Virginia Fishing Reports – February 2008
The lastest Northern Neck Chesapeake Bay Saltwater Fishing news and advice from Capt Rick Lockart plus Missy Fike's Freshwater Fishing Report for the Neck and Northern Virginia. Also available are the archived reports back to 2006 for those wishing to track or review trends.
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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Reports
By Captain Rick Lockart
February is a month in which the fisherman is noticing a definite increase in the length of the day, but isn’t seeing a definite increase in the temperature. Why is that? True, there will be a hint of spring in the air sometime this month, and one of your fishing buddies will remind you that spring is only a month or so away. Nonetheless, for the majority of saltwater fishermen throughout the state of Virginia, February will be a month to watch the fishing programs on ESPN 2, read fishing magazines, attend a fishing seminar, or dream about that available boat that you saw on boattrader.com and know you can’t afford For the minority, however, fishing will continue to take place in February, should the weather allow.
If the trend towards a milder January has continued into 2008, striped bass may still be available to the ocean fishermen. Last February, fish were still being caught by catch and release fishermen in the lower Bay (Plantation Light). Bitter January weather, like what we are experiencing as this article is being written, will drive the fish offshore and farther south, into North Carolina. Fishing in 2007 was seemingly late for all species. Striper fishing has carried over into 2008, so the best of this might still be yet to come. Check the ads in this edition to find the charter boaters that are making their services available out of the Virginia Beach area, or check www.fishva.org, Temperature will be less of a factor for the deep wreck fishermen that will be targeting black sea bass, bluefish, tilefish, and snowy grouper.
Considered a nuisance but, nonetheless, good eating, is the spiny dogfish, and there is always the possibility of cod, hake, haddock, and flounder. More than a few recreational anglers will wander the 40 or more miles offshore. However, for those of us who have no desire to put our boats to the test (even if they are still in the water), Captains Jim Brincefield (252-336-4296), Chandler Hogg (757-876-1590), and Steve Wray (757-237-7517) will be going offshore if there is a lull in the inshore fishing. Call in advance to find out when possible trips will be taking place. All three offer their services to individuals fishermen. And keep your ears open for the tautog report. Depending upon water temperatures, the bite might not stop.
Also, check out the Virginia freshwater report. Many of our local river fishermen are anxiously awaiting the return of the yellow perch, herring, and shad. Though I personally think that February is pushing it, that won’t stop some from checking it out. I have to admit that I won’t be one of them, but when not dreaming of that new boat that I saw, I might be at Camp A.P. Hill checking out the rainbow trout population.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike
The Shenandoah should be doing well for brook and rainbow/brown trout. They are typically caught early mornings and late afternoons. Brook trout responds well to weighted flies and Marabou jigs (size #10-#8), small spinners (size 0 panther martins and rooster tails or J-Flies) for 2# spinning tackle. Rainbow trout respond well to crayfish imitating jigs and flies are the trick! Streamers, spinners, and Crappie jigs also work. 4# or 2# spinning gear or 5 wt fly tackle w/2# tippet.
Lakes and ponds are starting to do well and will continue to improve through February. Mid February the pond waters warm up and the fish really liven up. The ponds are doing well for bass and crappie. The crappie should respond well to jigs or small minnows.
Lake Orange is doing well for walleye on grubs in the shallows. Crappie is also doing well on jigs and small minnows.
Lake Anna the walleye should bite well on small grubs at night off the shore over the rocks. The stripers have followed the baitfish back into the main lake. Up lake, Hopkins spoons, Silver Buddies, 3” Sassy Shad with slow retrieves should prove successful. Down lake, Redfins, and suspending jerk baits generally do well this time of year. A jerk, jerk, jerk, pause motion works well on both Stripers and Bass. Bass will be off the points of the lake. Bass will bite Sassy Shad, grubs, jigs and minnows. Crappie can be found on bridge pilings and respond well to small jigs or silver buddies.
Creeks and rivers should prove successful mid month for yellow perch. Yellow perch really start hitting well in mid February. This is the time of year that some really big yellow perch can be caught as they start fatten up to spawn. Their spawning takes place late winter beginning spring. Yellow perch are found in brackish water tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River. Machodoc, Maddox, Aquia and Occuquan are the popular creeks for yellow perch. Potomac, Rappahannock, Chickahominy, Nottoways and New are the popular rivers. They also found in Moomaw, Claytor, Little Creek, Waller Mill lakes. I’m sure they are found in other bodies of water through out Virginia but these seemed to be the more popular that I’ve listed. RW’s (804-529-5634) reported that the temps should start warming up in the ponds and the action should pick up towards end of the month. Crappie and bass be hitting well as the temps warm.
Surfside Bait and Tackle (804-730-2238) on the James River, reports that the yellow perch will really start biting well mid – end of the month. The catfish will be biting well.
The rain has really helped the river; it is not as low and is in good condition.
Mike at Riverside Camp Grounds (804-966-5536) on the Chickahominy reports the big catfish will continue biting well on eels. Clam snouts will work well on the smaller size catfish. Ring Perch should really liven up middle February and some really good size ring perch will be caught. Bass will continue doing well using grubs on the bottom. Nice size ones in the 3–4 lb range should be hitting well. Crappie will be hitting well on small minnows and small jigs on through to April.
The Indian Pointe Bait and Tackle (540-721-1159) at Smith Mountain Lake reports that Stripe bass will be following the bait. The stripe bass hit well on alewives shad. Watch for the birds, when you see them diving they are on a school of baitfish and the stripe bass should be there too. The largemouth bass will be hitting well on spinner baits. The crappie will be responding well to jigs. The catfish seemed to slow.
Looks like this should be a good month with a little something biting for everyone. Good luck and happy fishing!!
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