The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: It would seem that a little interest has moved from the water to the woods as hunting season kicks into full gear. Great fishing options still abound throughout the state, though. Pick a warm, sunny day and give it another shot before winter truly sets in.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: Most fishermen have stowed their rods and changed them out for muzzleloaders so reports are sparse right now. Some catfish are still being caught. Crappie are available. Bass are also being caught.
POTOMAC RIVER: Reel Bass Adventures reports Sandy had a small impact on the Charles County section of the Potomac. The main stem was discolored and littered with floating debris, but several creeks remained fairly clear and very fishable. Bass were responding to hard jerk baits twitched over grasses on flooded flats. Schools of average-sized white perch seemed to enjoy the high water and were foraging on small bait fish located near marsh banks. They would attack any small grub or crappie tube and a few even hit jerk baits intended for bass. The crappie appeared to take a holiday but the action should pick up as water clarity returns to normal. Downriver, rockfish are taking center stage. More and bigger fish are being reported now that water temperatures are beginning to fall. Look for trolling large bucktails, mojos and umbrella rigs will be the most consistent producers.
LAKE ANNA: Hurricane Sandy created a tough week of fishing on the lake according to High Point Marina. The lake was high and muddy. Typically after a major event, the lake will clear and return to normal in about a week. Lake temps are in the upper 60s, but expect that to decrease drastically over the next few weeks. Stripers are turning on strong with the gulls exposing the numerous schools. The fish are schooled well around the splits chasing bait to the surface in low light conditions and schooling deeper in the 20- to 30-foot flats during the day. Run live bait on down lines or jig spoons and flukes at the depth you see the arches on your depth finder to catch these stripers. The fish want to fatten up and will attack the larger baits driving the shad up to the surface with explosive strikes. The best way to locate bass is to start in the backs of the creeks going as far as you dare then finding the slightest channel depression and working it back out targeting stumps, rocks or humps nearby the channel. Shallow running crank baits and spinner baits covering water quickly keying on areas where bait is present will get the job done. Crappie are also moving with the weather conditions. On warming trends they are moving up on the points with brush in 5–10 feet of water; on colder days the larger slabs can be caught on the deeper drops on primary points with structure [boulders or brush] on them. The nicer crappie are feeding on 3-inch Threadfin Shad so try larger baits.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: Julie Ball reports a horrendous week for the mid-Atlantic coast as we were once again humbled by the unbridled power of Mother Nature. Once the smoke clears, anglers can expect much of the late fall fishing trend to pick up. If you venture out into open water; be mindful of the treacherous floating debris, compliments of Sandy. The most predictable fishing scene is still the back water venue, where speckled trout and puppy drum take the show. Even since the storm, speckled trout are responding well to jigs and plastics in most of the usual haunts. Rudee Inlet, Long Creek, the Poquoson flats, and the Elizabeth River are the most productive speck areas this week. Mirrolures and jerk baits are the top lures for the bigger fish, where some are pushing to over 5 pounds. More consistent catches of fish ranging to around 17–22 inches are coming from trolling and casting grubs. Puppy drum are a no-brainer, with hungry fish in most of the same areas, as well as in the surf lines along the ocean front. Tautog action is still good within bay waters. Fiddler crabs are becoming harder to come by, but blue crabs will also do the trick. Inshore and offshore wrecks are showing more tautog activity, along with some flounder and nice seabass, but anglers cannot keep seabass since the season was closed unexpectedly. Big bluefish should still be around many offshore structures once boats can get out to them. Striped bass action is picking up in the lower bay and within the lower bay inlets, rivers, and off fishing piers. The flounder scene is still slow inside the bay, so deeper wrecks are the best bet.
—Compiled by Michael O’Malley