The lake level pushed water over the damn from the river due to the three days of northeast winds. Water temperatures are in the low 80s, with fishing good for bass. Bass action is good with a variety of techniques. Senkos and chatterbaits are productive around trees and grass. Some anglers are having good results following the bait fish pods using swim baits and topwater.
Dan Jones had the best fish of the week at 8.33 pounds. Several 5- to 7-pound fish were also recorded. Bowfin, pickrell, and catfish results are good on minnows. Bluegill are still biting on worms crappie should pick up as the water starts to go down.
Notable catches: Norris Mayes 36-pound catfish; Bill Morris 15 crappie; Calvin Yarbrough 12.5-pound bag, Willie Allen 7-pound bass length citation; Ron Crum 6.2-pound bass length citation and 5.15-pound bass, Shawn Harding 12-pound bag; Tom Currier and Mo Myers 13.4-pound bag; Roland Moss and Bob Mason 15.4-pound bag; Jason Van Der Wooten 5-pound bass; Willie Allen 6-pound bass length citation, Bobby Harlow 6-pound bass, 19-pound bag; Dan Jones 8.33-pound bass weight citation.
Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake midday water temperatures were in the lower 80s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks on Saturday. The lake level was about even with the top of the dam and the water was light to medium olive-brown and slightly to moderately cloudy in the central lake, with more cloudy water along many shorelines.
Some blue cats and bullheads were along drop-offs and in channels in the main lake, while others had dispersed onto flats and into creeks. When active, cats were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Early in some mornings a few crappie were in creeks, along shorelines in the main lake and on flats in the main lake, but most crappie were along main lake channel edges, frequently near wood cover.
Active crappie were 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 deep flats, drop-offs and channels in the main lake and in major creeks, and when active, both species were hitting live minnows, small swimbaits and small jigs.
A mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcracker were scattered on shorelines and on flats out to 3 to 5 foot depths in the main lake and in some creeks. Many bluegill and shellcracker abandoned the shorelines while the sun was on the water. When active, bluegill and shellcracker were hitting live worms and crickets, Nikko nymphs, flies and small swimbaits.
Pickerel and bass were located along shorelines early in the morning (especially under duckweed patches), around cypress trees, on flats and on channel edges. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, topwaters (especially frogs in duckweed patches), spinnerbaits, swimbaits, stick worms, crankbaits, jerkbaits and jigs.
Notable catches: Bill Marley and Karl Mohns seven crappie and one bass; Joe Shmokler one crappie, one striper, six blue cats and one gar; Darryl Marshall, Clark Tracy and John Riziki one crappie, one bullhead and two blue cats.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir has been holding fairly steady in the 300 feet range this week. Lake Gaston remains a consistent 199.6 feet, give or take a few inches. Water temperatures have been in the upper 80s in most areas this week.
Crappie anglers are reporting success on brush in 12 to 28 feet of water, fishing 7 to 18 feet from the surface. Within this range, it seems that for most areas of the lake, 12 to 16 feet is ideal. Anglers who are vertically jigging spoons over the brush are having good success. Both gold and silver spoons are working and the preferred weight has been 3/8 ounce. Reports are coming in from Buffalo all the way down to Ivy Hill on Kerr, and up to 60 crappie a day are being reported. Mixed in with the crappie have been white bass, largemouth, bream and white perch. Sometimes when fishing brush piles, the white perch can be seen on electronics scattered out and around the brush. When this is observed, anglers can drift off the brushpile and jig the spoon on the bottom for addition catches. This is often a very successful technique. The most success on brushpiles is coming from main lake points, mouths of creeks and coves and near channel edges and swings. If the spoon or jig doesn’t work, live minnows can make a difference. For the artificials, Bobby Garland baby shads have been working well.
This is a great time of year for trolling. Three-way rigs with line counter reels are typically used for this, and perch can be caught in great numbers with this technique. Those trolling this week have been successful at the 12- to 30-feet level with the greatest success at 18 to 20. Speeds in the range of 2.5 mph are recommended. For the three-way rig, different-sized crankbaits can be used for different depths, and rooster tails with some chartreuse have been effective. The key is to first locate bait and fish and then start trolling. Best areas for this include Nutbush Creek in Kerr and mainlake humps and channels in Gaston.
The catfishing has been good and both anchored and drifting techniques have been effective this week. Anglers are focusing on the river section above Clarksville, particularly around Buffalo Creek. A lot of fish are being marked in the main river channel. Most catches are a mix of channel cats and blues. Catfish are also being caught in the downlake area around the dam and into Nutbush Creek.
Largemouth bass remain in summer patterns, and this is a good time of year to fish roadbeds and other deeper structures all around the lakes. Both Kerr and Gaston have quite a few roadbeds. The roadbeds can be fished anywhere from 5 to 25 feet, but most often the fish are located in the 12- to 15-feet range. Effective lures for this structure include big Texas-rigged worms, Carolina rigs and deep-diving crankbaits. Sometimes jigging spoons can also be used and fished vertically over key structures, particularly on the deeper sections of the roadbeds.
As noted above, the white perch are still biting well and good reports are coming in. This is a fun fish to catch and the action can be fast. Keep in mind that while humps, channel bends or bridge pilings are very effective locations for perch, sometimes they scatter across a deep flat or out and around brushpiles. Keep an eye on your electronics to make sure you locate these fish, and when you do, jigging spoons are recommended.