Chickahominy Lake

The lake level is normal and clear. Water temperatures are in the low 50s, and fishing pressure is light. Bass fishing is turned on as the water temperature continues to rise. Several bass were reported over 5 pounds topped by 7-pounder and 10-pounder weight citations.Bbaits of choice are swim baits, jerk baits and jigs. Some of the bass are being taken in less than 2 feet of water. Willie Allen was the angler who landed the 10.05-pound monster. Crappie fishing is still good as they are being taken in 10-to-12 feet of water getting ready for their spawning run. Pickerel, bowfin and catfish are biting good on minnows.

Notable catches: Willie Allen 21.1-pound bag, 6, 5.6 big fish; Justin Hall 18.5-pound bag; Mike Phillips 5; Willie Allen 5.7; Mark Fahnert 5; Ron Crum 7; Wes Zabdyr 12-pound bag; Danny Grattan 5.7-pound bag; Billy Mason 5; Willie Allen and Mike Martinez 19.6-pound bag; Willie Allen 10.05 weight citation; Dan Jones 5; Danny and Ryan Grattan 15-pound bag.

Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the low-to-mid 50s throughout the lake on Wednesday. The lake level was about an inch over the top of the dam and the water was light-brown and slightly-to-moderately cloudy in the central lake.

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. 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. Active crappie in the upper lake were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro curly tail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs and small swim baits. White perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on deep flats, drop-offs and channels in the main lake and when active were hitting small live minnows, swim baits and jigs.

Most bluegill and shellcracker had moved into channels and were inactive. When occasionally active, bluegill and shellcracker were hitting live worms and Nikko nymphs, flies and small swimbaits fished on drop shot rigs. Pickerel and bass were located around cypress trees, on deep flats and in channels. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, blade baits and jigs.

Fishing with Capt. Conway, Tom Porter had 36 crappie and four bass.

Lake Country

Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: The Kerr Reservoir lake level was back on a steady decline and headed toward winter pool level of 295.5 feet. It was in the neighborhood of 296.5 feet earlier this week. Lake Gaston has held steady in the mid-199 foot range. Water temperatures have been in the mid-to-upper 40s in most areas. Anglers should target warming trends in January as this has a large impact on how active the fish are. Just a couple of degrees warming will trigger much higher activity.

The largemouth bass that are not wandering and feeding with the stripers are bunched up in certain spots in certain creeks. This week one Kerr angler fished a mid-lake creek very hard but produced very few fish, while another angler just a mile away in a different creek caught 35 fish throughout the day. This highlights the importance of scouting out numerous locations and spots until the bass are located. Many anglers call this the “time on the water” key to success. The bass are biting well also down in Nutbush, and particularly the larger fish can be caught there. But because they are bunched up so tight, it might take 10 to 20 stops to locate a good school. When located, the bass are responding to a number of lures including crank baits, jigs, umbrella rigs and most importantly the suspended jerk bait.

Crappie continued to bite well for those braving winter conditions and they are on deeper brush in 20 feet of water or more. The high winds have made casting and winding difficult for many anglers. Mid lake areas have been the best this week, and fish in the 2-pound class are common right now. One-eighth ounce jigs with Bobby Garland baby shad in Key Lime Pie color are working, sometimes tipped with a minnow.

Watching the bird activity is increasingly key to determine where the best action is. Grassy Creek remained hot this week for fish activity on Kerr. If gulls are actively diving at the water in great numbers, or even when they are sitting on the water, it is a strong indicator that you are in the right area. Striper fishermen are reporting success on swim baits as well as vertical jigging in 30 feet of water. Once anglers find good activity, the best results often come when they move to adjacent ledge or breaklines with points near deeper water. Good ambush points are a key, whether that is from structure or cover. Stripers will also run bait to the shallows even in winter, and this remains a good pattern to use, so don’t neglect the shallows either. The stripers on Gaston have been most active in 20 feet of water or more in the down-lake area, particularly at the mouths of creeks.

Anchoring for catfish is recommended right now over drifting. For those wanting to drift, keeping drift speeds low this time of year can be key. With the water temperature in the 40s, anchoring becomes preferred by many. Using cut shad or live shad in 30 feet has been producing blue cats of more than 60 pounds.

Green Top Report

SALTWATER: There is not a lot going on on the saltwater front, or at least not a lot of reports. There’s plenty of rockfish available inside the bay for catch and release fishing. There are loads of big fish being caught on live eels still. Ocean anglers are catching plenty of tautogs on wrecks and reefs. There’s been some bluefin tuna caught, along with some yellowfin tuna and some big eye tuna. Swordfish have become very popular the last few months, and some notable-sized swords are being caught.

FRESHWATER: Warmer than normal weather has the fish in many places, scattered. Some are still deep, while there’s also many fish shallow. Tidal river fish are almost always shallower than lake fish, but many are reporting that the bass are holding to shallow cover constantly.

The Chick River, Lake and James River are prime examples — 21 pounds was the winning weight from the Chick River over the weekend, and 19 pounds was second, with a 10-pound Lunker. The 10-pounder was reportedly caught from the Lake. Good catches are occurring on the Rapp, Pamunkey and Mattaponi rivers also. The crappie on these rivers have been surprising to some anglers, as many dismiss tidal rivers as good crappie choices.

Good bass baits have been chatter baits, jerk baits, lipless crank baits and of course, jigs. The upper James has risen considerably, due to recent heavy rains, so this may dampen efforts for this weekend, as far as targeting smallmouth on the nearby upper James.

Seventeen pounds won the most recent winter tournament on Lake Anna, out of Sturgeon Creek Marina. Seventeen pounds was also the second place weight. A 7.95-pound bass was the big fish winner of the tournament. Sixteen pounds was the winning weight on Saturday, during an open benefit tournament on Anna. Water temperatures at Anna have been 49 degrees at the 208 bridge. Good crappie fishing has been taking place along the bridges at Anna. Stubbs Bridge, Dillards Bridge and Holladay Bridge have been good.

— Compiled by Zach Joachim

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