All those species grow fast in the falls' food-rich, oxygen-rich waters.
"It's big-fish water," Scott said. "The falls are a barrier to upstream movement, so fish tend to congregate there. There's lots of oxygen, and the water is rich with plankton and other nutrients from the Greenbrier River [which joins the New a few miles upstream] and from Bluestone Lake."
Knowing that big fish are there is one thing; catching them is another.
"Fish on the New River aren't stupid," Scott cautioned. "They see just about every bait and lure known to mankind. The big ones aren't easily fooled.
"I show fishermen pictures of the big fish we catch during [electrofishing] surveys at Sandstone. I tell them the fish were caught near the falls, and they think I'm lying. They can say what they want, but the fish are there."
Scott said that if he could choose only one bait or lure to use at the falls, it would be a 4- to 6-inch creek chub.
"If you fish with chubs, you can catch fish there," he said. "Bass, walleyes and muskies will all hit chubs. The next-best lure would probably be soft-shelled crawfish, especially for bass."
For anglers who prefer artificial lures, Scott recommends Zoom flukes, Senko worms, Wacky worms and buzzbaits.
Anglers who target Sandstone's walleyes should keep in mind that catch-and-release regulations are in effect for the section of river from the falls all the way downstream to Meadow Creek, and that a 20- to 30-inch slot limit is in effect for the rest of the river.
Under the slot limit, all walleyes between 20 and 30 inches in length must be released. Anglers are allowed to keep up to two fish, only one of which can be longer than 30 inches. An 18-inch minimum size limit is also in effect.
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.