South River Flyshop in Waynesboro says that despite the heat, the trout bite has been steady on the South River thanks to the feeding springs and recent rains. Tricos are still falling each morning and the hexagenia atrocaudata hatch has started in the evenings. Terrestrials are the middle of the day go-to flies with the Fat Albert, Eric’s Clodhopper, Arlienator Ant and Tony’s Love Bug beetle catching the most trout. Mountain streams have definitely benefitted from recent rains. August can be especially tough on Brookies, so if you see a stream that is low on water, give them a break and fish another creek.
South River guides note that the smallmouth bite has been good, but recent rains raised the James and S. Fork of the Shenandoah and colored them. They should return to good fishing levels and clarity quickly once the rain eases off for a few days. Walt’s Poppers are good choice as well as poppers tied with Flymen Fishing’s new Double Barrel popper heads. Clawdads, Tony’s Super Skull Bugger, mad tom patterns and hellgrammite flies round at the bass box.
A few smallmouth bass are being caught above the city and catfish action is again picking up in the tidal reaches. Stripers are showing in numbers well below the city. Bass action is fair, with spinnerbaits and small crankbaits, fished in creek mouths,
Lots of smaller bass in the 10-14-inch category have moved to main creek points in 5-8 feet of water. Plastic worms and grubs are the better choices. The big fish are deep. Big worms attract the most bites. Crappie schools are holding deep around bridge pilings and beaver lodges. Some stripers are being caught at the Splits and Dyke III.
Above Richmond, smallmouth bass and sunfish are active. Through the city, smallmouth are hitting well on live minnows, plastic grubs and Beetle spins. In the tidal sections, bass are going for crankbaits, plastic worms and topwater baits. Big blue catfish are taking cut eel in the outside bends of the river channel.
Topwater baits, small crankbaits and plastic worms are catching lots of bass, including many at 5 pounds or better. Anglers having the most success fishing main river lily pads, isolated cypress trees and creek mouths. Catfish are all over the river and taking chicken livers and cut bait. Occasional pickerel and gar are being caught. Bream and white perch are taking nightcrawlers.
Bass action slowed. Crappie are on brush in very deep water. Striper action is slow overall, but fairly productive near the dam, off North Bend State Park. White bass are showing in good numbers.
Lots of nighttime fishing is going on for bass. At first light, fish are schooling and will take topwater baits. Plenty of catfish and crappie are being caught. Tourists can catch big carp from their docks in late afternoons.
Bags of bass weighing up to 14 pounds are winning night tournaments. Brown trout are deep but will take minnows at the right depth.
Excellent conditions now for smallmouth on the New River. Walleye action has also been good. As usual on the New, the best fishing is in the afternoons, not the mornings.
It’s tournament time on the Potomac.
The river will be covered this week by the world’s top pro anglers with a visit from the Bassmaster Elite Series.
Timing couldn’t be better as anglers can fish their strengths. Certainly swim jigs with craw trailers in craw patterns and chatter jigs in the same colors will work. Using GAMMA Torque braid or Edge fluorocarbon line makes it easier to snap through the grass.
Topwaters like Lucky Craft Gunfish on Torque braid also are effective. Hollow frogs over thick grass any time of day will work, also on braid. Crankbaits at higher tides over grass will cover water. A buoyant Lucky Craft BDS 4 in Shad patterns cranked to the grass and then snapped and paused will work. These baits locate fish. Once the fish reveal their location, soft plastics and jigs work.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fishing with Capt. Art Conway, Steve and Mitch Novak had 6 bass, 1 yellow perch, 1 blue cat, 1 bowfin, and 1 pickerel. Carolyn Conway had 23 bluegill. Capt. Bill Buck and Tom Porter had 36 bluegill, 3 shellcrackers, 1 crappie, 2 yellow perch, 1 white perch, and 8 bass.