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 60s to lower 70s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks Wednesday. The lake level was about 2 inches above the top of the dam, and the water was light brown and very slightly cloudy in the central lake, with more cloudy water along some 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. Most crappie were along main lake channel edges, frequently near wood cover. 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 mix of sizes of bluegill and shellcracker were scattered on shorelines and on flats out to 3- to 5-foot depths, especially around cypress trees, in the main lake and in some creeks. 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 early in the morning (especially under duckweed patches and hydrilla mats), around cypress trees, on flats and on channel edges. 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, David Murphy, Jack Long and Danny Paxton had three bass. Ross Alfonso and Ryan Ladd had nine bluegill, one shellcracker, one white perch, one blue cat and one bass. Tom Porter had 12 bluegill, eight crappie, four white perch and one blue cat.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia:
Kerr Reservoir was fairly steady this week and in the range of 297 feet. Boaters should take appropriate precautions as this is 3 feet below normal pool.
Lake Gaston was normal to slightly low earlier this week and in the range of 199.3 feet. Water temperatures have trended down and are in the upper 70s in most places. The coming weeks are expected to transition fish from the depths to the shallows as they follow the baitfish.
Dennie Gilbert of Kerr Lake Bass Fishing Guide Service reports that the largemouth bass are yet to make a major move to the shallows, but it won’t be long now. Recently, the bass have remained mostly in summertime patterns, and the Carolina rig has worked well. That said, Gilbert reports that for those looking for a shallow bite, success can be had running the banks with top-water lures such as poppers and buzz baits. It is hard to beat covering water with a buzz bait as it can be fished fast and is very effective right now. Even when a fish hits at this lure and misses, often it can be caught with follow-up lures such as Texas rigged worms or stick baits.
Of course, right now and as fall proceeds, finding and fishing around baitfish is more important than ever. As we move on into fall, the lipless crank bait will be a key choice for this style of fishing. Bass are schooling right now and when located, a large number of fish can be caught in a small area. Key creeks on Kerr right now include Bluestone, Butchers, Panhandle, Carter and Mill. Over on Gaston, anglers should focus on Poplar, Lizard and Holly Grove creeks, as well as main-lake coves and pockets.
While the crappie in general are moving shallower, the bigger crappie are still on deep brush in 20 or more feet of water. Anglers are reporting success this week on both the spoon and jig dropped vertically over brush. For the finicky bite, anglers can tip the jig with a minnow. Mid-lake creeks in either lake are recommended for crappie. Some anglers are still reporting seeing huge schools on the graph, but only getting half-a-dozen bites. If the angler chooses to wait it out, other fish will turn on, but this requires some patience.
Catfishing has been good on Lake Gaston and Kerr this past week, and pulling corks and planar boards has been rather effective. The key here is to search the main lake and creeks for bait first. Much of the bait has been marked in the 25- to 35-foot range, particularly in mid-lake creeks on Kerr around the Ivy Hill area. Rigs can be pulled anywhere from the depth of the baitfish to the bottom.
For the fish on the bottom, Santee rigs are recommended. In addition to pulling, some anglers reported simply drifting particularly when the wind was blowing down the creek channel.