Fishing Report

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.
Thursday 7/26 1217 1901 0643 0534 2055
Friday 7/27 1322 1953 0053 0745 0535 2054
Saturday 7/28 1426 2047 0155 0849 0536 2053
Sunday 7/29 1528 2142 0256 0954 0537 2052
Monday 7/30 1626 2239 0353 1057 0538 2051
Tuesday 7/31 1720 2333 0447 1155 0539 2050
Wednesday 8/01 1811 0537 1247 0540 2049
Thursday 8/02 1858 0024 0624 1333 0540 2048
Friday 8/03 1943 0111 0707 1413 0541 2046
Saturday 8/04 2024 0154 0748 1450 0542 2045
Sunday 8/05 2103 0235 0827 1523 0543 2044
  • POTOMAC RIVER D.C. Fletchers 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-Rs, buzzbaits and spinnerbaits are taking bass here. Grassbeds below Blue Plains are giving up bass on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms.
  • POTOMAC RIVER BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE The days of 50-plus bass per day are over. With the decline of the grass beds, bass have moved to the traditional cover; points, dropoffs and downed wood. Fish topwater baits around the cover early and late in the day. Other times, small crankbaits, spinnerbaits 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, Wades 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 its best. Rig the wormTexas 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. 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 and crappie. Walleye are being taken trolling nightcrawlers across points in 2-8 feet of water. Some panfish action on red wigglers, nightcrawlers and small minnows.
  • BEAVERDAM RESERVOIR Water level is falling daily. Bass are chasing crankbaits, topwaters and plastic baits on points in the upper end of the lake. Schools of small crappie are roaming all over the lake. The larger crappie and bass are orienting to brushpiles and wood structure in deeper water near the dam. Live minnows and tiny jigs are taking the crappie, primarily by deep-trolling the dropoff on the Western shoreline. Bass are taking jig n pig and plastic baits, fished deep in the structure, along the dropoff. Sunfish are taking small spinners, nightcrawlers and grubs.
  • 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 good, with lots of good size fish being caught. Small grubs in chartreuse-pearl, smoke and white colors, tiny crankbaits and soft jerk baits are taking most of the fish in the extensive grass beds. 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.
  • 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.
  • SHENANDOAH RIVER This river is in excellent shape. 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 pounds.
  • 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 Manns Stretch 25 and Manns 30-plus baits in depths of 25-35 feet. Free-lining live shad or jigging Hopkins spoons are also taking fish.
  • JAMES RIVER Fishing is good, 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. The river is falling and filling with grass. Excellent blue catfish action on cut bait, fished in the outside bends.
  • LAKE CHESDIN Largemouth bass action is good, with a number of bass in the 3-7 pound class being taken. 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 on nightcrawlers, minnows 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 Fishing is excellent, with lots of large 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.
  • 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 Knotts Island, with some 3-5 pound bass being reported.
  • SUFFOLK LAKES All of the lakes are reporting good 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 Rudds 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 good, 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 anglers.
  • 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 are spider jigs, small crankbaits and small jig n pig.
  • 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. The water level is falling and this translates into a slowdown in fishing success.
  • 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 being taken.
  • 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.


  • CHINCOTEAGUE Flounder catches dropped 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, many of them citation sized. A scattering of mullet, taylor blues, spot, sand shark and skate are being caught from the surf at Assateague.
  • 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 bluefin tuna and dolphin 30 miles East of Wachapreague, in 100 feet of water.
  • 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 67 pounds have been taken in the Latimer Shoals area. At 26 Mile Hill, lots of bluefin tuna are being caught, along with some yellowfins. 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.
  • 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 Hacketts 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.
  • VIRGINIA BEACH Yellowfin tuna action has slowed, but bluefin tuna action is excellent, along with fair numbers of dolphin and wahoo, at the 26 Mile Hill and just north of the Hot Dog. The big news however, is billfish. Most boats released 5-7 billfish each, this past week. Best action has been ESE of the Cigar, in 40-100 fathoms of water. A few school king mackerel were also taken by the offshore fleet. 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.


  • JAMES RIVER Croaker continue to dominate the catches, but spot catches are improving, along with a few flounder and speckled trout.
  • GRANDVIEW Good numbers of spot, croaker and flounder. Casters are having a ball with Spanish mackerel.
  • BUCKROE BEACH Good catches of flounder and croaker. Good catches of trout are being made after dark, beneath the pier lights. Cobia are daily visitors.
  • HARRISON Action is limited to croaker, spot and pan trout, with cobia visiting occasionally. Crabbing has slowed.
  • 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 distance daily.
  • 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 fair to good catches of taylor blues, Spanish mackerel, 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.

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