Ed T. of Front Royal Canoe had this report for the South Fork of the Shenandoah: First trip of the year for me, finally got back on the river. Really nice day weather-wise. Started out a little cool, but turned into a beautiful spring day. The river had come up about ¾-foot and was quite stained. The water temperature had dropped some as well. Chalk all that up to the rains upriver last Tuesday and Wednesday. Not the best conditions for fishing.
I was not surprised when it turned out to be a pretty slow day. I ended up with a total of three smallmouth, two at eleven inches and one twelve, all caught on a #3 Mepps in-line spinnerbait (gold blade). All three were caught in shallower areas near rock ledges fairly close to the bank. I got one fourteen-inch largemouth in the second creek across from the houses on a 1/4 oz. jig (green pumpkin and brown). Sum total of four fish. Still, four fish is better than none, and believe me, I’ve had my share of none days. I did get one other fish out near the middle of the river just below a rock ledge. I figure it was a decent size smallmouth, ‘cause I barely started reeling it in before it snapped off with a couple of solid jerks. Yeah, that really made my day. I ended up coming in pretty early compared to my usual departure time. That was because the river was flowing pretty fast and carried me all the way down to FRO’s landing in a matter of a few hours. But you have to keep in mind the fishing usually gets better in the afternoon, especially after 3 PM, so yesterday’s fishing may have been better after I left. Who knows? I headed home so I could get in a massive traffic jam starting about fifteen miles outside of D.C. because everybody wanted to see the cherry blossoms. All in all, my first trip this year was not a huge success. But I still had a great time just getting back on the river on a warm beautiful spring day. You have no idea how much I missed my weekly fishing trips through that crappy winter. And I’m pretty sure the fishing will be better next week. The water temperature is up pretty good, so I figure once the river settles down I can look forward to some good fishing. Spring is one of the best times of the year for getting your bigger smallmouth, so don’t miss out. Good luck with your fishing.
Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540.672.3997) reports that the water at Lake Orange is clear with a temperature near 60 degrees. The bass and crappie are moving shallow and some are beginning to spawn. Crappie are also shallow, feeding on small minnows. Largemouth bass are readily taking soft plastics and live minnows. A 7.5 bass was brought to the scales this week. No report or walleyes or catfish.
Bass are spawning, crappie are preparing to spawn and the stripers are biting at Lake Anna. Some nice fish are coming to scales at Anna Point. Steve Richards weighed in a 1-12 crappie on April 8. Chris MacManus had an 8-8 largemouth earlier in the month and the largest striper weighed to date went 12-9, landed by Kurt Hammerschmidt on April 7. Looks like spring has officially arrived!
Fish are Active!
Fish are moving to spawning areas. Only wind can make things tough now. Finding fish in creeks on wood and main river and creek mouth gravel flats.
Water temperatures are staying in the mid 50s and getting into the 60s.
Fish are moving closer to shore cover: scattered wood, seawalls and gravel banks. Finding clear water, cast clown pattern Lucky Craft Pointer 100s. Vary pauses and lightly tap. Keep baits in one place as long as possible while still imparting some action. Toss on 10-pound test GAMMA Edge Fluorocarbon line.
Tight wiggle flat-sided Mann’s Loudmouth III crankbaits cranked and paused will work on the same line but with a cranking rod. Chartreuse with a brown back with some sun, or red patterns when cloudy.
Docks are a good pattern with jigs, tubes and creature baits. Punisher hair jigs offer a smaller bulkier package. While casting gear is good, I like spinning with 20-pound GAMMA Torque braid with a 10-pound test Edge leader. Same thing for green pumpkin variations of Mizmo tubes. Use an insert head to skip under docks. Mizmo’s Swamp Monster on a 3/0 Mustad Ultra Point Mega Bite hook on 12-pound test with casting gear works around docks.
As water stays in the mid 60s, try square bill cranks like Lucky Craft’s 1.5 with rattles. Use 10-pound test and target shallow wood and gravel banks. With 12 pound test Edge; tie on Lucky Craft LV 500 in red for cloudy days and chartreuse or Shad patterns for sunny days.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. firstname.lastname@example.org
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 mid 60’s in the main lake and the mid to high 60’s in the major creeks on Wednesday (4/15/2015). The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam. The water was moderately brown and 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. A fair number of crappie were in schools in the main lake on flats, frequently near creek mouths, usually at depths of 8 to 12 feet. Some crappie were on shallow to mid-depth wood cover in the main lake and in major creeks. A moderate number of crappie were in the major creeks scattered along the channels. A moderate number of crappie were aggregated near spawning areas, usually in creeks. Active crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. curlytail jigs, small tubes, small swim baits, and small suspending jerk baits. Some nice yellow perch were in loose aggregates in some creeks and hitting live minnows and small jigs. Some bass and pickerel were on lily pad flats in the creeks and in shallow bays in the main lake and were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Ross Alfonso, Ryan Ladd, and Dylan Felts had 28 crappie and 1 bass. David Ross had 10 crappie, 5 yellow perch, 1 shellcracker, and 1 bass. Capt. Bill Buck and Tom Porter had 1 bluegill, 1 flier, 23 crappie, 2 yellow perch (one a 12 inch citation), 2 bass, and 3 pickerel.
High water ruined fishing for most of last week on the Jackson at the Poor Farm and below Gathright. However, on Sunday the water was fishable and Glenn Busch caught a 20-inch brown below Gathright on a streamer.
Back Creek fished well on holdover fish. No recent stockings reported.
The private water at the Cascades produced lots of big trout, recently stocked by the Homestead.
Dr. Julie Ball’s April 10 report:
We endured yet another harsh winter, and now spring fever is rampant. But with water temperatures still lagging in the low forties, expect a late start to the much-anticipated arrival of the first species of the season, such as croaker, flounder, bluefish, red drum and black drum.
Tautog is still pretty much the only game in town until the waters warm up. But the bay action will remain behind the curve with the chilly temperatures, and the coastal and offshore action is slow. Although a few die-hard tog anglers have tried their luck on various offshore wrecks, only a few fish have resulted from their efforts. Scattered fish pushing up to 15-pounds have made it back to the dock, with one boat reporting a catch of two keeper tog resulting from an all day trip this week. Sea bass are also still hitting on these same wrecks, but are throwbacks since the season is closed.
Speckled trout and puppy drum, often an alternative species for this time of year, are both a no-go for the few anglers still trying their luck.
The deep dropping interest off the Virginia coast is still good. When the weather allows, boats continue to catch an assortment of bottom dwellers, including blueline tilefish, golden tilefish, black bellied rosefish, and a variety of grouper. The dogfish are still out in force, making this activity a challenge, especially when cranking these pests up from around 400 to 800 feet down, where electric reels could be the answer.
Capt. Bob’s Marina at Chincoteague notes that it is still a little early for good fishing in local waters. The temperatures are warming up quickly, just in the past few days, and that’s a good thing. With the warmer temps this coming week, we should be about 7 – 10 days away from the flounder bite turning on. From good sources I’ve heard that some flatties are being landing, on the hush, in Wachapreague, so that means we are about 2 weeks away, based on the flounder runs in the past years – Wachapreague first, then two weeks later, Chincoteague. It’s all about the water temps and the migration of the fish.
Capt. Reese Stecher of Beach Bum Guide Service says that the
Albemarle Sound Rockfish bite has been really good the past couple of weeks. “We have landed as many as 33 fish on half day trips over the past week,” he said. “We are leaving out of the public boat ramp in Edenton. That season goes till the end of the month.
Also at Nags Head, anglers are catching something besides “dogfish and skates.” Jennette’s Pier produced croakers, puffer fish and some hickory shad on Tuesday. On Monday, a 47-inch drum found its way up onto the deck. Trout were spotted beneath the pier, but no bites. Should be, soon!
The Oregon Inlet Fishing Center had this report: On 4-13, we only sent one boat, and the fishing was good! They brought in a bluefin along with a tale of two releases, a spearfish, and a yellowfin. The tuna are still here! To go fishing you can go online at Oregon- inlet.com or call us toll-free (800) 272-5199.
On 4-12, fishing was successful with our charters returning with yellow fin, wahoo and a gaffer dolphin. We had a nice 67-inch bluefin tuna brought in and two released two “giants” weighing over 400-lbs.
April 11 was also an exciting day at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Our boats rolled in with plenty of dolphin and lots of yellowfin tuna. Two big-eye tuna were brought in, one weighing in at 239 pounds.
From Red Drum & Tackle: Ramp 55 had lots of blow toads and few sea mullet on 4-15. Dan caught 4 big Drum. There were lots of drum reports and big sharks.
On Tuesday, the Point produced big sharks, big drum and bluefish.
On Monday, it was lots of bluefish and some puppy drum at The Point. Ramp 44 had bluefish. Ramp 38 had puppy drum, black drum, blow toads and sea mullet.
Capt. Dave Wilson reported that a Father/Son duo put 18 blackfin tuna on ice on April 10. An April 9th outing also produced good catches of blackfin for anglers aboard Godspeed Charters. Dolphin, wahoo and blackfin were reported on April 8.