As the water temperatures drop, the opportunities for good trout fishing increase. Most streams are low, however, so cautious approaches are vital.
The Lower Jackson remains a good choice. The water levels have been stable and trout to 12-inches are hitting small nymphs. The larger fish are more likely to go for a flashy streamer.
The water is low and clear in the catch and release section of Back Creek. Small nymphs are again the best flies.
The South River in Waynesboro is getting heavy pressure as anglers seek to take advantage of the huge (20-inches and more) that are being stocked with private funds. Lots of fish are available in the stream. Trout will continue to be stocked into the spring season
Mossy Creek remains a top stream for terrestrial fishermen, with beetles and hoppers the best flies. The hoppers will soon be gone after the first few heavy frosts – so hurry!
Cooler water will encourage fish to be more active, so use moving lures to trigger strikes.
Throw crankbaits for sure on 12-pound test GAMMA Edge. Most of the grass is gone, so finding an area with grass, especially milfoil, will have concentrations of fish. Try Mann’s Baby 1-Minus for shallow grass and wood. For deeper grass or wood, use Lucky Craft 1.5 cranks. Play around with rattles for stained water. For clear water silent shad patterns in Lucky Craft 1.5 cranks float better so when they snap out of grass it is erratic to trigger strikes. Also tie on Lucky Craft LVR D-7 lipless cranks and snap from grass, allowing the bait to briefly flutter.
Spinnerbaits are also effective as they can cover most depths. For most conditions, use a 1/4-ounce Colorado/Indiana spinnerbait with gold blades and a white skirt. Crawl it on 12-pound Edge over and through the tops of grass. Catch the grass and snap free with short rod twitches. Keep the spinnerbait running just deep enough to see it.
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a guide on the Potomac River. email@example.com
Small to medium yellow perch are scattered or in loose aggregates on some main lake flats and in channels and were hitting live minnows, small swim baits, and small jigs. Most bluegill and shellcrackers had moved to deeper flats, brush piles, and channel edges and were hitting small jigs, Nikko nymphs on drop shot rigs, small swim baits, and live worms. Some bass, pickerel, and bowfin were along shorelines, on lily pad and hydrilla flats, and along drop-offs in the major creeks and the main lake. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, jigs, and topwater baits.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Capt. Bill Buck and Tom Porter had 34 bluegill, 3 shellcrackers, and 10 crappie.
The river is low, clear and cooling. Smallmouth bass are active and are taking topwater baits with gusto. Some nice channel cats are also coming to net.
Bass are being caught on small crankbaits. Crappie are schooled around structure. Blue catfish to 40-pounds are hitting cut shad.
Bait is beginning to ball up at Anna, attracting the interest of stripers. The better areas include the mouth of Contrary Creek, Rose Valley and around Jetts Island, at the Splits. Bass are at the entrance to creeks, making runs into shallow water. Crappie are moving to deep-water docks.
Some stripers are being caught at the Chick. Ratt’l Traps are a top lure. Bass are very active and yellow perch and crappie action is top notch.
It’s striper time at Gaston, Fish are busing bait early and late and are taking cranks in about 20-feet throughout the day. Bass action is good in more shallow water. The area below Kerr Dam is giving up lots of pan-sized catfish and a few walleyes.
Bass fishing is good when they are pulling water, but slacks off after that. Stripers are being caught in the daylight hours with increased frequency. Crappie are now schooled up in 6 to 10 feet of water and are attacking small shiners.
The smallmouth bite is picking up at Moomaw as cold nights provide fish with the stimulus to feed. Trout are mostly no-shows in the lake, but cats and crappie are willing combatants.