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 upper 70s to lower 80s in the lower-main lake and in the major creeks Wednesday. The lake level was about two inches above the top of the dam and the water was light brown and 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, Tricia Pearsall had 17 bluegill, two shellcracker, one crappie, one white perch and one gar. Jerry Davis had 34 bluegill and two bass. Karen Anderson had 30 bluegill and two blue cats. Terry Imbery had 34 bluegill and one shellcracker. Tom Porter had 38 bluegill, one crappie, two white perch and one blue cat.
The lake level is normal and clear, with water temperatures in the low 80s. Fishing pressure is light due to oppressive heat. Fishing should improve at the end of the week when fall temperatures will prevail and cool the water down.
Nice catches of bass have been recorded with Sinco’s, chatter baits and frogs. Best results have been around the weed lines on or at the creek mouths. Crappie are being found in the rush pounds in six to 10 feet of water. Catfish, fan and gore are being caught with extra large minnows.
Notable catches: Patrick Jarrell 3-pound pickerel; Willie Cosby and Ben Mathews 15-pound bag; James Worley 14-pound bag; James Miller limit shellcrackers; Andrew Scott and Kyle Jackson 16-pound bag; Gene Pitkin 6.5-pound bag; Warren Mills limit bluegill; Kyle Jackson 6.3 bass.
Jeff Crow reports the following from Lake Country in southern Virginia:
With the continued lack of rainfall the past few weeks, Kerr Reservoir has maintained a slow fall and was in the range of 297 feet earlier in the week. At these lower levels, boaters should be cautious, particularly in the up-lake areas. Lake Gaston was just below 200 feet this week. Water temperatures have trended up as summer-like temperatures have dominated, and they have been in the mid to upper 80s recently. The fall turnover is under way in parts of the lakes, particularly the deeper down-lake areas. The turnover is best identified by an unusual odor and is quite obvious when out on the water. The turnover will only last two to three weeks but represents a time period when fishing can be tougher. Often it is better to fish the mid or upper sections of the lakes when the turnover is under way down lake. The coming weeks still are expected to transition fish from the depths to the shallows as they follow the baitfish.
Dennie Gilbert reports that the largemouth bass remain mostly in summertime patterns and the Carolina rig has worked well this week. For those looking for a shallow bite, some are reporting success running the banks with top water lures such as poppers and buzz baits. Finding and fishing around baitfish is more important right now than any other time of year. Lipless crank baits are also choice lures in the fall and around baitfish. Bass are schooling right now, and when located, a large number of fish can be caught in a small area. Over on Gaston, anglers should check Poplar and Holly Grove as well as main lake coves and pockets.
Butch Arthur of Arthur’s Fishing Guide reports that the big crappie are still on deep brush in 20 or more feet of water. Arthur reports that the spoon has not been as effective this week and suggests a jig dropped vertically over brush being best right now. If this does not prove successful, anglers can tip the jig with a minnow. Arthur had an interesting 9-pound largemouth bass catch recently while fishing for crappie on 6-pound line in deep water. A 9-pound largemouth is certainly a rarity on Kerr so this was an exciting surprise. Arthur managed to land and photograph the giant before releasing it to fight another day. For crappie, mid-lake creeks in either lake are recommended, particularly since the turnover may be under way in the down lake regions. Some crappie can be caught in the shallower water, but the larger fish will be deeper. Arthur reports that even though a large school of crappie may be marked on a pile, only five to seven fish are typically biting. Anglers can choose to wait it out for the fish to turn back on, or move to another pile. Once the fish turn on, anglers are recommended to put them in the boat quickly as the bite will turn off as quickly as it turned on.