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Virginia Fishing Reports – April 2007
By Captain Max King
The regulations are set for the 2007 summer flounder season, with the minimum size limit of 18.5 inches, possession limit 5 per person and a closed season July 23 through July 28. The official opening day will be April 1. Flounder anglers will target normal early season fishing hot spots along the Eastern Shore. Look for some of the better action to come from out of Wachapreague early and along the CBBT later in the month.
With the early showing of croakers in local nets, look for this bite in all rivers and creeks throughout the month. The bait of choice will be fish bites and squid.
The sounds of the black drum and red drum can be expected in the normal spots along the Eastern Shore later in this month. The sea clams, fresh peeler crab, and fresh menhaden will be the bait that helps angler’s have success. Also the full moon seems to help the bite as well.
The offshore wreck anglers will be targeting tautog and sea bass. These anglers will in encounter a few springtime chopper blue fish over top these same wrecks. Look for the tautog bite to get closer and closer to the CBBT by mid month.
Chesapeake Angler Magazine’s readers and anglers have a new message board online at www.chesapeake-angler.com. Look for fishing reports from local anglers, charter boat captains, and local bait and tackle shops.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike
As the cold spell lifts off of Virginia and the warm air starts to tease us many can’t help but want to get out in the warm weather. Spring fever is contagious this time of year and so is the need for, as my husband puts it, “reel therapy.” This is the time of year when the reel action starts picking up and from the conversations I have had, it certainly seems to be happening.
Donna at Ken’s Tackle in Fredericksburg has reported that ponds have heated up. She is selling minnows like crazy and the crappie fishing is turning on. Bass angling in ponds has just about taken off. The bass will be spawning this month and that will give fishing a lull for a week or two and then things will take off again. Catfishing in the Rappahannock has been good and will continue to pick up. Try cut herring or shad. Speaking of shad and herring the run has begun. Some anglers are taking a few fish already and by the time this gets in your hands the run should be getting a rhythm. White perch action in the rivers has also been available.
On the Potomac bass fishing has heated up as well. Try the edges of the emerging vegetation. Later in the month go to topwater in the twilight. Catfishing is good too. Upriver the smallie action is very good now. Try soft baits and live baits.
Motts Run, Lake Orange and other small impoundments are very good for crappie and should remain so. Bass are hitting topwater and spinnerbaits once it gets warmer. RatLTraps are another good bet this month. Chain pickerel are hitting in Gardy’s Mill and Chandler’s Mill too.
Lake Anna water temps are rising. As of press time they were in the mid forties. According to Striper guide Jim Hemby the fishing for March was great overall. Bass need more erratic and fast retrieves to be caught this month. Hemby says to fish in depths 16 feet or less. Fish coves around stumps and rocks. Check out the back of Sturgeons and Pigeon midlake and Valentines downlake. Don't forget to try Carolina Rigged Lizards this month. Stripers will be finishing up their spawning run in late March and early April. Pencil Poppers thrown into the current will create explosive strikes on the surface as well as Redfins waked over the nearby flats. Fisherman using the fishing bridge and banks will catch plenty of stripers running herring.
As the water warms stripers will move into the back of midlake creeks like Sturgeons. Swim baits will catch these fish throwing to the bank. As the water warms the Stripers will be caught within a few feet of the bank over the whole lake using Sea Shads and jerkbaits. As for live bait fisherman go to the larger gizzard shad run on planner boards and freelines. Crappie will move extremely shallow and get up under docks in 10' of water or less and huge slabs can be caught uplake at the Anna side in and around the dead grass in a couple of feet of water. Nicer fish will also move up on shallow stumps all around the lake. Fishing report furnished by Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Service. www.lakeannaonline/lasgs, email@example.com, 540-967-3313
Northern Neck anglers have experienced a lull in the fishing in the ponds but expect them to come alive soon. Ricky at RW’s (804-529-5634) reported that the largemouth bass and crappie should be picking up. Small minnows generally work well for catching crappie and the artificial worms work well for the largemouth bass. Some of the popular worms for artificial lures are Culprit, Yum and Gary Yamoto.
Ring perch are still biting according to Debbie at Surfside Bait and Tackle (804-730-2238) on the James River, but will soon be on their way out. Crappies are biting on small minnows and also on small grubs. The crappie action should continue to pick up through April. White perch/Stiffbacks are biting on bloodworms. The largemouth bass fishing has picked up. Anglers have been catching bass in the 5lb – 7lb range. In April the bass will go on the beds in the ponds and lakes and will be harder to get them to strike. Herring have been biting on Sabiki Rigs and shad are hitting shad darts. By print time they should be in full swing as they move up in the rivers.
In the Scottsville area on the James River, Mike at Coleman’s reports that smallmouth bass have been hitting well in the rivers on live minnows and grubs. The largemouth bass are hitting well on spinner and crank baits in the ponds and lakes. Crappie are hitting in the ponds and lakes on live minnows. He hasn’t heard much on the catfish action but knows when it warms up more they will start hitting.
On the Chickahominy it has picked up from last month according to Sandy at Riverside (804-966-5536). The largemouth bass are off to a good start. Anglers have gone out and are catching bass in the 4lb – 7lb range. Crappie have picked up as well as the catfish. In April the herring will start hitting.
Over on the Virginia Beach/Suffolk area we spoke to Bobby at Dashiell’s Sporting Goods. He reports that the largemouth bass are hitting on artificial bait and minnows. Crappies are hitting on small minnows. Lots of pike are hitting on minnows and artificial baits. He said the pike would just about hit anything they are hungry. He said coming up soon the white perch will be hitting on spinner baits and small worms. Herring and shad will also be starting very soon if not already by print time.
Down at Buggs Island crappie and largemouth are hitting in the backs of the coves. The largemouth bass are hitting on artificial bait and minnows. The crappies are also hitting on minnows. If you would like to know what else is hitting in the area or if you have any questions you can call Bob Cat at Bob Cat’s Lake Country (434-374-8381)
Marvin from The Tackle Box at Smith Mountain Lake (434-239-1710) reports that it has been a hit or miss when it comes to fishing. The largemouth bass are biting well on jigs. They recently had a largemouth bass tournament and the winner had a total fish weight of 23lbs. Stripers are still hitting well. Crappies are hitting and should continue to keep biting through April. Marvin said generally when the dogwood comes in bloom the fishing picks up.