The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
OVERVIEW: Fall is descending in earnest. What that means to fish
is that the feeding bell has sounded and they are preparing for the cold winter months by eating whatever presents itself. Smart fishermen will take advantage of this and tighten
a line over the next month.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: The river is alive with actively feeding fish, according to Hick’s Landing. Bass fishing has been terrific of late, with fish up to 7 pounds reported. Some nice smallmouth are also being caught. Crappie fishing is steadily improving with the falling water temperatures. Good rockfish are being reported as far up as Leedstown. If you catch some mud shad, use them for cut bait and the catfish should be all over it.
POTOMAC RIVER: Schools of rockfish are schooling around bridge pilings, rocky points and rock piles up and down the river. Work the current breaks in these areas with top water baits, crank baits or swim baits. The beginning of the outgoing tide can provide some fast action. Bass are still in grass beds and top water poppers followed up with a weightless wacky rigged worm will catch them. Look for active grass beds with bait fish or working birds. Rocks have good bass that like a brown crawfish or fire tiger-color crank bait bounced over the rocks. The crappie bite continues to improve as the water temperature drops. Fish a crappie tube or a small minnow type bait on a drop shot around marinas or obstructions in 5–10 feet of water. Catches increase with the use of a fish attractant.
LAKE ANNA: McCotter’s Guide Service reports that with water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s throughout the lake and dropping, the next phase of annual fishing patterns is here, and you’ll see a lot of fish movement. There will be vast areas of no fish and small areas of big schools of fish. Pay close attention to find these “hot zones” for excellent results. Striper are moving into the upper portion of the lake to feed on massive schools of threadfin shad. The “hot zone” will soon be above the second bridges in both branches. Currently, the schools are from The Splits up to the first two bridges, and around the power plant. Keepers are being caught on spoons under breaking smaller fish that will take a variety of small, plastic swimbaits. Multi-arm rigs with 3-inch baits are working well now, too. Largemouth bass are less prone to be caught in the shallows when the water drops into the 60s, though they will be feeding heartily in the shallows in the mid afternoons. The backs of mid lake creeks often hold herring then and the bass school up and corral them for a buffet-style smashing. You can also catch fish in the upper, flats sections of the lake a spinnerbait or lipless crankbait. The biggest limits/catches come when you pitch creature baits or jigs to willow grass lines in the upper portions of the North Anna and Pamunkey Branch. Currently, you can consistently catch bass pitching worms and creature baits to docks in the mid and up lake regions and along willow grass lines in the upper sections. Crappie are on docks, shallow brush piles and rocks
in the upper section of the lake.
CHESAPEAKE BAY: Blustery conditions are keeping most boats off the open water, according to Julie Ball. Interest has turned to the inshore scene. Puppy drum are an easy target in lower bay waters. Protected backwater shallows, flats, inlets, and rivers are contributing the most pups for anglers, but fish to around 24 inches are also coming from lower bay piers and the CBBT. Surf anglers are experiencing very good pup encounters on cut bait from Fort Story down to Sandbridge. Sheltered waters are supporting improving speckled trout action, with fish averaging to around 3 pounds keeping casters content. Both
Rudee and Lynnhaven Inlets are experiencing very good speck results, but the bite is also decent in most of the usual Bayside flats and creeks. The Elizabeth River speck trend is also on the upswing, with some fish exceeding 5 pounds taking top water lures in the river, along with plenty of big puppy drum. Nice spot are coming from near the entrance of Rudee Inlet, although some days are better than others. Surf anglers are still partaking in the big red drum action from the surf lines along Sandbridge and Dam Neck. With the Nature Preserve back open this week, expect a surge of interest in the hunt for these big bulls. Red drum stretching longer than 48 inches are also still hitting for anglers around the four islands of the CBBT, with both live and cut bait working well. Boats trolling along the ocean front are finding some Taylor bluefish,along with some keeper-sized Spanish mackerel. Striped bass are beginning to show more promise for the season. Schoolies over 30-inches are taking lures under the light lines after dark and along the tubes and pilings of all the lower Bay bridge-tunnels and crossings. Fishing inside the inlets is a good alternative when it is too windy to get out. Offshore wrecks will also continue to offer nice flounder, along with triggerfish once boats can get back out. Limits of keeper tautog are coming from the CBBT structure and lower bay wrecks. Amberjack are still available on a few offshore wrecks and at the South Tower, but not for long. Few have ventured to the deep offshore waters due to the recent wind, but once the seas calm, the action could be good.