The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: Fishing remains hot around the state. Anglers begin to focus on fall pursuits after Labor Day, but fishing typically remains strong through September. Get the kids out one more time before they head back to school.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Chris Hicks reports the crabs have taken over the river as far up as Taylor’s Flats. They are attacking any soft plastic being thrown for bass. Bass action has been slow, but should pick up as the water cools over the next few weeks. Same rule applies for crappie. The big catfish having been hammering cut baits. The best cut bait is reportedly small catfish.
POTOMAC RIVER: Fishing has been sporadic on certain parts of the tides, according to Reel Bass Adventures. The lower halves of the tide, either incoming or outgoing, have been productive. The high end has been poor. The top water bite over grass with buzz baits, poppers, grass frogs or spoons is consistent during low light periods, although grass frogs will induce strikes all day long. Light spinner baits over grass and along grass edges continue to produce as will swimming jigs. Bass are on a strong crawfish feed and a jig and plastic craw combo seem to catch a larger class of bass. Rockfish are providing good action from Maryland Point to the Bay. Early morning and evening is a good time to look for rockfish feeding. Grey trout and puppy drum are hitting well from Colonial Beach to the bay, with the area around Westmoreland State park being hot.
LAKE ANNA: High Point Marina reports cooling temps are bringing the bass into shallower water and they are beginning to hang around stumps, docks and shallow structure for much of the day. The fish should remain in 5–12 feet of water unless it gets severely hot or bright (no cloud cover). Medium-running crankbaits and 5-inch grubs are working well. Stripers are moving uplake early this of year. The rain should help bring them back into the splits area. Keep your eyes on the shallows, as some fish have been caught up against the bank. Later in the day, float live bait in 20–25 feet of water. Crappie are beginning to school up and move to shallower structure. They can still be found around deep structure such as bridges. Minnows and 2-inch grubs work best.
MOTTS RESERVOIR: The Boat House reports Mine Run and Turkey cove were hot spots last week. Small minnows were working well around the beaver huts and man-made structures for crappie. Large stringers of channel cats were taken all around the reservoir, with chicken livers being the hot bait. Plenty of bluegills are also being caught on worms. Largemouth bass are cooperating. Robert Seelinger caught a citation bass in Mine Run Cove using a pink lizard.
LAKE ORANGE: Darrell Kennedy of Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) reports that the water is clear with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. Largemouth bass fishing is excellent on the upper end of the lake with top water lures the bait of choice early and late while soft plastics are attracting the bass bite mid-day. Catfishing is strong throughout the lake using live bait and chicken liver, but midlake is producing the most bites. Crappie are around the standing timber down by the dam in 12–15 feet of water. Use your electronics to locate feeding school. Small minnows are the bait of choice. The annual free Youth Fishing Day (ages 16-under) will be Saturday, Sept. 15 from noon–4 p.m.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: A predominant northeasterly wind over the past week has prompted changes in the fishing scene along the mid-Atlantic coast. Decent-sized cobia finally made their long awaited showing two weeks ago, but the bite seems to be touch and go. Flounder action is still good most anywhere in the lower bay, but deeper areas such as channel edges, ledges, and drop-offs are becoming more predictable for nicer fish, but the number of big doormats remains way behind this year. Juvenile puppy drum are competing for your bait right now. And yes, the spot bite is on at the usual hot spots. The speckled trout is transitioning into the more shallow areas of the inlets lately. Trigger fish are still everywhere near structure in the lower Bay, with Atlantic Bait and Tackle reporting catches of 20 to 30 fish per trip near the rocks along the 3rd and 4th islands. Sheepshead anglers continue to find good catches of fish on the bridge pilings of the CBBT and over the tubes of the artificial islands, along with good numbers of keeper sized tautog.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley