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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 7/15 0023 0721 1250 1918 0526 2104
Thursday 7/16 0115 0820 1351 2007 0527 2103
Friday 7/17 0213 0930 1459 2104 0528 2103
Saturday 7/18 0316 1043 1606 2209 0528 2102
Sunday 7/19 0420 1150 1709 2321 0529 2101
Monday 7/20 0521 1250 1808 - - - 0530 2000
Tuesday 7/21 0620 1344 1903 0031 0531 2000
Wednesday 7/22 0717 1434 1956 0136 0532 2059
Thursday 7/23 0811 1522 2048 0235 0533 2058
Friday 7/24 0905 1609 2140 0332 0534 2057
Saturday 7/25 0959 1655 2233 0427 0535 2056
Sunday 7/26 1053 1740 2326 0521 0536 2055
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fletcher's Boathouse reports lots of catfish action. A
few rockfish are cooperating for those fishing large minnows. Bass are hanging
around most every bridge piling in the city. These pilings concentrate the
tidal current and provide shade and baitfish. Plastic grubs, small crankbaits
and spinnerbaits will take these bass. Washington Channel boat docks and
pilings are holding bass and crappie. The grass along the War College Wall is
also holding fish. Pop-R's, buzzbaits, plastic frogs and spinnerbaits are
taking bass here. Grassbeds below Blue Plains are giving up bass on buzzbaits,
spinnerbaits and plastic frogs and worms.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Fish topwater baits around cover
early and late in the day. Other times, small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Senkos
and plastic worms take the fish. The last two hours of the outgoing tide are
the best time, but fish may be caught anytime the tide is moving. Further down
the river, Wade's Bay, Blue Banks, Mallows Bay, the mouths of Aquia and
Potomac Creeks, and Nanjemoy Bay, are full of hydrilla, topping out on the
surface at high tide. Lots of milfoil is mixed in with the hydrilla in some
areas. Here, the floating worm is at it's best. Rig the worm Texas Style and
place a small swivel in the line, about 12 inches from the hook. Toss the worm
out onto the grass and begin a slow, twitching retrieve across the top of the
grass. When the strike comes, wait until you feel the weight of the fish on
the line before setting the hook. The Zoom Horny Toad is catching fish like
crazy. Rig it weedless, cast it onto a grassbed that has topped out and
retrieve it just fast enough to keep the legs flapping. The bass will do the
rest. Remember to wait until you feel the weight before setting the hook.
Catfish are cooperative all over the river. Fish clam snouts, nightcrawlers,
cut bait or live minnows on flats adjacent to the river channel. These fish
put up a great fight, so be prepared for good times. In the creeks, fish the
lily pad fields with plastic worms and grass rats for bass.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Lots of bass and crappie hanging on boat docks and other wood
cover. Small rattling crankbaits and plastic worms are the better choice for
bass, while live minnows and tiny jigs are taking the crappie. Catfish action
is good around the islands at the mouth of the river. Cut bait and crab are
the baits of choice.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass catches are fair. The bass are being caught by
patient anglers, on main lake points and dropoffs in 10-14 feet of water.
Deep-diving crankbaits and plastic worms are taking most of the fish. Catfish,
7-11 pounds, are hungry and taking clam snouts, cut bait and crab. Crappie
anglers are happy, with good stringers being taken in 8-10 feet of water, over
wood cover in channels. Live minnows and tiny jigs are the preferred baits.
BURKE LAKE - Bass are taking crankbaits and plastics on dropoffs adjacent to
weed beds. Brushpiles are producing some bass in addition to crappie. Walleye,
2-6 pounds, are being taken trolling nightcrawlers across points in 2-8 feet
of water. Some panfish action on red wigglers, nightcrawlers and small
FARM PONDS - Best bass action is at night on Jitterbugs and floating Rapalas.
Daytime bass action is good on plastic worms, fished in the deeper water near
the dams, or in the trees near the dam. Small shallow running, rattling
crankbaits are also taking some fish. Sunfish are suckers for nightcrawlers
and flyrod poppers.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass action is fair to good, with lots of
decent fish being caught. Small grubs in chartreuse-pearl, smoke and white
colors, tiny crankbaits and soft jerk baits are taking most of the fish. Large
buzzbaits, fished over blowdowns early and late in the day, are taking larger
fish. The White Miller hatch is on and late in the evenings, tiny topwaters
and white Doll Flies are providing good smallmouth bass action. Catfish action
is good, with "ole whiskers" taking cut bait, live minnows and nightcrawlers.
Good sized sunfish are available for the frying pan.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Some largemouth bass being caught in the tidal sections,
near the city, on the southern shoreline. Fish shad-colored crankbaits or
plastic worms on dropoffs and in blowdowns for 1-4 pound bass. Below the Route
301 Bridge, bass fishing is excellent, with limit catches common. Most of the
fish are taken from the feeder creeks on topwater baits, plastic worms and
small crankbaits. Jumbo catfish are taking cut bait, live shad, minnows and
Ivory Soap. Crappie schools may be found around downed wood, biting well on
live minnows and tiny jigs or spoons. Above the city, lots of smallmouth bass
action is reported. Preferred baits are small jig 'n pig combos, tiny
crankbaits, topwaters and plastic grubs. The larger fish are being caught
early and late in the day.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - The stretch just below Bentonville is producing good
numbers of smallmouth bass for anglers drifting the river. Best lures continue
to be small jig heads, tipped with chartreuse-pearl, smoke and white plastic
grubs. Spinners and small topwater lures are also taking fish. Sunfish are
thick, hitting Beetlespins and small spinners. Catfish are suckers for live
minnows, nightcrawlers and cut bait. Some of the catfish are running to 20
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Catfishing is great on both rivers. Peeler crab,
nightcrawlers and clam snouts are the preferred baits. Some bass are caught in
lily pads and submerged wood. Spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and plastic worms are
taking these fish. Sunfish are taking Beetle Spins and flyrod poppers.
LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass have moved deeper with the summer heat. Most bass
are being caught from 15-25 feet of water on deep-diving crankbaits and large
plastic worms. Better areas include main lake points, boat docks and channel
dropoffs. When using crankbaits, lures should be stopped, allowed to float up
momentarily, and retrieves resumed for best results. Plastics should be fished
as slow as possible. Walleye continue to be caught on rocky points and around
Dike Three. Lots of crappie action, with bridge pilings in 25-40 feet of
water, holding the better fish. Tiny Beetlespins, Hopkins spoons and live
minnows are working best. Drop the lures all the way to the bottom and
retrieve them very slowly. Most hits will come only about five feet from the
surface, but lures must be dropped to the bottom to entice the fish. Stripers
are active from Sturgeon Creek to the Route 208 Bridge, Rose Valley and the
State Park area. Best results are coming from deep trolling Mann's Stretch 25
and Mann's 30+ baits in depths of 25-35 feet. Free-lining live shad or jigging
Hopkins spoons are also taking fish.
JAMES RIVER - Bass fishing is fair to poor, with bass being taken on moving
tides by fishing standing cypress trees adjacent to deeper water. Plastic
worms, spinnerbaits and small crankbaits are the better lures. Buzzbaits,
fished in lily pads, are taking fish early and late in the day. Nearer the
city, bass are taking plastic worms and crankbaits around the wing dams, on
moving tides. Plenty of crappie are being caught in the barge pits on live
minnows and tiny jigs. Smallmouth bass action is good above the city, with
buzzbaits taking good numbers of fish early and late in the day, and plastic
grubs and small, deep-diving crankbaits producing during the afternoon.
Excellent blue catfish action on cut bait, fished in the outside bends of the
river and creek channels.
LAKE CHESDIN - Largemouth bass action is good, with quite a few decent bass
being caught. Most of the fish are being caught on live minnows, crankbaits
and plastic worms. Crappie are still biting well around the bridge pilings on
live minnows. Bluegills are taking crickets. Catfish action has improved, with
best catches coming on chicken livers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Normal summer conditions prevail. Largemouth bass are
taking buzzbaits and plastic worms in the lily pads, plastic worms and grubs
in creek mouths on moving tides, and Rat-l-traps, spinnerbaits and plastic
worms on cypress trees. Lots of good sized sunfish on crickets and catfish
action is excellent on nightcrawlers, minnows, cut bait and turtle livers.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Live minnows are the preferred bait in this lake, although
buzzbaits and plastic worms are taking lots of bass and pickerel. Pearl Bass
Assassins, fished in the grassbeds, are taking bass and bowfin, early and late
in the day. Crappie are taking small minnows, and bowfin are taking anything
put in the water. Fish the points and brushpiles for best results. Catfish to
15 pounds and gar to 12 pounds are also being taken on minnows. Bluegill are
plentiful on grass shrimp and crickets.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is fair to good, with bass and pickerel
being caught on live minnows and plastic baits. Topwater baits are also
successful early and late in the day. Yellow perch anglers are having success
with citation-sized fish. Striper anglers are having good success early and
late in the day.
BACK BAY - Fishing for white perch has been good in the bay. Perch are found
throughout the bay, with best catches coming on grass shrimp. Bass and
bluegill action is good in the creeks, while catfish action is excellent
throughout the area. Bass action also improved around the north end of Knott's
Island, with some 3-5 pound bass being reported.
SUFFOLK LAKES - All of the lakes are reporting fair bass action, with most of
the fish taking crankbaits, plastic worms, live minnows and topwater baits.
Shellcrackers are taking live crickets and red wigglers, while the crappie are
favoring small minnows. White perch are taking minnows in Western Branch and
Lake Prince is reporting some striper action on jumbo minnows. Lots of catfish
action, with fish to 13 pounds. Occasional bowfin, particularly in Meade.
LAKE GASTON - Lots of bass being caught by patient anglers fishing Carolina-
rigged lizards in 12-20 feet of water. The fish are holding tight to
structure. Boat docks and submerged wood structure on the lower part of the
lake are the better pattern, particularly early and late in the day. Topwater
baits, fished in 6-8 feet of water early and late, are also taking some good
fish. Striper fishing is fair for anglers fishing live shad at night. The
Eaton Ferry Bridge area is best. Catfish are hungry and biting well at night,
on cut bait and nightcrawlers.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Early morning anglers, fishing deep-diving crankbaits and
Carolina-rigged plastic lizards in 18-22 feet of water on creek and main lake
points are catching largemouth bass. Stripers are taking trolled Cordell
Redfins and bucktails in the Nutbush Creek area at night. Daytime striper
anglers are catching the fish in an area bounded by Kimble Point to the main
channel to the dam and up to Buoy 8. Green and white bucktails trolled 22-25
feet deep are effective. Jigging with Hopkins Spoons and large bucktails is
also effective. Crappie anglers are successful, fishing live minnows by the
dam, in Rudd's Creek, and in Eastland Creek.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RUN RESERVOIRS - Some nice bluegills and fliers are being
caught on Beetlespins and crickets. Catfish to 10 pounds are taking chicken
livers. Bass fishing is fair, although most fish are in the slot.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Some bass and stripers are being caught, but very few
large fish are coming in. Live shad continues to be the producer of stripers,
although topwater baits are taking some fish in the evenings and after dark.
Jig 'n pig and plastic worms are taking the bass. Main lake points are holding
some bass in 16-20 feet of water. Coves and creeks are also giving up bass,
when plastic worms and crankbaits are fished in the stained water. Boat docks
are also holding some bass, along with crappie and sunfish. Better action is
to be had early and late in the day.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Good largemouth bass action throughout the lake. Shad
Raps, fished across points, are taking good stringers of fish. Striper and
white bass action has slowed. Flyrodders are taking lots of bream, while
crappie anglers are doing well on small minnows.
LAKE MOOMAW - Some brown and rainbow trout continue to be caught, trolling
Cordell Redfins, Johnson Silver Minnows and Crocodile spoons in 25-30 feet of
water. Bass action is fair on plastic worms in 12-15 feet of water, late in
the evenings. Catfish are taking minnows, chicken livers and nightcrawlers
during times of low light.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Bass fishing is slow on plastic worms and diving crankbaits on
the main lake points. Plastic grubs, worked around bridge pilings are taking
some fish. The Smith River is giving up some nice trout for persistent
NEW RIVER - Decent catches of smallmouth bass are being made, with the larger
fish coming from below the Narrows, and in deeper, swifter running riffles.
Better baits continue to be spider jigs, small crankbaits and small jig 'n
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie fishing is good, with best results on live
minnows and Doll Flies. Smallmouth bass are taking yellow flies and live
minnows, fished on rocky points, at night. Catfish action is good in the late
evenings and at night.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Anglers are taking many catfish, most on nightcrawlers and
shrimp. Smallmouth bass action is fair, with most being taken early and late
in the day. Striper action is good in the evenings, with fish to 12 pounds
GATEWOOD RESERVOIR - Bass action is excellent, with topwater baits producing
the better fish. Bream are taking crickets and crappie are taking minnows at
night. Shellcrackers are taking catalpa worms.
TROUT STREAMS - Most of the Western streams and those in the National Forests
are providing good action for flyrodders using mayfly imitations and wet
flies, drifted with the stream current. Terrestrial patterns are also working
well. Upper and Lower Whitetop Laurel areas are doing well. Fishermen are
using shanks, crickets, dry flies, and small Hares Nymphs. The Tye River in
Nelson County is producing fish on small spinners. Big Stoney in Giles County
is also producing well. The Jackson River is in good condition.
S A L T W A T E R
CHINCOTEAGUE - Flounder catches improved this past week, while croaker are
"thick as flies". The mouth of the inlet gave up fair catches of sea mullet,
spot, pan trout and sea bass, while offshore anglers were catching bluefin
tuna at the Parking Lot. Chopper bluefish are thick at the Lumpy Bottom and
the Parking Lot. In the Canyons, school yellowfin tuna and the occasional
dolphin or billfish are providing action. A scattering of mullet, taylor
blues, spot, sand shark and skate are being caught from the surf at
WACHAPREAGUE - Inlet fishermen are catching a mixture of flounder, croaker,
grey trout and trigger fish in the Old Coast Guard Channel and inside Cedar
Island. Green and Drawing Channels are giving up large numbers of croaker and
a few flounder. Outside the inlet, good hauls of sea bass, along with a few
tautog are made on the wrecks. Offshore, boats are loading up on school
yellowfin tuna and a few dolphin 30 miles East of Wachapreague, in 100 feet of
water. Billfish action is rated as poor to fair in the Canyons.
ONANCOCK - Excellent bottom fishing for spot, pan trout and croaker is
reported in Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. In addition, anglers are catching a
smattering of porgy, blowfish, sea mullet, taylor blues, small shark and
flounder. Spanish mackerel are beginning to show in fair numbers.
QUINBY - Limit catches of flounder are available near the mouth of the inlet,
when wind allows fishing. Taylor blues, croaker to over two pounds, and grey
trout, 2-3 pounds, are being caught at the Gap.
CAPE CHARLES - Good bottom fishing is available between The Cell and buoy 42A,
and the Cement Ships. Croaker dominate the catches, but spot, grey trout, sea
mullet and gray trout are mixed in the catches. Citation flounder are being
caught in the same area. Red drum are being caught near buoy 16. Cobia
fishing has slowed, although several to 80 pounds have been taken in the
Latimer Shoals area. At 26 Mile Hill, lots of bluefish are being caught,
along with some yellowfin tuna. Some false albacore, king and Spanish mackerel
are showing. Spadefish are thick at the Cell, Plantation Light, and on the
Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel. Amberjack are to be found at the Tower Reef.
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bottom fishermen are finding plenty of croaker and
some spot, flounder and pan trout around the First Island of the Chesapeake
Bay Bridge Tunnel. Spadefish are available around the Third and Fourth
Islands. Tautog continue to bite along the complex, but most are small. Cobia
fishing is good in the Bluefish Rock, Latimer Shoals and York Spit areas.
Black drum are still found around the Second and Third Islands. Spanish
mackerel catches improved this week, with better action coming from the Third
and Fourth Islands, Cape Henry, the Tower Reef, the V-Buoy and the CB Line.
The CB Line is also producing some cobia, although most are in the 25 pound
class. Plenty of spot, croaker and sea mullet are available at Twin Stakes.
Flounder, to 21 inches, are being caught at Gun Rock, just inside Tue Marsh,
on the York River. Good catches of flounder, spot and croaker are being made
off Factory Point. The Bell Buoy and Poquoson Flats is also producing good
catches of flounder. Trollers are taking Spanish mackerel in late afternoons,
at Mill Creek and just off Buckroe Beach. A few tautog are taking crab baits
at Fort Wool. Pan trout are showing on the lower York River, around the Lumps,
along with lots of spot and croaker. Other top spot and croaker areas are the
Severn River and off New Point. Gloucester Point Pier has plenty of spot and
croaker, but flounder have slowed. Offshore, yellowfin tuna and dolphin are
being caught just east of the Fingers. Occasional bluefin tuna, to 100 pounds,
are being taken at the 26 Mile Hill.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Croaker and pan trout are thick throughout the
area. The fish are located in 30 feet of water on the inside of the channel,
off Smith Point. Best action is after dark. Some flounder are mixed in the
catches. Taylor blues are all over the area, and anglers fishing for trout,
are advised to reel the fish in quickly to avoid have them become food for the
bluefish. Some Spanish mackerel are showing at the C-73 buoy, the Great
Wicomico Light and from Windmill Point to Gwynn Island. Best success is to be
had by trolling Drone or Clark spoons on long leaders, pulled behind a planer.
Some of the feeding schools are marked by gulls. Excellent bottom fishing at
the mouth of Dividing Creek, Blackberry Hang and at the N-2 buoy. Speckled
trout have moved into the grass beds at Dameron Marsh and are taking grubs and
live minnows, fished below popping corks at Windmill Point. Fair numbers of
flounder are available around the mouth of the Little Wicomico River and at
the Cell. Schools of spadefish are found at the Cell and Wolftrap Light.
Bottom fishermen are catching spot and croaker on the lower Rappahannock
River, along with a mix of spot, croaker, white perch and catfish between the
power lines and Bowlers Rock.
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Bluefish, 1-4 pounds, are still scattered over the
Gooses, Radar, Sharps Island, Stone Rock, and Poplar Island areas. Anglers
trolling bucktails and small spoons are catching trout at Stone Rock. The
oyster bars in the mouth of the Choptank River are still producing good
numbers of spot and white perch on bloodworms and grass shrimp. Jumbo white
perch are available throughout the upper bay. Grass shrimp and bloodworms
remain the bait of choice. Some of the better locations are the Bay Bridge
pilings, Magothy River mouth, Mountain Bar off Gibson Island, Key Bridge,
Pooles Island, Swan Point Bar, Belvedere Shoals, Chester River and Corsica
River. Flounder fishing is good throughout the upper bay, with some of the
better areas being around Hackett's Point and just inside the Magothy and
Severn Rivers. Large spot are available on bloodworms around the Bay Bridge.
OCEAN CITY - In the bays, flounder are being found at the Thorofare, along the
channels and off the Route 50 bridge, on minnows and squid. Sea bass are being
caught from the Route 50 bridge. At the inlet, pan trout are being taken along
the South jetty and from the pier on bloodworms and squid. Offshore, dolphin
are being found in large numbers near the canyons, while white marlin and
yellowfin tuna catches have been good. Black sea bass and tautog fishing is
good on the wrecks.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Yellowfin tuna action is excellent SSE of Rudee Inlet and
just off Oregon Inlet. Chopper bluefish action is excellent, along with fair
numbers of dolphin and wahoo, at the 26 Mile Hill and just north of the Hot
Dog. Bluefish, 8-14 pounds, are available at the Tower Reef and just east,
while amberjack and a few cobia are found at the Chesapeake Light Tower. The
Tower Reef continues to produce good catches of spadefish. Headboats are
working the mouth of the bay for spot, croaker and flounder.
LYNNHAVEN - Fair numbers of spot and sea mullet are being caught, along with
some pan trout. Spanish mackerel are being taken from the end of the pier, on
high tides. Crabbing is excellent.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Spot, sea mullet and croaker are the mainstays for bottom
anglers, although a few taylor blues, flounder and trout are also taken. Some
Spanish mackerel runs are recorded.
SANDBRIDGE - Spot, croaker and sea mullet dominate the catches. Taylor blues
and Spanish mackerel are available in the evenings. Cobia are within casting
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Croaker, spot and sea mullet are still active along the
beach and from the piers. Casters are taking Spanish mackerel early in the
day. Fair numbers of speckled trout are being caught inside the Sound, with
sporadic runs at the Little Bridge to Manteo early in the morning. Scattered
king mackerel, cobia and amberjack are being taken on live bait from the ends
of the piers. Sheepshead, black drum and a few pompano are taken by anglers on
the Catwalk over Oregon Inlet. The Sound is loaded with small trout and medium
croaker. Inshore charter boats are taking limit catches of taylor blues and
Spanish mackerel, plus some cobia and king mackerel. Headboats are catching a
variety of pigfish, triggerfish, croaker and bluefish. Offshore, dolphin
action is rated excellent, with the best action being ESE of the inlet in 25-
40 fathoms of water. Yellowfin tuna catches vary, with some days producing 20
pound fish, while other days produce 40 pound fish. The Towers hold schools of
20-50 pound amberjack and a few resident barracuda and king mackerel.
Charlie Taylor writes about fishing for News and Messenger. He may be reached