Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia: Kerr Reservoir has been holding in the general vicinity of 301 feet this week. Lake level changes in the coming days and weeks will be a function of rainfall and discharge rates from the dam into Lake Gaston. Check the latest level with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the latest information. Lake Gaston was running higher than normal earlier in the week and was a few inches over 200 feet. Water temperatures have been in the upper 60s and lower 70s as a result of the warming trend we have had. With the warming trend, the fishing should excel this coming weekend depending on weather patterns. The pleasure boaters have been out in droves with spring turning into summer, so many anglers opt to fish early or late and also avoid many of the heavily trafficked main lake stretched.
The post-spawn largemouth bass fishing has been hot on Kerr Reservoir with many bass still being caught shallow on crankbaits, topwater, spinnerbaits and soft plastics. Even though many tournaments have been cancelled, there are many fishermen on the lakes, so anglers have to be patient in finding good places to fish. The topwater bite in May is usually very good, particularly the latter part of the month. This bite won’t last long as we head into summer, so it is important to get out there now. Some areas of Kerr Reservoir are already fishing deep such as Nutbush where most reports are indicating more success deeper, using Carolina rigs and big jigs. Texas-rigged plastics are working well right now on Lake Gaston, particularly big 10-inch worms. Creature baits such as craws or lizards are also good choices as are finesse type rigs such as trick worms on a shaky head. A spinnerbait will work wonders right now as long as you have some stain and preferably some wind. Fishing windblown banks and points is a key pattern to work right now as it often activates the fish into feeding. Finally, bass anglers are reporting good success on long tapering points throughout each lake, even though the bass may be relating to cover near the bank on these points.
Crappie fishermen are still reporting very good catches, and many are shooting docks. Shooting docks is one of the best ways to catch crappie in May. Anglers report catching up to one hundred a day and fish up to 14 inches is not uncommon. In addition to docks, many crappies have moved to brush piles and can be caught casting or vertically jigging lures on this cover.
Catfish continued to bite well this week and are being caught drifting in many areas of the lake. They can be caught shallow and on flats in the backs of creeks. Good reports are still coming in from the mid-lake area of Kerr as well as below the power lines and all the way to the dam.
GREEN TOP REPORT
Saltwater: The saltwater fishing has finally blasted off. Inside the bay, spot are being caught on bloodworms at the mouth of the Rappahannock, and just inside the river. Red drum catches are increasing at the mouth of the bay. Catches of croaker are being reported at Virginia Beach. Shrimp and bloodworms have been best. Flounder have showed up inside Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlet. Flounder catches are also continuing to be caught from the Wachapreague area. Speckled trout catches are on the rise, as the increased hours of daylight warm the flats. Offshore action has really jumped, as the last few days have seen catches of yellowfin tuna, mahi, wahoo and some blue marlin. Cobia and drum have been caught along the beaches in Nags Head and Hatteras. The surf has also been good for pompano, sea mullet, bluefish and puppy drum. Large speckled trout are being caught from the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. The Nags Head piers are reporting good catches of sea mullet and bluefish.
Freshwater: Excellent catches of bass are occurring on the tidal James, Chickahominy and Rappahannock rivers. We’ll have to wait and see what the Potomac will be like. The last few years have been slow on the Potomac. Many locals are claiming that the tidal bass have yet to spawn. It seems that this will be a late spawn season. Many are still reporting catching fish on spinnerbaits, swimbaits and senkos. A lot of snakeheads are being caught from the Potomac, and even some from the Rappahannock. Sizable blue cats are being pulled in from the tidal rivers also. The Rappahannock has been producing more numbers, but the James has the sizes. Excellent catches of stripers are occurring at Anna. Live bait presentations and topwater baits are working best. Great catches of bass are happening too, as 22 pounds plus was the winning weight over the weekend. Post spawn patterns seem to be working best. Look for the topwater bite to take off soon for the bass. Kerr Lake elevation is 301 feet, which is a slight rise in the last week. Anglers are reporting that shallow patterns are working best. Flukes, senkos, topwaters and chatterbaits are getting the nod. crappie are returning to mid depth brush piles with the larger creeks like Butchers, Grassy, and Eastland being better. The better striper fishing is still occurring in the upper portions of the lake. This is the time of year when the crappie can be seen feeding on the insect hatches occurring. The smaller bodies of water are better, as the fish roam chasing the food. Small jigs reeled slowly just under the surface, works most of the time. This is also the time for the bigger bluegills to be caught. A large bluegill is a challenging opponent, especially on light tackle. Live bait, such as crickets and night crawlers will usually find them quickly. When searching the bigger waters for the bluegills and shellcrackers, a whole night crawler on a slip float rig works wonders. As vegetation has emerged, look for bass to be responding to grass frogs, and similar “slop” baits. The upper James is on the rise again, so keep an eye on the river levels, if considering chasing the smallmouth this weekend. The current level is 7.54 feet at the Westham gauge.