FRESHWATER Lower James River Jeff Carney of Richmond caught a 32-inch channel cat, rockfish up to 24 inches and a 22-pound flathead catfish. Carney reports that, in the past week, the river has been high, muddy and hard to fish. He also said that the shad seem to be gone, but there are plenty of white perch to be caught.
Wednesday night mini-tournaments are being held out of Osborne Landing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call Nathan Dowdy at (804) 795-2139.
Doug Uncapher of Keene landed a 5-pound, 21-inch smallmouth bass, along with a 4-pounder. Both fish were caught on a super fluke lure and released live back into the river.
James River Runners, (434) 286-2338, reported the river is rounding into shape for fishing. Temperatures are on the rise, and clarity has improved. The best fishing will be near banks with undercuts, near island areas and near eddies behind visible rock formations. The level has been above average and is fluctuating with each rainfall from the various fronts moving through the area. Best lures for smallmouth are Yamamoto split-tail grubs and other rubber/plastic baits, floater-diver Rapalas, white and chartreuse spinnerbaits and other shallow-dive crankbaits. More up-to-date information on the Upper James can be obtained on the Web at www.jamesriverrunners.com. Little Creek Reservoir
Walter Elliott reported the following catches: Robert Griffin, Williamsburg, bream to 1½ pounds, chain pickerel to 4 pounds, crappie to 15 inches; Mike Fowler, Williamsburg, 15 stripers to 10 pounds; John Keuther, Richmond, crappie to 16½ inches; Willy Weber, New Kent County, eight stripers to 30 inches; Keith Williams, Hanover, seven stripers up to 30 inches; Brian Dye, Seaford, yellow perch to 13 inches, chain pickerel to 24 inches; James Stone, Lanexa, striper to 8 pounds; Norm St. Martin, Williamsburg, walleye to 4 pounds, 22½ inches; Robert Hupfer, Williamsburg, largemouth bass to 5 pounds, channel cat to 7 pounds; Clint Knuth, Williamsburg, channel cat to 6 pounds.
The striper bite improved from the past week with more then 30 fish being reported. Live herring was the top bait with fish up to 10 pounds brought to the scales. Largemouth bass are hitting on a variety of baits with crankbaits and plastic worms being the most productive. Minnows accounted for some nice crappie, chain pickerel and catfish over the weekend. The bream bite has improved with night crawlers bringing in fish up to 1½ pounds. Water remains at close to full pool and slightly stained. Lake Chesdin
Barbara Williams at Whippernock Marina, (804) 265-5252, reported the following catches: Frank Arrigo, Matoaca, citation pike to 4 pounds, 24¼ inches; Larry Lester, Dinwiddie, citation largemouth bass to 7 pounds, 9 ounces, 23 inches; Bill Lowery, Midlothian, citation largemouth bass, 7 pounds, 5 ounces, 23½ inches. Chickahominy Lake
Jill O’Brien-Jones of Eagles Landing, (804) 966-9094, reported the following individual bass tournament results: first: Richard Sweeney, Providence Forge, five fish, 13.31 pounds (also big fish at 3.88 pounds); second: Paul Shattuck, Lanexa, three fish, 6.65 pounds; third: Javier Smith, Charles City, four fish, 5.35 pounds; fourth: Casey Woodfin, Sandston, four fish, 5.34 pounds.
Team bass tournament: first: Kevin Woodfin, Sandston, and Butch Woodfin, Highland Springs, five fish, 14.96 pounds including big fish, 5.71 pounds; second: Richard Sweeney, Providence Forge, and Javier Smith, Charles City, five fish 7.58 pounds.
Other notable catches: Harry Taylor, Hopewell, and Aaron Havens, Chesterfield, 35 pike to 3.1 pounds; Jeff Talley and Charles Shockley, Highland Springs, eight catfish to 9 pounds, two bass to 4 pounds, four pike to 2½ pounds; Fred Davis, Richmond, 50 bream and 12 shellcrackers.
Pike activity still is strong, but should slow down soon with an increase in water temperature. Bream and shellcrackers are spawning with good feeding activity. Bass fishermen still mixing up lure selections, but there is no real pattern yet. Pattern should develop as most bass come off the beds. Bowfin and catfish activity picking up. Gar have been seen in the shallows, and a few crappie are scattered.
Captain Art Conway of Conway’s River Rat Guide Service, (804) 746-2475, reported that panfish were on and off last week. Crappie were scattered along weedbeds and some dark-colored males were caught around cypress trees in the main lake, suggesting late spawning activity. A few yellow perch were found along weed lines, especially near creek mouths. Bluegill and shellcrackers moved into traditional spawning areas last week, apparently preparing for spawning during the full-moon period early this week. The cold rain late last week dropped the water temperature about 10 degrees and sent most of the bluegill out of the shallows. Some small spawning groups had reassembled by early this week, so spawning groups may be around through this week, and the full moon period bluegill spawn in June may be much better than normal. Bluegill and shellcrackers were hitting well on wet flies fished on a dropper below a surface bug and on live crickets, worms, and Berkley Gulp baits on slip bobber rigs. Pickerel and bowfin continued to be active, especially on weedy flats in the upper lake, and were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, and soft plastic jerkbaits and worms. Lake Anna
Guide Glenn Briggs reported pretty good bass fishing and red-hot striper action. Briggs said that the best bass action comes from grass beds near the Splits on drop-shot plastics and topwater lures. On sunny days/hours, attack the boat docks. If you are lucky enough to fish a cloudy day, looking for “roaming” bass along shores with crankbaits and plastics. The striper action is an early morning thing, near the Splits, Dike 3 and the mouth of Sturgeon Creek. Briggs prefers topwater Slim Dogs and Red Finns or XPS jerk baits. Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir)
Buggs Island Bait and Tackle, (434) 374-8934, reported that stripers have finished spawning and are moving back into the lake but are hitting about average. Crapie also are average in 8 to 20 feet of water and are best around brush piles and bridge pilings. Carfish are hitting good with flatheads near the bridges to the rivers and blues are in the rivers. White perch and white bass are good at the mouths of Bluestone and Buffalo creeks, and largemouth bass are average entering post spawn and heading into summer patterns.
SALTWATER Chesapeake Bay/Ocean
Ken Neill reported the black drum bite picked up a bit this week with Buoy 13 the hot spot. Red drum fishing is getting better every day. The Eastern Shore seaside has been where most of the reds have been found. Good numbers of small gray trout can be found at the 12-mile mark and at the high rise of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. A few big grays are being caught at the 3rd and 4th islands of the CBB-T, the high rise of the CBB-T, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and at the Cell. Tautog action remains good at the CBB-T. Small stripers and bluefish can be caught around the islands of the CBB-T and at the HRB-T. Some larger rockfish are being caught over the tubes of the CBB-T with live bait. Flounder fishing remains good. Buoy 36A remains the most popular spot, though fish are being caught pretty much everywhere. Nice croaker are being caught in the Cell area. Sea bass are available over the ocean wrecks. Spadefish and cobia should be arriving soon.
Jerry Thrash of Queens Creek Outfitters, (804) 725-3889, reported trophy gray trout made a strong showing at the Cell in the past week with Queens Creek weighing in citations from 10 pounds, 9 ounces to 12 pounds, 12 ounces. The trout are hitting bucktail jigs with soft plastic tails tipped with peeler or soft crab, storm-like soft plastic shad and metal jigs. Tautog also are biting at the Cell. No sign of Spadefish yet. Speckled trout have begun to bite again as waters begin to warm in the Ware Neck area. Tsunami soft baits are working better than Mirro-Lures. No action in the Piankatank River yet.
Cold waters continue to force charter boats to run south to buoys 34 and 35 in the Baltimore Channel to find croaker in good numbers. Deep water croaker continue to have lockjaw in the Rappahannock and in the open Bay. Croaker readily are available on a moving tide in the creek shallows where waters are warmer, so pier fishermen are seeing good action.
Isolated stripers are being caught by trollers in the Rappahanock and near Buoy 59A above Fleet’s Bay. The flounder action continues to come from the vicinity of Buoy 36A. Not many fish have been caught north of that area, again perhaps because of cold waters. Red and black drum have made a showing in the Latimer Shoals area. Chowder clams are working, as are sea clams.
Locklies Marina, (888) 860-1014, reported rockfish were being caught at the Whitestone Bridge with peeler crabs, the best time being at slack tide. Croakers are in shallow water (30 feet or less) with two citations registered this past weekend: Frank Bowler, 3 pounds, 4 ounces, 22 inches, and Ken Vass of Richmond, 3 pounds, 2 ounces, 19 inches, both caught at the Whitestone Bridge using crab while fishing for stripers.
Captain Neil Renouf of Old Dominion Outdoors, (804) 266-1469, reported the following catches on the lower Chesapeake Bay: Heidi Wendell, limited out on keeper flounder, as did Tracye Elliott, Ron Swanson, Rick Simpson, Gene Stevenson and Bob Blanks. Most fish were up to 4 pounds. Later in the week, the fish had moved into 15 to 25 feet of water because of stormy weather. Outer Banks
Leonard Nuchols reported Cape Point still is producing big drum. More than 20 were landed Friday, with Ray Seibert catching three up to 46 inches. The Cape Point area also is producing catches of blues, sea mullet, gray trout, cow-nose rays and keeper flounder. Anglers are catching their limits of blues up to 3 pounds with Glass Minnow Lures north of Cape Point, where Steve Groves landed 20 blues Monday with Glass Minnow Lures. (These are the original Glass Minnows by Shore Lure Company, not to be mistaken with an imitation that is being marketed this year.) On Tuesday, Clay Noble from Vinton landed a 4.3-pound, 22-inch flounder.
The Hatteras beaches reported catches of blues, flounder and gray trout. Ocracoke Island reports blues, sea mullet, gray trout, flounder, big drum and Spanish mackerel. The northern beaches report blues, sea mullet, flounder, puppy drum and gray trout and the southern beaches report blues, sea mullet and gray trout. The offshore boats out of Hatteras Inlet have had catches of dolphin, wahoo, king mackerel, yellowfin tuna and a few sailfish that have been caught and released. The inshore boats report good catches of gray trout, blues and Spanish mackerel. Warm weather is forecast for the weekend, which should improve the fishing.
Compiled by Walt Amacker