JAMES, APPOMATTOX, CHICKAHOMINY RIVERS AND CHICKAHOMINY LAKE
Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake midday water temperatures were in the high 70’s in the main lake on Wednesday with lower temperatures at the upper end of the lake. The lake level was about 4 inches above the top of the dam. The water was medium brown and clear in the central lake but quite murky on downwind shorelines. Blue cats and bullheads were scattered on flats, along drop-offs, and in channels in the main lake and in creeks and were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Some crappie were on flats, on dropoffs and in channels in the main lake, especially near wood cover. Activity varied but was improving, with more active crappie hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small swim baits. Yellow and white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on flats, dropoffs, and channels in the main lake, and when active were hitting live minnows, small swim baits and small jigs. Small to medium bluegill were scattered along shorelines and some larger bluegill and shellcracker were slightly away from the shoreline in 2 to 8 feet of water, frequently on brushpiles or near floating islands or cypress trees. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, Nikko nymphs, and small swimbaits. Several large catches of large shellcrackers have been taken recently fishing nightcrawlers on shorelines and shallow flats. Some bass and pickerel were along shorelines, on deeper flats, along dropoffs or in channels in the main lake and in creeks. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
Fishing with Captain Conway, Jerry Davis had 52 bluegill, one shellcracker, three yellow perch, one roach minnow and two bass. Steve Novak and Richard Berry had seven bluegill, 28 crappie, one pickerel and one bass. Jack and David Pong had 130 bluegill, three shell crackers, nine roach minnows, one yellow perch and three bass. Tom Porter had 33 bluegill, two shell crackers, 16 crappie, one gar and two bass. The lake level was normal and clear with water temperature in the upper 70’s fishing, and the pressure was average. Bass fishing continues to be good with several bags of 15 or more reported. Bait of choice continues to be frogs, sincos and spinner baits. The first good crappy have been caught this week in small minnows in 7 to 10 feet of water.
Notable catches: Joe Bryan, 20-pound bag, 6 and 5.6-pound big fish; Bob Will, 21-pound bag, 7.0 and 6.2-pound big fish; James Pernell, 50 shell crackers; Wilkins/Steve Mitchell 50 crappie; John Goodfellow, 25 bluegill.
GREEN TOP REPORT
SALTWATER: The king mackerel bite is still going strong. Spectacular catches are being brought back to the docks. The Virginia Beach charters are doing great with these reel smokers. The mahi action remains very good, the wahoo are increasing, and the blue marlin are capturing the attention of anglers after catching limits of other species, like yellowfin tuna. Some nice white marlin are still being caught also. Seabass and flounder are biting well on the ocean wrecks. Seabass season doesn’t end until Dec. 31, so there’s plenty of time to target these fish. There’s plenty of cobia and big red drum inside the bay still. Catches are being made from the mouth of the Potomac to the CBBT. Many of these fish are holding to hard structures. Rockfish are mainly being caught inside the rivers, but some are being pulled from the rocks of the CBBT. Trolling stretches and the lighter tandem rigs are catching keepers. The Potomac River has been giving up the most rockfish, which is typical for this time of year. Speckled trout are increasing in many areas as the days get shorter and the water cools. Many fishermen are weeding through the smaller ones but still landing keepers. The bridge-tunnel structures are giving up sheepshead still, fiddler crabs are the ticket for these guys. Fiddlers are also the ticket for the tautog, which are starting to be caught and targeted again.
FRESHWATER: The upper James is once again down to normal levels, but Tropical Storm Michael may impact us. A slight rise in the river would trigger increased action, and this is actually a great time to target the smallmouth. Top water action is dynamite right now, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of surface lures as they can be selective about size and action. This is the case for largemouth this time of year also. Size of the bait can be key for success during the fall season more than any other it seems. Tidal fish don’t seem to be as selective for the most part, as they are typically more aggressive feeders. Look for the pits along the James to produce better bass as the bait moves in. Topwaters will trigger aggressive strikes, but typical fall baits are crankbaits,spinnerbaits and small plastics. Wood cover usually dominates in the James but in the Chickahominy, vegetation can attract well into November. The fall crappie bite is strong on these tidal rivers also. Many overlook the tidal rivers for large crappie, but there are plenty of large fish to be caught. The vegetation lines bordering deeper water hold the better fish, usually. Twenty-eight pounds won a two-day bass event on Lake Anna over the weekend. Shakey heads were a staple for many, but top water baits accounted for many of the larger fish. Baitfish are on the move, so crankbaits are taking the aggressive fish holding in ambush areas. Matching the hatch is critical while chasing the schooling fish. The stripers are roaming about in the mid to upper regions of the lake. The 4-inch sea shad is an excellent bait to throw now for everything in Lake Anna. Four- to 12-foot flats should be searched for feeding fish, especially on overcast days. Sunny days may require live bait, as the fish can spook easily. Kerr Reservoir is at 301 feet of elevation. Fall patterns, such as stumps along channels, will hold better bass. The depth is what needs to be explored to pattern the fish. Swift Creek Reservoir is fishing fantastic for bass. Many are catching their best fish on top water baits.
LAKE COUNTRY, KERR RESERVOIR, LAKE GASTON
Kerr Reservoir continued to drop this week and was down in the range of 303 feet earlier this week. Lake Gaston has been holding steady just below 200 feet normal pool. More of Kerr Reservoir has become fishable this week as the waters have cleared substantially. Water temperatures ranged from 79 to 83 degrees this week.
Many bass anglers continue to fish the shallow cover as a level above 300 feet means shoreline cover will be in the water. Levels of 303 to 305 are ideal for flipping shallow bushes and trees. Add the shoreline cover that is now fishable to the migration of baitfish into the shallows equation and the result could be some excellent catches of fall bass. This shallow cover should be targeted with top waters, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastics. On overcast days, the fish roam more in and around this cover, whereas sunny days may pin them more tightly to the cover.
Jerry Marshburn and Tim Parker topped the field of 26 boats to win the PBC Cashion Fishing Rods Trail Qualifier at Kerr Lake on Oct. 6 with five bass weighing 13.33 pounds.
Crappies were schooling this week over brush in 10 to 20 feet, and the best piles were those topping out in 5 to 10 feet. Brush piles up in the creeks seemed to be more productive, particularly Panhandle on Kerr and Lizard Creek on Gaston. Anglers can utilize a vertically jigged CC spoon or alternatively mark the brushpile with a buoy market, then cast a small hair jig to the pile. The jig can be counted down and then retrieved over the brush.