The last 2 weekends have seen remarkable catches of Bass from Smith Mountain Lake. 5-Bass limits of 28 + pounds have taken first place for the last two weeks.
22 pounds was the winning weight on Saturday at Lake Anna. Much of the same baits are working in many places now. Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and Carolina rigs, are all catching good fish now. Most of the catches are coming from depths of 10' and less. However, many of the bigger fish are still close to deep water.
Shoreline grass heats up quickly and will draw more fish towards it as we receive warmer weather. Lakes with this grass include Chesdin, Anna, and Gaston. The Bass will spawn in these areas, as well as feed.
Kerr Lake elevation is 303.58 feet. Expect to find Bass in the bushes, as long as the levels are elevated. The controlling authorities usually try to keep water levels up at this time due to the spawning rituals of the Bass and Stripers. Much of the same lures are working for Kerr Bass also. Texas-rigged soft plastics come into play more at Kerr due to the flooded cover.
The Crappie at Kerr continue to bite very well. Crappie can be found all over the lake, but the upper sections seem to produce the biggest Crappie. Boat docks are still a good bet right now. This is also the case at Lake Anna. Look for Chickahominy Lake to explode very soon. This weekend should be interesting there.
The Chickahominy River produced a 20-pound winning bag over the weekend, which is low for March. But look for April weights to be significantly heavier. April weights should be heavier everywhere, especially the James River. The Shad presence there greatly affects the aggressiveness of gamefish in the tidal rivers—bigger gamefish especially, such as Bass, Rockfish, and the Catfish. These fish are large enough to attack the Herring and Shad prevalent in the rivers now as they make their spawning runs.
Also making their spawning runs in the tidal rivers are the Yellow Perch, White Perch, and Rockfish. Rockfish must be released, as must be the Herring and American Shad. The Hickory Shad and the Perch can be kept. But be certain of the species before keeping any catches. Hefty fines and penalties can be issued as a result of illegal possession. Identification aids and regulation details can be obtained from the Department of Wildlife Resources.
The weather this weekend should greatly ignite the Shad and Perch bite. For the Perch, live minnows, cut bait, bloodworms, and garden worms, will often be used by many. For the Shad, lures are the ticket. Small spoons, curly tail worms, Shad darts, and flies, will be thrown.
The Rappahannock will be as busy as the James. The Rapp is still giving up Yellow Perch, whereas the James doesn't receive such a heavy run of Yellows. They both receive a heavy run of the White Perch though. The Rapp has been producing some large catches of Smallmouth lately, which includes fish in the 22-inch range.
The upper James is known for its outstanding fishery for Smallmouth, as is the New River. The level of the James is still slightly high at the present time. The Westham gauge is reading 6.4 feet.
There's no better time than now through April, to take advantage of Virginia's freshwater fishing opportunities.