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 60’s in the lower main lake and in the major creeks on Wednesday. The lake level was about even with the top of the dam, and the water was light brown and very slightly cloudy in the central lake, with more cloudy water along downwind shorelines.
This past weekend, the lake level rose to well over a foot above the top of the dam at high tide for several days due to coastal flooding coming up the river.
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. Some cats were suspended rather than holding near the bottom. 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 depths of 3 to 5 feet, 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 swimbaits.
Pickerel and bass were located along shorelines (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), spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, David Biondi and Xanadu Latham caught 19 bluegills, five shellcrackers, one crappie, two white perch and one bass. Chris Witte caught one bowfin, one pickerel and three bass. Brian, Tim and Jeffrey Boberick caught two crappie, 18 white perch and three bass.
Chickahominy Lake is probably the only lake in the area where the water level is not low due to the drought-like conditions we have endured for the past six weeks. The lake level is normal due to the northeast winds that have pushed the Todd over the dam into the lake from the river. Fishing continues to be good for bass, pickle, bowfin, catfish and bluegill.
Three weight-citation bass over 8 pounds checked in last week, bringing our best-weight citation total to 32 for the year. Allen hosted the first-annual swim-bait only tournament Oct. 13. Participants included 35 boats and 70 anglers and only one fish per person could be weighed in.
First place was an 8.03-weight citation caught by CJ Martin from Massachusetts.The top four fishermen were all from out of state and all four were fishing in Allen’s boats and baits rental boats.
Notable catches: Bill Martin 15-pound bag; Jeff Ludlow and Ron Crum 18.8-pound bag; Bill Myers 14-pound bag; Jason Van Der Woodsen and Isaac Crowell 15.6-pound bag; Danny and Ryan Grattan 14.9-pound bag; Wes Zabdyr and Jeff Herberts 13.7-pound bag; Jeff Ludlow 9.02 bass weight citation; Joe Jones limit shell crackers; Rick Author and Alan Howard six bass, one pickerel, five bowfin, two ring perch, on minnows; Mike Carter and Rusty McMillian 20 catfish, two over 30 pounds; Jay Tate 14-pound bag; Ron Mason 11-pound bowfin citation; Garrett Gouge 22.5-pound bag; Joe Shaver 1.5-pound citation ring perch; Adam Boulesler 5.8-pound bass; C.J. Martin 8.03-pound citation bass; Matt Valente 6.59-pound bass; Garrett gouge 8.70-pound bass weight citation; Marcus Walls 4-pound Pickrel; Trip Mrstr 6-pound bass; Chris Patterson 7.2-pound bass.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia:
It was a great week to be on the water for many anglers as fall has arrived. Water temperatures are dropping and many fish are moving shallow. In general, fish were biting well this week.
Kerr Reservoir was fairly steady, dropping slowly this week and in the range of 297 feet. Boaters should take appropriate precautions as this is three feet below normal pool.
Lake Gaston was slightly low earlier this week and in the range of 199.3 feet. Water temperatures continue to trend down and are in the mid- to upper-70s in most places.
The largemouth bass are now being caught shallow in greater numbers. Anglers are finding success in and towards the backs of creeks. Lure selection right now is quite broad with the bass being taken on topwater lures, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and worms. A lipless crankbait is ideal right now and will continue to shine for several more weeks. Color choice depends on water clarity, but shad-colored lures are tough to beat as the bass are focused on baitfish right now. When it comes to topwater lures, anglers can cover a lot of water with a buzzbait 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 stickbaits.
Key creeks on Kerr right now include Grassy, Bluestone, Butchers, Panhandle and Eastland. Over on Gaston, anglers should focus on Lizard, Holly Grove and Peahill. Main-lake coves and pockets also are producing as long as there is bait present.
Compared to last week, the crappie bite was on fire this week. Keith Wray of Fishdoc’s Guide Service reported catching more than 100 crappie on a trip with 55 from 10 to 13 inches eight to 20 feet deep on brush in 18 to 30 feet of water. Wray and his clients caught the crappie casting bucktail jigs and Bobby Garland baby shad plastics. For the finicky bite, some anglers are tipping their jigs with a minnow. Mid-lake creeks in either lake are recommended for crappie.
Catfishing has been good on Lake Gaston and Kerr this past week, and pulling corks and planar boards continues to be effective. On Kerr, anglers are reporting success above Clarksville and around Buffalo Creek. Another section that has been reported as excellent right now is the main lake channels in and around Grassy Creek. Whatever section of the lake is fished, the key is to first search for bait first. Much of the bait has been marked in the 25- to 35-foot range recently, 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. Santee rigs have also been effective this week.