The Shad are moving in thicker every day on the tidal James and Rappahannock Rivers. They can be caught from all the tidal rivers of Virginia, but these locations are the most popular. The city limits of both Richmond and Fredericksburg are drawing a lot of attention from anglers seeking the annual runs of the Shad and White Perch.
For the Shad, just about any small lure on light line will draw strikes. 1- 1-1/2" twister tail grubs, 000 spoons, shad darts, and flies, are some of the more popular offerings. Preferred colors can change by the day.
For the White Perch, nightcrawlers, bloodworms, and cut bait, such as Shad pieces, work well. Small cuts of White Perch work well also.
The Bass fishing has picked up considerably, as 20+ lbs was the winning weight on the James over the weekend. Look for even bigger bags to be brought in during the month of April. A huge variety of lures are being used right now, as Bass are in high feeding mode with the presence of Shad and their own spawn occurring soon. This is also the case for the Rappahannock, which is giving up quite a few Crappie and Snakeheads right now.
The Catfish on both rivers are in high feeding mode also. Some of the area lakes have Bass spawning right now. Lake Anna is one example where the Bass are on the beds. The thunderstorms over the weekend lightened the catches a bit, as 16+ lbs was the winning weight at Anna. Smith Mountain saw a slight decline, as 25+ lbs was the winning weight over the weekend. These are 5 fish limits. The Bass at Smith have been annihilating Alabama rigs and swim baits, as they too, are preparing/beginning to spawn. Water temps are in the upper 50s, to mid 60s.
17+ lbs was the winning weight at Kerr Lake, which was slightly above normal pool in elevation. Many of the Bass were caught flipping and pitching soft plastics and jigs into flooded cover. The Crappie at Kerr continue to amaze, as 3 lb fish are being caught almost every week, as they have been since the beginning of March. Some are still on submerged brush, some are using stumps, docks, and some are even being caught in open water.
The Crappie at Anna are biting well also. Boat docks are still producing fish, but look for the fish to appear on beaver huts soon. The freshwater scene is wide open just about everywhere right now. Area ponds and small lakes are on fire with the Crappie and Bass.