The lake level is normal and clear. Water temperatures are in the low-to-mid 50s and rising. The fishing pressure is moderate. Rising water temps have put the bass in a pre-spawn mode. Some fish are still in deepwater but they should be making their move into the shallows to start spawning process.
Nice catchers have been reported on a variety of lewers, including jigs, blade baits, Alabama rigs, chatter baits, swim baits and even some on top water. Two more weight citations, 10.1 and 8.9, were checked in, which brings our bass citation total to eight for the year, all more than 8 pounds. Crappie have started their move into the creeks to spawn and nice catches have been reported on jigs and small minnows. The biggest crappie of the week was a 2.1 weight citation. Nice catches of bowfin, pickerel and catfish have been made with large and extra-large minnows.
Notable catches: Dan Jones three bass, 11.5; Bill Moss 4.5, 3.5 bass; Lex Meredeth three bass, 10.5; Dan Jones 10.1 bass weight citation; Bobby Harlow 12-pound bag; Willie Allen 8.8 weight citation; Anthony Glott 6.9 length citation; Thom White 5.1; Willie Allen 5.2; Kevin Hutchinson and Mark Smith eight bass, 17-pound bag minnows; Ryan Grattan 7.1 length citation; Mike Martinez 5; Matt Keck 2.1-pound crappie weight citation; Dan Jones four bass 13-pound bag; Willie Allen 5.6, 17-pound bag; Danny and Ryan Grattan 22-pound bag; Mike and Hector Martinez 18.6-pound bag; Mark Fahnart 5.1.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: This week the lake level has been in the range of 299 feet and is expected to remain at approximately this level for the next week. The guide curve is currently rising from a winter low of 295.5 feet to a spring target of 302 feet. Gaston has remained at just under 200 feet and fairly normal, with lower flow rates this week as the releases from Kerr have been below normal. Water temperatures have been in the lower 50s and upper 40s in most areas of each lake.
On Lake Gaston, the largemouth bass are biting well as a local club reported Ivan and Janet Morris won their event with five bass going 18 pounds even. Second place went to Richard Kramer and Shawn Evans with five bass going 16 pounds, 9 ounces. The lake is significantly stained in most areas but the bass are largely into their pre-spawn patterns. Water temperatures will definitely be well into the 50s after the week of warm weather, even though some lower temperatures may ease in for the weekend.
The bigger bass typically move up first, so those anglers willing and able to brave the unpredictable and often cold March weather are often rewarded. Bass anglers need to check both deep and shallow right now, and most bass will be positioned near deep water still, even if they are up shallow. This means channel swings, ledges, humps and points will be key locations. Points near or adjacent to spawning flats are prime targets and lures such as Carolina rigs, suspended jerk baits and deep diving cranks are often used to explore them. For the shallower bass, spinner baits and square bill crank baits are hard to beat. A lipless crank bait can be used to cover a lot of water right now, particularly in flats in the backs of creeks by staying two casts off the bank.
Red-colored lures are highly recommended right now. Many creeks and coves, particularly on Lake Gaston, have stumps out away from the banks that hold springtime bass getting ready for the spawn. Stained water is still an issue over on Kerr Reservoir, with the Ivy Hill area being atypically more stained than other mid-lake creeks such as Butchers, Panhandle and Eastland. Any of these creeks can be explored for bass right now but Eastland and Butchers may have cleaner water than the others, particularly in the back. Many anglers are still focusing on the Nutbush area with its clearer water.
Currently the crappie are migrating from brush and moving toward spawning areas. In the process of this migration, they are feeding up. Typical depths are a little lower this week and have been 5 to 8 feet in 8 to 15 feet of water. The best creeks on Kerr still appear to be those up-lake such as Buffalo and Bluestone. The fish are widely scattered right now but will get a little more concentrated as they move into the shallows. Not all anglers are tight lining these days and some are reporting fine results on a single pole and a jig.
Green Top REPORT
Saltwater: Things are still slow on the saltwater front. About the only thing being reported is the bite for blackfin tuna, which has been excellent this week. There has been some sea mullet reported from Ramp 49 at Hatteras. Look for the Hatteras and Nags Head surf to start producing big red drum here soon.
Freshwater: The past few weeks have been excellent on the freshwater front. The last few days have been exceptionally good for bass and crappie. Twenty-nine pounds won a team tournament over the weekend at Lake Chesdin. A five-bass limit, for 29 pounds, is quite impressive. Twenty-five pounds won at Anna over the weekend.
Bass are moving shallow, and feeding up in pre spawn patterns. A-rigs, jerk baits, jigs and crankbaits have all been working. Water temperatures seem to be hovering around 50 degrees on the lakes. Crappie fishing has been equally good on Anna, and Kerr. The crappie seem to be biting in the 6-to-15-foot ranges. Look for the stumps to hold the larger crappie toward the end of the month.
The stripers in Anna slowed a little, but will bounce back any day now. Once the water temps hit 53 degrees, the stripers really ignite. Both have turned on well in area ponds and small lakes also. The tidal rivers become more alive each warming day, as we approach spring. The yellow perch are biting in the Rapp, Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers.
There are reports of shad and white perch being caught from the Rapp also. There have also been reports of shad being caught from the James. The peak for the white perch and shad usually occurs around the second week of April on the James. The bass are biting on the Chickahominy River and Lake as well. Billy Boswell of Chesterfield nailed a 7.43-pound bass from the Chickahominy River over the weekend.
The bass on the tidal rivers become really aggressive when the shad run is in full swing, so things will improve nicely as we move closer to April. The tidal river crappie action can be outstanding also. Never overlook the Rapp and James for quality crappie. The smallmouth bass have ignited in the upper James, and will also continue to improve as we approach April.
Crawfish crank baits, spinner baits, jerk baits and jigs are on the list for the feisty fish also. Small, 1/8-to-1/4-oz. ball head jigs, dressed with various plastics will take big smallmouth as well. Natural colors, like smoke, green pumpkin, brown and black, work well, no matter the water color.