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The Fishing Report

OVERVIEW: The last 10 days have been too hot to fish for all but the most die-hard anglers. Although we have gotten a break this week, the long term trend looks to be a long, hot and dry. Good fishing opportunities abound for those willing to get up early or fish in the late evening.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Few anglers ventured recently, mainly because of the hot weather. Late-night catfishing is a good option right now. Bass fishing should be good, but be on the water early. Upriver, the dry conditions are making fishing tough. The water is crystal clear and you can see the fish—which means they can also see you.

POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports water temperatures are 88 degrees and anglers are still experiencing a top water bite until 8:30 a.m. on sunny days and all day long on a cloudy day. The most productive top water baits have been a -ounce popper fished along edges of grass and a grass frog worked over the top and in open pockets of thick grasses. Once you find several bass, stay in the area and work it with creature baits and stick worms in dark colors, rigged wacky style. The jig worm worked along creek ledges continues to be the way to collect a quick limit. Bites can be subtle. The snakehead catch has slowed, but anglers are catching them on occasion. Downriver, 7-year-old Jake Wack reported a an epic white perch bite, with an occasional croaker and puppy drum mixed in, while fishing with nightcrawlers with his dad John off the bank at Horner’s Beach.

LAKE ANNA: Stripers are schooling, chasing baits to the surface early in the morning and on cloudy days then sounding to depths of 25–40 feet, making live bait fishing and trolling very effective. Schools can be found from the Splits down to the dam in the main lake regions of the lake. Stripers will chase 2-inch bait fry to the surface advertising where they are making top water action the key in low light times of the day. Sometimes the larger fish are below the schoolies. Jump fishing can be fun but it is important to shut your motor down at least 100 yards away in order not to spook the school. Also, do not encroach on other fishermen who are working the fish, as these small schools will not tolerate fishing pressure. Spooks, plastic jerkbaits and spoons skipping across the surface will catch the breaking fish. Trolling can be very productive especially when the sun gets bright and the schools break up. Put your lures at the same depth the fish are holding. Bass are in their summer patterns. Early in the morning, work primary points nearby deep water with topwater baits. Many bass will school in the mouths of creeks on structures, especially humps and ledges where baitfish are present. Once the sun gets bright, bass retreat to the depths using stumps, rock and brush piles, bridge pilings and ledges as cover. Crappie have moved to deeper water and are feeding heavily on 2-inch bait fry. Structures in 15–30 feet can hold schools and should be fished vertically using your depth finder to keep you on your target. Night fishing can be excellent for crappie.


LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) reports the water is clear with temperatures in the upper 80s. Largemouth bass are schooling and chasing bait fish all over the lake. Many have been caught this week on shad-like imitating lures. Kenny Powell of Orange County caught a behemoth 25.5-inch largemouth bass weighing in at 8–8. Crappie can be found in large numbers around the fish attractors and standing timber in 12 feet of water. Use electronics to locate the fish and set your lure at a depth a foot above where the fish are suspending using live bait. Catfishing is excellent throughout the lake with the upper end of the lake being most productive, numbers of 4- and 5-pounders being caught with chicken liver the bait of choice, but some fish are also being taken on minnows and night crawlers.

CHESAPEAKE BAY: The summer fishing scene is almost as hot as the weather lately, with flounder and cobia drawing the most interest. Flounder are a good bet most anywhere in the lower bay. Folks working the Bay Bridge Tunnel with jigs and live bait are finding the biggest fish with quick limits of flatties averaging 5–6 pounds. The 1st island area and the 3rd island tubes produced best this week. Cobia hunters continue to chum on the lower bay shoals, such as Latimer Shoal and the Inner Middle Grounds, where anglers are finding a few over 50 pounds. At least two fish tipped the scales at close to 100 pounds recently. Sight casters are intercepting dozens of cobia in open water along the lower bay channels. Our own Ken Perrotte had a good day sight fishing in the lower bay with Capt. Jorj Head. They reported seeing and catching multiple cobia. King mackerel made their presence known this week as observant boaters reported aerobatic displays of skying fish along the ocean front. Spanish mackerel continue to provide excellent action for trollers from Cape Henry to Sandbridge, with a few 3-pounders in the mix. Sizeable sharks are also taking baits off the ocean front. Spadefish are still available at the Chesapeake Light Tower, but more boats are targeting these fish on inshore wrecks and at the CBBT now days. The 3rd island is still the top spade-producing location. Sheepshead are still biting along the tubes, islands, and pilings of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, with some fish topping 10 pounds caught this week. Try fiddler crabs, blue crabs, sand fleas, and clam suspended near structure for a sheep nibble. Red drum are still available around the shoals off Fisherman’s Island and along the Nine foot Shoals, providing excellent top water opportunities. Large croaker are lurking around the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and the Cell, while the hard head run in Oyster kicked off this week with fish ranging to around a pound. According to Chris’ Bait and Tackle, tarpon are off to a good start with a few hook ups and boatings. Amberjack are available at the Southern Towers, but few are interested with the outstanding tuna bite going on lately. Blueline tilefish, grouper, golden tilefish, black-bellied rosefish and scattered seabass are awaiting offerings along the floor at the Norfolk Canyon. The offshore bite off Virginia is very good. The Virginia Beach Tuna Tournament was a success again this year with some big eye tuna over 200 pounds.

—Compiled by Michael O’Malley

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