LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – The lake is at full pool and then some, said my lake expert who lives there. Generally discolored water is seen near all the feeder creeks. The crappie fishing continues around docks and shallow brush piles, but it’s hard to find any of the bigger specimens. Some largemouth bass are still on their beds with the full moon this week, but most are now in a post-spawn pattern and some of those fish are really starting to feed in deeper water near the spawning grounds. Catfish catches have been surprisingly good.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – Heavy rain and strong runoff will turn this river into a muddy, high mess from the upper reaches above Fredericksburg clear down to Port Royal and beyond.
LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Even if it’s discolored, a live minnow will find enough crappies for supper. The bass will look at (or rather pick up the scent of) PowerWorms and other baits that “smell good.”
LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Some bass, crappies and catfish will be taken by weekend anglers although the water could be in better shape. Many of the bass have finished spawning.
LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Post-spawn bass can be tough to draw to a hook for a while, but they can be caught. Besides, some of the lake’s largemouths are still on their beds. Upper lake ends give up stripers. Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455. and Ron Karpinski say that bass are being hooked on spinnerbaits and plastics in green pumpkin. Crappie fishing is hit or miss, but if you can find some, they are big ones.
KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) reports that bass catches are getting better. Best places include flooded brush where spinnerbaits, even buzzbaits and plastic lizards do a good job. Crappie catches are holding up around banks and shore structure. Catfish like cut shad and sunfish.
JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) Blue catfish are hoping you drop a chunk or slab or herring, even bluegill flesh, down to them around Dutch Gap and other “cat” holes. River runoff will be murky and quick since it has rained strongly above Richmond.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – River’s Rest (804-829-2753) reports only fair bass catches, but everybody down this way knows it will improve quickly. The crappie fishing has been good, with live minnows being the best way to hook enough for sinner. The catfish are biting very well now, going after herring or eel baits. The water is warming, but stained.
SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – River is rising and muddy. Stay away for a few days until the skies clear and the sun shines. When things return to normal, our Shenandoah expert, Dick Fox, says many of the smallmouth bass will have moved into their summer areas, which can be fast-water eddys. Small Senko-type worms, spinnerbaits and tubes are the best lures.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – The locals point out that alewive baitfish are spawning and that brings the bait schools close to shore during the dark hours. Of course the bass, rockfish and catfish know that and they’ll show up to get an easy meal. Fishermen in the know capitalize on that by casting flukes, various swimbaits, such as the Strike King Shadalicious, for a quick catch. Many bass are on the spawning beds and are easy to fool with soft plastics or topwater poppers.
UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles – It will be slow going, what with the rash of thunderstorms and heavy rains that visited the area. Skip it for a week.
MARYLAND: 153-175 miles – Surf and nearby deeper ocean waters give up rockfish and redfish now and then. Sand sharks have shown up in the shallows, with the inlets holding some stripers and flounder, although the backwaters behind Ocean City will be okay for the flat fish this weekend. However, the best catches are yet to come.