JAMES, APPOMATTOX, CHICKAHOMINY RIVERS AND CHICKAHOMINY LAKE
The Chickahominy Lake midday water temperatures were in the high 70’s to low 80’s in the main lake on Wednesday, with lower temperatures at the upper end of the lake. The lake level was about 2 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, they 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 schools in flats, drop-offs and channels in the main lake. When active, the perch 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, sometimes on brush piles, near floating islands or cypress trees. Bluegills were hitting live worms and crickets, flies, Nikko nymphs and small swim baits. Several catches of large shellcrackers have been recorded recently, fishing nightcrawlers 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.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 24 bluegill, 1 shellcracker, 15 crappie, and 1 bass.
GREEN TOP REPORT
SALTWATER: The king mackerel bite is red hot. Extremely large fish have been brought to the docks in recent days. The wahoo bite is also good as we enter October. Offshore anglers are also reeling in white marlin, blue marlin and mahi. Ocean wrecks are producing excellent catches of seabass, triggerfish and flounder. Inside the bay, folks are still chasing cobia, which are catch and release only at this time. Sight fishing for the cobia has been best, as they are leaving the bay. Large red drum are being encountered in the bay, but the lower bay has been more consistent with the larger catches. Many of the larger catches are being caught at night. Shallow areas are usually better for the drum. Bay rockfish season opened Thursday. Anglers are allowed to keep two rockfish between 20-28 inches per day. However, one fish may be over 28 inches in a two-fish-limit. Early in the season, keepers usually can be caught at the bridge tunnel at night. Casting to the light lines of the bridge with swim baits is a good tactic. Casting lipless crank baits to the rocks can also provide fast action. Beware of the bluefish while fishing there at anytime but especially at night. The bridge tunnel is also yielding excellent catches of sheepshead still. The speckled trout bite continues to increase in the many inlets and creeks of the bay. The action along the surf of the Outer Banks is picking up. Large red rum are being caught at Avon right now. Other species being caught there are the bluefish, sea mullet, puppy drum, and pompano. Trout are being caught in the sound.
FRESHWATER: The upper James is still a little high and stained. The Westham gauge is at 7.3 feet and falling. This weekend should see normal levels and conditions. Topwater action is still tops this time of year. The lower James and Chickahominy rivers are providing good largemouth action. Topwater baits are particularly good in the Chick. Spinner baits and crank baits around wood cover are drawing strikes from aggressive bass. Texas rigged plastics, like the Zoom brush hog, are popular and productive. Look for action in the pits of the James to pick up as the water cools. The Potomac River is fishing rather well these days. Not only are the bass biting well, the snakeheads are also.
LAKE COUNTRY, KERR RESERVOIR, LAKE GASTON
Kerr Reservoir has been on a slow drop this week but is still very high. The lake was in the range of 308 feet earlier this week. 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 choose option 1 for daily elevation levels. Lake Gaston has been holding steady just below 200 feet normal pool. The high waters on Kerr have resulted in continuous power generation from the Kerr Dam, and a lot of water is being released and flowing through Lake Gaston this week.
The lower end of Kerr has remained clear and fishable despite the high water. Boaters should be cautious regarding occasional floating debris in all areas of the lake. The upper end of Kerr Reservoir remained muddied and had large amounts of dangerous floating debris this week. Areas on Kerr extending from Island Creek down lake were fine this week.
Many bass anglers look forward to high water so they can flip the bushes and catch bass around shallow cover. Anglers fishing the Kerr Lake Bassmaster tournament this past weekend out of Longwood did just this and the winning team brought in more than 13 pounds. Second-place finisher Dennie Gilbert and his partner had more than 12 pounds and reported catching bass shallow and in the backs of pockets on topwater lures and soft plastics. The topwater bite seems to be dominant up until about mid-morning. After this, soft plastics such as Texas rig worms, jigs and shakyheads can be very effective. One of the keys to fishing such high water is to find cover in 3 to 5 feet, this can be challenging as most accessible cover is in 8 or more feet. As the lake drops, more brush and trees will be in the ideal depth zone, so anglers should watch the lake level closely over the coming days. Many anglers believe 303 to 305 to be ideal water levels for flipping cover on Kerr Reservoir.
The bass anglers over on Lake Gaston also reported good catches this past weekend. Chuck Murray and Randy Groves won the weekend tournament with 16.54 pounds, Lake Gaston Bass Fishing reported. Anglers report from Gaston that the bass are chasing baitfish and moving into the shallows. It is difficult to beat top-water choices early in the day. Major creeks running into the main lake have been the most productive, including Pea Hill and Poplar creeks.
Crappie anglers continued to report similar success downlake this week. The crappie continue to school over brush piles in 10-20 feet while the best piles are topping out in 5 to 10 feet of water. As we have reported for the past few weeks, the vertically jigged CC spoon continues to dominate and is a difficult lure choice to beat right now. That being said, many savvy anglers prefer to mark the brush-pile and then cast a small hair jig to the pile. The jig can be counted down and then retrieved over the brush. Typically anglers must watch for the ever-so-slight twitch of the line; however, it can become an addictive passion as big citation crappie often are taken using this approach. These techniques were dominating on both Lake Gaston as well as Kerr Reservoir this week, delivering good catches of crappie.