Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake midday water temperatures were in the low to upper 70s in the central lower lake and major creeks on Wednesday. The lake level was 1-2 inches over the top of the dam and the water was medium brown and very slightly cloudy 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, but a few were on deeper shorelines with wood cover. Active crappie was 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 drop-offs in the main lake and creeks and when active were hitting small live minnows, swim baits and jigs. Some bluegill, fliers and shellcracker were along main lake shorelines and in the lower areas of major creeks, in loose schools holding around wood cover or vegetation. When active, bluegill and shellcracker were hitting live worms and Nikko nymphs, flies and small swimbaits. Pickerel and bass were located around cypress trees, on flats, along shorelines and on channel edges, especially near the mouths of creeks. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, blade baits and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 27 bluegill, 6 crappie and a shellcracker.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir has undergone an incredible rise, going from approximately 302 feet to 314 feet within a week. With massive amounts of rain to the west, inflows into the system have overwhelmed the region and flooded the banks on Kerr Reservoir. Check the latest level with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the latest information on what ramps remain open. Lake Gaston was running higher than normal earlier in the week and was in the range of 200 feet. Water temperatures have been in the lower 70s as a result of the warming trend we have had. With the warming trend, the fishing should excel this coming weekend depending on weather patterns. The pleasure boaters have been out in droves with spring turning into summer, so many anglers opt to fish early or late and also avoid many of the heavily trafficked main lake stretched.
Lake Gaston may be the better choice now for largemouth bass given the influx of new water into Kerr, but the post-spawn largemouth bass fishing is still hot with many bass being caught shallow on crankbaits, topwater, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Even though many tournaments have been cancelled, there are many fishermen on the lakes, so anglers have to be patient in finding good places to fish. The topwater bite in May is usually very good, particularly the latter part of the month. This bite won’t last long as we head into summer, so it is important to get out there now. Some areas of Kerr Reservoir are still fishing well despite the rise, particularly mid-lake creeks such as Butchers, Panhandle and Eastland. Texas rigged plastics are working well right now on Lake Gaston, particularly big 10-inch worms. Creature baits such as craws or lizards are also good choices as are finesse type rigs such as trick worms on a shaky head. A spinnerbait will work wonders right now as long as you have some stain and preferably some wind. Fishing wind-blown banks and points is a key pattern to work right now as it often activates the fish into feeding. Finally, bass anglers are reporting good success on long tapering points throughout each lake, even though the bass may be relating to cover near the bank on these points.
As we saw last week, and even with the water level changes, crappie fishermen are still reporting very good catches, and many are shooting docks. Shooting docks is one of the best ways to catch crappie in May as this is usually the first place they go after the spawn. Anglers report catching up to one hundred a day and fish up to 14 inches is not uncommon. In addition to docks, many crappies have moved to brush piles and can be caught casting or vertically jigging lures on this cover.
Catfish continued to bite well this week and are being caught drifting in many areas of the lake. They can be caught shallow and on flats in the backs of creeks. Good reports are still coming in from the mid-lake area of Kerr as well as below the power lines and all the way to the dam.
GREEN TOP REPORT
Saltwater: Good catches of spot continue inside the Rappahannock. Bloodworms have been working best. There have been generous catches of sea mullet caught in several places throughout the Chesapeake Bay, but many have been coming from the mouth of the Rappahannock. White perch have been plentiful inside the Rapp also. The first catches of cobia have been reported from inside the Chesapeake Bay. The season starts June 1 for cobia. Usually, the better catches of cobia come from those who are chumming. Using an abundance of chum greatly increases the chances for hookups. Live eels work great on set lines while chumming. This weekend saw a surge of black drum being caught, but the catches of reds were greater. Many are having better success for the reds at night. Crab is hard to beat as bait for red drum. Rockfish are being caught inside the rivers, especially at creek mouths. Casting lipless cranks, swimbaits and topwater are usually productive. Shallow grass flats are getting better for the speckled trout. Casting Berkley Gulp baits on light jig heads is a favorite tactic of many. If live shrimp is available, it is often best. Topwater baits are taking specks now also. Flounder reports slowed a bit this week, probably due to the overcast conditions and rain over the last week, but catches should bounce back with the sunny, warm weather and the approach of June. Down to the south, in the Nags Head/Hatteras area, excellent catches of speckled trout are occurring. Good reports have been coming from inside the sounds and at the little bridge in Manteo. Inshore anglers are finding Spanish mackerel and puppy drum along with speckled trout. Surf anglers are reeling in sea mullet, pompano, bluefish and trout. The offshore boats are finding mahi, blackfin tuna, tellowfin tuna and wahoo. The ocean surf temps are at about 64 degrees.
Freshwater: After several days of rain and cloudy weather, the bass catches tightened up a little when sunny conditions broke out. Nonetheless, quality catches were made by those making adjustments. Winning weights on the tidal James and Chickahominy Rivers were in the 14-18-pound range. Soft plastics were the main producers. Texas rigs, wacky rigs and shaky head rigs were listed as higher producers. Chatter baits and spinnerbaits are still working well. A few were reporting catches on topwater baits. The lower portions of the tidal James were better, as high, muddy conditions were a bigger factor in the upper sections of the tidal James. The Chickahominy seldom gets muddy, but the east wind holds back some of the falling tide. The lakes and ponds saw more action over the weekend due to the high levels of the rivers. Kerr Lake is expected to top out at 314.2-feet on Wednesday this week. Finding a launch site can be a challenge at this level. The lower sections of Kerr are safer and cleaner options at this time and lake elevation. Smith Mountain Lake got hit especially hard with extremely fast rising water. Lake Gaston maintains a tighter variance on the water levels due to the amount of waterfront properties and dwellings. This may be an option for a bit more stable condition. Lake Anna has a very small watershed. So, it remains relatively clear compared to other bodies of water in the area. The stripers are being caught in high numbers, especially for those using live bait. Those chasing the stripers are also running into large bass. Using larger bait will often negate strikes from the smaller bass resulting in the bigger fish we’ve seen over the last week. Many Green Top customers are reporting seeing big numbers of spawning bluegills and shellcrackers. Now is the time for the biggest catches of large bluegills. Live crickets, worms, minnows and insect larvae work extremely well. For artificial baits, small 2-inch grubs on 1/16-ounce jigs work well. These baits also work well for the crappie. Hatching insects are becoming more numerous, as are the surface feeding fish.