Capt. Art Conway of Conway's River Rat Guide Service out of Ed Allen's Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake midday surface water temperatures were in the upper 70s to low 80s on Wednesday. The lake level was about eight inches above the top of the dam. The surface water was light brown and slightly cloudy in the central lower lake, with more cloudy water deeper, on windy shorelines and in some creeks.
Most blue cats and bullheads were on flats, along drop-offs and in channels in the main lake. When active, the fish hit live minnows and cut bait. Crappie could be found in multiple patterns and were fairly active. A few crappie were located in creeks, usually in deeper areas near wood cover. Other crappie gathered near creek mouths; on flats or channel edges in the main lake; frequently around cypress trees; wood cover such as brush piles; or near the dam. A few crappie were scattered on shoreline flats in the man lake, especially early in the day. Active fish were hitting live minnows, tubes, curly tail grubs, and small swim baits.
White and yellow perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on flats and channel edges in the main lake, with occasional fish in creeks. When active, perch hit on small live minnows, swim baits and jigs. Moderate numbers of bluegill, shellcracker and flier were in creeks and on main lake shorelines and flats, generally scattering out deeper from the neighborhoods of spawning locations. They were hitting live worms, wet flies, Nikko nymphs, Wright Bait Co. one-inch curly tail grubs and small swimbaits. Pickerel and bass were in creeks and around cypress trees, on flats and on channel edges in the main lake. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway: Warren Helwig had 13 bluegill and a largemouth bass on a fly rod; Scott Jackson had 21 bluegill and a shellcracker on a fly rod; Tom Porter had 35 bluegill, seven crappie, a shellcracker and a pickerel.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir has held just above 300 feet this week. Lake Gaston was up and down by a few tenths of a foot around the normal 200 feet level this week. Water temperatures moderated again this week but maintained generally in the 70s and 80s in many locations. Due to the boat traffic this time of year, many anglers opt to go early or late and get off the lake during prime pleasure boating time.
The bigger largemouth bass are tough to catch right now as they move into summer patterns, but smaller fish are abundant and can still be caught shallow. In addition to topwater lures such as a popper or walking bait, many anglers are reporting success on Carolina rigged plastics.
Stripers are being caught downlake around the numerous points and coves particularly in the early morning hours or at night. From mid lake down to the dam, long sloping points can be very productive. Many anglers prefer to throw a redfin across these points and steadily retrieve it, particularly in calm water.
Catfish are biting well again this week. Many fish can be caught in shallow water of 20 feet or less, but often these fish will be fairly small. Anglers are targeting shallow flats or points. Lake Gaston is giving up cats to anglers who cover a lot of water and troll using planar boards. Things can really change now as the cats come off the spawn, and those anglers who are persistent in looking for them can be rewarded with some giants as it can literally turn on any day now.
Crappie anglers are fishing deeper brushpiles again this week, although dock shooting is still a viable method for many anglers well into June. For casting to the deeper brushpiles, it helps to have many brushpiles marked and checking them with electronics.
White perch fishing is a good option right now, and many are reporting success in the uplake areas by drifting or trolling three way rigs. The action in this part of the lake starts up in May and continues through June, and anywhere above the bridges can be good right now. The mouths of Bluestone and Buffalo Creek were still hotspots for this action, and up and down the main channel in this area. Once a school of perch is located, anglers can use other artificials such as spoons and jigs.
Green Top Report
Saltwater: The piers along the lower Chesapeake Bay and mid-Atlantic oceanfront are good bets for many species right now. Many are using bottom rigs with shrimp, bloodworms, squid and small pieces of cut bait with good luck on bottom-feeding species such as whiting, croaker, puppy drum and flounder.
Using fish finder rigs is helpful for locating larger species like red drum and cobia. Large pieces of bait such as crab and fish (either cut or live) work well for these guys. The ends of the piers are usually designated for anglers targeting larger species.
Cobia catches are greatly on the rise throughout the Chesapeake Bay. The season just started June 15, so we should expect to see lots of catch reports soon from sight anglers. Large fish are coming from the mouth of the bay to the mouth of the Rappahannock River. Using plenty of chum while anchored will increase the odds of hooking up. Many anglers keep a chum bag up top along the surface and another on the bottom, close to the boat. Frequently, the bigger fish attack the bait closest to the bottom chum bag. Bucktails and live eels are among the most popular offerings. Schools of red drum can surface at any time. So, bucktails should always be at the ready as they are excellent offerings to draw strikes from these hard-fighting fish.
The structures of the CBBT are attracting sheepshead and spadefish, among other species. Some very nice sheeps have already been caught here and at the MMBT. The spadefishing should continue to improve at the CBBT.
The inlets, bays, and rivers of the bay are yielding multiple species, also. Speckled trout, puppy drum, flounder and sea mullet (or whiting) are being caught by those staying in the tributaries.
Spanish mackerel are spreading out also, as they are being reported from areas like York Spit and Windmill Bar. Trolling small spoons behind in-line sinkers or diving planers at a fast clip will catch the macs. Usual speeds are 5 to 7 mph.
Surf fishing from Sandbridge to Cape Hatteras has been good on most days. Water temps are in the 70 to 74-degree range. Surf anglers are pulling in good numbers of slot-sized puppy drum. The surf bite has been better for the specks in the Carolina waters. Good-sized pompano have been caught this week also. The Nags Head and Hatteras piers are reporting croaker, spot, sea mullet, Spanish macs and bluefish.
The offshore boaters are seeing a good run of blue marlin this week. Excellent sized yellowfin tuna and mahi are being caught right now, along with a few wahoo.
Freshwater: Bass fishing in the area lakes is picking up as Bass are moving towards summer hangouts and patterns. At Lake Anna, three 19-pound bags were brought to the scales on Sunday. Some were caught deep on brush, while others were caught shallow from docks and shoreline grass. Many reported having a lot of bites on topwater baits. The deeper brush bass are usually targeted with drop shots, shaky heads and Texas rigs.
Early morning striper fishing remains good at Anna for keeper-sized fish. Live bait presentations are working best. The splits area has been especially good. Crappie are being caught from the bridges and deeper brush piles with small minnows on slip float rigs.
Kerr Lake elevation is currently at 300.19 feet. Over the weekend, 15 pounds was the winning weight at Kerr. Topwater, drop shots, shaky heads and Texas rigs were among the most productive baits. Crappie are being found along the bridges and in the deeper brush.
The rivers in central Virginia have been impacted by heavy rain, but the tidal sections have still been producing quality Bass. Anglers are finding bass on both the main river and inside the creeks. Shallow to mid-depth crankbaits are a great choice right now. They can be used to cover water quickly and draw strikes from quality Bass.
Both the Chickahominy River and Lake are good choices right now. The topwater frog bite is excellent, especially on the river. Other tidal rivers like the Rappahannock, Pamunkey and Mattaponi are offering good bass fishing now. The Rapp has been especially good. As with most tidal rivers, the bass can be caught very shallow, since the current and tide are the biggest factors.
The upper James is slightly high and stained, but should be good for the upcoming weekend.
- Compiled by Lily Betts