The tidal rivers are heating up and producing a big variety of catches. The Yellow Perch bite is continuing. The White Perch bite is increasing. And the Shad are showing up more frequently.
There have been more reports of Shad catches on the Rappahannock River than the James, however. The James River will certainly produce its share of Shad. As always, there are many choices of lures to use to fool the Shad. Small spoons, grubs, Shad darts, and flies are some of the more popular ones. There's no telling what the hottest color will be this year.
The Shad bite and the White Perch bite usually peaks around the middle of April. Many will use bloodworms and night crawlers for the Perch. Cut bait works well also.
Every species in the river becomes energized when the Shad and Perch run materializes. The Bass, Crappie, and Catfish action increases every day. All the tidal rivers should be explored to take advantage of the abundant resources that are available. We are approaching the very best time of the year to be fishing the tidal rivers.
As the Shad run occurs, so does the Rockfish run. All Rockfish that are caught inland must be released at this time. Some of the better bait choices right now are spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits, Alabama rigs, and swim baits. These are working everywhere, but especially the tidal water.
The lakes are heating up nicely also, although this week has cooled, dropping water temps. Crappie have taken residence under the docks, in many of the lakes—especially Lake Anna, Kerr Lake, and Lake Gaston.
Bass seem to be scattered, as they are being caught on many types of cover in their pre-spawn mode. Water temps this weekend were in the 48-56 degree range. On Sunday, 16.82 pounds won a tournament at Kerr, while Anna produced a 20.87 pound winning bag. Look for heavy weights to come from Lake Anna this weekend, as the Virginia Elite 70 Tournament kicks off the 2021 season.
Smith Mountain Lake is another lake to watch closely this time of year, as it has an impressive population of Bass—both Smallmouth and Largemouth.
The upper James River has finally returned to normal. So, this is another option for trophy opportunities—particularly the Smallmouth Bass. Take advantage of this soon, as the James can change quickly.
Smaller lakes and ponds should not be overlooked as they, too, are warming up quickly. The Crappie are turning on quite well. Small grubs and small-to-medium minnows are hard to beat.