The fall trout stocking season inVirginia is in full effect. Lots of fish are going into the streams and lakes. The main problem is finding enough water to cast too. Boy, do we need a couple days of drenching rain. Despite the cooler weather, fall is a prime time to fish. Don’t miss out on the best time of the year to catch a limit of fish.
DGIF biologists stock frequently throughout the season, and DGIF has a daily stocking schedule on its web site, http://dgif.virginia.gov to help you plan ahead for your next trip.
The James River is very low, reports Stan Cobb at Greentop. Navigation is difficult with standard vessels. Jet drive boats and canoes/kayaks draft less water, which work better in these conditions. The low light of morning and evening are also the best times to fish in clear, low water. Small lures are more effective at this time. The lower James isn’t suffering nearly as bad, due to the tidal influence. October brings chasing bass, due to the roaming schools of baitfish throughout the river, but especially in the pits. Lipless crankbaits, flukes, topwaters, and small shad crankbaits work well. The Chickahominy offers more vegetation options, as there are grass flats and lily pads. Topwater baits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and crankbaits will get active or reaction bites. Tough conditions call for finesse worms, drop shots, and small jigs.
The Potomac has suffered this year with the lack of grass. There are small, scattered patches of milfoil here and there, but they get hammered by anglers in search of larger bass. A catch of 28-lbs. won a recent 2-day Federation tournament on Kerr Lake. Topwater baits were the most productive lures. Jigs and soft plastic creature baits were also popular. Look for stripers in the Eastland creek area. Topwater baits and shallow presentations in the upper ends are working on Lake Anna for bass. Crappie are biting better, and should continue to as the days get shorter. Shallower boat docks are starting to attract more fish, but the bridge areas are attracting more. Stripers are on the move upward from the mid lake areas. Baitfish migrations are taking place, which will explode in the upper lake. Look for bass and stripers along grass edges, as this is a tremendous ambush edge. Small, 4-inch swimbaits are hard to beat, as they can be fished at almost any depth, and will catch anything that swims.
The family favorite, large yellow-belly spot have been plentiful. Pier anglers fishing Ocean View and Virginia Beach have loaded up. Along with the spot are some trout, puppy drum, croaker, bluefish and flounder. Good numbers of spot are also inside Lynnhaven Inlet. Croaker are available near Ocean View and the Little Creek jetties.
Speckled trout catches along the lower bay shoreline and in creeks have been good. Anglers are using numerous lures as well as live shrimp under popping corks. Puppy drum are biting in many of the same areas.
Large red drum are schooling near the mouth of the bay and along the oceanfront as they get ready to leave the area. Surfcasters and pier anglers in Sandbridge are waiting for that migration to begin. Red drum love to feed in the surf zone when water conditions are rough.
Flounder catches have been steady. They are being caught inside all three southside inlets and around coastal wrecks. There are still a few Spanish mackerel and bluefish around, but their numbers are dwindling. King mackerel should be available for a few more weeks.
Bluewater action was good before the weather kicked up. When boats return, they should find yellowfin tuna, dolphin, billfish, swordfish and large wahoo. Deep droppers should continue to catch golden tilefish, blueline tilefish and sea bass.
Nags Head area beaches are producing good-sized bluefish, puppy drum and black drum. Hatteras surf anglers are catching large pompano, bluefish and good-sized Spanish mackerel. Speckled trout are starting to work their way out of the sound and into the surf.
Anglers fishing the sound from Wanchese to Oregon Inlet are catching limits of speckled trout. Bluefish are holding in deeper channels around the inlet. Puppy drum are in groups on the flats.
Sheepshead are along the Oregon Inlet Bridge pilings and there are lots of stripers back in the sound.
Nearshore fishing has been solid for anglers casting jigs to Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore just off the beach. Nearshore bottom structure has been holding keeper black sea bass and triggerfish.