LAKE COUNTRY, KERR RESERVOIR, LAKE
Kerr Reservoir has been on an extended slow fall, and was below 300 feet normal pool earlier in the week. Water temperatures have been in the low 50s for the most part. It is still difficult for fishermen to find clean water and most activity has been reported in down lake sections. Lake Gaston continued to run high this week and was just under 201 feet.
The striper fishing has been excellent this week, primarily in the Palmers Creek area, down by the dam, and in the Nutbush Creek. All of these areas have been relatively clear. Fishermen have reported catching dozens of fish with good sized ones mixed in. Watching for bird activity has been a key element to locating feeding stripers. Anglers are seeing schools of stripers on their graph and trolling with artificial lures including minnow lures and umbrella rigs to catch them. Typically anglers are catch one to two dozen with a couple of these being over 24 inches.
The crappie fishermen has been excellent and fishermen are fishing a wide range of techniques right now, including fishing over brushpiles, around bridge pilings and even using spider rigging techniques. The white perch bite has also been good with many perch being caught on jigging spoons in twenty feet of water. The white perch pattern can be replicated in a number of mid-lake creeks right now including Grassy, Panhandle and Butchers Creeks.
Although the shallow bass fishing has been strong thus far, bass are moving into winter patterns and success with the suspending jerk bait is increasing. These lures have been limited in effectiveness due to the stained water, but down-lake rocky points near the dam and into Nutbush Creek and Palmer’s Creek will hold bass that respond well to the suspending jerkbait. Anglers are having success with both Rapala’s and Megabass jerk baits right now in a wide range of colors. With the stained water, brighter hues of chartreuse and orange are typically more effective. Anglers often find they have to adjust the cadence based on the water temperature and activity of the bass, changing how long the lure is paused between jerks. It is also important to make sure the lure is neutrally buoyant. With the latest lures on the market, this is less of a problem; however, as the density of the water changes, these lures may slowly rise or sink.
Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the mid 40’s in the lower main lake on Wednesday with similar temperatures at the upper end of the lake. The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam. The water was light brown and clear in the central lake.
Blue cats and bullheads were along drop-offs and in channels in the main lake and were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Most crappie were on drop-offs and in channels in the main lake, especially near wood cover. Activity varied, with active crappie hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, blade baits, and small swim baits. Yellow and white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on deep flats, drop-offs, and channels in the main lake and when active were hitting live minnows, small swim baits, and small jigs. Most bluegill and shellcracker were along dropoffs or in channels. Bluegill were hitting live worms, Nikko nymphs, and small swimbaits. Some bass and pickerel were along shorelines on sunny days, but most bass and pickerel were on deeper flats, along drop-offs, or in channels in the main lake and in creeks. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, and jigs. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Ryan
Beale had 12 crappie, 2 white perch, and 1 bass. Tom Porter had 1 bluegill, 21 crappie, 4 roach minnows, and 1 pickerel.
Lake level normal and clear water temperature in the low 40s fishing pressure light. Bass continue to be the best bet as nice fish are being reported on jerk baits, jigs, and spinner baits in 3-10 foot water. Catfish action continues to be good on minnows and cut bait. Notable catches: Dan Jones 24-pound catfish, 12-pound catfish; John Mancini 5-pound bass; Marc Acton 16 bass, catfish, bowfin on Exter large minnows; Danny Gratton/Ryan Gratton 15-pound bag; Ron Cram 5.2-pound bass; William Allen/Mike Martinez
17-pound bag; Kris Calbert 5.2pound bass; Bill Mason 14-pound crappie; Tom Hagler 15-pound crappie; Nate Kirby 6-pound bass, 12-pound bag.
GREEN TOP REPORT
Saltwater: Big rockfish are being caught almost daily. Weigh in are occurring in the Cape Charles area, but most of the big fish are coming from areas north, such as Tangier and 59A. Wednesday produced some big fish from the 42 area, so the fish are getting closer to the mouth of the bay. Many of the bigger fish are coming from live eels, which is typical for this time of year. The eels are usually rigged either with a float, or tight lined with various egg sinker weights. Trolling swim shads, bucktails, and tandem rigs, are what’s mostly working inside the rivers. The York, Rapp and James are yielding keepers consistently. Night time seems to be working better on the York. Big specks are still being caught from Lynnhaven Inlet, and Rudee Inlet has just produced some quality-sized fish recently. Good lures right now are the suspending jerkbait, Mirr-o-lure twitch baits, and paddle tailed plastics on jig heads. There has been some trout reported from the Elizabeth River recently also. There has been a lot of small tautogs caught from the CBBT, with a fair amount of keepers also. Fresh crab is best. In between the blows, ocean anglers are catching seabass, and triggerfish from structure areas. Some of the charter boats out of Nags Head are returning with good numbers of big eye tuna, and blackfin tuna. Surf anglers are still catching balck drum, and sea mullet.
Freshwater: Little Creek Reservoir has been producing some quality crappie lately, along with some pickerel, and largemouth. Little Creek typically remains clear despite heavy rain. Weights were up this week for the 3rd Winter Series Bass Tournament out of Sturgeon Creek Marina on Lake Anna. 18.08 pounds was the winning weight, with Josh Hall and
Matt Martin being the winners. Jeff Bailey was 2nd, with 13.36 pounds. Swim baits and jigs seemed to be best this week. An interesting note, a 3.5-pound spotted bass was weighed in by one of the tournament anglers. The lower James has been good for big crappie, as has the Chickahominy. Bass will typically bite well through the cold and winter season. Jerk baits, blade baits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs, are the most popular , and productive baits. The upper James is slowly returning to normal conditions and levels. It is currently at 6.36 feet at Richmond Westham gauge. December is an excellent time to target big smallmouth.