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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 09/30 0355 1021 1624 2230 0638 1920
Thursday 10/01 0441 1103 1704 2321 0639 1918
Friday 10/02 0522 1142 1739 - - - 0640 1916
Saturday 10/03 0559 1218 1807 0008 0641 1915
Sunday 10/04 0633 1254 1835 0053 0641 1913
Monday 10/05 0705 1330 1905 0136 0642 1912
Tuesday 10/06 0739 1407 1940 0218 0643 1910
Wednesday 10/07 0817 1448 2021 0302 0644 1909
Thursday 10/08 0900 1533 2108 0349 0645 1907
Friday 10/09 0950 1625 2201 0440 0646 1906
Saturday 10/10 1049 1725 2302 0537 0647 1904
Sunday 10/11 1200 1833 - - - 0639 0648 1903
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Above Key Bridge, fish the Virginia shoreline for good
numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass, while the coves are holding schools
of crappie. The upstream point of Three Sisters Island is holding a nice
school of walleye. These fish are taking bottom-drifted minnows, nightcrawlers
and plastic grubs. Washington Channel is producing good stringers of bass on
the dropoff, along the War College Wall and around the boat docks and pilings.
Small stripers are also roaming the dropoff along the wall. These fish are
taking trolled Shad Raps and Rebel FasTrac minnows. Most of the fish are
undersized. Some bass are present around the submerged wood structure at the
mouths of Oxon Cove and the Spoils. Crankbaits and plastic worms are the
preferred baits here. It appears that the magic depth is 17 feet and any line
testing over eight pounds is generally shunned by the bass.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most of the bass action is
centered around main river dropoffs and submerged wood structure along the
channel edges. Best method seem to be casting small crankbaits or plastic
baits onto the flats and fishing them slowly to the edge of the dropoff.
Allowing the baits to fall off the edge of the dropoff will normally trigger
the strike. The fish are aggressive and strikes will be easily felt. Some main
river grassbeds with well defined edges are attracting cruising bass.
Crankbaits, particularly Rat-L-Traps, are taking the fish. Make sure that the
grass is still green. When the grass turns color, the fish move out. The
creeks are holding large numbers of fish, primarily oriented to grass beds,
lily pads and steeply-dropping banks. Topwater lures, such as the Zoom Horny
Toad, are taking lots of fish. Crappie are schooled and biting well. Striper
action is great in the main river, all the way to Colonial Beach and beyond.
Local anglers would be well advised to try the humps at the mouth of Nanjemoy
Creek. These humps come up from 50+ feet of water to less than 10 feet. The
stripers are holding on the edges of the humps and should be there throughout
the balance of the striper season. Casting Sassy Shads and bucktails or
trolling with Mann's Stretch 25+ baits or umbrella rigs with Sassy Shads, are
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass action is good, with largemouth hitting crankbaits and
plastic baits, fished on dropoffs throughout the river. Best bass action is
in the grassbed at the mouth of the river, on topwater frogs and white
spinnerbaits. Lots of small stripers are in the river. Rat-l-traps are taking
them around the footbridge in the back end and on white spinnerbaits around
the grass bed at the mouth of the river. Crappie are schooled around the boat
docks and other submerged wood. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the ticket.
Yellow perch are reported in large numbers throughout the river.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass fishing is poor to good, depending on the day.
Most fish are being caught on main lake points, rock walls and the mouths of
coves, particularly around Fountainhead Marina, where bass are regularly
released by tournament anglers. Best lures appear to be spinnerbaits,
crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastics. Lots of crappie are being taken from the
creek channels, around brush and standing timber, on live minnows and tiny
jigs. The fish are located 10-12 feet down and biting well.
BURKE LAKE - Fishing pressure is very light. Most of the fish are still
holding in deep water, adjacent to the grass beds. Plastic worms and jig 'n
pig baits should take the bass. Some walleye and a few crappie have been seen.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass are taking buzzbaits, crankbaits and
plastic lures. Zoom Super Flukes and Yamamoto Senkos in pearl white are taking
some trophy smallmouth. Do not hesitate to use large buzzbaits around
blowdowns and grassbeds during the early morning hours. Larger baits will take
larger fish. Small catfish are still taking nightcrawlers, shrimp and clam
snouts, fished on the bottom, in the channel.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Anglers are scarce, but smallmouth bass are hungry and
active. Below the city, tidal sections are producing fair action for bass
anglers. Shad colored crankbaits and plastic worms, fished along the south
shoreline are taking good numbers of bass. Around Port Royal, slow-rolled
spinnerbaits are taking some good bass from creek and cove mouths, on outgoing
tides. Striper anglers are taking good catches of fish around Port Royal.
Trolling river humps during daylight hours and casting to tidal rips in low
light conditions provide the best action. Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Redfins and
Rebel FasTrac minnows are the better choice of baits. Cut eel baits are
producing a few catfish to 30 pounds, both above and below the Route 301
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Fishing is good, with the river in excellent shape, though
a little low. Most anglers are concentrating on getting ready for hunting
season, so pressure is light. Smallmouth bass and large sunfish are taking
live minnows, small crankbaits and in-line spinners with gusto. Fish the pools
below the riffles. Some anglers are taking 25+ smallmouth bass.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Striped bass are dominating the fishing on these
rivers. Live bait, including bloodworms and peeler crab, are top choices in
the upper ends of both rivers. Below Lester Manor and Walkerton, Rat-L-Traps,
Sassy Shads, Red Fins, Rebel Minnows, spoons and bucktails are the favored
baits. Most of the stripers are holding on bridge abutments, humps and points.
Check for tidal rips and schools of minnows. Also, watch for diving gulls.
Bass fishing is slow, but some anglers are taking limits on crankbaits.
Catfishermen are doing well, bottom fishing with cut eel.
LAKE ANNA - Striper anglers are catching fish by trolling Sassy Shads,
bucktails and Cordell Redfins, particularly around Jett's Island. Hopkins
spoons, jigged near structure or over the main river channel, are also taking
some fish. Largemouth bass, 3-5 pounds, are being taken by anglers fishing
main lake points with deep diving crankbaits, live minnows and plastic lures,
in 8-14 feet of water. The creeks are also producing some bass, on Carolina-
rigged plastic worms, in 8-17 feet of water, around boat docks. Crappie
anglers are doing well on live minnows, small Beetlespins and tiny jigs.
Catfishing has dropped off.
JAMES RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking plastic grubs in
smoke and pumpkinseed colors, in the deeper holes. Tidal sections of the river
are still producing a few large blue catfish, to 45 pounds. Stripers are
active in the river, primarily taking crankbaits around tidal rips on pilings
and other structure. Crappie, to two pounds, are taking live minnows and tiny
jigs around brushpiles and other cover in the Dutch Gap area of the river. The
barge pits are an excellent starting point. Bass anglers are taking some nice
fish from steep dropping banks in the creeks. Small crankbaits and plastic
worms and grubs are the predominant baits.
LAKE CHESDIN - Good fishing overall, with lots of crappie and largemouth bass,
as well as a few walleye. The crappie are being taken on live minnows, fished
around bridge pilings and in the grass, while bass, 4-7 pounds, and walleye
are being caught on crankbaits and plastic worms. Some stripers are also being
caught by bass anglers.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of striper action on Cordell Redfins, Rat-L-Traps,
peelers and bloodworms. Most of the fish are running 2-5 pounds, with an
occasional 9-10 pounder. Bass action is good upriver, with lots of bass, 2-3
pounds, being caught on 1/8 oz. spinnerbaits and plastic worms, at the mouths
of creeks, and dropoffs with wood structure. Crappie and bream are taking live
minnows and nightcrawlers. Yellow perch and catfish are taking live minnows,
grass shrimp and cut bait.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass, 2-7 pounds, and pickerel are taking live jumbo
minnows, crankbaits, small spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Flyrodders are
doing very well on Pecks Poppers, with bass to 5 1/2 pounds being weighed in
this past week. Yellow perch and catfish action is also good, with best baits
being live minnows and chicken livers. Excellent crappie action, with the fish
being larger than usual. Gar, to 10+ pounds, are being taken on live jumbo
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - The water level is down 19 inches below full pool.
Stripers are the main quarry on this lake, although many large bass are being
taken by striper anglers. More successful baits are Sassy Shads, Road Runners,
live blue back herring and stick baits. Shellcrackers and yellow perch are
also being caught. Most of the fish are being taken on points.
BACK BAY - Fishing action is slow. Some excellent action is to be had on large
catfish in the Hellespoint-Tabernacle Creek area. Cut bait fishermen are
catching a few speckled trout in the grass beds. More and more aquatic
vegetation is being noted in both Back Bay and Currituck Sound, especially in
the coves. Some nice bass are coming from these coves. Some nice crappie and
small bass are biting well in the North Landing River, along with lots of
SUFFOLK LAKES - Shellcracker, crappie and yellow perch fishing is excellent.
Lake Prince reports good striper action. Bass and crappie action is excellent,
with the bass running 2-7 pounds. Lake Cohoon is producing a few pickerel for
anglers using spinnerbaits and jumbo minnows. Crappie and small bass are also
being taken in quantity. At Lake Smith, crappie and walleye are providing
excellent action. Bass and walleye are the fare at Lake Whitehurst, as anglers
are noting excellent catches of both species. All lakes are reporting big bass
catches with 4-6 pounders not unusual and some over eight pounds being weighed
LAKE GASTON - Crankbaits and plastic worms are the baits of choice for the
active largemouth bass. Most of the fish are found around concentrations of
shad. Downlake, plastic worms seem to work best, while spinnerbaits are the
bait of choice in the dingy water uplake. Slowly work plastic worms or grubs
in 4-8 feet of water wherever you find shad. Best areas seem to be around
creek channels that drop to 7-8 feet. The grass beds uplake, both in the main
river and in the creek channels, are producing good bass on topwater baits.
Baby Chug Bugs and Zoom Horny Toads are particularly good. Live bait is
particularly good for stripers. Lots of crappie are available to anglers
fishing live minnows around submerged brushpiles. Look for these brushpiles
around boat docks in Pea Hill Creek.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water level is at 294 feet and falling, due to the
statewide drought. Striper fishing is good to fair, with most fish being
caught in the area from Buoy 10 to Clarksville. Live bait is the preferred
method. Anglers are also taking stripers between dusk and midnight on live or
cut shad, fishing from the points at the mouth of Nutbush Creek. Below the
dam, stripers and catfish are being caught. Bass fishing is good with most
fish taken in the back of creeks and coves on Rat-L-Traps, small spinnerbaits
and plastic grubs. Some bass are also moving from deeper water off main
channel points and creek channel points into 5-6 feet of water. Grubs and
slow-rolled spinnerbaits are the most productive methods for catching these
fish. Crappie action is also good with minnows fished on wood structures in 6-
10 feet of water or submerged brushpiles in 9-10 feet of water.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Small bass, crappie and bluegills
comprise the catch of most anglers.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Water level is just below full pool. Bass are hitting
shad-colored crankbaits and small spinnerbaits around the baitfish schools in
the creeks and coves. Best patterns involve rip-rap, boat docks and dropoffs
into 30 feet of water. Small topwater lures are taking fish in the lower end
of the lake, around the islands. Jig 'n pig baits, fished in 20-30 feet of
water, in creek channels, particularly at creek mouths, are also doing well.
Stripers are starting to move upriver, with good numbers being caught on live
shad suspended at 15-20 feet. Bucktails, fished off deep mud banks on the
outside bends of the river channel, are also taking fish.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Largemouth bass, walleye and striper action is good, but
information on catch methods is sketchy. Below the dam, crappie and white bass
are being taken after dark on Doll Flies and Tiny Traps.
LAKE MOOMAW - Anglers are catching smallmouth bass, yellow perch and crappie.
Trout to 15 inches are being caught.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Water level is currently at 969, down about four feet from
normal pool. Crappie fishing continues to improve. Live minnows and tiny
jigs, fished around wood cover in 8-14 feet of water, are taking the fish.
Bass throughout the lake are responding to spinnerbaits, fished early and late
in the day, along steeply dropping banks. Night action is excellent. Catfish
action is holding up well.
NEW RIVER - A few catfish and some smallmouth bass have been caught. Small
topwaters and plastic grubs are the ticket.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Water level here is at 1719 feet, about 10 feet
below full pool. Very few fishermen out this week, although the water is
clear and the weather was beautiful. Lots of crappie and bass were taken by
those who did venture out. Best lures were crankbaits. A few catfish are being
taken and white bass are beginning to show in the creels.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Water levels here are stable despite the drought. Some crappie
are taking live minnows. Bass are taking crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic
worms. Striper anglers are reporting fish to 14 pounds on alewives and shad,
primarily around the lighthouse.
TROUT STREAMS - Southwestern streams are clear and low. Spinfishermen are
scoring on small spoons and spinners. Only the largest of this area's trout
waters are likely to yield any trout this week. In the Northwest and Central
parts of the state, trout are being caught on most of the streams on
terrestrials and streamers.
S A L T W A T E R - *
N O T I C E * Once again, we come to the end of the saltwater fishing season.
This will be the last report on saltwater fishing this year, unless something
important develops. The report will resume in late March of next year. The
freshwater report will continue all winter, incorporating some different
bodies of water for those anglers who do not put their tackle aside during the
CHINCOTEAGUE - Sea trout, taylor blues, sea mullet and flounder are still
available inside the inlet. The surf off Assateague Island still holds sea
mullet, sea trout, striped bass, small sharks, taylor blues and a few spot.
Pan trout are available near the 2TL Buoy, for anglers drifting squid strips.
Offshore boats are still finding yellowfin tuna from 30 fathoms out to the
Canyons, while inshore waters are harboring lots of false albacore.
WACHAPREAGUE - Good catches of pan trout to two pounds, just 1-2 miles off
Metomkin Inlet. Offshore boats are still catching dolphin and yellowfin tuna.
Inside the inlet, bottom fishermen are taking sea mullet, taylor blues, sea
trout, spot and flounder. Most of the croaker have moved outside the Inlet.
The fall run of Flounder has yet to materialize. Some red drum were taken from
the Parramore Island surf this past week.
ONANCOCK - Fair numbers of small flounder and grey trout to five pounds. The
fish are scattered and drift fishing is proving more effective than anchoring.
Peeler crab is the preferred bait for the trout, but most anglers are fishing
cut spot, due to availability. The early morning and late evening tide change
has provided the best catches. Lots of medium spot and croaker, bluefish to 21
inches and flounder to 24 inches still linger, along with stripers, puppy drum
and plenty of porgy, straight out of Onancock in 35 feet of water. Speckled
trout remain scarce.
QUINBY - Good fishing for grey trout, sea mullet, sea bass and a few flounder.
The area from Eggen Marsh to Rebel Island has been the favorite spot. Anglers
fishing just off the beach are taking 40-50 pound red drum on cut baits, cast
toward the beach.
CAPE CHARLES - Good catches of tautog were made on the nearby mussel beds and
at the Artificial Reef site. Bottom fishermen are also picking up grey trout,
striped bass and puppy drum, along with a few spot, croaker and porgy. Catches
are reported at the mouth of the harbor, along the deeper channel edges and at
the Artificial Reef site. Speckled and grey trout are hitting at the mouths of
the Bayside Creeks. Occohannock, Nassawadox and Hungars Creeks are all
producing some nice stringers of fish. Flounder have diminished around the
LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Good spot action just outside the Lesner Bridge,
while flounder and speckled trout action has been fair to good, inside the
inlet, with best results coming on the incoming tide. Good spot action is
also available at the M&M Crossing, Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and Twin
Stakes. Along the Bay Bridge Tunnel, nighttime anglers are finding increasing
numbers of grey trout, while daytime anglers report good catches of tautog.
Anglers fishing topwater baits around the Fourth Island, are taking good
numbers of school stripers, and bluefish to five pounds. Spanish mackerel are
again showing off Cape Henry. Speckled trout and puppy drum are "just about
everywhere" inside Lynnhaven Inlet, with some of the best action coming along
the "Ditch". Nighttime anglers are finding speckled trout in front of the
Duck-In Restaurant, around high tide. Around the Chesapeake Light
Tower/Artificial Reef area, chopper blues to 15 pounds, and large Spanish
mackerel are hitting deeply trolled spoons. A few amberjack continue to linger
around this structure also. Bottom fishing with peeler crab is producing some
of the best fishing of the year in the Severn River, lower York River and
Mobjack Bay. Grey trout, spot and flounder are providing excellent action.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Excellent striper action is had by anglers
fishing trolled spoons, bucktails and eels. Chummers are taking 50+ fish
per day, 16-22 inches and bluefish to five pounds. Good catches of 2-9 pound
trout and Spanish mackerel at the Target Ships and around the Smith Point
Lighthouse. Peeler crab, fished on the bottom or tipping a jig, is the top
bait. A few trout are being caught by anglers trolling small bucktails. Acres
of taylor blues are available from just East of the Smith Point Light to the
Target Ships. The fish are taking almost anything cast or trolled through
them. Good numbers of grey trout have moved into the Gwynn Island area, but
the spot are about gone. Flounder are making a strong showing at Butlers Hole,
but most are small. The Piankatank River and the Hole-in-the-Wall are showing
good numbers of speckled trout on dark colored Mirrolures. Late evenings are
the best time. Good catches of grey trout near the Silos on the Rappahannock
VIRGINIA BEACH - Offshore boats are returning with limits of yellowfin tuna in
the 20-50 pound class, dolphin and wahoo. Amberjack are still found around the
towers. Most of the fish are being caught between the Cigar and the Fingers.
Inshore boats are fishing the Artificial Reef and inshore wrecks, returning
with lots of sea bass, chopper blues and large Spanish mackerel. Headboats are
catching mostly sea bass and some flounder.
PIERS - Call before planning a trip to fishing piers, as they are changing
their hours during this season.
LYNNHAVEN - Medium to jumbo spot, stripers and puppy drum are providing steady
action, with some speckled trout also being taken.
VIRGINIA BEACH - Medium spot, puppy drum, stripers, bluefish and speckled
trout are the fare here, along with a few large red drum.
SANDBRIDGE - Spot are providing the bulk of the action. A few puppy drum and
speckled trout are caught on the early morning incoming tide. Anglers fishing
big chunks of fresh cut bait are taking 32-60 pound channel bass daily.
OUTER BANKS, N.C. - Spot, sea mullet, Spanish mackerel and bluefish are
hitting at the piers, with a good run of large speckled trout at the Nags Head
Pier. Plenty of bluefish are available along the surf, with some of the best
concentrations on the north side of Oregon Inlet. Flounder continue to bite
inside the inlet. At Buxton, a strong showing of 25-40 pound red drum occurs
in the evenings, at dusk. Puppy drum are thick throughout the area. The drum
have been biting best on a falling tide, hitting a variety of cut baits,
including spot and mullet. Pompano remain in excellent supply, with some of the
best action coming from the north side of the Point. Spanish mackerel action
has slowed, but flounder and speckled trout are improving at Hatteras Inlet.
Offshore, limits of dolphin and yellowfin tuna are reported, with wahoo and
billfish also being caught. Also mixed in with the yellowfin are bigeye tuna,
with several fish 142-212 pounds being reported. King mackerel are running 4-
10 pounds at the 102 Degree Tower, hitting spoons and strip baits. Best
dolphin catches have been coming northeast of the Inlet. Inshore boats report
steady action on 1-2 pound bluefish, with a few Spanish mackerel mixed in the
catches. The headboat reported mixed catches of pigfish, sea mullet and