Monday, February 14, 2011

Bass Fishing in Davis, WV

Its not too often that one finds themselves in a pristine alpine lake surrounded by hungry large mouth bass and 'gator musky' but this scenario happened completely by accident to my brother 'Little John' and I last May when we visited a friend of the family's ski lodge at the Timberline resort in Davis, West Virginia.  Davis is nestled in Tucker County and according to the town website it is the highest incorporated town in West VA residing at an elevation of 3200 feet above sea level.  Due to its elevation and lengthy cold weather season it is a premier ski resort.  What makes this place special for me is that it has some pretty damn good fishing water that see's little to no impact from other fisherman.

Spruce Lake at Timberline Resort in Davis, West Virginia.

The lake above is on the Timberline property and as such is not open to the general public.  Since it is also private water and part of a resort you do not have to have a West VA fishing license to fish it.  Double bonus!

Waders are a must for this water.  Very shallow and very muddy.

The area around the lake is an alpine meadow with very little in the way of trees blocking your back cast.  The lake itself is very grassy with an island in the middle covered in Spruce trees.  In roder to cast out to the fish hip waders are a must.  As for wild life there are a variety of the normal species, birds, foxes, snakes, etc.  Three species to look our for are giant snapping turtles, skunks and black bear.  Although I have yet to see it locals talk about a black bear that makes the lake home.  It'll leave you alone but I would not load up on snickers bars or cold chicken for lunch on the shore.   The turtles will leave you alone but they are VERY big.

Little John catching a little bass

There are so many bass in this lake you're arm will get tired catching them.  If you are unable to cast out to deeper water then you'll be catching nothing but smallies like LJ above.  If you can put some small bullet weights or split shot on and get to about 10 feet in the water column you can nail the big boys.  Be careful using too much weight in clear water - my humble opinion is that it spooks the bass not to mention fouling with all of the grass in the water.

This one was the largest of the trip.  Don't know how much it weighed as I was on beer 22 by then.  Hey... it was hot work!

The baits we used were all artificial plastics on spin casters using 6 - 8 lb mono.  Either Zoom lizards or slug-o jerk baits rigged Carolina style.  I won't give up all of the colors we used but knowing how to match the color with the sunshine conditions is key to bagging 5 or 50.  Also have a good pair of pliers when using lizards.  Since late May is the spawning season for bass in this area they attack Zoom lizards something fierce.  I believe it has to do with lizards eating their eggs causing a natural instinct to strike and strike hard.  You'll need the pliers to get the hooks out since they seem to gulp them down.

This one almost broke my fly fishing net (the only thing I had on hand to land fish).  You can also see a mangled Zoom lizard on the line. 

Plastics seem to work best due to all of the grass.  I tried a couple of Rattle-Traps and Bombers but the hooks kept getting fouled by all of the grass.  There are BIG gator musky in these waters but have yet to catch one.  They are nicknamed 'the fish of a thousand casts' because they spook very easily.  My next trip I'll try some dark Slug-o's and maybe some special musky spoons.  They key with these guys is to fish in a light wind.  Musky eat bait fish primarily and when a wind is up it tends to push the bait fish into the grass beds on the far wind-ward side of the lake.  My brother and I witnessed a few 4-feet long Gator musky's ambushing some bait schools mere feet from us.  It was like a damn gator thrashing in the water - very cool stuff.

Above is a mother deer who just gave birth to two babies right behind the house we were staying in.

As for the resort property it is absolutely beautiful.  It sits on a the Canaan Valley national park which is a game preserve.  The resort also backs up to the Dolly Sods Wilderness which is a part of the Monongahela National Forest.  Lots of hiking trails and hidden waterfalls.  As a bonus, the Dolly Sods is covered in wild berry bushes so in the summer you can go buck wild on blackberries, blueberries and huckleberries.  Just watch out for the bears because when there is this much fruit and bogs in an area there are bound to be A LOT of black bears.  

Name of the cabin we stayed in... very fitting!

All-in all a great trip.  The town of Davis has a supermarket but selection on food items is limited.  Surprisingly though - the wine section is huge!  Must be all of those shi-shi skiers buying all of the expensive hooch.  If you like hiking, seeing wild life or getting a line wet I highly recommend this place.  I know I'll be back. 

View from the house.  Can't beat waking up to this in the morning!

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