The water level is back to normal and clear. Water temperature is in the upper 70s, and fishing pressure is moderate. The bluegill fishing is excellent, fish are spawning on the full moon. The best results are with crickets around the cypress knees and stumps.
Bass action continues to be excellent. Fishing seems to be better during the early morning and late afternoon hours. Ten bass over 5 pounds were reported this week. Good catches of pickerel and bowfin have been reported using minnows.
Notable catches: Mike Martinez 13.5-pound bag; Tom Lehman 15-pound bag; James Durrell 40 bluegill; Mike Short 12 bass; Patrick Jarrell 6.5 bass; Dan Jones 18-pound bag; Paul Shattuck 14 bass; Mark Jarvis 15-pound bag; Mike Best 5 bass; T.J. Pollock 5.5-pound pickerel, weight citation; Paul Flowers limit bluegill; Mike Short 15-pound bag; Paul Flowers limit bluegill Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — crickets caught more than 400 in four days; John Humphrey and Vicki Watson 25 bass, pickerel and bowfin on minnows, 6.5-pound bass citation length; Jeff and Rich Herberts 15.5-pound bag, 5.2 big fish.
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 high 70s to low 80s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks on Wednesday. The lake level was about 6 inches above the top of the dam. The water was medium brown and slightly cloudy in the central lake, and more cloudy along some downwind 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. Some crappie were in creeks and along shorelines in the main lake, but most were along main lake channel edges, frequently near wood cover.
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 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 swim baits and small jigs.
Many small and medium bluegill and shell cracker were scattered on flats and shorelines in the main lake and in some creeks, while many larger bluegill and shell cracker had spawned again on the full moon and were in clusters along shorelines or slightly offshore in 3-5 feet of water. When active, bluegill and shell cracker were hitting live worms and crickets, Nikko nymphs, flies and small swim baits.
Pickerel and bass were located along shorelines (especially under duckweed patches), 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.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Mickey Cleveland had one bluegill, 14 crappie, 16 white perch, and one bullhead. Jerry Davis had 18 bluegill and one bass. Dianne, Wayne, and Brian Dementi had 19 crappie and two white perch.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir remained in the range of 305 feet this week after having risen substantially last week. Lake Gaston has inched up back over 200 feet with all the water coming in from Kerr, and has been up and down more than usual during the past week. Water temperatures have been in the upper 70s in most areas this week.
The crappie have been really biting well on Kerr this week despite the changing water. Bridge pilings have been very productive using a range of Bobby Garland plastics and jigging spoons. If the crappie stop hitting one color, make a change and often they will start biting again. Anglers have to experiment to determine the best depth on bridge pilings, and it may change during the day. This week they have been hitting anywhere from 10 feet down to as deep as 20. The bridge pilings in Rudd’s Creek have been particularly productive this week.
Anglers should also be checking docks as the crappie and bass move to the docks under these conditions. Bass can still be caught shallow on crank baits and soft plastics. With the water high on Kerr Reservoir, anglers should check brush and cover in the mornings, and also in shady areas as the sun gets up. Top water lures, primarily buzz baits, have been particularly effective in the early morning.
As the sun gets higher in the sky, anglers should try slower moving lures with big profiles such as jigs in green pumpkin. These can be fished in mid-lake creeks such as Butchers, Panhandle, Carter and Mill as they will maintain decent water clarity despite the rise and incoming muddy water.
Striper action has been hit or miss and many anglers are working areas below Goat Island all the way to the dam. The best reports have been coming from the dam area but good fish are being caught around the Ivy Hill area as well. With the water conditions changing, many of these fish will move, likely toward the dam area. Although many are trolling, and some with red fins, success can also be had casting swim baits on rocky points with wind.
Green Top Report
SALTWATER: The yellowfin tuna and big eye tuna bite has been outstanding this week. Loads of tuna have been hitting the docks, along with good numbers of mahi. A 914-pound blue marlin was the winner of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament this year, which just finished up. The catch was reportedly worth $800,000. Bottom fishing charters in Nags Head and Hatteras are bringing in triggerfish, grouper and amberjack right now. Inshore anglers are scoring Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, bluefish, and flounder. Tilefish are available to those traveling out to the Norfolk Canyon.
Inside the bay and along the Virginia Beach oceanfront, the Spanish mackerel action has been excellent, especially for big fish. They seem to be averaging bigger this season. Anglers are running into big schools of red drum inside the bay, as these fish can often be spotted along the surface. They are easy to spot, as the sea seems to turn brown with the massive amounts of fish.
The cobia bite keeps getting better inside the bay, as the water continues to warm. During the rougher, windy days, anglers are doing better by bottom fishing. Using chum, and creating a chum slick, is often the method for drawing in the cobia for hookups. The calmer days have the anglers searching for them along the surface, and triggering strikes with live eels and bucktails. There have been high numbers of 50-to-60-inch fish weighed in recently.
The spadefish action continues to improve inside the bay, but the Chesapeake Light Tower is still producing good numbers and sizable spades. But, again, the bridge-tunnel area continues to improve. Fresh clam is often the key to success for the bigger spades. The flounder reports are also improving from the bridge-tunnel area. The pilings, the tube spine, and reef areas are all producing keeper fish. Hopefully this will be a much better year for flounder, than the last few years, which have been a struggle.
FRESHWATER: The James bounced back over the weekend, despite stained to muddy conditions. Nineteen pounds won a recent team tournament. Bass seem to be scattered throughout the river. Some are in the creeks, in the pits and along the main river. Wood cover is usually it for the James, as vegetation is usually the key for the Chickahominy. Submerged grass, lily pads and wood cover are holding the bass on the Chick. Grass frogs, Texas-rigged plastics, crankbaits and other topwater baits are fooling fish.
It seems that snakehead fishing is becoming as popular as bass fishing on the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers. Snakehead tournaments are occurring more frequently these days. The snakeheads seem to prefer shallower water than the bass, but attack the same baits.
The upper James has returned to normal levels and color. The Westham gauge is reading 5.1 feet. Good baits to use are topwater lures, small soft plastics, such as 4 in black lizards, finesse worms, senkos and flukes.
Moving to the lakes, bass are in summer patterns — humps, ledges, rock structure, and even brush piles still. This is holding true for many of the lakes, Kerr, Anna, Smith and the smaller lakes such as Sandy River. Crankbaits, and Texas rigs seem to be best. Lake Anna guides are using live bait with great success for the stripers early in the mornings. Large baits are working better. Crappie are being found in big numbers along the bridge areas. Shade, current and baitfish, are the simple reasons for their presence there.