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The rivers are high and running muddy. The lakes may turn on with a recent warm spell. Not much fishing going on as hunting season winds down. Muskies in the New and James rivers may be the best bet.
A temperature drop this week could actually help fishing as fish are positioned near the drops and bait will school-up, presenting opportunities for fish and fishermen.
Start slow, cover water and look for bait on depth finders. Water is staying in the mid to upper 40s as we head to the shortest day of the year. A cloudy start with mid 50s for Monday. Chance of rain the rest of the week until Friday with sun. Highs in the mid 60s with overnight lows in the mid 50s.
Silver Buddy Lures are the best place to start. These trigger fish into biting. Use 10-12 pound test GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon line and cast to shallow areas with steep drops out of the current. Short burps and tight line down drops. Pausing before moving again. Stay on the bottom.
In these same areas, toss avocado 3-inch Mann’s Stingray grubs on 1/4-ounce ball head jigs. Also use a 1/4-ounce shaky head with 5-inch Mizmo Doodle worms. Curl tail grubs work too. Chartreuse on sunny days, green pumpkin otherwise. Light 6 pound test GAMMA Edge on spinning gear with top drag systems, like Quantum EXO reels. Soak soft plastics in Jack’s Juice garlic bait spray.
Look for warmer water. Above 45 and fairly clear, try Lucky Craft Bevy Shad suspending crankbaits. Cast on 8-pound test Copoly, work slowly and pause. Contact cover and hesitate. Move this bait with the rod. Also try slow rolling spinnerbaits in these areas. Gold willow Colorado blades with white skirts. The round head on the 3/8-ounce Mann’s Classic deflects off cover. Throw spinnerbaits on 12-pound test Edge.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. email@example.com
Not much action on the trout stocking front as hatchery personnel gear up for the Christmas break. A couple streams were stocked and all stockable waters now have fish. Last week’s schedule:
Craig Co.: Potts Creek (12/21)
Page Co.: Hawksbill Creek (12/21)
Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service (804-746-2475) out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the high 40’s in the main lake on Wednesday (12/23/2015). The lake level was about 6 inches above top of the dam. The water was medium brown and slightly cloudy in the central lower lake, with murky water around many shorelines.
Blue cats and a few bullheads were in channels and winter holes and were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Moderate numbers of crappie were in loose schools in the main lake on deeper flats, channel edges, and channels, usually at depths of 7 to 15 feet, sometimes suspended, and frequently in the neighborhood of wood cover. Active crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, small swim baits, jigging spoons, and blade baits. Some small to medium yellow perch were scattered on deeper main lake flats and were hitting live minnows, small jerk baits, spoons, and small jigs. Most bluegill and shellcrackers had moved to the deep edges of hydrilla flats, to mid-depth wood cover, or into channels and when active were hitting live crickets and worms, small blade baits, tubes, and jigs. Most bass and pickerel were on deeper flats and in channels in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, and jigs.