The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: The first cold front moved through the area last weekend. Area waters will see much less pressure now that school is back in session and angler’s interests begin to drift to other pursuits such as hunting and football. For some, the best is yet to come.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Chris Hicks at Hicks Landing reports that with the cooler temperatures, big catfish are being taken from the river. White perch are a good bet for bait as there are plenty in the river. Also, plenty of small cats are being taken right now. The bass fishing is steadily improving. Cooling water temperatures should mean that the crappie will start schooling back up throughout the river. Some nice croaker and grey trout are being caught from Tappahannock on down.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports that the top water action remains good around grasses early and late in the day while grass frogs work throughout the day. Spinner and chatter baits continue to produce around grass and hard cover as do plastic worms, craws or tubes. More and more stripers are gathering around rock piles and bridge pilings with most under the 18-inch minimum. They like top water poppers and crank baits or soft plastic swim baits. Downriver, the main focus will be on the rockfish. Bigger fish will hopefully start showing up with the changing temps.
LAKE ANNA: Schools of stripers are bursting throughout the lake chasing primarily Threadfin Shad. Poppers have been very successful in catching some of the nicer fish. Spoons retrieved extremely fast as well as swim baits are catching fish not only when the fish are breaking but once they sound as well. Popular locations are the first and third dikes, across from the power plant, the mouths of the major creeks and all around the splits region. Better fish can be caught running live bait on boards or down lines in and nearby the schools of stripers. Stripers are also being caught up against clay banks. Bass are schooling as well with schools hanging on or around the mouths of Contrary and Marshall creeks, the railroad trestle at the splits, over old roadbeds and around the bridge in Contrary. With all the rain, the bait is headed to the backs of the creeks with the bass following it. Very nice crappie have been caught on all the bridges up lake as well as any well lit docks at night. Shallow brush in 3–10 feet of water are holding schools and docks with dropoffs nearby are producing well. Crappie are also scattered everywhere up lake over 2- to 5-foot flats. The fish are very fat and have been feeding.
LAKE ORANGE: Angler’s Landing (540-672-3997) is gearing up for its annual Youth Fishing Day this Saturday (Sept. 15) from noon–4 p.m. The water is clear with temperatures in the upper 70s. With cooler nights and shorter days, the fish are quickly moving into their fall feeding patterns with better daytime feeding by all species in the lake. Largemouth bass are targeting bait fish in the upper end of the lake more aggressively than other areas of the lake. Soft plastics and crank baits draw in the bass in depths up to 8 feet when they are not schooling. Catfishing remains strong throughout the lake on chicken liver and live bait. Again the upper end seems to be producing the best catfish bite. Crappie fishing has picked up in the last week or so using small minnows as bait.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: Flounder anglers are working a little harder for their catches this week, but those using live bait and drifting with cut bait near the third island of the CBBT are finding some nice fish. Offshore wreck flatfish are also a good alternative. Strip baits bounced over the structure works well for wreck flounder, where keeper sea bass and grey triggerfish will also take your offerings. Cobia are on the move in the lower bay and along the Ocean Front, generating some outstanding top water action. The best bounties are coming from casting live bait and jigs to large pods of cobia swimming on the surface heading towards the mouth of the bay. Spanish mackerel are still responding to trolled spoons along Sandbridge and Dam Neck, as well as around the artificial islands of the CBBT. Sharks are still a big event here, where a variety of toothy critters continue to thrill anglers. Speckled trout are showing more presence in Lynnhaven Inlet, the Poquoson flats, the seaside of Oyster, and the Elizabeth River. Small puppy drum are still available to those casting jigs or offering fresh bait within Lynnhaven or Rudee Inlets. Big red drum will begin to group up as they prepare to leave the area. Sheepshead are still taking offerings along the entire span of the Bay Bridge Tunnel, along with a decent number of keeper-sized tautog. Decent-sized spot are showing along the ocean front and the lower Bay shorelines, rivers and inlets. Chris’ Bait and Tackle reports that the croaker activity out of Oyster slowed up recently, but many anglers a showing an interest in newly discovered odd ribbon fish bite off of Kiptopeke. Billfish of all varieties are invading trolled spreads. Boats are reporting dozens of releases for mostly white marlin, but some sailfish, spearfish, and blue marlin are also visiting trolled spreads. Several swordfish are coming from overnighters, with a few bigger fish beginning to show. Dolphin action is good, with many gaffers over 30 pounds hitting the docks. Nice wahoo are also becoming more common in 50 to 100 fathoms.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley