Fishing Report - March 10, 2017
** American and Hickory Shad, Blueback Herring and Alewife are under moratorium in DC and Maryland waters. American Shad, Blueback Herring and Alewife are under moratorium in Virginia tidal waters. **
POTOMAC RIVER - GREAT FALLS TO CHAIN BRIDGE - Expect walleye to be taking 3-4 inch smoke or white grubs, fished slowly on the bottom in current. Smallmouth should cooperate nicely in deeper pockets and below riffles. Small grubs will take these fish as well. Catfish will take cut bait, nightcrawlers, live minnows and live white perch in deep holes.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Most main river coves and feeder creeks, particularly those on the Maryland side of the river, have warmer water than the main river. Bass action should be better in these areas. Best success should be found on shallow gravel banks adjacent to deep water. Fish rattling crankbaits, jig 'n pig or small plastic baits. Most of the active fish will be in 1-4 feet of water. Better colors are brown/orange or firetiger for crankbaits and smoke metal-flake or chartreuse for plastics. Check out the large grassbed at the mouth of Aquia Creek, fishing muted color plastics in four feet of water. Topwaters are not generally effective yet.
OCCOQUAN RIVER - The warmer weather this week, have raised water temperatures to the high 40's, where fish start to move. Some white perch, herring and shad are in the river. Some stripers have moved into the river, with a couple of fish having been taken on rattling crankbaits and bucktails. Bass action has been up and down. Those bass that have been caught, were taken from 8-14 feet of water, adjacent to rocks or rocky banks. Best baits were crankbaits and small plastic baits. Crappie are taking live minnows and tiny jigs. Yellow perch are conspicuous by their absence.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Water temperatures in the main channel are in the low-mid 40's. Bass are in the shallows, awaiting a rise in water temperatures for spawning. Some big fish are being caught in the back ends of coves and shallow areas adjacent to creek channels. Better lure choices are spinnerbaits, spinnerbaits, spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig. Crappie are located in 8-12 feet of water, hanging around downed trees, off the main river channel. Smaller fish may be found in the shallows, but the larger fish are still holding in the main channel. Tiny jigs and live minnows are preferred.
BURKE LAKE - With the rising water temperatures this week, bass will be taking small spinnerbaits and crankbaits on the edge of the weedbeds. Some large shellcrackers should be available. A few catfish and crappie have been caught from the shore, early in the morning.
LAKE BRITTLE - Anglers are taking a few walleye, along with lots of crappie, catfish and a few good bass. The bass are taking suspending jerkbaits and spinnerbaits along the shorelines, adjacent to the fish structures. Anglers fishing the dam are also taking some nice fish.
FARM PONDS - With the temperatures warming up the waters, largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and bluegills are biting in farm ponds, particularly in the evenings. Spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, plastic grubs, and live bait will work well in the ponds. Concentrate on the shallow water, where it drops into deeper water for the larger bass. They are resting in the deeper water and coming up into the shallower, warmer areas to feed.
POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth bass have begun to move this week. Small crankbaits, fished adjacent to the weedbeds along the river banks, should produce some fish. Better weedbeds will have swift water and lots of rocks adjacent to them. Small spinnerbaits should also take their share of fish. Less active bass may be targeted by fishing small hair jigs, tube baits or plastic grubs, in the deeper holes in the middle of the river. White suckers are taking nightcrawlers. Crappie are being taken at the mouths of Broad Run and Goose Creek by anglers using tiny tubes stuffed with "Crappie Candy".
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Hickory shad, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, white perch, blue catfish and yellow perch are all present in the river, although the herring, shad, yellow and white perch are in short supply. Jumbo blue catfish have been taken on cut bait with the fish weighing 25-40 pounds. The smallmouth bass action has picked up considerably with most of the fish being taken on live minnows and hair jigs with plastic trailers attached. Perch and crappie are taking bloodworms and small minnows. Crappie are biting particularly well in the creeks around Green Bay. A few hickory shad anglers are out at the Route 1 Bridge in Fredericksburg, however, reports of catches are scarce.
SHENANDOAH RIVER - Smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegills and catfish should cooperate nicely this week. Live minnows have been responsible for nice stringers of crappie from the river.
LAKE ANNA - Crappie fishing was excellent this past weekend, as the fish moved back into shallower water, over brushpiles and around bridge pilings. They were suspended at 4-6 feet on Saturday. Bass are also on the move, with good fish being taken on spinnerbaits, Carolina-rigged lizards, Shad Raps and jerk baits. Some action is taking place on topwater baits in the lower part of the lake. Bass action is centered halfway up the North Anna and Pamunkey arms, on the main lake points, in 2-5 feet of water, but some secondary points are holding fish. Downlake, the fish are being caught in 12 feet of water on Carolina-rigged centipedes and lizards in green and pumpkin colors. Stripers are beginning to bite regularly at Dyke Three and Pigeon Run Creek. Early and late in the day, fish Zara Spooks or Cordell Redfins. Switch to four inch pearl colored Sassy Shads, live shad or bucktails at mid-day.
MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Below the Route 360 bridge, anglers are catching white perch. At Lester Manor, the catches include largemouth bass, channel catfish and white perch. Mattaponi anglers are taking perch and stripers at West Point, smallmouth bass and crappie at Zoar Park and catfish at Walkerton.
JAMES RIVER - Lots of catfish and crappie are being caught, particularly in the barge pits and the Dutch Gap area. Smallmouth fishing is excellent above the city, where citation fish are being landed on live minnows, jig 'n pig, plastic grubs and small crankbaits. Tidal sections are producing largemouth bass to anglers fishing rattling crankbaits and plastic grubs on the shallow areas, adjacent to deep water, and in the barge pits.
LAKE CHESDIN - Bass and crappie fishing is excellent. Some bass in the 3-8 pound class are being taken on Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig, while the crappie are taking small minnows and jigs. Catfish anglers are also doing well.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Bass are hitting artificial baits. Best luck this past week was on small crankbaits and plastic grubs. Live minnows continue to take good fish, including largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie and catfish. Creek mouths on moving tides continue to be the prime locations. Fishing was good during the early part of the week, but slacked off on Saturday. Mid-week should see a return to good fishing. Herring are present in very low numbers at Walkers Dam.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Lots of action on this lake, with bass and pickerel being the prime catch. Best bait is jumbo minnows, freelined on points and over brushpiles. Crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps are also taking some good bass. A few grindle in the 6-9 pound class are also being caught. Crappie fishing is excellent on small minnows and tiny jigs.
SUFFOLK LAKES - All the lakes report excellent bass and crappie fishing. Bass are running 3-8 pounds and are taking jig 'n pig, spinnerbaits, Rat-L-Traps and live minnows. Crappie are taking small minnows and jigs. Striper action is good in Western Branch. Lake Cohoon is giving up citation pickerel and crappie.
LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Water temperature is 47 degrees and rising. Creels here include small bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, lots of pickerel and some large bass. The bass are running 4-6 pounds and are taking crankbaits, jerk baits and plastic worms. Crappie are running to 1.5 pounds and are located in about five feet of water. Bluegills are taking worms, small minnows and spinners in 12 feet of water. Pickerel are thick, taking anything that moves, in 5-10 feet of water. Spinnerbaits cut your losses of lures.
BACK BAY - The feeder creeks are producing pickerel, white perch, crappie, catfish to 15 pounds, bluegills and some bass, 1-6 pounds. Grass is beginning to show throughout the Bay, particularly the upper portion.
LAKE GASTON - Fishing is excellent, with bass to eight pounds taking rattling crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Carolina-rigged, pumpkinseed, plastic worms. Largemouth bass can be located in back ends of coves, where the water is the warmest. Stripers are to be found near schools of shad, congregated near mouths of creeks. Better areas are the mouths of Lizard and Holly Grove Creeks. Hickory and American shad are biting well in the Roanoke River at Weldon, N.C.
BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Water level is at 298 and stable. Water temperature is at 55 degrees. Some good bass are taking shad-colored crankbaits on main lake points. Concentrate on the rocky, red clay points. Best area is between Clarksville and Eastland Creek. Stripers are being taken on live and cut shad, off main lake points and in Nutbush Creek. Trollers are also taking a few stripers, on black and gold Redfins in 15-18 feet of water. Bucktails cast up on shore and retrieved slowly are also taking a few fish. Crappie are stacking up at about eight feet, along the bridge pilings and over deep brushpiles throughout the lake. Small minnows and jigs are the preferred baits. White bass are available at the mouth of Bluestone Creek. Below the dam, stripers are staging a huge spawning run and are taking bucktails down to the Steel Bridge.
BRIERY CREEK & SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS - Jig 'n pig and live minnows are producing some good bass. A number of bass in the 5-7 pound class were weighed this past week. Perhaps this week will see more of the larger bass turning on. Plenty of crappie and bluegill are available.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Most of the bass are being taken on crankbaits, jig 'n pigs and spinnerbaits. Better areas are main lake points, secondary points with creeks, and rocky banks or points. Some nice bass are also being caught off brushpiles along creek channels and around boat docks. Striper action is good, with the best fishing being around dawn and dusk, on live shad and Cordell Redfins. Look for baitfish inside the creeks and fish the shoreline, tight to the bank, for the stripers.
LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Fishing has been good, with stripers to 20 pounds being taken. In the Staunton River, walleye are being caught all the way up to the Leesville Dam. While white bass populations have declined, white perch have taken their place. The white perch are taking small gulp baits, Rooster Tails, crappie jigs and crankbaits.
LAKE MOOMAW - Trout fishing is rated fair, with only a few fish in the 16 inch range and one over five pounds, being brought in. Bass fishing is better, with smallmouth bass to four pounds and largemouth bass to six pounds being reported. Crappie fishing is excellent.
PHILPOTT LAKE - Fishing for largemouth bass is good on crankbaits and live bait. Walleye anglers are taking good numbers of fish on live minnows and nightcrawlers, fished on the bottom. Crappie anglers are doing well. The Smith River is producing some good trout.
SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Crappie are turning on around brushpiles and on rocky points. Smallmouth bass are also being taken on rocky points. Some white bass are being caught, but the spring run has not yet started. *** Notice *** All white bass caught must be returned to the water unharmed. Some trout are caught by trollers, using nightcrawlers.
CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing is fair to good, with weather fronts playing a major role. Lots of smallmouth bass to five pounds, along with a few reports of crappie catches on live minnows. The walleye spawning run has started up the lake.
TROUT STREAMS - Most of the trout streams in the state are full and running good. The weekend should see the water clear and in excellent shape for fishing. Small spinners and Rapala Mini-Fat Raps are taking good fish for spin fishermen, while dark-colored nymphs are the better choice for fly fishermen.
VIRGINIA SALTWATER - Boats fishing the ocean wrecks are finding black sea bass, tautog, cod, blueline tilefish, monkfish and occasional flounder. Lots of these fish measure enough for Virginia Saltwater Tournament citations. Dogfish and black sea bass are constant hookups, but sea bass are out of season and dogfish are a nuisance. Boats are reporting large schools of Boston mackerel from Cape Henry to the Light Tower, moving up the coast.