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 middle 80s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks on Wednesday. The lake level was a few inches above 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. When active, both species were hitting live minnows, small swim baits and small jigs.
A mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcracker were scattered on shorelines and on flats out to 3-5 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 swim baits.
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, top waters (especially frogs in duckweed patches), spinner baits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
Ed Allen reported the lake level is up slightly due to the heavy thunderstorms in the east, and wind is pushing water over the damn and into the lake from the river. The water is a little murky and water temperatures are in the mid 80s, with moderate fishing pressure.
The fishing continues to be good, best bets are early mornings and late afternoons. Top Bait’s or Cinco’s, chatter baits, frogs and whopper plopper. Paul Shaddick had the week’s best catch with an 8.2-pound lunker. Bowfin, catfish and pickerel are hitting well on minnows. Eric Sawyer checked in a 10.8-pound citation bowfin. Nice catches of bluegill and shellcracker are still being caught on worms and crickets. Best results are in 4-6 feet of water.
Notable catches: Don Knapp 6.6-pound bass; Marcus Chandler 5; William Allen 5.25; John Mansini 5; Will Marston 15.5-pound bag; Patrick Jarrell 6, 4.5; Paul Shattuck 8.2; Anthony Wayland 6 rental boat; Garrett Geouge 5.5; Eric Sawyer 16.7-pound cat, 10.8-pound bowfin; Willie Allen and Mike Martinez 19.7-pound bag; Paul Shattuck 16-pound bag; Tim Wolfe 13-pound bag.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir has dropped below 300 feet for the first time in quite a while. Typically, Kerr water levels begin to drop steadily into the low point later in the year, but much depends on the precipitation over the coming weeks and months. Lake Gaston remains a consistent 200 feet, give-or-take a few inches. Water temperatures have been in the upper 80s in most areas this week.
The catfishing has been outstanding this past week and anglers are encouraged to get out on either Gaston or Kerr for some good opportunities right now. Target main lake points, mouths of creeks and coves and near channel edges and swings for the best action.
Many catfish anglers are out at night, but the daylight hours have been unusually productive, so if you prefer to be out when you can see better, now would be a good time to go. Good stretches of Kerr are in the upper to mid-section of the lake in and around the main channel.
Tributaries such as Bluestone are also giving up some good fish. Over on Lake Gaston, Austin Sartin reports good results working banks in 12-30 feet of water, and catching 30 cats and more than 100 perch. He reported having six fish of more than 20 pounds and several in the teens and including some nice channel cats. He reports drifting at 0.7 mph with Santee rigs on the bottom to be ideal right now.
Bass fishing has been unusually strong in certain parts of the lake. Anglers are recommended to head to the river sections and look for moving or stained water for the shallower fish. In these areas, bass are being caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and Texas rigged worms.
There are still many bass to be caught deeper and closer to the thermo cline down lake. For these fish, anglers are using deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigs and drop shots on deep humps, channel bends, points and most importantly, roadbeds.
This is a good time of year in fact to just run roadbeds. Both Kerr and Gaston have quite a few and these can be worked from shallow to deep and almost always hold fish somewhere along the way.
The best bite on the lakes right now is probably the white perch. Mid-lake creeks in Kerr Reservoir such as Island and Grassy are productive in the 15-20 feet level. Look for humps, channel bends, flats or bridge pilings.
Tributaries of Grassy above the bridge are also being reported as productive. Reports are also coming in from the lower section of the lake on red clay banks and points in about 20 feet of water. When anglers locate a school, they are reporting up to 100-plus good-sized perch. Try a jigging spoon for the fastest action. Others are reporting success trolling with three-way rigs.
Crappie are being caught on brush in 15-to-20-foot depths, fishing about 10 feet deep. Either spoons or jigs can be jigged vertically over the brush, or jigs can be cast to the brush and counted down then retrieved over the brush. Bobby Garland baby shad have been working well as have live minnows. The best area on Kerr right now has been the same as the perch and that is generally in the mid-lake area, from Grassy to Island Creek. Fish are being caught on brush piles in the main lake but also in creeks such as Rudds Creek.
Striper fishermen are reporting mixed results and many are focused on the area down by the dam and around Palmers. Anglers are targeting anywhere from 15-40 feet deep and pulling rigs on leadcore with spoons or jigs. Often the striper anglers also catch a mixed bag of striper, catfish and largemouth.
Green Top report
SALTWATER: The Spanish mackerel action has been excellent this year, throughout the bay. There has been lots of 4-5-pound fish reported. Drone and Clark spoons are common, but the mackerel tree rig has been coming along. Hampton Bar, York Spit, Windmill Bar and Smith Point have been productive areas.
Another species that has been much better this year is the flounder. Limits for all on board have been more common this year than in years past. Most are jigging with bucktails, others are drifting with live bait, or Flounder rigs. The structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and the Cell have been better than other areas. The reef areas have been thick with gray trout, which have also been better this year. We may be witnessing a comeback of the gray trout.
Spadefish catches are still good, but is starting to thin a bit, especially the bigger fish. The CBBT is probably the most popular area for spadefish. Along with the spades, anglers are catching tautog and sheepshead along the bridge-tunnel. Look for the spot bite to increase as we edge closer to September. Bloodworms work extremely well. Right now, the best spot bite has been inside the Rappahannock.
Folks are still hard at the cobia throughout the bay, and for good reason. The cobia bite, many times, is better in September than any other time. Of course, opinions vary on this. The red drum are roaming about in large schools in the lower bay. Soon they will hold to hard structure, like the artificial reefs scattered about the bay. Many times, the flounder fisherman will find them while jigging. Look to the inlets and grass flats for the speckled trout bite.
Top water action really takes off in September. Inlets along the Eastern Shore are known for attracting the trout. There has been an increase in the king mackerel catches over the last week. Kings up to 50 pounds have been weighed in the last few days. Good catches of mahi are occurring, along with some big wahoo and yellowfin tuna.
Sailfish are being caught now, as are some blue and white marlin. There’s been some large tilefish caught over the last few days. A 55-pound blueline was caught earlier this week. Inshore boats along the Outer Banks are catching Spanish and king mackerel, flounder and puppy drum. Surf anglers are pulling in sea mullet, spot and croaker.
FRESHWATER: Sixteen pounds won this week’s Tuesday night tournament out of Hopewell. Seventeen pounds won a federation tournament over the weekend. Many of the anglers fishing these tournaments reported catching their bass on soft plastics, chatter baits, crank baits and jigs. Most are fishing inside the creeks.
On the upper James, the top water action is getting better each day it seems. But because the river is low, downsizing is best for more bites under these conditions. Up on the Potomac, anglers are reporting doing better on the main river, in the northern section. Many are targeting the snake heads on the Potomac, as there are possibilities of world-record-sized snakeheads there. They are all over the Potomac River.
Local anglers have been doing well on Anna. Twenty pounds was the winning weight for those participating in the Tuesday night tournament. Look for the bass to start their shallow movements in the upper portions of the lake. This will be occurring in all of the larger lakes. Shallow docks can be especially good.
The striper at Anna are responding better to trolling baits over live bait, for some reason. DD-22s, and deep red fins are working well. Jigging spoons are also working for the striper once located. Jigging spoons and flutter spoons are productive for bass in our area lakes, and Kerr is no exception. It seems that more and more bass are being caught roaming with schools of herring and shad. Spoons imitate these very well and can be fished at any depth effectively. The clearer the water, the better the spoons work.