the holding areas for
largemouth bass. Crappie and yellow perch are holding on wood cover in 10-
15 feet of water. Live minnows and small grubs and jigs are the ticket for the
panfish, while live minnows, small grubs and jig 'n pig baits will take the
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - A few bass and crappie are reported being caught on live
minnows. Fishing pressure is very light and few reports are coming in.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Lake Prince reports some stripers, caught on light line and
live minnows. Western Branch also reports some striper action on live minnows.
Lakes Smith and Whitehurst are reporting a few crappie and white perch, along
with some bass and an occasional large striper.
LAKE CHESDIN - Some crappie are available for patient anglers. Occasional bass
and chain pickerel on live bait.
LAKE GASTON - Striper action is hot in the main lake around the mouth of Pea
Hill Creek. Large schools of surface-feeding fish are marauding through the
shad schools early and late in the day. Bass are confined to the deeper
dropoffs, with the majority located in 25-40 feet of water.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Largemouth bass may still be caught in 3-4 feet of water
on Speed Shads and Poe's RC3 crankbaits. A stop-and-go retrieve is working
best. Crappie are hovering around deep brushpiles. Vertical jigging minnows
over the brushpiles will produce the better fish. Striper fishing picked up,
with most of the fish being taken downlake, trolling Cordell Redfins and free-
lining live shad.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper action is hot. Lots of 8-10 pound fish being
caught daily, with a couple over 20 pounds being caught this past week. Surface
lures are taking the fish early and late in the day and live shad at other
times. Most of the fish are holding at the 20-25 foot mark during the day, but
are coming up to feed on the surface in the backs of coves at dawn and dusk. A
good depthfinder will locate the schools of shad, with the stripers among
them. Live shad are also taking their share of smallmouth and largemouth bass
from rocky points and brushpiles throughout the lake.
LAKE MOOMAW - Some anglers are out on the lake, catching some small trout.
Bass anglers are consistently skunked, while crappie anglers are catching few,
but large crappie.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Some largemouth and smallmouth bass are being taken, along
with small walleye and large crappie. Live bait is producing better results,
although plastic grubs, rattling crankbaits and jig 'n pig are also taking
CLAYTOR LAKE - A few stripers and an occasional bass is the news here. Not
many anglers out.
TROUT STREAMS - All streams are full and swift flowing, but fish are being
caught by patient anglers, particularly in the larger streams.
SALTWATER - The annual fall sea run of striped bass is in full swing. Limit
catches of stripers over the 40 inch mark are the rule for anglers trolling
umbrella rigs and bucktails in 30+ feet of water. The big fish are found
throughout the lower Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point to the
mouth of the Bay and around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel complex.
Thanks Charlie....the striper fishing has reallly slowed at the CBBT. It seems that the water temps went way down. Do you have any more intel on this? I am planning a Dec. 30 trip.....
Me and a Buddy of mine fished the JRB last night, 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm water Temp 41 to 42 degrees. started fishing real close to the smithfield side of the bridge like i always do, caught a few keepers but did not mark many fish at all. Went back to the south side of the small boat channel and started marking a bunch of fish, should of went back that way sooner. Caught 15 to 20 fish casting storm lures and jig heads with 4" & 6" flukes and my partner also caught a few on a rattle trap. I normally catch 30 to 40 fish a night out there but last night was real slow for me. The Fish were Real Deep and Slow to Bite. The fish are still out there at the JRB just got to locate them and with the water temp being so cold right now fish your lures Deep and Real Slow!! Good luck out there and be Safe!!
Shallow Water ( Jeff )
Size of Fish were: 21" to 25"
Me and Friend of mine went back out to the JRB last night. It took longer to get the fish to bite than the night before but we did catch some I was not counting but my friend was, he said he caught 7-fish and that i caught about 12-14 fish. Marked a lot of fish from the fishing pier to just the other side of the small boat channel.
He caught his on 3/4 oz Rattle Trap, I caught mine on a 5/8" oz jig head with a 6" White fluke.
Size of fish : 17" to 27" .
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to every one. Jeff
Left Kipto 8am. Headed a little west of the ships and eeled for an hour and ran to just south of High Rise and eeled for 2 hours with no love. Walleye Pete suggested last night that I put a couple jigging rods in the boat and I am glad I did. Managed about 40 nice fat 23" to 27" inch stripers. Many fat 25" fish. One thing for sure is these fish unlike the biggins (for me at least) were eating and full of bait. Caught all but a few off 2 or three sets of pilings between the forth and high rise. The fish were mostly on the down current side at about 12 to 20 feet. 6" BKDs and 6" sassy shads were the baits with the BKDs taking most.
Basically, this is the information I have been receiving from everyone I talk with. Most of the fish are of the schooling variety (16-28"), but there are plenty of them around the bridge pilings on the James River Bridge and the CBBT. There are also bigger fish deep around the CBBT islands. Most of the successful anglers are jigging rather than trolling and are finding the fish deep, close to the bottom.
Hope this helps out.