Fishing Report - March 3, 2017

OVERVIEW - With the recent advent of warm weather, water temperatures are rising and bass and crappie are on the feed. Bass may generally be found near their normal spawning grounds, holding in deeper water adjacent and coming up on the flats to feed once the sun warms the water. Crappie are schooled up in 4-6 feet of water adjacent to cover.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - With the warmer weather, fish are on the move and feeding heavily. Water temperatures have come up and the fish are beginning to think about spawning. Concentrate efforts in areas that have sand or gravel flats, dropping off into deeper water. Fish the dropoffs early and the flats after the sun comes up, warming the water. Better areas are Blue Plains, The Spoils, main river riprap above Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and Columbia Island Lagoon. Crankbaits, Chatterbaits, Jerkbaits, Jigs and plastics are all taking fish.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Bass are beginning to actively forage for food, looking to fatten up before the spawn. They will be holding in deeper water adjacent to sand or gravel banks, coming up on the flats to feed in the afternoon sun. Lipless, rattling crankbaits; small, tight wiggling crankbaits; small plastic baits and spinnerbaits should take the fish when they begin foraging. Lots of big crappie are available around shallow, submerged cover throughout the creeks. Most of the tributary creeks are seeing the influx of fat yellow perch, which are easily caught on live minnows or tiny jigs when you can find them.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - The yellow perch bite should be coming on, with the tasty little fish holding on the bottom in 10-15 feet of water. Silver Buddies, small spoons and yellow grubs will take the tasty fish. Small white perch will appear in the river and gizzard shad should be in the river late next week. Remember that a moritorium is in effect for herring and alewives, in addition to the shad. As the weather warms up, the large white perch, hickory and white shad should be appearing within the next two weeks.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - No angler reports this week.

BURKE LAKE - No angler reports this week.

LAKE BRITTLE - No angler reports this week.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass have been on the feed in the Dickerson Power Plant canal off and on. Small dark colored grubs on 1/8th oz. jigheads are taking the bass, along with some good sized channel catfish.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Big blue catfish should be taking cut bait, small white perch amd live minnows in the main river channel. Smallmouth bass should be taking topwaters and plastic grubs above the I-95 bridge, while largemouth bass will be found on the marsh drainages, creek mouths and on submerged cover on dropoffs. Shad and stripers will not be far behind.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - No angler reports this week.

MATTAPONI & PAMUNKEY RIVERS - By the end of next week, white perch spawning runs should begin in earnest, with good catches recorded on the full length of the rivers. Along with the perch, should be catches of stripers, crappie, bass, pickerel and yellow perch.

LAKE FREDERICK - No angler reports this week.

LAKE ORANGE - No angler reports this week.

LAKE ANNA - Largemouth bass fishing is fair to good on jig 'n pig, grubs, spinnerbaits and suspending crankbaits. The best locations are main lake points, secondary points, creeks and shallow coves, from Sturgeon Creek to Dike Three. Crappie fishing is good on live minnows and small jigs, fished around docks, beaver lodges, and shallow rock piles. Striper fishing is good early and late in the day on top water lures, such as Cordell Redfins and Zara Spooks. Best areas for the stripers are Sturgeon Creek, Contrary Creek, the Splits and Stubbs Bridge area.

JAMES RIVER - The tidal sections are showing good catches of large blue catfish, to 50 pounds, on cut gizzard shad, particularly around the Dutch Gap Power Plant. Largemouth bass are taking small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig on shallow banks with cover. Creek mouths are giving up good numbers of keeper bass on small plastic grubs and live bait, on a falling tide. Smallmouth bass are feeding heavily above the city, where tiny crankbaits, plastic grubs and some topwaters are the preferred baits.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of fish stirring. A few herring are in the river, followed by longnose gar. Yellow perch are beginning their spawning, and white perch are starting their run. Bass, crappie, pickerel, stripers and catfish complete the picture. The bass are taking small crankbaits, plastic grubs and spinnerbaits, fished in the creek mouths and on small points. Live minnows are the preferred bait for crappie and catfish, with creek mouths being the proper locations.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Lots of bass being taken on live minnows around points and emerging vegetation. Crappie, pickerel and large yellow perch are also taking live minnows throughout the lake.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - No report this week.

LAKE CHESDIN - Fish are on the move here.Largemouth bass action should be centered on willow grass lines, points and creeks. Best baits should be jig 'n pig, spinnerbaits and crankbaits, although one report had bass taking wacky rigged plastics. Crappie fishing should be good, using live minnows and small jigs. Best location for crappie would be wooded structure in creeks, coves and along the main lake. Walleye and stripers should be biting in the Appomattox River, above the lake, on pearl colored twister tails.

SUFFOLK LAKES - No angler reports this week.

LAKE GASTON - Largemouth bass are being caught in shallow coves, back ends of creeks and on boat docks. Better lures are Speed Shads, suspending jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig. Lots of pickerel are hitting shad imitating crankbaits, fished in a stop and go retrieve near willow grass and docks, uplake. Stripers are being caught in good numbers on the flats behind the Route 85 bridge on live or cut shad. White perch are available below the Gaston Dam and plenty of hickory and white shad are being caught at Weldon, N.C.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - With the warmer temperatures this past week, the bass should be feeding on shallow points, as well as the back ends of creeks and coves. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic grubs are the preferred baits. Crappie fishing is great, around submerged structure in the creeks. Many of the fish are exceeding two pounds. Stripers are still being caught on points in most of the major creeks. Live and cut shad are working well.

BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - No angler reports this week.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Largemouth bass are being caught in 0-6 feet of water on jig 'n pig, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Main lake points and rocky coves are the better places to fish. Stripers, to 15 pounds, are being caught on main lake points and major creeks on live shad, bucktails and Redfins. Crappie anglers are doing well in 5-8 feet of water, near submerged brush.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Largemouth bass are taking jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits with gusto. Crappie fishing has been excellent on live minnows. Smith River trout anglers are catching limits of trout on Berkley Power Baits.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing has been fair overall. Bass catches are good, along with flathead catfish, some stripers and walleye. Crappie fishing is good, using live minnows.

NEW RIVER - Smallmouth bass fishing is said to be good on small plastics and Roostertails, while a few muskie follows are reported.

LAKE MOOMAW - Smallmouth bass and crappie are the mainstay on the lake, as anglers fishing the upper end of the lake are creeling numbers of fish. Trout anglers are happy, with browns hitting in the lake. Other trout anglers are catching good numbers of large trout in the Smith River, below the dam.

TROUT STREAMS - Present conditions for trout streams are iffy throughout the state. Some streams are overflowing, while others are just full. Best action will be found in the headwater streams, using nymphs and flies in sizes 12-16. Spinfishermen will do well in small streams using 1/32 oz. spoons and small spinners. Large streams in valley floors are flooded from recent rains and banks will be slippery. Anglers will do better here with minnow or sculpin imitating streamers. Small Rapalas and spinners will also take fish here. Better streams this week should be: Floyd County - Goose Creek, Little River; Craig County - Cove Creek; Bland County - Wold Creek; Shenandoah County - Big Stoney Creek, Passage Creek; Patrick County - Poor House Creek, Big Ivy Creek.