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 Wednesday. The lake level was about even with 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 hit on live minnows and cut bait. Most crappie were on deeper flats or on channel edges in the main lake, 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 were scattered or in loose aggregates on deep flats and channel edges in the main lake and when active were hitting small live minnows, swim baits and jigs. A few bluegill, shellcracker and flier were in creeks and 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 some 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: Brian Dementi, Bill Ferguson and Will Ferguson had 23 crappie and three largemouth bass; Clark Tracy and Don Wheeler had 18 crappie, two largemouth bass, and one each bluegill, white perch and pickerel; Bruce Birdsey had 8 crappie and a bluegill; Bill Marley and Jay Darmstadter had 1 bluegill, 18 crappie, two largemouth bass, and one each bluegill, white perch and bowfin.
Green Top Report
Saltwater: Better catches of flounder are occurring in the lower Chesapeake Bay and out in the ocean. Lately, there’s been an increase of good keepers caught from the HRBT, CBBT, Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet and some of the artificial reefs. Live spot works extremely well for the larger flounder, especially inside the bay and around the bridge tunnel. Folks also are jigging for them, as well as dragging flounder/spinner rigs with fresh strip bait or a minnow/squid combo.
Rockfish season opened Oct. 4 and will remain open until Dec. 31. Anglers are finding them inside the rivers fairly easily by jigging bridge pilings. Cut bait, such as crab and fresh fish work well also. A natural drift with light weights sometimes works best while using cut bait. This also is good while anchored up-current of submerged cover, such as wrecks. Regulations state one fish per angler may be kept per day with a 20-inch minimum length and a 36-inch maximum.
Speckled trout are turning on nicely and should continue to do so. Many folks are using shrimp as they are easy to catch right now and abundant in the bay tributaries. Topwater baits and popping corks with swimbaits also are working well. Most of the inlets and creeks on the west side of the bay are holding trout. Flats with grass are excellent places to target the specks.
The spot still are around. Anglers are filling coolers quickly while fishing from lower bay piers and inside the rivers in areas with hard bottoms. Bloodworms work best for the spot, but they sell out quickly.
Sheepshead catches still are occurring from the bridge tunnels and from reef areas. Crab is most often the best bait to use. Anglers are finding plenty of drum, both the large variety and the pups. Targeting shallow areas is productive for many. Casting four-inch swimbaits on 1/8- to 3/8- ounce jigs usually is all that is needed.
Piers are good attractors for the puppy drum as well as trout. The deep water anglers are doing well with tilefish and seabass. These fish are excellent table fare and have high fish limits. So many fish can be brought back to enjoy.
The water temps in the Nags Head area are hovering around 74 degrees. Surf and pier anglers are catching sea mullet, spot, drum, croaker, blues and some Spanish mackerel. The charter boats are finding yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi and billfish right now.
Freshwater: If crappie is what you’re after, there are plenty to be had by fishing brush piles in 12-25 inches of water and bridge abutments at Kerr Lake and Lake Anna. These are on the average size (10-12 inches mostly) but bite easily. Casting jigs or using minnows with slip floats are the two most popular methods being used right now. The bigger ones tend to show up later, around November.
Bass fishing remains tough for most, especially at Kerr. In the two tournaments that took place at Kerr during the weekend, 29 pounds was the winning weight for both two-day tournaments. Topwater baits accounted for many of the better fish brought in, while finesse presentations with soft plastics also accounted for many of the fish. A lot of spinnerbaits were thrown, too. Most anglers are throwing these presentations in many of the lakes right now with good results.
The striper fishing is good at Kerr Lake in the mid to lower sections. Walking topwater baits and whopper ploppers are drawing them up to the surface with vicious strikes.
The topwater bite is not quite as good at Lake Anna yet, but the live bait specialists are catching plenty of keepers.
The smallmouth catches are on the increase, as many are looking to the upper James River and Rappahannock River to target them. The rivers have been in good shape lately, but more rain is in the forecast, which may slow the bite down. Topwater baits, flukes and light jigs with grubs or finesse worms are working well. With a stain present, spinnerbaits and crankbaits usually work better. They’re usually easier to manipulate in the increased current, too.
The tidal James, Chickahominy and Rappahannock rivers should not be ignored during this time. With the cooler nights and shorter days, increased feeding is taking place. Excellent shallow water fishing usually takes place during October and November. Chickahominy Lake is another body of water that should not be ignored at this time. The topwater bite, as with the tidal rivers, can be outstanding during this time.
— Compiled by Lily Betts