Feb 03 2016

Bluefin Off OBX, Lots of Rockfish In Closed Waters


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Anglers chasing after rumors of bluefin tuna found acres of big rockfish about 15-25 miles off of Virginia’s coast this week. They did not find any bluefin tuna. Boats fishing out of Oregon Inlet did. In addition to big bluefin tuna, boats out of Oregon Inlet caught some yellowfin tuna. Further south, boats out of Hatteras are jigging up good catches of blackfin tuna when they can get past the false albacore, amberjack, and sharks.

togginFishermen looking for rockfish in the open coastal waters, inside 3 nautical miles, have not had any luck so far. Anglers targeting tautog are having better luck with tog up to 19 pounds weighed in this week. The mild winter has created a bit of a challenge for tog fisherman in that even the inshore wrecks are still holding a lot of sea bass. This makes it a challenge to get your baits past them to the tautog. Sea bass by-catch would normally be a good thing but with that season closed, any sea bass must be released. Tautog are being caught on all of the coastal wrecks with the Triangle Wrecks producing the largest tog this week.

Blueline tilefish are available along the 50 fathom curve. Again, you will have to release any sea bass that you catch and there are the dogfish to put up with. Golden tilefish and grouper would be possibilities in deeper water.

Local angler and scientist, Dr. John Graves, has been selected to be inducted into IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame at their fall meeting. The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame recognizes extraordinary achievements in recreational fishing around the world by anglers, captains, scientists, conservationists, writers, or fishing industry leaders. Dr. Graves was selected due to his tremendous contributions to fisheries science, education, and conservation. He is also a tireless participant in fisheries management at the federal and international levels.

The PSWSFA Annual Awards Banquet will be held on February 26. Check the latest Chum Line for details.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2016/02/03/bluefin-off-obx-lots-of-rockfish-in-close-waters/

Jan 31 2016

Virginia Freshwater Fishing Rundown

By Charlie Taylor

By Charlie Taylor

Mike Ward & Tyler Early on Smith Mountain Lake before the snow.

Mike Ward & Tyler Early on Smith Mountain Lake before the snow.

Most bodies of water throughout the state are showing ice in various amounts. In some places, tide, current and/or sun will move or melt the ice enough to allow entry to the water, but most places will be iced in. Check conditions before venturing forth. The warmer weather predicted for the weekend should open up some water for fishing.

POTOMAC RIVER – D.C. – Walleye activity is reported at the base of Great Falls and the mouth of Difficult Run, in Mather Gorge. The bridges at the mouth of Four Mile Run are holding bass. Shore anglers are taking them on Ratl-L-Traps, Silver Buddies and small crankbaits. Take plenty, as you will lose a bunch to the hardware cloth protecting the banks.

POTOMAC RIVER – BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE – Dropoffs, adjacent to shallow sand or gravel banks, are holding bass. These are available along the creek channels, as well as on the main river. Best baits are live minnows, plastic Power Grubs and Silver Buddies. Fish these baits from shallow to deep water, paying close attention to the lip of the dropoff.

OCCOQUAN RIVER – Yellow perch have not yet appeared in the river in force. Bass may be taken throughout the river on small plastic grubs, jig ‘n pig and live minnows. These baits are best fished on dropoffs, adjacent to bank structure. This method should produce good numbers of bass as they cruise the dropoff, searching for food. The boat docks and rock wall on the North shore of the river are also holding largemouth bass for boat anglers. Use an exposed hook where possible, as the strikes will be very light and hooking the fish will be difficult. Crappie fishing is fair on minnows, around brush piles and boat docks on the South side of the river.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR – Some bass activity on the points, particularly on the upper end of the lake. Slow-roll large spinnerbaits or suspending crankbaits down the points, toward the channel. Plastic grubs and jig ‘n pig will also take the fish. Crappie are generally suspended over creek channels, at the 12-15 foot level. Small minnows or jigs will take coolers of these tasty fish.

BURKE LAKE – The water next to shore is iced over at present. While only private boat may be launched at this time, some hardcore anglers are catching fish. Try to access points and submerged brush, as well as grass beds. Yellow perch, catfish, crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass are the normal catch, although an occasional walleye or muskie is taken.

POTOMAC RIVER – UPPER – Check before you head for the Upper Potomac River. Ice is always a possibility at this time of year. Good check point for ice conditions is: www.facebook.com/whitesFerry. For shore anglers, the Dickerson Power Plant warm water discharge canal continues to provide good action for smallmouth bass, walleye, tiger muskie and channel catfish anglers when the plant is operating. Live bait is the best choice for the catfish, while smoke grubs and live minnows or crayfish are the better choice for the other species. The deeper holes from Dickerson to Edwards Ferry are holding some good smallmouth. Live minnows, hair jigs and plastic grubs are enticing strikes at times. Some crappie are reported at the mouths of Goose Creek and Broad Run, by bank fishermen. Walleye and smallmouth bass are available at the base of Great Falls on live minnows and plastic grubs.

FARM PONDS – Most ponds are showing at least some ice. Check before venturing forth. IN NO EVENT SHOULD ANGLERS ATTEMPT ICE FISHING. The ice in Virginia does not get thick enough for safe passage on it. Bank anglers, fishing from the dams are occasionally taking a catfish or bass on live bait. Scouting out ponds for fishing next month is a good activity during the cold weather. Once found, (Google Earth is a good source) and permission obtained, the waiting and planning begins. The matter of bait becomes almost automatic. Start with small plastic grubs, Beetlespins or four inch plastic worms. Work them very slowly across the bottom near the dam or the deepest water of the pond. Watch the line closely for the telltale strike. When grubs don’t work, fish medium to large minnows on the dropoff into deep water. In shallow ponds, fish these minnows near the dam, around the trees or other structure. As the sun warms the water, switch to top-water lures, such as Rebel Pop-R, Rapala floating minnows and Heddon Tiny Torpedos. Crappie will be feeding heavily as well, so those ponds that contain crappie will be dynamite. Small minnows or jigs will clean out the schools.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER – Yellow perch have started their trek up the river and should be around the Fredericksburg area within a week. Small minnows, plastic grubs, Silver Buddies and Roadrunners will take coolers-full of these early Spring taste treats. A few white perch have appeared around Port Royal, moving North. Blue catfish are still feeding heavily in the deeper holes in the river, primarily on cut shad or live white perch.

SHENANDOAH RIVER – Ice is a creating a problem for anglers on the river. Bank anglers are catching fish in ice-free areas. Catfishing is good with 12-16 pound fish being taken on nightcrawlers in 2-6 feet of water in the South Fork. Smallmouth bass action is very slow, although a few good fish are being taken on hair jigs, tipped with live minnows and pork frogs.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS – Some yellow perch are in the rivers, but sizes and catches are small. Most of the fish are being taken on live minnows. Channel catfish are taking cut bait with gusto. Anglers are also catching some crappie, largemouth bass and white perch.

LAKE ANNA – Bass fishing is fair to good, with fish in the 3-7 pound range taking jig ‘n pig and live minnows in 5-10 feet of water, near cover. The larger fish are being taken near the dam and in the upper end of the lake. Striper action has slowed considerably, but some are still being caught downstream of Sturgeon Creek, on Hopkins spoons and bucktails, and around Dike 3 on Cordell Redfins. Crappie and yellow perch may be found around the fish structures and in the creek channels. Small minnows, Hopkins spoons and plastic grubs are taking these fish.

JAMES RIVER – Large minnows, fished on the bottom of the river channel in the bends, are producing good numbers of large channel and blue catfish. Walleye are also hitting large minnows and brightly colored jigs. Largemouth bass and crappie action is excellent in the barge pits. Brown/orange jig ‘n pigs and smoke grubs are the better baits for bass, while crappie are hitting small minnows and jigs. Trophy smallmouth bass are holding in the deeper holes above Bosher’s Dam and around Columbia. Live bait and jig ‘n pig are the best choice.

LAKE CHESDIN – Fishing the bridges over Whippernock and Namozine Creeks, is producing some good catches of crappie and largemouth bass. Bass anglers are reporting a very few bass in the 4-7 pound class, hitting large minnows, fished on the willow grass edges, near deeper water.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER – Yellow perch and crappie are hitting small jigs and medium minnows in 3-5 feet of water throughout the river. Largemouth bass are sluggish in the cold water. They are best taken on jig ‘n pig, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and small plastic grubs. Best areas are the mouths of the main feeder creeks on the outgoing tides. Catfish are taking cut bait aggressively.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE – Those anglers fishing just below Walker’s Dam are taking good stringers of jumbo yellow perch and largemouth bass in the 2-3 pound class. Medium minnows are the bait choice for the yellow perch, bass, crappie and channel catfish. When icing conditions allow in the main lake, lots of bass, pickerel and bowfin are taking large minnows, fished on the bottom in shallow water.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR – Anglers are catching fish in the 42 degree water on blade baits, large spinnerbaits and jigs. Best areas for stripers and bass are on points and humps in 25-30 feet of water. Jerk baits are also catching some good fish. Crappie are suspended in 15-18 feet of water in the mouths of creeks, moving into the coves when the sun is high. Walleye are staging along the dam, taking nightcrawlers, minnows small crankbaits and jerkbaits.

BACK BAY – Crappie, bass, catfish and white perch are the bounty for area anglers. Some bass are running to six pounds, taking live minnows. The catfish and crappie are also taking live minnows, particularly in the West Neck Creek area. White perch fishing is just picking up, with the majority taking small minnows in 2-3 feet of water. Results of VDGIF bass stockings are showing good numbers of bass to eight pounds. The upcoming season promises to be very good. Lots of milfoil, pondweed and wild celery is growing in the Bay, providing lots of cover for the released fingerlings.

SUFFOLK LAKES – Bass anglers are catching some nice bass in all the lakes, with the most successful bait being jumbo minnows. Stripers are the rage at Western Branch and Lake Prince, with the fish running 6-8 pounds. Lakes Cohoon and Meade are reporting good catches of pickerel and crappie, along with some nice bass. Lake Cohoon gave up a number of nice pickerel this past week. Large yellow perch are being taken from Western Branch, with the majority of the fish being caught in the coves. Crappie fishing is excellent at both Lake Smith and Waller Mill Reservoir, with some fish weighing over a pound.

LAKE GASTON – Largemouth bass are hitting crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in 4-6 feet of water just inside the feeder creeks and shallow coves. Slow-rolled spinnerbaits are also taking some large bass, particularly in clearer water, like that in Pea Hill Creek. Crappie fishing is excellent. Striper activity is centered on the creek mouths, and below the dam, in Roanoke Rapids Reservoir. The big fish are feeding on the schools of shad. Follow the gulls for the best action.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE – Bass fishing is fair, with small fish being taken on jig ‘n pig and crankbaits in 6-12 feet of water, on points. The larger fish are halfway back in the coves, feeding in late afternoon and evening. Slow-rolled spinnerbaits are taking some good bass from riprap throughout the lake. Rat-L-Traps are also taking some fish. Crappie fishing is good, with the fish being taken from brushpiles and bridge pilings in 12-15 feet of water. Some stripers are being caught, mainly on old river channel bends and in Rudds Creek.

BRIERY CREEK AND SANDY RIVER RESERVOIRS – A mixed bag of bluegills, pickerel and small bass, with an occasional five pounder, is available here.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – Bass and striper fishing is fair with 2-7 pound bass being caught on jig ‘n pig and live minnows in 7-12 feet of water, off points. Striper fishing is also fair, with some medium sized fish being taken in the Blackwater arm of the lake. Most of the fish are being caught on bucktails and live shad, although Rebel and Bomber Long-A’s are producing some stripers on top, as dawn breaks. Crappie anglers are pleased with the catches of these tasty fish. Live minnows and tiny jigs are taking the fish around brushpiles and boat docks.

LAKE MOOMAW – Fishing is very slow. Some die-hard anglers are taking a few trout in the four pound range, on spoons and live minnows. Best fishing is below the dam on dry flies in sizes 24-28 for catch and release trout or fishing live minnows on the bottom of the lake for jumbo yellow perch.

PHILPOTT LAKE – Bass fishing is good, with fish in the three pound class taking Hopkins spoons, deep jigged on main lake points, in 20-25 feet of water. Crappie fishing is picking up, with the water temperatures in the low 40’s. Trout anglers are taking some nice fish on the Smith River.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR – Crappie fishing is good on minnows, fished 6-12 feet deep, in open water. Occasional catches of smallmouth bass, on deep-jigged Hopkins spoons, off rocky points, but other species have lockjaw.

CLAYTOR LAKE – Some anglers have reported stripers and smallmouth bass, but details are sketchy.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2016/01/31/virginia-freshwater-fishing-rundown-2/

Jan 30 2016

Angling Slowed By Winter Storm Jonas

By Dr Julie Ball

By Dr Julie Ball

Winter storm Jonas ushered in the cold season with all its frigid fury, disrupting most fishing endeavors last weekend. And although folks are now starting to venture back out, the fishing scene has little news to offer for now.

The coastal rockfish season still has not developed, and the outlook seems less than favorable for a turnaround. Big schools of fish have been spotted offshore by bluefin tuna hunters, and reports indicate fish are still active our north, but no catches have occurred in local coastal waters. And as water temperatures continue drop, this season’s winter window of opportunity to intercept these fish is closing in. A few anglers are still fishing for rockfish off the Eastern Shore in the Bay with hopes of releasing fish for fun, with poor results.

Other than a few rumors, bluefin tuna have also been a no show so far, but hopeful anglers continue to search for signs of tuna activity off Virginia when the weather allows.

Speckled trout action is still behind for the season, but anglers were finding some respectable trout in Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets prior to the blizzard. Reports have been limited since the storm, but with a decent weekend on the horizon, anglers are hopeful for good results.

Tautog is pretty much the only game in town. Although the tog bite in Bay waters is beginning to slow with the cooling water temperatures, some decent fish are hitting for anglers on a few Bay and inshore structures. Deeper water wrecks are still producing the larger fish, but reaching them can be a challenge this time of year. When boats can get out, anglers are finding some nice fish, with a few tog weighing over 11-pounds reported this week. Seabass will also take your offerings on many of these structures, but they rare still out of season.

Boats venturing out to scour the deeper ocean floors can find nice blueline tilefish up to around 17-pounds. Black seabass will also hit your bait, but you can’t keep them. Even with the dogfish population on the rise, persistent anglers are also finding barrel fish and blackbellied rosefish mixed in with the tilefish. Other species such as grouper and wreckfish can also provide some variety along the Canyon walls.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2016/01/30/angling-slowed-by-winter-storm-jonas/

Jan 22 2016

Virginia Freshwater Fishing Rundown

By Charlie Taylor

By Charlie Taylor

OVERVIEW – Ice is present on most waters throughout the state. Check ahead before venturing out. For those who do brave the elements and go fishing, be sure that you create a float plan and leave it with someone who can get help to you if you should need it. Dressing in lots of layers and making sure that all skin is covered will be crucial this weekend, as wind chills will be in the range that causes frostbite. As always, WEARING a PFD is REQUIRED by common sense.

POTOMAC RIVER – D.C. – When anglers can get out, Blue Plains Sewage Treatment Plant outflow is giving up lots of large gizzard shad to anglers jigging Silver Buddies, and bass to anglers fishing live minnows, jig ‘n pig and plastic baits along the shoreline. Anglers fishing the Spoils are taking numbers of largemouth bass and crappie from dropoffs, on Silver Buddies, small dark-colored grubs, live minnows and crappie jigs. Four Mile Run is giving up bass, carp and catfish to anglers fishing the warmer waters. Small crankbaits and spinnerbaits are taking the bass along the rip-rap walls and bridge pilings, while catfish are taking cut bait and prepared baits.

POTOMAC RIVER – BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE – Bass are holding on the bottom along steep-dropping banks. Yo-yoing a spinnerbait, tipped with a Big Daddy pork frog, will take some of the larger bass. Better numbers of fish will be taken on small plastic grubs, fished on 1/8 oz. jig heads. Cast the bait into shallow water and fish it back to the lip of the dropoff. Most hits will occur on the lip. When the bait falls off the lip, allow it to sink on a taut line. Should the line move at all during the fall, set the hook. Fish the bait very slowly and watch the line intently. The pickups will be very soft, and often the only indication of a fish will be a little heaviness on the line. Some of the better creeks are Mattawoman, Nanjemoy and Aquia, as well as Gunston Cove and the Occoquan River. Crappie are schooled up around submerged brush in the major creeks and coves.

POTOMAC RIVER – MORGANTOWN BRIDGE (ROUTE 301) – Anglers braving the cold and windy weather can catch small stripers off and on in the outflow from the Morgantown Power Plant. Tip a 1/2-3/4 oz. jighead with a 4-6 inch Sassy Shad, cast into the uptide, outside edge of the outflow, and allow the tide to carry the bait along the bottom. The stripers will do the rest. Just be ready for the line to start moving. Medium heavy bass tackle will do the job.

OCCOQUAN RIVER – Fish are available throughout the river. Yellow perch are staging at the mouth for their spawning run. Medium minnows, Silver Buddies, yellow grubs and 1/8 ounce, yellow horsehead jigs are taking these plump prizes. Fish these very slowly along the bottom, watching the line carefully. Most of the fish are taking the baits aggressively, but some of the larger fish will just mouth the bait and not move. Largemouth bass may be taken by anglers, concentrating on the dropoffs around the Route One bridge and along the rock wall. Most of the successful anglers will be using plastic grubs, Silver Buddies, jig ‘n pig and live bait. Any structure in the river will be holding crappie. Channel catfish like nightcrawlers, minnows and cut bait, and extremely large blue cats are cruising this river.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR – Fountainhead Regional Park boat ramp is closed for the season, but personal boats may be launched at Lake Ridge Marina on the Prince William County side of the lake. Bass are being caught on the downlake points, in submerged standing timber and on rocky sun-drenched shorelines. Best baits are small wide-wobbling crankbaits, jig ‘n pig and small plastic grubs.

BURKE LAKE – Anglers are being consistently “skunked” fishing from the bank around this lake. Boaters are taking bass from the dropoffs along the shoreline. More successful baits are small crankbaits and bottom bounced plastics.

FARM PONDS – Those ponds that are still liquid should produce crappie from planted brushpiles and around shoreline brush. Live minnows and Tiny Tubes are the preferred baits. Occasional bass may be taken from sunny shorelines, well into the afternoons, when the water has warmed. Plastic grubs and live minnows should be the more successful baits.

POTOMAC RIVER – UPPER – When the Dickerson power plant is operating, the warm water discharge canal continues to produce good numbers of smallmouth bass and channel catfish, as well as occasional walleye and tiger muskie. The smallmouth prefer small plastic grubs in smoke or black, while the catfish are taking nightcrawlers, cut bait or live minnows. Don’t neglect topwater baits in the afternoon. In this stretch, some smallmouth are being caught by anglers fishing small hair jigs tipped with pork rind, in the deeper holes, off ledges in the river bottom. Bank fishermen are not reporting much action. Water access is also available at White’s Ferry on the Maryland side. However, check at: https://www.facebook.com/WhitesFerry before heading there. The ferry is currently shut down due to ice on the river.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER – Stalwart anglers are still catching blue catfish to 30 pounds in the deeper channel holes on cut bait and live white perch. Bass fishing is slow, although some crappie are recorded.

SHENANDOAH RIVER – Anglers have connected on some smallmouth bass, along with lots of bluegill and rock bass. Small crankbaits, tubes and Senkos have been the more productive baits.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS – Some anglers are catching catfish on cut shad baits. The yellow perch run is on, with the roe-laden fish being caught on live minnows, small silver buddies and Rat-L-Traps and plastic grubs. Some pickerel, crappie and bass are taking live minnows around Aylett.

LAKE ANNA – Better bass fishing is available on downlake points on jig ‘n pig, plastic grubs, live minnows, jerkbaits and crankbaits. Crappie are available to knowledgeable anglers, throughout the lake, on small minnows and tiny jigs. Walleye fishermen are not having a lot of success this week, but if the weather improves, look for good stringers of these tasty fish in the next few weeks. Jigs, tipped with minnows or nightcrawlers, fished across points will take the toothed predators. Another favorite spawning area is just below the old VDGIF ramp at Route 522 on the North Anna River. Stripers, to 17 pounds, are being caught on Sassy Shads, fished under the roving schools of shad. Better fishing is coming from the area from Sturgeon Creek to the dam. The cooling ponds are giving up lots of small to medium bass and good sized crappie to anglers with access to the waters.

JAMES RIVER – Monster blue catfish are once again in the news. The big fish are taking cut bait in the area around the Dutch Gap Power Plant. Walleye have started their spawning run, and a number have been taken between Dutch Gap and the Route 95 Bridge. Crappie are still biting well in the barge pits around Dutch Gap. Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing is slow, but some are being taken on live minnows and jig ‘n pig baits, fished on the river side of the islands around Dutch Gap and in the barge pits. Above Columbia, on the upper James, smallmouth bass are taking skirted Yamomoto grubs, fished in the holes and below riffles.

LAKE CHESDIN – Crappie and some bass are being caught by die-hard anglers, fishing the Namozine and Whippernock Creek bridges. Small minnows are the bait of choice.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER – Feeder creek mouths and main river points are beginning to produce good sized yellow perch for anglers. Small minnows, plastic grubs and small spinners are working well for the fish, running to 1 1/2 pounds. Crappie anglers at the dam are taking some fish. Bass fishing is slow due to low water temperatures.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE – Lots of fish are being caught by lake regulars who tempt the bass, pickerel and bowfin with live minnows. Some crappie are also recorded by die hard anglers.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR – Anglers are catching a few bass and perch, with an occasional pickerel. The fish are holding in 20-30 feet of water and taking baits fished vertically. Blade baits and jigs are the best choice. Carolina rigs, fished along the 25 foot ledges and along the weed lines are also producing bass. Crappie are being taken from 20-25 feet of water on live minnows and small tube baits. Some stripers are taking slow trolled lipless crankbaits.

DIASCUND RESERVOIR – The news here is Crappie! Big crappie….and lots of them. Many of the fish being caught are in the 14″ range. Combined with opportunities for bass, bluegill, yellow perch, chain pickerel and bowfin, this is a tremendous fishery.

WALLER MILL RESERVOIR – Anglers are catching good sized walleye in the reservoir. When Lake Whitehurst was closed, VDGIF biologists shocked the walleye from that lake and released them into Waller Mill. These fish are now being caught, along with others, stocked by the Department.

BACK BAY – Creeks around Sandbridge are giving up some bass, catfish and perch, as well as a few pickerel. West Neck Creek is giving up some small bass, white perch and catfish, all on live minnows.

SUFFOLK LAKES – Lake Prince is giving up bass and big yellow perch to anglers with light boats. Western Branch recorded some small stripers and yellow perch. Lake Meade has no report. Lake Cohoon has given up some good sized pickerel this past week. Most of them have been taken on live minnows, but some are taking spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Lake Smith reports no angling activity.

LAKE GASTON – When the wind allows access to the lake, largemouth bass are hitting crankbaits in 4-6 feet of water just inside the feeder creeks. Good-sized largemouth bass are also being caught on slow-rolled spinnerbaits, fished along steep dropping points in the Poplar Creek area. Crappie fishing is excellent. Striper activity is best below the Gaston Dam, in Roanoke Rapids Lake, on live shad, Sassy Shads and Redfins.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE – Striper fishing is good, with live bait and 3/8 ounce bucktails producing the better catches. Largemouth bass are favoring the main lake gravel points and may be caught on 10+ crankbaits in shad colors. Crappie are holding above brushpiles in 10-15 feet of water.

Shad Taxi, 20° and snowing hard, all jigging!

Shad Taxi, 20° and snowing hard, all jigging!

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – Fishing for stripers is iffy, depending on the weather. When winds are up, anglers stay home, but when the winds lay down, some catches are reported. Most anglers are jigging with Hopkins Spoons and bucktails or fishing live shad, in Betty’s and Becky’s Creeks. Crappie fishing is exceptional on small minnows in 6-8 feet of water. A few largemouth bass are being taken on bucktails, while striper fishing.

LAKE MOOMAW – Little fishing activity is reported on the lake. A couple of brown trout in the five pound class were weighed this past week. Yellow perch should start their spawning run within the next week or so.

PHILPOTT LAKE – Smallmouth bass are being caught on live bait, from 15-30 feet, and on Hopkins Spoons from 30-35 feet. Largemouth bass are taking spinnerbaits, slow-rolled in 15 feet of water.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR – No angling reports available.

CLAYTOR LAKE – Some anglers are fishing. The bulk of the catches are walleye, taken on bucktails, in the rapids at the upper end of the lake. The fish are running to four pounds. Stripers, 6-8 pounds, are also being caught. Crappie fishing is good, on small minnows, while a few smallmouth bass, to five pounds are taking striper baits.

TROUT STREAMS – Streams are in excellent condition this week and catches should be the same. Smaller stream trout should be responding to small spinners, wet flies and terrestrials, while larger streams should produce some good fish on streamers, spinners and small spoons. Be careful on stream banks, as ice intensifies sunlight, creating mud under the ice. Stream banks are very slippery.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2016/01/22/virginia-freshwater-fishing-rundown/

Jan 19 2016

Tautog Bite Continues and Rumors of Bluefin Tuna


By Dr. Ken Neill III, Seaford VA

Cold and windy weather along with a lack of rockfish has really slowed down fishing activity. Anglers trying for rockfish in the open coastal waters did not find any fish this week. There were still some being caught to our north so there is hope that this cold weather will finally push them down to us. Catch and release fishing in the bay is a possibility but reports from the bay were also not good this week. Our wintertime speckled trout fishery is just a fond memory.

What you can catch are tautog. Tautog are still biting at the CBBT and on other bay structures but as the waters continue to cool, it is the ocean wrecks that are producing the best catches. Sea bass will be a common by-catch but they must be released as that season in closed. Bluefish are also available on the ocean wrecks on out to the offshore waters.

There have been more rumors of bluefin tuna encounters and sightings but still no catches. There has been some warmer water around the Triple 0s area that has produced some nice catches of yellowfin tuna for Virginia boats when they have been able to get out there.

bottom fishingAnglers bottom fishing near the Norfolk Canyon are catching tilefish and some grouper along with bluefish and dogfish. The dogfish have not become too much of a problem yet.

If you want to leave the saltwater, some massive blue catfish are being caught up in the James River.

The Irv Fenton Memorial Rockfish Tournament concluded on December 31. It took a really large fish to place in the tournament this year. In first place, was Wally Veal with a 53 pound 6 ounce fish. In a close second, Hunter Southall weighed in a 53 pound rockfish. Finishing out the top three was Phillip Greasley with a 45 pound 3 ounce fish. This event was sponsored by Wilcox Bait & Tackle. The Tournament Director was Captain Rick Wineman.

The PSWSFA Annual Awards Banquet will be held on February 26. Check the latest Chum Line for details.

Permanent link to this article: http://vbsf.net/2016/01/19/taug-bite-continues-and-rumors-of-bluefin-tuna/

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