JAMES, APPOMATTOX, CHICKAHOMINY RIVERS AND CHICKAHOMINY LAKE
Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the high 80’s to low 90’s in the main lake on Wednesday. The lake level was about seven 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 drop-offs and in channels in the main lake, especially near wood cover. Activity varied, but more active crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curly tail jigs, small tubes, kalin crappie scrubs and small swim baits.
Yellow and white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on flats, drop-offs, 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 shell cracker were slightly away from the shoreline in two to eight feet of water on brush piles, near floating islands or cypress trees. Bluegill were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, nikko nymphs and small swim baits.
Several large catches of large shell crackers have been taken recently fishing night crawlers on shorelines and shallow flats. Some bass and pickerel were along shorelines, on deeper flats, along drop-offs or in channels in the main lake and in creeks. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinner baits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
The water level is up slightly and relatively clear. The water temperature is in the upper 70’s and pressure has been light. Fishing for bass, pickle, both fin, and catfish continue to be good.
Bass are heading jakes, sinco’s, spinner baits and tap water. Bowfin and pickerel results are good on large and extra-large minnows while catfish are heading on cut bait and minnows. Bluegills and shell crackers are being taken on red worms and night crawlers. A few crappie are starting to show up in 8 to 10 feet of water on small minnows.
Notable catches: James Pernell 35 bluegill, 11 shell crackers; Brad Web 20-pound bag, 5.2- and 5.0-pound big fish; Paul Morris 17-pound bag, 5.0-pound big fish; Bill Mason 5.0-pound bass, 3.5-pound pickerel; Bobby Harlow 18-pound bag, 5.6-pound big fish; Garrett Gouge and Brad Webb 17.2lb-bag, 5.5-pound big fish; Walt Shattuck 5.8-pound bass; Jed Dickerson 5.0-pound bass, 5.1-pound bass; Bobby Harlow and Bubba Isabell 20-pound bag, 5.7-pound big fish
GREEN TOP REPORT
SALTWATER: Cobia catches have returned since Hurricane Florence hit. Many large fish are being caught all over the bay. They seem to be exiting the bay, so catches are also being caught in the ocean now. Large drum are also being caught throughout the bay. The lower bay seems to be better for numbers and sizes of drum. They too are exiting the bay. Many of the drum are being caught with cut or live bait close to the structures of the bridge tunnel. Good catches of Sheepshead are still coming from the CBBT structures. Trout anglers will be glad to hear that catches are on the increase. Topwaters and jigs with “Gulp!” baits are working best. The usual places are producing fish. Mobjack Bay, Lynnhaven Inlet, Rudee Inlet and the Piankatank River are the most popular. Some Spanish mackerel are still being pulled in, but they too are leaving the bay, so catches are occurring along the oceanfront. The bay flounder bite has been very inconsistent this year. September is typically the best month for bay flounder, but there hasn’t been that many catches reported. Most of the flounder catches are, and have been, coming from ocean structures. The ocean has rebounded from Florence, as great catches of Mahi are occurring almost daily. Also being caught, are wahoo, white and blue marlin, and some yellowfin tuna. The fishing usually improves greatly after a big storm, so there’s a small light of good fortune these days. The Nags Head surf is producing speckled trout, bluefish, puppy drum and sea mullet.
FRESHWATER: The Potomac River is yielding some quality catches of bass: 41 pounds won a two-day event over the weekend. Another body of water in the northern Virginia area that is worth checking out is the Occoquan Reservoir. This lake always seems to put out impressive weights. The bass fishing can be phenomenal any time of year. The Chickahominy has been producing quality catches lately, which is no surprise as it has the potential for trophy bass, as well as impressive weights of five-fish limits. The topwater bite is still quite active and will remain so for a while. The James has been fluctuating greatly with the storms and rain from upstream. The upper James is still quite stained and a bit high. As far as high-water levels go, Kerr Reservoir is currently 309 feet. This is 9 feet above normal full pool. Fishing has been tough the past few weeks, so hopefully, the high water will improve things. Check ramp conditions before making plans for a certain section of the lake. Many feel that a large population of bass are constantly following schools of blue back Herring, therefore, making them nomadic and hard to pinpoint for a length of time. Lake Anna bass behave the same way many times. Using swim baits allows anglers to present baits at various depths without having to cage lures or rods. Schools of stripers can be seen chasing bait to the surface these days, but often they only surface for a minute or maybe two. Buzz baits have been excellent in local ponds, especially since we have had so many overcast days lately. Throwing these in sunny conditions will work many times also. Crappie are turning on nicely in area ponds these days. Small and medium minnows have been working best lately.
LAKE COUNTRY, KERR RESEVOIR, LAKE GASTON
Kerr Reservoir rose after Hurricane Florence and has continued to rise this week from local storms. If you plan on going to the lake, be sure to check the status of the ramp you plan to use as many could be closed. Anglers can call 434-738-6633 and select option 1 for daily elevation levels.
Lake Gaston has been holding steady at just below 200 feet normal pool, it is being operated under flood control operation protocols. Despite the high waters, more water is being released from the Kerr Dam and flowing through Gaston. These currents should improve the bite on Gaston as long as they continue.
Even with the high water, the lower end of Kerr has remained fairly clear and fishable. However, the upper end has been muddied and contains dangerous floating debris. These areas should be avoided. The best areas on Kerr right now extend from Island Creek downlake. By the weekend, anglers may need to focus on the Ivy Hill area and down lake from there.
Crappie anglers continued to report success despite the high water. Big schools are being located on brush-piles; the vertically jigged CC spoon continues to be an excellent choice right now, particularly on overcast days. If it is sunny, a jig cast to the brush and counted down, then retrieved slowly over the top of the brush is very effective.
Buggs Island Bassmasters will hold an open tournament out of Longwood on Saturday.
With fall arriving and the lower water temperatures, bass are moving from their summer depths and can be caught shallow, particularly early or late, or on overcast days. Anglers are focusing on top-water poppers and buzz-baits, shaky head worms in green pumpkin and shallow running crank-baits. With the water high, it is hard to beat the shaky head around submerged bushes and trees. Anglers should check cover out on points and in the backs of cuts to determine where the fish are. This past week more have been out on the points, but more anglers reported catching fish deeper in the pockets later in the week.
Even though the catfish bite has been good for fishing downlake, very few reports came in this week. Anglers are still working in the 20 feet of water range using cut-bait by drifting Santee rigs.