Chris Wilkes at James River Runners Hatton Ferry reports that after a slow spring, fishing-wise, things are looking up on the James River. “I’ve had a few reports of great top water action on some of the smaller rivers where temps are probably a bit higher, but still they are still few and far between on the James,” Chris noted. “The big ones are starting to wake up if you’ve got patience enough to work them hard, but again, the river has been moving a little too fast to give you that opportunity. On the other side of the coin, the catfish have been very active. Anglers are producing large numbers and sizes while fishing from the banks. Last weekend, some of our staff pulled in over 120-pounds of catfish in one afternoon from our point in Howardsville.”
For information on James River Runners, go to www.jamesriverrunners.com.
Buzz baits are attracting the attention of big largemouth at Lake Orange. Crappies are dropping out to 8 feet as shellcrackers and bluegills are right on the banks, fanning their nests. Nice yellow perch continue to come to the scales. The catfish bite is also picking up
Spawn Winding Down
Fish are on beds and headed into post spawn. Location and tides will be key to stay on these fish.
Water is in the mid 70s. Chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon early in the week, highs in the low to mid 80s. Upper 70s sunshine and clouds the rest of the week. Dry headed into the weekend.
Locate spawners closer to deep water to target fish in all stages. Otherwise, move into spawning flats and move out to scattered grass, cover or a drop for post-spawners. Drop shot rigs target pre and post spawn fish. Tie 6-inch leaders with a 1/8-ounce Bullshot weight. Use 15-pound test GAMMA Torque braid with a 12-pound Edge leader. A Mizmo Doodle Worm on a Mustad 2/0 Mega Bite hook rigged Texas style is working well! Bass guarding fry will fall prey to bright colored trick worms on a 3/0 Mega Bite hook. Same drop shot line set up.
For post spawners, try clown pattern Lucky Craft Pointer 100. Use 10-pound test Copoly line. Keep baits moving. Same goes for surface lures like Lucky Craft Gunfish. Buzzbaits at lower water in pads or over grass tied to 20-pound Edge fluorocarbon will produce.
Texas rigged blue craw Mizmo tubes with a 3/16 ounce bullet weight on 12 pound Edge can be cast and dragged through grass, pitched to visible grass clumps, or to docks. Good post spawn targets. Wacky rigged Mizmo Quiver Stix with a 2/0 Mustad Octopus hook on the same drop shot line set up for spinning gear. Add a wrap of thin solder to the hooks to get the bait down faster.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Crispens, a regular on Lake Moomaw, says that the lake has finished turning over with surface temperature of 67.8 degrees. The thermocline is pronounced at 14-16 feet deep. It is 65 degrees at 16 feet and 57 degrees at 22 feet. “I fished for trout with live alewives Thursday night and Friday morning and also Saturday morning,” he said. “There were numerous small trout – mostly rainbows and steelhead – cruising around my lights feeding at night. They became a nuisance because I could not keep them off my lines – I dropped the lines to 20 feet and no bites, but when I fished at 16 feet, it was a constant bite from juvenile fish. I caught a 17-inch rainbow Friday morning and a couple others around 14-15 inches. Saturday morning was more of the same, but I did catch some nice browns. I had one at 18-inches, One at 19 and one 21-incher (easily over 5 pounds). I was by myself and lost another big brown at the net. I ran into a friend who had caught 3 keeper browns Thursday morning. So basically the fish are hanging in the thermocline at 65 degrees – you just have to weed through a lot of little guys. I have never seen so many 6-12 inch trout swimming around my underwater lights, so that bodes well for the future. I used to get excited about catching one of the steelhead, but now it is just a regular thing – problem is they are all little although I did catch one 17 or 18 inches a couple of years ago. So trout fishing is good, but don’t fish too deep. I did that a week ago and got skunked. This time I had my Cline-finder with me and found the fish.”
The 2015 Anna Point Marina/Fish Tales Youth Fishing Tournament was a huge success again this year. Sixty-two (up from 44 in 2014) young anglers from ages 3 to 17 showed up.
The tournament was from 9am-1pm and they were fishing for the largest Bass, Crappie, Sunfish & Cat Fish in their age groups. The age groups were (3-9) (10-12) (13-17).
Each angler walked away from the event with a Lew’s Rod & Reel Combo or a Shakespeare Rod & Reel Combo & event T-Shirt. The winners from each category in the three age group received trophies and $20 cash. The Grand Champion received a trophy.
Results are below:
3-9 AGE GROUP
Bass- Cole Myles 2.80lbs age 7
Crappie- Halle Campbell 1.21lbs age 5
Catfish- Cole Myles 2.40lbs age 7
Sunfish (Tie)- Eddie Hulton (Age 3) Ethan Walker (Age 8) .52lbs age 8
10-12 AGE GROUP
Bass- Mongomery Clore 1.88lbs age 10
Crappie- Faith Lambert .98lbs age 12
Catfish- Gavin Adams 3.79lbs age 11
Sunfish- Andrew Swink .34lbs age 10
13-17 AGE GROUP
Bass- Katlyn Craft 2.25lbs age 17
Crappie- Melony Campbell 1.41lbs age 15
Catfish- Justin Johnson 6.63lbs age 15
Sunfish- River Clark .64lbs age 15
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 70’s in the main lake and the low to mid 80’s in the major creeks on Monday (5/18/2015). The lake level was slightly above the top of the dam. The water was moderately brown and very slightly cloudy in the lower lake.
Blue cats were scattered throughout the lake and creeks and were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Crappie were in several different patterns and were biting moderately aggressively. Some crappie were in loose schools in the main lake on flats and channel edges, frequently near creek mouths, usually at depths of 6 to 12 feet. A moderate number of crappie were scattered or in small schools on shallow to mid-depth cypress knees, wood cover, and shoreline weed beds in the main lake and in mouths of major creeks. Active crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, and small swim baits. Some nice yellow perch were in loose aggregates in some creeks and on main lake shoreline flats and were hitting live minnows and small jigs. Some nice bluegill were scattered and in small aggregates near shorelines in some areas of major creeks and the main lake and were hitting live crickets and worms, flies, and small tubes and jigs. Some bass and pickerel were on lily pad flats and along shorelines in major creeks and in shallow bays in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Jimmy Marable and Norma Hall had 1 bluegill and 17 crappie. Terry Rivers had 14 bluegill and 11 crappie. Tom Porter had 65 bluegill, 5 shellcracker, 18 crappie, 2 yellow perch, and 1 bass.
Mossy Creek Fly Shop Report
Clawdads, CK Baitfish, and Half and Halfs! These flies are still in play for the next few weeks while big male smallmouth guard nests. We expect a transition period towards the early part of June when bass will abandon their fry and migrate to their summer lies. Fishing can be a bit tough with high water flows and no specific spots to target these fish. We typically fish for large musky, largemouth bass, and carp for this time period. We catch plenty of smallmouth bass on these days but they are not as easy to pattern as they will be later in June. Monitor water levels and adjust the size or weight of your fly accordingly. Above average flows may require the use of heavy, large profile flies. Once water levels drop and the rivers clean up sometimes downsizing from a size 1/0 fly to a size 2 might be all you need…not to mention they are easy to cast. The same flies will be in play through summer but you should be planning on taking plenty of topwater flies as the rivers clean up. Diving frogs, minnows, and poppers will produce fish this time of year but the topwater bite will continue to improve as water levels drop and visibility improves. Please remember to fish responsibly through this time period. If you catch a fish guarding a nest or in a spawning area, please release the fish quickly. Other predators like sunfish and rockbass will attack the black fry in the nests and we need to ensure a good spawn this year!
Musky fishing is firing up early this year! We typically see this spike in activity in late May early June when water temps hit the mid to upper 60’s. Musky feed ravenously at their metabolic peak water temps around 70 degrees. Be prepared for some great fishing over the next few weeks! Our guides will be busy this season but we do have some peak season availability for those looking to expand their horizons and target a new exciting species! We have some musky flies in the shop tied by Shane Maybush and we have all of the lines and leader material you will need to properly rig for musky. Stop in and get geared up for the season. The bite is on!
The carp fishing is firing up as water temps are perfect and we have had a few days with decent visibility. We will be out more and more as visibility conditions improve! Call or email us with questions if you are interested in fishing for carp or would like to go on a guided trip to specifically target these challenging fish.
By Mossy Creek Fly Shop
The mountain trout fishing continues to be excellent. We haven’t received a bad report in 2 months! Water temps are perfect and the insect activity has been great. We are anxiously awaiting the green drake hatch in a few weeks. We are already seeing a few here and there. If you are running short on your favorite dry flies or nymphs, we have tens of thousands of flies in stock! Here are a few streams that have been fishing very well over the past few weeks. Madison Run, Paine Run, N. Fork of the Mormon’s, Jeremey’s Run, Ramsey’s Draft, Rapidan, Hughes, Conway, Big Run, North River, Skidmore Fork and Dry River. Take plenty of nymphs, streamers, split shot, and strike indicators to get the job done in the deeper runs and pools. Stimulators, Parachute and Wulff style patterns are crushing fish everywhere. Sulphurs are popping and stones and caddis are everywhere but the fish are eating just about everything in sight right now. Load heavy on dry flies, floatant and have a great time! Interested in taking your mountain trout fishing to the next level and simplifying your life? Give Tenkara fishing a try. We will just say it is simple, fun, and extremely effective. Eliminate drag on your dry flies and nymphs and you will be surprised how you find yourself catching more and larger fish! Join the madness today! We have the largest selection of Tenkara rods, lines, gear, and information in the mid Atlantic.
Mossy Creek Fly Shop
The trico hatches on our local creeks are bigger than we have seen in years. The clouds of bugs are huge and the fish are tuning into them most calm mornings. The sulphur hatch in the evening has been strong and the green drakes coming in a few weeks will help add to the evening fishing. BIG flies like the PMX, Stimulators, and Para Drakes are great as indicator flies right now as fish are still readily taking nymphs. CLAWDADS, HOME INVADERS, NEAR NUFF SCULPINS, and KREELEX are still hot flies. You can find all of our favorite STREAMERS on our online store. South River upper, Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek continue to produce nice fish. The weather will cool down a bit over the next few days so get out and enjoy the perfect weather!
Great fishing continues on North River DH, Elkhorn Lake, South River DH, South River Special Regulation Area, The Bullpasture, Spring Run, The Jackson, Back Creek, Douthat Lake, Passage Creek, Maury, and The Tye River. Keep an eye on the VDGIF site for updates over the next 2 weeks! Attractor nymphs and streamers will take the newly stocked fish and the holdover fish will target natural dry flies that are hatching. Dead drifted crystal buggers, golden retrievers, squirmy worms, San Juan’s, thin mints, egg patterns, CK nymphs, and psycho prince nymphs are working well. Slump busters, Kreelex, near ’nuff sculpins, and other attractor streamers are working well-swung or stripped rapidly on warm overcast days. Have fun and enjoy the last part of the season!
Capt. Dick Whitehill notes that big croakers are biting on the Rappahannock River. Rockfish are on small size and are being caught by casting in shallow water.
Dr. Ken Neill
The drum bite remains excellent. The black drum bite may be slowing down a bit while the red drum bite is getting better. Fishing for both species is very good. Anglers targeting black drum have caught more sheepshead, and joining the by-catch this week are cobia. The cobia bite is red hot out of the Outer Banks with catches to 100 pounds. That is the place to be for cobia right now, but some have already made it to the bay and have been caught by drum fishermen. The bay cobia fishery here should really get going over the next couple of weeks.
Some flounder are being caught at most of the normal flounder spots, but only a few fish. The exception is the seaside inlets of the Eastern Shore where some nice limits of flatfish are being caught. There have also been some flounder caught in the shallows by anglers targeting puppy drum and speckled trout. A few puppy drum are being caught and a very, very few speckled trout. What anglers are finding in the shallow flats and grass beds are good numbers of small striped bass.
Bottom fishermen are catching good numbers of croaker and sea mullet. A lot of the croaker are small, but the average size seems to be improving. A few eating-sized spot are also being caught.
The offshore fishing is good to our south. Boats fishing out of Hatteras are catching dolphin and the blue marlin fishing is good. Two over 600 pounds were weighed in this past weekend at the Hatteras Village Tournament. Boats out of Oregon Inlet are catching good numbers of yellowfin tuna and some impressive bigeye tuna. There has not been much fishing for pelagics off of Virginia yet. It is time to start. There have been tuna caught to our north already. Most of the boats running out of Virginia are bottom fishing and are coming back with good catches of tilefish, sea bass, and some grouper. The coastal wrecks are still holding some cod along with sea bass.
Capt. Reese Stecher out of Oregon Inlet is putting his clients on lots of cobia as the long warriors work their way through the Carolinas and into the Virginias. Stecher reports lots of quality fish.
(5-21)Surf anglers on the beaches are catching blues and sea mullet.
The Little Bridge on the Nags Head/Manteo causeway reported croaker, spot and lots of trout, with a few keepers.
Avalon Pier had two 30 in Drum, and lost one, plus sea mullet and blues. Nags Head Pier had bluefish.
Jennette’s reported gray trout, sea mullet, spot and bluefish.
Outer Banks Pier anglers were landing double headers on spot and nice sea mullet. The water temp 68 degrees.
(5-20) Yesterday’s weather changed things up a little for the captains today, reported Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Brought to the docks were dolphin, gaffers, yellow fin tuna and big eyes. One of our captains was able to catch three blue marlin as well. For our near shore captains, it was a good day for blues and there were catches of blue sharks, Bonita mackerels and cobia. The head boat, Miss O.I., caught flounder, sea mullet, and blow toads.
(5-19) Despite the rainy weather, the captains were able to bring back plenty of catches. Yellowfin tuna, dolphin, wahoo, and gaffers were all brought to the docks. Our near-shore captains also were able to make some good catches with sand sharks and cobia. The Miss O.I. had a citation sea mullet (they caught a total of 200), plus spot, pigfish, flounder, and sea robins.
On Wednesday, Red Drum & Tackle reported lots of bluefish from Ramp 44 to Avon. Spanish were beached between ramp 44 and Avon. Ramp 44 had citation pompanos. Ramp 49 and 55 anglers landed sea mullet and pompano.
On Tuesday, 10-year old Finn Malloy caught and released his first puppy drum at 27 and a half inches. Ramp 55 had some nice, big pompanos – up to 3-10. Ramp 44 had some Spanish. The Point had some Spanish, bluefish, big sharks and big drum. The Jetties had sheepshead and black drum.
Capt. Dave Wilson reports: “It’s always a great feeling get your first blue marlin of the year out of the way…and on to number two!
Our day on Tuesday started out with two wahoos, the we missed the next four. Conditions sounded great offshore, so we moved out a little deeper where we got jumped by a 350-pound blue marlin. Tom did a great job angling the fish to the boat after a great show. The grass was pretty scattered in the deep, and some guys found floats and did well with the dolphin. We caught five gaffers to go with the wahoos and marlin memories.
On May 18, Woody and the guys wanted to split the day up, so we fished a few hours offshore and then came back in to look for some cobia.
Things started out pretty slow offshore, We missed a few dolphin bites and lost a wahoo before jogging back in to the beach. We spotted several cobias, hooked three and landed two. The guys were happy to try something different from yesterday and all enjoyed spotting the fish!”