There were some outstanding catches of Largemouth made last week. At Lake Anna, a 22-pound bag was brought in during the week, a 28-pound bag was weighed in on Friday, and on Saturday a 23-pound bag was brought in. The largest Bass was a 7-pounder weighed in at Sturgeon Creek. It was caught by Sam Taylor of Madison.
A variety of baits were used including live bait, which is always a great option for big fish. Some of the lures used were A-rigs, jerkbaits, swimbaits, spoons, blade baits, and jigs. The areas below the 208 bridge have been better as the water clarity is better and slightly warmer.
At Kerr Lake, the Nutbush Creek area has been the better section as it has the cleaner water. Lake Gaston has remained slightly stained in all areas but Pea Hill Creek. The same baits have been working well on these lakes also. Kerr and Gaston tend to have a better crankbait bite due to the more stained water. We are seeing more Crappie and Stripers being caught in all of these lakes also. Kerr Lake elevation is currently 301 feet.
The Hybrid Stripers are making a good showing at Lake Anna these days, as are the Spotted Bass at Lake Gaston. Water temps are varying between 41- 47 degrees in the lakes. The rivers are in the same range with the warmer water being near the power plants.
The Dutch Gap area of the James River is a great place to search for Bass, Crappie, and Catfish. Live bait is hard to beat for the Crappie. Cut bait is excellent for the Cats.
The Chickahominy River should never be overlooked during the winter. Trophy Bass are always an option on the Chick and James. Chick Lake is another great option for giant Bass. Some prefer to use large swim baits while targeting trophy Bass in Chick Lake. Other baits preferred in both the lake and river during this time of year are jigs, jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and blade baits.
Look for the Yellow Perch bite to ignite soon on the tidal rivers. The new moon arrives on Feb. 10th, which typically is the start of the Yellow Perch action in many places.
February is perhaps the best month for big Smallmouth on the James. The upper James is at 6.7 feet at the Westham gauge and should be favorable by the weekend. The ramps are reportedly in good shape. Crawfish crankbaits, jerkbaits, and jigs are the 3 most common baits used. But, of course, live bait should not be ignored. Live minnows are usually rigged under a slip float or pulled slowly behind the boat with a BB-sized split shot close to the bottom. Use 6 to 8 lb. test, as that will help draw more strikes.
No action to report on the saltwater front. This time of year is traditionally tough for Mid-Atlantic saltwater fishing.