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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 7/08 0814 1518 2057 0217 0521 2107
Thursday 7/09 0849 1550 2133 0258 0521 2107
Friday 7/10 0923 1620 2204 0338 0522 2107
Saturday 7/11 0957 1650 2232 0419 0523 2106
Sunday 7/12 1032 1722 2302 0501 0524 2106
Monday 7/13 1112 1756 2339 0544 0524 2105
Tuesday 7/14 1157 1835 - - - 0630 0525 2104
Wednesday 7/15 1250 1918 0023 0721 0526 2104
Thursday 7/16 1351 2007 0115 0820 0527 2103
Friday 7/17 1459 2104 0213 0930 0528 2103
Saturday 7/18 1606 2209 0316 1043 0528 2102
Sunday 7/19 1709 2321 0420 1150 0529 2101
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Catfish continue to cooperate on clam snouts,
nightcrawlers, cut bait or just about anything you throw in the water. Main
river bridge pilings are holding good bass, with most of the fish being taken
on deep-diving crankbaits, jig 'n pig or bottom-fished plastic lures. The War
College Wall is producing good bass for anglers fishing spinnerbaits and
plastic worms in the grass. Early and late in the day, topwater lures are
drawing strikes from bass over the grass. Grass beds from the mouth of Oxon
Cove to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge are giving up bass on plastic worms and
spinnerbaits. Blue Plains and Fox Ferry are giving up good bass to patient
anglers fishing jig 'n pig, large crankbaits and plastic worms.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Largemouth bass continue to
orient to isolated wood cover and main river points above Mattawoman Creek.
Best baits are deep-diving crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms. Below
Mattawoman Creek, bass are still oriented to the main river grass beds.
Topwater baits, early and late in the day, are taking some fish, while plastic
worms and jigs, fished in the holes, are taking fish on outgoing tides. Rat-l-
traps, retrieved parallel to the grass bed edges on low, outgoing tides, are
connecting with 2-6 pound bass. Catfish are prowling flats adjacent to the
channel and taking cut bait, clam snouts and crab baits. Beetlespins, 1/8 oz.
size, in Catalpa color, are taking bluegill, yellow perch, white perch, bass,
catfish and carp in the grass bed edges. Man-made, wood structure, such as boat
docks, pilings and bridge structure are holding lots of bass. These fish are
taking plastic baits, flipped tight to the wood and allowed to fall on slack
line. Best action comes on either side of the low tide. The very back ends of
shallow feeder creeks are also holding fish. Fish these creeks with
spinnerbaits, casting parallel to the marsh grass, using a slow retrieve.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Catfish are cooperating nicely on clam snouts, cut bait and
nightcrawlers. Bass action is fair, with the majority of the fish being caught
on plastic worms and crankbaits on points and dropoffs. Crappie fishing is
fair, with most of the fish being taken on boat docks.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Crappie fishing is fair to good on small minnows. Fish the
minnows around any downed wood in the water. Also check the mouths of coves
for suspended schools off the points. Most of the fish are in 8-12 feet of
water. Lots of crappie, to 1 1/2 pounds, are being taken from the floating
dock at Fountainhead Regional Park. Bass action is good, with the better fish
are being caught on topwater baits early in the morning. After sunup, plastic
worms in the back end of coves are producing. Catfish action has tapered off.
BURKE LAKE - Fishing for most species is slow. A few bass are being caught on
plastic worms and crankbaits. The fish are coming from the dropoffs, adjacent
to grass beds. Lots of crappie and catfish are being taken from the fishing
pier. The catfish are running to 12 pounds and are taking squid baits.
Panfishermen are taking good stringers on red wigglers and nightcrawlers.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is excellent, despite the
constant up and down water levels throughout the river. Lots of fish being
taken on topwater baits throughout the day. Baby Chug Bugs, Tiny Torpedos and
Rapalas are the choice for topwater baits, while pumpkinseed plastic grubs and
small chartreuse or crayfish colored crankbaits are taking good fish in the
main river channel. Lots of sunfish and catfish. Plenty of cooperative carp,
MOTTS RESERVOIR - Bass are very active early and late, and may be caught on
Pop-Rs and buzzbaits, retrieved parallel to the shoreline grass. As the sun
rises, many of the fish position themselves on deeper banks and weedlines, in
8-15 feet of water. Worms and jig 'n pig will take the fish. Concentrations of
fish can be found on points and around the downlake island. Carolina-rigs,
Texas rigged worms, and jigs are taking these fish. Crappie are still relating
to deeper wood and grass (10-20 feet), and may be caught on crappie jigs,
countdown rapalas, and minnows. Schools of crappie can usually be found in
mouths of bigger coves and on steep points. Channel catfish, 1-3 pounds, are
taking clam snouts, chicken livers, minnows and a variety of other baits.
Sunfish are cruising the weedlines, hitting small topwaters, crickets, tiny
jigs, inline spinners, and most any small fly.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Bass fishing is good in the tidal sections of the river.
Best results come from shad-colored crankbaits, fished along the South shore
of the river below Fredericksburg. Buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, fished in the
mouths of coves and creeks, are also producing bass. Plastic baits, worked in
the blowdowns along the shoreline, will take some good fish. Blue catfish are
still biting well in the deep holes in the river channel, on cut bait and live
white perch. Crappie schools are to be found on the outside edges of the
shoreline brush. Fish small minnows and tiny jigs to take these tasty fish.
Above the city, anglers fishing live crayfish, Rapalas, plastic worms or grubs
and topwater lures are taking lots of smallmouth bass, but the fish are small.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Good catches of smallmouth bass are being made on Tiny
Torpedos, Rapalas, small plastic grubs, mad toms and tiny crankbaits. Sunfish
are taking the same baits, as well as nightcrawlers and Beetlespins. Catfish
are cooperating nicely on chicken livers, nightcrawlers and minnows.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - The upper reaches of the Pamunkey are producing
some bass, pickerel, catfish, bream and stripers, while the upper end of the
Mattaponi is giving up white perch, yellow perch, sunfish and catfish. The
lower ends of each are producing good catches of croakers, white perch and a
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass continue to bite well on main lake points adjacent
to the river channel. Fish topwater baits until the sun rises. After sunup,
most of the fish are in 15-25 feet of water. Deep diving crankbaits and
plastic worms are taking the larger stringers. Walleye are biting well on
medium minnows, plastic grubs and nightcrawlers around the Dike Three area.
Live minnows are taking numbers of crappie in 15-20 feet of water, from
submerged brushpiles and bridge pilings, particularly in the Dillard's Bridge
area. Boat docks are also giving up some nice crappie. Striper action is
centered around the area from Pigeon Creek to the Splits. The fish are being
found in 25-35 feet of water and are taking jigged Hopkins spoons, Sassy
shads, Cordell Redfins and live shad.
JAMES RIVER - The big news on this river is the fantastic catfish action.
Catfish to 58 pounds were reported this past week. Bass anglers are being
surprised with regularity by catfish taking their bass baits. Bass action is
fair to good as the recent rains continue to provide muddy water throughout
the tidal sections. The Appomattox River is lightly stained and is giving up
some good catches on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The best tidal bass action on
the James River is found on the wooden wing dams around Dutch Gap. Some bass
action is also available on cypress trees on the tidal flats on outgoing
tides. Creeks are holding fish, normally in mouths on wooded points where
there is current. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms are the preferred baits.
Smallmouth bass action in the city is excellent, on Tiny Torpedos, Rapalas,
plastic grubs and live bait. Flyrodders are taking lots of quality smallmouth
LAKE CHESDIN - Nice crappie catches continue to come in. Better catches are
coming on live minnows. Bass action is good with lots of small fish and a few
larger ones being taken on buzzbaits and plastic worms. Catfish action is
excellent on cut bait, nightcrawlers and chicken livers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Crappie, catfish and sunfish action is good. Lots of good
bass are being caught on plastic worms and spinnerbaits. Best areas are lily
pad fields and standing cypress trees, on outgoing tides. Anglers fishing the
creeks are also finding bass in the deeper holes adjacent to cover. Duck
blinds in deeper water are excellent producers. Gar are thick throughout the
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Excellent fishing. Lots of big gar, catfish and bass.
Topwater baits, early and late in the day, Rat-L-Traps and plastic worms, are
taking the bass, while live minnows are responsible for the gar and catfish.
Crappie are being caught in good numbers by anglers who know the brushpiles.
Flyrodders are taking good stringers of fish on topwater poppers in the grass
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Some bass in the five pound class are being caught on
topwater baits early and late in the day. Smaller bass are taking plastic
worms throughout the day, while flyrodders are loading up on bream. Yellow
perch are taking small grubs on the bottom and pickerel are taking anything
thrown in the water.
BACK BAY - Small shiners and grass shrimp are taking plenty of white perch.
Good bass and catfish action is to be had in the creeks, with the bass running
3-6 pounds. Grass beds in the upper end of the Bay are producing lots of bass
on Johnson Silver Minnows, tipped with plastic grubs. Best areas were around
the mouths of Hellspoint and Nanny's Creeks.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Fishing is excellent in all lakes. Striper action has tailed
off. Large bass are hitting well in Lake Prince, on topwater baits and plastic
worms, along with large bluegills and shellcrackers. The water in Western
Branch is gin clear, which may explain the slowdown in fishing there. Catfish,
white perch and bluegill are available in all lakes.
LAKE GASTON - Good bass action in Pea Hill Creek and Lizard Creek in the early
mornings. After the sun comes up, boat traffic from water skiers are causing
the fish to go deep and lie dormant. Main creek points are the prime areas for
bass, with plastic worms, Carolina rigged lizards and deep-diving crankbaits
being the preferred baits. Stripers are taking white bucktails around the
steel bridge area. Catfish are biting nicely on cut bait, live shad and
chicken livers. Crappie are thick around the bridge pilings and brushpiles.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Striper fishing has been excellent. Nutbush Creek from
Buoy A-C and the main river channel between Buoy 2 and 7, have been producing
nice catches, trolling white or yellow bucktails or Cordell Redfins. Live shad
and jigging spoons are also taking fish. Bass action is good, with early
mornings being the best time. The fish are holding off main lake points and
along the edge of the river channel. The bass are taking deep-diving
crankbaits and plastic lizards. Crappie fishing is good to excellent, on
crappie jigs, small minnows and worms. Best results come from brushpiles in 8-
15 feet of water and around bridge pilings, particularly the Route 58 Bridge.
BRIERY CREEK/SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Plastic worms, fished early and late in
the day, are taking mostly slot bass. Bream fishing is good, while crappie
catches are only fair. Catfish are doing well at Sandy River.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Striper fishing is great, with limits being caught in 20
minutes. Best method is fishing live bait at the dam. Bass are taking june bug
and green pumpkinseed worms and crayfish colored Guido Bugs and Stanley Craws
on docks, points and submerged brush. The Blackwater River arm is producing
better stringers of bass.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Anglers are catching a few stripers on deep trolled
bucktails and Redfins, in addition to free-lining live shad. Bass are taking
plastic worms and topwater lures. Better action is to be had in the early
morning and late at night.
LAKE MOOMAW - Night fishing is producing fair bass fishing on plastic worms
and jig 'n pigs. Channel catfish are biting well on chicken livers and live
minnows. Trout action has slowed, but some browns, 3-5 pounds, are being taken
on live shad, fished in 25-30 feet of water, at night. Anglers, trolling
spoons and Redfins at dawn, are also catching some nice trout. A few nice-
sized bluegill are being caught during the day.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Largemouth bass are taking live minnows and Rapalas. Brown
trout are taking nightcrawlers. Overall, fishing is fair, with better catches
at night. Lots of anglers on the Smith River, where flyrodders are taking
trout to over 16 inches.
NEW RIVER - Muskie action is fair to good, for anglers fishing live chub
minnows on outside bends, adjacent to cover. Excellent smallmouth bass action,
on topwater lures and plastic grubs. Catfishing is excellent for 8-10 pound
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Lots of action from catfish for anglers fishing in
coves or creek mouths with live minnows. Smallmouth bass action is good on jig
'n pig or buzzbaits, at night. Crappie and walleye action is fair.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Good catfish action on live alewives and Catalpa worms.
Stripers are biting at night, along with white bass. Preferred bait is live
alewives. Some smallmouth bass on plastic worms and occasional muskie. Walleye
are being caught above the Lighthouse Bridge on deep diving crankbaits.
TROUT STREAMS - Trout streams are in generally excellent condition. Some of
the better streams are the lower section of the Pedlar River, Middle and
McFalls Creeks, Passage and Stoney Creeks, Little Tumbling Creek, lower
section of the Hughes River and Big Cedar Creek. Some of the more successful
lures are high floating dry flies such as crickets and Goofus bugs, nymphs
such as the Hare's Ear and the Casual Dress, silver Mepps spinners and gold
S A L T W A T E R
CHINCOTEAGUE - Flounder action is excellent, with limit catches being made in
the main channel, between Capt. Bob's and Tommy's Place, in the deeper holes.
Croaker and sea bass are showing in the catches. Surf anglers are catching sea
mullet and pan trout. Offshore, bluefin tuna to 95 pounds, are available
outside the inlet, at the Parking Lot and 30 Fathom Lumps. Chopper bluefish
are marauding the Parking Lot, along with the bluefin tuna and dolphin.
Inshore wrecks are producing tautog, blowfish, spadefish and triggerfish.
WACHAPREAGUE - Offshore, bluefin tuna and dolphin are thick, for anglers
chunking with butterfish, at the 21 and 26 Mile Hills. Chopper bluefish are
also thick, along with a few king mackerel. Croaker dominate the catches
inside the inlet, with pan trout and bluefish mixed in. At the mouth of the
inlet, in front of the Coast Guard Station, Flounder are caught in decent
numbers. Trollers are finding Spanish mackerel around the mouth of the inlet.
ONANCOCK - Excellent bottom fishing for croaker, spot, porgy, pan trout,
snapper blues, small sea bass, sea mullet, flounder and pigfish inside
Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds, in 15-18 feet of water. Speckled trout are found
in the grassbeds around Fox and Watts Islands, taking chunks of peeler crab.
Cobia are sighted daily, but few are being caught.
QUINBY - Many good hauls of croaker, plus some spot and grey trout were made
this past week, with the better action coming from the Gap, Quinby Inlet, and
along Hog Island.
CAPE CHARLES - Good numbers of cobia are being caught in the Latimer Shoals
area, with most fish running 50-76 pounds. Spot, croaker and sea mullet are
hitting at the Cement Ships, with larger spot showing at the mouth of the
harbor. Tarpon are being caught and released at the seaside inlets out of
Oyster. Red drum catches are increasing in the vicinity of the C-10 buoy.
Offshore, Billfish, yellowfin tuna and chicken dolphin are available at the
Norfolk Canyon, while bluefin tuna, wahoo, king mackerel and bluefish are
available at the 21 and 26 Mile Hills.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Plenty of large spot and croaker at the Small Boat
Channel, around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands, inside Lynnhaven,
Back River Artificial Reef, Twin Stakes, The Lumps inside the York River, and
at buoys 22 and Y-9. Fair numbers of flounder are available at the Fourth
Island, Small Boat Channel and inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Fair numbers of
flounder are being taken by bottom fishermen, drifting between Tue Marsh Light
and the AMOCO Pier. Croaker action remains consistent throughout the York
River, with the best concentrations being found at the Lump, off Cheatham
Annex and the mouths of Parrin and Sarah's Creeks. Cobia action is hot
throughout the area, although they are not found on the buoy lines in numbers
yet. Spanish mackerel are being caught by trollers just outside the Little
Creek Jetty, along the CBBT and off Cape Henry. The Tower Reef is giving up
good catches of king mackerel, large bluefish and amberjack.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent croaker and pan trout fishing almost
anywhere in the middle bay, with more spot and sea bass showing daily. Peeler
crab and bloodworm baits are filling coolers. The larger croaker are being
found along the east side of the channel at buoy 62, around Tangier Light and
in the vicinity of buoy 42. Dameron Marsh and the Target Ships are giving up
some speckled trout. Spanish mackerel action is fair for trollers working
dropoffs along the shipping channel. The larger fish are coming from deeper
water. Flounder are being caught at Blackberry Hang, where 14-18 inch fish are
taken. Spadefish are showing at the Cell, where clam necks are the preferred
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 1-3 pounds, are being caught around Love
Point. A few 2-3 pound trout, lying near the bottom, are caught on peeler crab
baits. Black drum are located around the mouth of the Choptank River. Mixed in
with the catches are croaker, occasional flounder and grey trout. White perch
fishing is good in the Choptank on grass shrimp. Good catches of spot are
being made over oyster bars and channel edges on bloodworms in Tangier Sound.
White perch are being found in upper creeks and rivers. Weakfish and spot are
being found in good numbers in Hooper Straits off Bishop's Head.
OCEAN CITY - A few flounder are being caught along channels and off the Route
50 bridge on live bait and squid. Sea trout are taking grubs and bucktails off
the jetties in the evenings. Surf anglers are crying, as only a few small
bluefish are reported. Offshore, good numbers of tuna and dolphin are found
off Jack Spot and the Hot Dog, along with some huge king mackerel. White
marlin are turning up at Baltimore and Poor Man's Canyons. Sea bass and tautog
fishing is good on the wrecks.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Headboats are returning with sea bass, croaker and pan trout.
Charterboats are taking lots of spadefish, Spanish mackerel, taylor bluefish,
a few cobia and amberjack. Almost all of the amberjack are being caught at the
Southern Tower. Spadefish and black sea bass are thick at the Chesapeake
Light Tower, while some of the offshore wrecks in the same area are giving up
blueline tilefish. Billfish action remains excellent, while large yellowfin
and bluefin tuna, dolphin and king mackerel are available in numbers at the 26
Mile Hill, the Cigar and in Norfolk Canyon. White marlin action is centered
just south of the Cigar.
LYNNHAVEN - Best catches are made early and late in the day, when coupled with
incoming tides. Spot and croaker are the main catch, along with a few Spanish
mackerel, taylor blues and sea mullet.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Consistent action casting for Spanish mackerel and taylor
bluefish. Bottom fishermen are taking spot, mullet and croaker. Some trout are
being caught under the lights.
SANDBRIDGE - Bottom fishermen report consistent catches of croaker, spot, sea
mullet, small shark, pan trout and flounder, while casters are taking Spanish
mackerel and taylor blues at dusk. Cobia are in the area, but none have been
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Pier anglers are making good catches of flounder, puppy
drum and trout at Oregon Inlet. Along the Nags Head beaches, moderate catches
of sea mullet and spot are available, while pier casters are catching Spanish
mackerel and taylor blues. Inshore charter boats are reporting a mixed catch
of dolphin, amberjack, Spanish mackerel, cobia, king mackerel and false
albacore. Headboats are doing well on sea trout, pigfish, triggerfish and
flounder. Offshore, excellent billfishing, good numbers of dolphin, and
scattered catches of yellowfin and bluefin tuna were caught SE, behind the
Rockpile at the 020 line, or east, around Triple 0's. The Towers are stacked
up with amberjack and barracuda, with a few nice king mackerel holding around
the 102 Tower.
Charlie Taylor writes about fishing for News and Messenger. He may be reached