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.
GREEN TOP REPORT
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.