Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - Jeff Crow — Com­piled by Ash­ley Wood


Capt. of Conway’s River Rat Guide Ser­vice out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait re­ported that Chickahomi­ny Lake mid-day wa­ter tem­per­a­tures were in the up­per 60s in the lower lake and ma­jor creeks on Wed­nes­day and will likely drop through this week­end. The wa­ter level was about 8 inches above the top of the dam. The wa­ter was medium brown and clear in the cen­tral lake.

Many blue cats and bull­heads were along drop-offs and in chan­nels in the main lake, but some were on flats and in creeks. When ac­tive, cats were hit­ting live min­nows and cut bait. Most crap­pie were on deeper main lake flats near creek mouths or on chan­nel edge brush piles. Very few crap­pie were still spawn­ing around cy­press trees and other shore­line wood cover in the main lake, but most of the spawn ap­peared over. Ac­tive crap­pie were hit­ting live min­nows, Wright Bait

Co. and South­ern Pro curly tail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crap­pie scrubs and small swim baits.

White and yel­low perch were scat­tered or in loose ag­gre­gates on flats and dropoffs in the main lake and creeks and when ac­tive were hit­ting small live min­nows, swim baits and jigs. Some bluegill, fliers and shell­cracker were in creeks and along main lake shore­lines, hold­ing around lily pads and other veg­e­ta­tion.

Ex­pect move­ment back out of the creeks in re­sponse to the cold front this week and week­end. When ac­tive, bluegill and shell­cracker were hit­ting live worms and Nikko nymphs, flies and small swim baits fished on drop shot rigs. Pick­erel and bass were lo­cated around cy­press trees, on flats, along shore­lines, and in creeks, es­pe­cially on sunny days. When ac­tive, bass and pick­erel were hit­ting live min­nows, spin­ner baits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, blade baits and jigs.


re­ports the fol­low­ing from Lake Coun­try in south­ern Vir­ginia. Kerr Reser­voir has risen sub­stan­tially in the past week due to all the rain and was in the vicin­ity of 303 to 304 feet re­cently. This puts suf­fi­cient amount of wa­ter around shore­line bushes and trees for spawn­ing fish. Lake Gaston was run­ning just un­der 200 feet nor­mal pool. Wa­ter tem­per­a­tures have been in the mid 60s in many places.

An­glers on Kerr and Gaston are catch­ing large­mouth bass in and around spawn­ing lo­ca­tions and the fish­ing is ex­cel­lent right now. Fish in the pre- and post-spawn phases are also be­ing caught. Top wa­ter lures along with Texas rigged plas­tics are hard to beat. It is al­ways good to check sec­ondary points in and around spawn­ing lo­ca­tions for stag­ing bass.

Cat­fish are also be­ing caught shal­low, pri­mary on flats in backs of creeks. Many an­glers opt to drift this time of year to cover big ex­pan­sive flats. De­pend­ing on re­sults, they then fo­cus on cer­tain ar­eas or depths, or even an­chor as con­di­tions and the fish dic­tate.

Long-lin­ing for crap­pie is pro­duc­ing good re­sults and big fish this week. Fish are be­ing caught any­where from 4 feet of wa­ter out to 20 feet of wa­ter. But it is also that time of year for shoot­ing docks. An­glers are re­port­ing suc­cess on docks and catch­ing 25 to 30 a day with about half of them over 1 pound. Find­ing the right dock is key as is the abil­ity to shoot a jig into the far dark re­cesses of the dock. Af­ter the jig falls for a few sec­onds, a slow steady re­trieve will catch these fish.


There is an ex­cel­lent bite for grouper hap­pen­ing right now. Ocean struc­tures, like rock­piles, are at­tract­ing plenty of grouper. Ocean struc­tures are also pro­duc­ing rose­fish and tile­fish. The tile­fish seem to pre­fer softer bot­toms. Tau­togs are bit­ing well on ocean and bay struc­tures. In the break­wa­ters around Fish­er­man’s is­land, folks are reel­ing in large red drum. Night fish­ing for the drum is of­ten more pro­duc­tive.

Floun­der catches are be­com­ing more com­mon on the sea­side of the Eastern Shore. The Chin­coteague area is known to yield qual­ity floun­der at any time, but it seems to have the best bite in the early sea­son. Live min­nows are of­ten the most pro­duc­tive. Surf an­glers in the Bux­ton area of Hat­teras are pulling in sea mul­let, red drum and blue­fish. A 67-pound co­bia was caught from the Ocra­coke area over the week­end. This is ex­cit­ing news, as we can look for the co­bia to be in Vir­ginia waters in the next few weeks.

Striped bass are bit­ing ag­gres­sively in our lakes that they are stocked in. Kerr Lake stripers spawn nat­u­rally and suc­cess­fully in the up­per sec­tions of the trib­u­taries that flow into Kerr. This is an an­nual event for many lo­cals, in the sur­round­ing coun­ties of the up­per sec­tions. Cast­ing buck­tails, flukes and top­wa­ter baits are some of the pre­ferred meth­ods for hook­ing up with these ag­gres­sive fight­ers. Ac­cess­ing these ar­eas from the lake can be treach­er­ous. It may be best to in­ves­ti­gate ramps, and ac­cess points, in the Staunton and Dan rivers.

Smith Moun­tain Lake, and Lake Anna stripers are be­ing caught in good num­bers right now also. Live bait has been work­ing best dur­ing the day. Rip-rap banks are good at night with swim baits, flukes and wake baits. The rip-rap typ­i­cally at­tracts the shad, which in turn at­tracts the game fish. Some bass an­glers are say­ing that many bass have yet to spawn, so look out for an­other wave of spawn­ing bass. Docks are a good bet for spawn­ing and postspawn bass. Many of the bass at Kerr have not shown the signs of com­plet­ing the spawn also.

The cur­rent el­e­va­tion is 303.6 feet and fall­ing. Many are re­port­ing catch­ing bass with Texas rigged soft plas­tics, such as the brush hog. Spin­ner baits have been fool­ing qual­ity fish also. Many crap­pie are still shal­low, and are be­ing caught by bass an­glers on bass-sized baits. Fish are be­ing caught from the bushes, as well as the points.

The James and Chickahomi­ny rivers are get­ting bet­ter, as the wa­ter lev­els are re­turn­ing to nor­mal. Many of the bass have yet to spawn on these rivers, but the full moon ar­rives on May 6, so this week­end could prove in­ter­est­ing. Both wood cover and pad flats are hold­ing bass. Crap­pie are be­ing caught from these same ar­eas. The James is still high, so be aware of de­bris and stained wa­ter. Pond an­glers are re­port­ing catch­ing spawn­ing bass this week also. Bluegill baits work very well. Look for the bluegill bite to turn any time now, but cooler weather could put things be­hind, as it did with the bass.

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