The water level is normal and a little dingy, with temperatures in the low 60s and light fishing pressure.
Pickerel, bowfin and catfish are providing good action on large and extra-large minnows. Bluegill action is still surprisingly good in three to six feet of water on Jake’s worms. Several nice stringers of crappie are reported in eight to 10 feet of water on brush piles.
Notable catches: James Worley 14-pound bag; Jim Mullins limit shellcrackers; Mark Acton 10 bowfin, four pickerel, three catfish, two citation ring perch, one bass (XL minnows); Gary Harmon two bass, two bowfin; Bobby Harlow and Bubba Isabell 21-pound bag; Bubba Isabell 7 and 5-pound bass; Bobby Mills 25 crappie; Ron Woodfin 4.5, 10.5-pound bag; Tom Lehman 12.5-pound bag.
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 low 60s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks on Wednesday. The lake level was about four inches above the top of the dam, and the water was light brown and very slightly cloudy in the central lake, with some cloudy water along downwind shorelines.
Some blue cats and bullheads were along drop-offs and in channels in the main lake while others were dispersed onto flats and into creeks. Some cats were suspended rather than holding near the bottom. When active, cats were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Most crappie were along main lake channel edges or in channels, frequently near wood cover. But a few were around creek mouths.
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. When active, both species were hitting live minnows, small swim baits and small jigs.
A few bluegill and shellcracker were still scattered on a few shorelines and on flats out to 3- to 5-foot depths in the main lake, but most had moved to deeper flats or into channels. 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 (especially under duckweed patches and hydrilla mats), around cypress trees, on flats, on channel edges and in channels. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, top waters (especially frogs in duckweed and floating hydrilla patches), spinner baits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Bill Marley and Lee Bensey caught two crappie, one white perch, three blue cats and one bass; David Ross caught 12 bluegill, three crappie, three white perch, one blue cat and two bass; Karen Anderson and Carolyn Conway had 23 bluegill, five shellcracker, five crappie, one white perch, one blue cat and one bass.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: It was another great week to be on the water for many anglers as fall gets into full swing, water temperatures are dropping and many fish are moving shallow.
In general, fish were biting well again this week. Water temperatures really are dropping now and have been in the upper 60s and lower 70s in most places. Kerr Reservoir was fairly steady and rising slowly from the rains recently this week and was in the range of 298 feet. Lake Gaston was back to normal this week and in the range of 199.7 feet.
Some really good catfish reports have been coming in from the down-lake areas of Kerr Reservoir. From County Line to up around the islands, catfish are being caught drifting in 25 to 30 feet of water, mostly on cut bait. One angler reported catching up to 20 fish with many weighing 15 pounds or better. Some are reporting good catches further uplake on Santee rigs in shallower water of about 20 feet.
Although the baitfish are bunching up and the gamefish are following, it still appears to be too early for the birds to work the bait. Many anglers have been cruising looking for the infamous white cyclone of birds feeding on bait on or near the top, but they have been few and far between. This is often a pattern that heats up in November or December.
The largemouth bass are now being caught shallow in greater numbers. Anglers are finding success on points, stumps and banks with cover primarily using crank baits, and particularly square billed cranks. A lipless crank bait is also ideal right now and will continue to shine for several more weeks. Color choice depends on water clarity, but shad-colored lures are tough to beat as the bass are focused on baitfish right now. When it comes to top water lures, anglers can cover a lot of water with a buzz bait as it can be fished fast and is very effective right now.
The crappie bite was on fire this week. Fish are being caught on brush 8 to 14 feet deep either on jigs or minnows. Anglers are reporting a lot of 1 pound-plus fish being caught. Other anglers report action in the Clarksville area on brush at 12 to 15 feet deep on buck tail jigs. Sometimes the bite is light, and in this situation, it is the careful line watchers who are rewarded.