The only thing fishing in the Chesapeake Bay last week was a pelican. There was nothing to report on the Virginia front, but from the Outer Banks someone actually went fishing and caught something
Red Drum & Tackle in Buxton reports that an angler fishing at The Point caught keeper drum with every cast while using shrimp for bait and a 6-ounce sinker. He was out there by himself slaying them! Last weekend at Hatteras, Red Drum reported that some Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum were caught at Ramp 43. The water temperature – before the storm – was between 52 and 55 degrees.
Nothing was happening at Nags Head except for dogfish – sharks. They will bite no matter how cold.
There is not a lot to report this week as far as freshwater fishing is concerned because it’s hard to fish when you can’t get out of the driveway. The good news in all this snow is that it will help fill underwater ground tables and get us well into spring in case rainfall is sparse.
In the meantime, check out Capt. Steve’s advice below on preparing for spring and also be ready to do a little trout fishing when the banks are cleared. Fish should be well dispersed and there will be plenty of them.
Time to Prepare
Forget going out this week. Ramps are frozen. Most fishing spots are frozen, and it’s still very cold. The water temperature is 32 degrees, as cold as it can get! No more snow is in the forecast, but it’s still cold with temperatures just above freezing and into the 40s mid week. Overnight lows in the teens to around freezing. The weekend will warm into the 40s and get near 50.
Plenty of winter fishing ahead, so get ready. Once water warms to 38, fish will bite again. Winter fish mouths are tough and bites are light. Sharpest hooks are best. Quality hooks on ball head and shaky head jigs are important. Use a sharpening stone or replace them with Mustad Ultra Point round bend trebles. Changing hooks on dulled Lucky Craft Pointer trebles is a good idea. Same with Silver Buddy lures.
Using high quality fishing lines like GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon makes a big difference. These lines allow for better strike detection and hook sets. Thin lines allow for longer casts too. This is key for Pointer suspending jerkbaits in clear water. Fluorocarbon lines also sink and help baits stay on the bottom. Try combining 10-pound GAMMA Torque braid with 6-pound test Edge, a good combo for most techniques, unless it is very cold, as the wet braid will freeze. Line conditioners like Blakemore’s Real Magic help with line management.
New Hanz Tap Knit waterproof gloves keep hands warm and allow for casting. These new gloves will also operate touchscreen phones!
Get a good fishing map from GMCO maps and mark winter areas, deep water close to shallow water in out of the current areas, so you will be ready for the coming thaw!
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. email@example.com
Capt. Art Conway out of Ed Allen’s Boats and Bait reported that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temperatures were in the high 30’s in the main lake this Wednesday Most of the lower lake was open water, but some bays and most creeks were still ice-covered. The lake level was a few inches above the top of the dam. The water was medium brown and clear in the central lower lake.
Fishing was still generally slow, but should pick up a little if the lake warms up a little more by this weekend. 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, along channel edges, and in deep holes in channels, usually at depths of 7 to 18 feet, sometimes suspended, and frequently in the neighborhood of wood cover. When 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 flats and in channels and were hitting live minnows, small jerk baits, small swim baits, spoons, and small jigs. Only an occasional bluegill or shellcracker was active along the deep edges of hydrilla flats, on mid-depth wood cover, or in channels and very lightly hitting live crickets and worms, small blade baits, and small plastics on drop shot rigs. 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.
James at Lynchburg
From Angler’s Lane, (434) 385-0200, www.anglerslane.com, Tom Reisdorf says that he has had no word on smallmouths in the James. He has heard of a few anglers getting lucky with muskies. No word on rainbows or browns in the Jackson, where the water is clear, in the 40s and somewhat high. Brookie fishing was really good before the snow, but now the mountain streams are very hard to get to. Be very careful if you try.
Upper New River
Contributed by Captain Forest Pressnell. The Upper New River is freezing up and almost solid. Regardless, as we get into February and March when the river opens up it will be walleye time and we are looking for some giants to be caught this year. Remember to wear your PFD at this time of year when you are on the water and give someone your agenda of where you will be fishing and when you expect to be back. Give us a call to book a walleye trip or an early spring smallie adventure. For information go to www.newrivercharter.com
Top New River
Contributed by local guide Richie Hughes, owner of New River Trips LLC, firstname.lastname@example.org. “We got 10 to 18 inches of snow in the “Top New” watershed. There is some ice in the trout streams, but not too bad. Less than 3 months from now we will be getting into some great pre spawn smallmouth fishing. Make your plans now. Stay warm and safe. Check out newrivertrips.com for trip info.