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 middle 70s in the lower lake on Wednesday. The lake level was about 2 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.
A few small blue cats and bullheads were on flats, along drop-offs and in channels in the main lake. When active, they were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Most crappie were on deeper flats or on channel edges in the main lake. They also were frequently around wood cover such as brush piles or near the dam. Active crappie were hitting live minnows, tubes, curly tail grubs and small swim baits.
White and yellow perch could be found scattered or in loose aggregates on deep flats and channel edges in the main lake. When active they were hitting small live minnows, swim baits and jigs. A few bluegill, shellcracker and flier were in creeks or on main lake shorelines and flats, with most larger fish on flats somewhat away from the shoreline or on channel edges. Bluegill and shellcracker were hitting live worms, wet flies, Nikko nymphs, Wright Bait Co. 1-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, jigs and topwater baits.
Fishing with Capt. Conway: Dave and Ben Lienard had 21 white perch, four crappie, two largemouth bass and a blue catfish.
Green Top REPORT
Saltwater: The speckled trout bite is picking up nicely in many places in the Chesapeake Bay. Places more productive right now are the James River, Elizabeth River, Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet, the Hampton/Poquoson area and areas around the Rappahannock River. Topwater baits are excellent, as are 1/8-3/8 jigs with 4-inch swim baits.
The puppy drum are biting even better in many of the same places. Popping corks with live bait and various lures are working well for the pups and the trout. The sheepshead continue to bite on live and cut crab in areas such as the CBBT, the MMBT, and many of the reefs located in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Folks still are finding plenty of spot from the Rappahannock River to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Bloodworms are best, if found, but they are scarce.
Big Red Drum are being found throughout the bay as well. Some are finding them along the surface in large schools, while others are finding them on hard cover by jigging. Most of the drum that are caught are over the slot (greater than 26 inches in total length) and cannot be kept, but they are a blast to tangle with. Jigs work well no matter which way they are encountered.
There haven’t been many reports of flounder being caught this week, but ocean structures are the best bet for the larger ones and for the more consistent bite. Big numbers of seabass are being caught from ocean structures, along with quality-size triggerfish.
The offshore charters in Virginia are finding wahoo, mahi, yellowfin tuna and both blue and white marlin. The charters out of Hatteras, North Carolina, are doing better with the wahoo right now. Surf and pier anglers along the Outer Banks are catching some big red drum right now. They also are reeling in sea mullet, spot and pompano.
Freshwater: The bass fishing is picking up on the James and Chickahominy rivers. Twenty pounds was the winning weight out of Route 5 during the weekend. Sixteen pounds was good for a second-place weight. Good baits for both the rivers are topwater baits, jigs and shallow running crankbaits, such as a square bill. River temps are in the 73-75 degree range this week.
There have been some excellent catches of bass from Chick Lake this week. The upper James is at a good level but has a strong stain to it right now. It should clear up a bit by the weekend. Topwater baits will work better if the water clears, whereas the stained water calls for spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
The bass bite has been tough at Kerr Lake for many. There’s a good topwater bite most mornings, but location is everything. Walking baits, Whopper Ploppers and pencil poppers have been working well. Schooling activity is widespread, and they’re not just largemouth and stripers. The lake now has a population of spotted bass. Many are reporting spots of 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. The bass being caught are coming from many different depths. Some are reporting bass as shallow as 2 feet, while others are reporting catching bass from the 20-30 foot range.
Lots of stripers are being caught in Kerr Lake from the area between Butchers Creek and Eastland Creek. They are crushing topwater baits, sometimes all day. Many are reporting the same in lakes like Lake Anna and Smith Mountain. All are reporting seeing the bait piling up towards the backs of the creeks. Many of the bass are coming from stumps and brush.
There is a lot of surface activity being encountered at Anna with the stripers and hybrid stripers.
Crappie reports have been scarce this week, but this bite is picking up, as it always does this time of year. The bridges are still productive, but docks should be explored as well. Finding the docks with brush under or next to them is often the ticket no matter the depth. Live minnows on slip floats work well, as no re-rigging is necessary for the different depths fished.
— Compiled by Lily Betts