Early week rains have subsided and the James River should be both fishable and productive this weekend.
The water level at Bent Creek was 4.17 on Thursday and dropping. The flow was 3.86 thousand cubic feet per second, a little rapid but fishable. With slightly stained water, crankbaits, buzz baits and spinnerbaits should be productive. Splashy topwater offerings should also trigger strikes. It’s been a tough summer for James River guides and diehard river anglers. With good water levels going into fall, perhaps we will see some excellent action come late August and September.
Contributed by Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540. 672.3997). The lake temperature is in the mid 80s and the water is stained. Bass are being caught on topwater in lowlight and with plastics during midday. Crappie are taking small minnows and jigs around the fishing pier and among deep brush. Some nice white perch have been biting lately on small crankbaits. Catfishing is best around mid lake.
Smallmouth anglers are taking good numbers of fish on topwater lures, plastic grubs and live crayfish. Tidewater sections of the river are producing largemouth bass and blue catfish from the blow downs along the southern shore and from the outside bends of the river channels. Jumbo minnows and cut gizzard shad are the best baits.
Mattaponi & Pamunkey Rivers
Bass, perch, catfish and bream are being caught in the upper reaches, while croaker, perch and sea trout are hitting in the lower sections. Peeler crab, nightcrawlers and minnows are the top baits. Stripers are taking live minnows, peeler crab, Rat-L-Traps and Cordell Redfins throughout both rivers.
Lots of smallmouth bass and good-sized bluegills are being caught as the water levels subside and the river clears. Topwater lures, plastic grubs, small spinners and tiny crankbaits are all working. Catfish are taking mad toms. Lots of algae throughout the river makes fishing difficult in some places.
Anna largemouth bass are holding in 12-20 feet of water, moving up on points early and late in the day. Topwater baits, plastic worms, deep diving crankbaits and large minnows are effective baits. Stripers are hitting at Dike 3 on Cordell Redfins, spoons and live bait. Crappie are taking small minnows on boat docks, bridge pilings and submerged brush. Catfish anglers are taking some nice fish on live and cut shad.
Many small bass are being caught near the lily pads throughout the upper portion of the river. Better choices for lures include topwater frogs, small spinnerbaits, floating worms and Senkos. Shallow running crankbaits and topwater lures will take bass and pickerel from creek mouths. Catfish action is still good and bream are taking worms and fly rod poppers.
Capt. Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures are in the upper 80’s The lake level was about 7 inches above the top of the dam. Fishing with Capt. Conway, Anne and Jeff Uhr had 3 bass and a bowfin. Tom Porter had 42 bluegill, 3 crappie, 2 white perch, 4 blue cats and a gar.
Bass fishing is improving with the falling temperatures and stabilizing weather. Striper action is slow, but some fish are feeding on the surface near Clarksville. Crappie anglers are catching lots of fish along the Route 58 Bridge at Clarksville and over brush piles in Rudd’s Creek. Live minnows and white/pink jigs are the baits of choice.
There are some fishermen (like the British) who would rather catch one carp than a boatload of bass. For them, Smith Mountain Lake is ideal. There are tons of carp from 5 to 15 pounds patrolling the shallows near dark. They will gobble up corn chum and therefore a hook with corn on it. While not much to eat, a carp will fight to the bitter end. They’re fun to catch. Smith Mountain anglers are also catching stripers on large minnows, drifted in the main river channels, and crappie on small minnows, fished around boat docks and blow downs. Bass are taking plastic worms and stick baits, fished on points and in the backs of coves.
Trout action has ground to a halt, but bass fishermen are happy campers and some nice channel cats are being caught at dusk. A few yellow perch are coming from creek mouths.