Virginia Fishing Reports – March 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.
Click here for Fishing Report Archives Click HERE for Freshwater Fishing Report
Northern Neck Charter Boat Directory
Virginia Saltwater Fishing Reports
By Captain Rick Lockart
March is my "wannabe" month. There are a lot of things I might want-to-be, but by month's end, I really want to be fishing on the Bay. Unfortunately, the Middle Bay has little to offer in the way of fishing, especially for one who refuses to C/R mature striped bass. I am considering going to a wreck or two outside of Reedville to check on tautog, but most reports that I have had in the past indicate that May is the primary month for such goings-on. Virginia Beach, on the other hand, should be bustling with activity, particularly if March comes in like a lamb.
March will be a month in which most captains will be preparing for the up-coming fishing season. For the few who are ahead of the game, or have kept their boats in the water, striped bass are available, though few if any are keepers. Flounder may start to show, depending upon water temperatures, but again, few will be keepers, especially if Virginia increases the size once again. Offshore, sea bass may start to show on the inshore wrecks, and tautog will be available as the weather permits.
Several captains, Steve Wray (757-481-7517), Chandler Hogg (757-876-1590), and Jim Brincefield (252-336-4296) will continue to offer deep wreck fishing until the action inshore becomes consistent. Others will be awaiting the return of the sea bass to the inshore wrecks, fish for tautog, or hope that an occasional striped bass remains in the area. Stripers can be caught by the C/R fishermen throughout the lower Bay region.
Again, as with the Eastern Shore, water temperature will play a role in many success stories. The Hot Ditch may remain a spot drawing the attention of spotted trout fishermen; however, late in the month could see a return of these fish, along with some red drum to the shallows of Lynnhaven Bay or Rudee Inlet. This could be wishful thinking by the wannabees.
The Lower Peninsula will find most captains working on their boats. For those few, croaker may be a target late in the month. I have heard that some were being caught in the Yorktown area in February. These stories surface every year. Again, sounds like a wannabee fabrication to me. The recreational guys are anxiously awaiting the return of the yellow perch, herring, and hickory shad. Some striped bass may be caught by the C/R fishermen.
Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck
More and more stories surfacing by the wannabees concerning C/R of striped bass. Many can't resist the temptation and the occasional good days that occur in March. Hearing stories of the large numbers of fish being caught by the commercial netters just adds fuel to the fire. At this time, nothing prohibits the catch and release of large striped bass. I believe that Virginia encourages such activity by issuing 44" release citations, even during the supposed "closed" season. Again, most of us will be getting our boats ready for the opening of Maryland's Trophy season in the middle of April. White perch, herring, and an occasional hickory shad might be available up the Piankatank, Rappahannock, or Potomac Rivers.
All-in-all, winter's grip on the fishing of Virginia's saltwater regions continues into March. Should the month not come in like a lamb, fishing will continue to be slow. Should the weather prove to be better than anticipated, the fishing could show marked improvement. In either case, the wannabees will be out in force. You can only watch so much TV.
Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike
This month should be an active month for the fish. Crappie and bass in the ponds will be responding well to minnows. The catfish should respond well to cut shad. Ring perch have started up and some nice size ones have been caught. Chain pickerel can be caught in swamps and the shad and herring should be starting up soon.
There will be a Kid's Fishing Day at Old Cossey Pond in Fredericksburg on March 15th from 8am - 3pm for youth 15 and under.
Ken's Tackle Shop (540-898-1011) reported that ring perch were being caught on the Rappahannock River and the creeks feeding into the river using night crawlers. The white perch should pick up through out the month of March.
Taylor's Grocery (540-659-2347) reports that crappie are hitting well on minnows in Aquia Creek. In ponds bass are hitting on minnows.
RW's (804-529-5634) reports that ring perch are hitting great now and should still be hitting at print time. Bass are responding well to crank baits. The local club caught 5 bass in the 6-8lb range.
Hellem's & Son Supply (540-967-2364) reports that at Lake Anna, the crappie are being caught at the bridge columns in the 1 - 1.5lb range. Stripers are responding well to live bait. Bass slow in March. The lake is low.
Surfside Bait and Tackle (804-730-2238) on the James River reported the ring perch have started hitting well on Piscataway Creek, Chickahominy, Pumunkey and Mattaponi. Crappie are hitting well in the ponds on Silver Buddy Lures, Jig N Blade and small minnows. Largemouth bass are responding well to large and extra large minnows. The Shad/herring should start up towards the end of March.
Mike at Riverside Camp Grounds (804-966-5536) on the Chickahominy reports crappie hitting at depths of 6'-8' using jigs. A few ring perch being taken on Blade baits. Catfish are responding well to cut bait and eels. The fishing should continue to improve through March. Especially the ring perch, white perch and herring.
In the Virginia Beach area waters the yellow perch will be hitting well on minnows. Chain pickerel will be hitting on minnow will also be hitting on minnows and they can be caught in ponds or reservoirs.
Bobcat from Bobcats Lake Co. (434-374-8381) at Buggs Island reports catfish are being caught on cut shad. Largemouth can be caught fishing off points at depths of 8'-12' water. Crappie are biting really well. Anglers have caught over 100 fish in one day in the 1-pound range. They seem to be staying on the flats in a depth of about 2' and in the creeks. Anglers fishing in the creeks for crappie are also catching stripers on minnows and shad.
Marvin from The Tackle Box (434-239-1710) at Smith Mountain Lake reported the crappie are biting the best and hitting at depths of 15' on little hair jigs, minnows and grubs. Stripers are responding well to Hopkins spoons, flukes and trolling with deep live bait. White perch biting well on grubs, live bait or small Hopkins spoons. The bass are being found in the schooling shad with the stripers and are biting well on deep diving crank baits and Hopkins spoons.
At Lake Moomaw, The Bait Place (540-965-0633) reports that the lake has been slow but will pick up through the month of March. Trout being caught by bait using minnows or by trolling using Krocodile lures. Yellow perch are huge and are being caught on minnows and jigs. Trout are hitting well on the Jackson River. Anglers have more success float fishing from a boat for the trout instead of fishing from the banks.
Good luck and happy fishing!!
Northern Neck Fishing Report is Prepared by the free
Chesapeake Angler Magazine.
Be sure to check out their
Message Board / Fishing Forum