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 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
Monday 10/12 1317 1948 0017 0744 0649 1902
Tuesday 10/13 1426 2102 0139 0847 0650 1900
Wednesday 10/14 1526 2209 0252 0945 0651 1859
Thursday 10/15 1620 2310 0353 1039 0652 1857
Friday 10/16 1709 - - - 0447 1129 0653 1856
Saturday 10/17 1755 0006 0537 1215 0654 1855
Sunday 10/18 1839 0057 0624 1259 0655 1853
OVERVIEW - The cooler temperatures are sending the fish on the feed as the
water temperatures begin to drop and baitfish school up and head for the backs
of creeks. As the water cools, look for all species of fish to begin taking
faster moving baits, such as crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Next week should
signal the start of some of the best fishing of the year.
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Bass are moving from the vegetation to dropoffs and
submerged structure. The onset of colder weather will lower water temperatures
and bass will be feeding heavily for the winter. Most successful lures should
be shad or chartreuse colored crankbaits, rattling lipless crankbaits, plastic
worms and grubs, and jig 'n pig combinations. Above Key Bridge, fish the
Virginia shoreline for good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass, while
the coves are holding schools of crappie. Best bait should be small, live
crayfish. Below Memorial Bridge, the Virginia shoreline is holding good
numbers of smallmouth bass to Columbia Island and largemouth bass to National
Airport. Washington Channel is producing some bass on the dropoff along the
War College Wall and around the boat docks and pilings. Stripers are also
prowling the War College wall. Crappie are schooled around the boat docks and
may be taken on live minnows or tiny jigs, fished under a bobber. The mouth of
Oxon Cove, the Spoils and Fox Ferry are producing some largemouth bass on
crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic baits.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most of the bass action is
centered around main river dropoffs and wood cover along the channel edges,
from the bridge to Pohick Bay. Best method seems 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. Below Pohick Bay, the creeks are holding large
numbers of fish, as they come out of the dying lily pads and hold on steeply-
dropping banks. Small spinnerbaits, cast into the vegetation and retreived
slowly back to the boat, will take some fish. Grassbeds, when still green,
are holding large numbers of bass. These fish may be taken on plastic baits,
fished on top of the grass or in the holes. Crappie are schooled and biting
well. Stripers are currently working around the mouth of Nanjemoy Creek and
Port Tobacco River.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW ROUTE 301 - Stripers are marauding baitfish on the
shoals below Mattox Creek, and around the grassy islands and points throughout
the lower Potomac River. Sassy Shads, Storm swim baits, Rat-L-Traps and
topwater baits are producing well. Trollers are having success using Mann's
30+ crankbaits while flyrodders are doing well with Lefty's Deceivers and
Clouser Minnows in red and white.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - Bass action is still good, with largemouth hitting
crankbaits and plastic baits, fished on dropoffs throughout the river. The
grassbed at the mouth of the river is still holding good bass. The fish are
taking plastic "toads", pulled steadily across the top of the water. Lots of
small stripers throughout the river. Crappie are schooled around the boat
docks and other submerged wood. Small minnows and tiny jigs are the ticket.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass will be hanging on the downlake side of points,
standing timber and submerged cover. With the colder weather, the weekend
should see lots of bass being caught on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jig 'n
pig on main lake points, rock walls where wood is present, and along the creek
channels. Most of the fish in the lower end of the lake are holding in 8-12
feet of water, while the upper end is producing bass from 4-8 feet of water.
Spinnerbaits are producing good bass uplake. Lots of crappie are being taken
from the creek channels, where they are suspended over the bottom. Best
results are coming from 8-12 feet of water, on live minnows and tiny jigs.
BURKE LAKE - Action is slow, with very few anglers out. Lots of small
catfish and a few crappie. No reports on bass this week.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Lots of action on the upper river. Smallmouth bass
are taking buzzbaits, crankbaits and plastic lures early and late in the day.
Do not hesitate to use large buzzbaits around blowdowns during the early
morning hours. Larger baits will take larger fish. After sunup, move to the
main river channel, where the fish will be cruising in deeper water, looking
for an easy meal. Small catfish are still taking nightcrawlers, shrimp and
clam snouts, fished on the bottom, in the channel. Some good sized crappie are
available at the mouths of Goose Creek and Broad Run.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Above the city, smallmouth bass are taking live minnows,
crayfish and small crankbaits. In the tidal sections, largemouth bass are
taking crankbaits and plastic lures, fished along the shoreline brush and
blowdowns on the south side of the river. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also
taking good largemouth bass at the mouths of coves and creeks. Work the baits
down the drops. Crappie and white perch are hitting live minnows around the
brush, while catfish are taking cut bait, bottom fished in the outside bends
of the main river channel. Striper action is centered well downriver, around
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Lots of smallmouth bass are being caught on live minnows,
small crankbaits, plastic grubs and spinners. Motor oil and smoke seem to be
the most productive colors for grubs, while chartreuse and crayfish are the
better crankbait colors. All lures must be fished very slowly to attract fish.
Lots of bream are still taking small spinners, and catfish are available for
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - The upper reaches of both rivers are producing
lots of bass, crappie, white perch and catfish. The Mattaponi is also giving
up some nice pickerel. Below West Point, there are plenty of white perch and
stripers. Peeler crab, bloodworms, bucktails and spoons are taking the fish.
Catfish anglers are taking good numbers of fish on peeler crab and bloodworm
LAKE ANNA - Bass action is fair, with most of the fish being taken on
crankbaits, topwaters and jig 'n pigs. The bass are holding and feeding in
water 8-15 feet deep, with the better fishing being midlake. On the lower end,
bass are holding in stump fields in 11-17 feet of water, particularly on
points and near boat docks. Uplake, fish the secondary points of coves and
creeks with willow grass beds. Spinnerbaits, 1/4 oz., worked slowly around the
grass points, will take some large bass. Lots of stripers working the area
around Rose Valley, between Jett's Island and Stubb's Bridge, and the mouths
of Contrary Creek and Christopher Run. Cordell Redfins, Sassy Shads and
bucktails are the preferred baits. Stripers are also taking topwater baits.
Crappie are taking small and medium minnows around submerged brush in the
Stubb's and Dillard's Bridge areas.
JAMES RIVER - The tidal section, below the city, is producing good numbers
of largemouth bass on small crankbaits, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic
worms. Wood structure, near deeper water, is the best location. Crappie are
schooled at the mouths of creeks and coves, around submerged brush. Yellow
perch are taking small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and grubs throughout the tidal
sections. Stripers are present around the power lines below Jordan Point.
Large crankbaits and bucktails are the preferred baits. Near the city, blue
catfish to 40 pounds, are being caught on cut eel. Flathead catfish, to 25
pounds, continue to be caught on live bait at the Pony Pasture and Reedy
Creek. The upper end of the river is also showing some good smallmouth bass
action on live bait, plastic grubs and flyrod offerings.
LAKE CHESDIN - Good fishing overall, with lots of crappie and largemouth
bass and a few walleye. The crappie are being taken on live minnows, while
bass, 4-7 pounds, and walleye are being caught on crankbaits and plastic
worms. Catfish action is good. Striper fishing also exploded this past
week. Pickerel have turned on in the lake, with bass anglers catching many of
them by accident.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of bass, to four pounds, are being caught by
patient anglers using small buzzbaits, jumbo minnows and plastic worms at the
mouths of creeks and dropoffs with wood structure in the upper reaches of the
river. Crappie and bream are taking live minnows and nightcrawlers. Stripers
are running the channel in force, taking Rat-L-Traps and live bait. The
Walker's Dam area is giving up good numbers of stripers and large crappie.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Bass, 2-6 pounds, and pickerel are taking live jumbo
minnows, crankbaits and plastic worms. Yellow perch and catfish action is also
good, with best baits being live minnows and chicken livers. Crappie action is
excellent around dark at the dam, or by trolling the lake. Stripers, to 10
pounds, are being caught by bass anglers.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Pickerel, bass and crappie are the prime targets
here. Large pickerel are still hitting well on live minnows and crankbaits.
Crappie fishing is excellent from the pier on live minnows and tiny tubes.
Catfish anglers are taking some good sized channel cats. Stripers are hitting
well, as are the yellow perch.
BACK BAY - White perch are biting on live minnows and grass shrimp. Some
bass are being caught from the grass beds around Knott's Island and duck
blinds throughout the bay, when there is water in the bay. Catfish are still
biting well in Hellespoint Creek. West Neck Creek is producing fair to good
fishing action for bass, catfish, white perch and crappie.
SUFFOLK LAKES - Lots of action in all the lakes. The cooler weather has turned
on the larger bass, as well as pickerel, crappie and striped bass. Plastic
worms, crankbaits and live minnows are the primary baits. Citation
shellcrackers are still being caught on crickets and red wigglers, as the fish
are said to be "biting as well as they were last spring". Yellow perch and
catfish round out the catches.
LAKE GASTON - Crappie action is excellent with fish in the 1-2 pound class
being taken on small minnows, fished around solid structures and submerged
bushes, 12-14 feet down. Bass fishing is slow, with no apparent pattern.
Crankbaits and plastic worms are the baits of choice. Most of the fish are
found around concentrations of shad. 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. Live bait is particularly good for stripers
from the Route 85 Bridge to Gaston Dam.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Striper fishing is good to fair, with most fish being
caught in the area from Buoy seven to Clarksville. Trolling Cordell Redfins
and bucktail jigs is the preferred method. Bass fishing is slow, with most
fish being taken in the back of creeks and coves above Clarksville, on
spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits. Some bass are also moving into
deeper water off main channel points and creek channel points in 5-6 feet of
water. Grubs and slow-rolled spinnerbaits are the most productive methods for
catching fish. Crappie action is also good with minnows, fished on wood
structures in 12-15 feet of water or submerged brushpiles in 9-10 feet of
water. Schools of white bass are available at the mouth of Bluestone Creek.
White perch are being caught in 14 feet of water, off rip-rap, on
nightcrawlers and small minnows.
BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Lots of bass are being caught,
with few larger fish mixed in the creels. A good mix of fish have been
caught, including catfish to 15 pounds and plenty of good sized bluegills.
Live bait has been the best bet.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Bass are hitting shad-colored crankbaits and
spinnerbaits in the creeks. Small topwater lures are taking fish in the lower
end of the lake. Jig 'n pig baits, fished in 18-20 feet of water, in creek
channels are doing well. Striper fishing is tough throughout the lake. Most of
the guides are getting 1-5 small fish per day. No good reason for the turnoff,
although lots of theories are being advanced. Plenty of good fish are being
marked at 45-50 feet, but they appear uncatchable. Best time is late evenings
and early mornings. Crappie fishing is excellent, with many over the one pound
mark being caught.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - White bass, walleye and largemouth bass top the menu
here, with stripers expected to pick up this week. Largemouth bass, 2-6
pounds, are taking crankbaits, plastic worms and live bait. White bass and
walleye are taking bucktails, crankbaits and plastic grubs.
LAKE MOOMAW - Smallmouth bass fishing is outstanding, with several fish to
five pounds being caught. The fish are located in 2-3 feet of water and are
being caught on topwater baits. Crappie fishing is picking up, but trout
anglers are coming up empty. Trout fishing in the Jackson River, below the
dam, is reported as fair.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Fair smallmouth bass fishing, with fish being taken on live,
medium minnows, and live crayfish, fished in 30-35 feet of water. Anglers
fishing at night, are catching bass on spinnerbaits and plastic grubs. Nice
crappie action is to be had on small minnows. Walleye action is picking up,
also on live minnows. Trout fishing is good on the Smith River after recent
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Smallmouth bass are taking jig 'n pig baits in 10-
15 feet of water. Topwater baits are also accounting for some nice bass, early
and late in the day. Crappie are beginning to school and catches are improving
daily. Walleye fishing is reported as slow.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Good striper action, along with some large catfish being taken
by lake regulars. Occasional muskie and white bass are also taken. Crappie
fishing is excellent on live minnows.
NEW RIVER - Smallmouth bass are biting well. Topwater baits and small jigs
are the order of the day, but patience is required.
TROUT STREAMS - The middle fork of the Holston River, Big Stoney Creek,
Middle Fox Creek, Lick Creek and the Jackson River are good possibilities this
week. Best lures are streamers, small spoons and spinners.
S A L T W A T E R - The Chesapeake Bay is holding some good sized striped
bass on humps, underwater islands, rock piles and structure that produces
tidal rips, such as bridge pilings. Most of the larger tidal rivers are also
hosting these fish. Anglers on charterboats around Point Lookout, are catching
and releasing up to 100 stripers per day in the chumlines. The fish are so
thick around the boats, you can watch the fish take the bait. Best action is
around the Point-No-Point Light. Lots of bluefish, a few flounder, sea bass,
tautog and sea trout remain in the middle to lower portions of the Bay.
Anglers fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Islands with topwater baits,
are finding bluefish, stripers, Spanish mackerel and lots of other unexpected
fish. Inshore ocean anglers are finding sea bass and tautog on wrecks and
rockpiles, king mackerel, false albacore, Spanish mackerel and large bluefish
on the artificial reefs and towers. Surf anglers are finding some red drum on
the seaside islands. Pier anglers are finding taylor blues, sea mullet, grey
and speckled trout, flounder and occasional pompano.
Charlie Taylor writes about fishing for the News and Messenger. He may be
reached at: email@example.com