June 2013

Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike

By Missy Fike

The fish in June are generally pretty active. It’s a warm month and the fish are moving to their summer pattern for feeding. They are most active early mornings and late evenings just before dark. The fishing always seems the best when the bugs are at their worst so don’t forget the bug spray.

Upper rivers
During this time of year, a really great bait to use is live natural baits for the area you’re fishing. Getting to spot early and turning over rocks and finding crayfish and hellgrammites work well. If you have the time, patience and a dip net, catching small minnows work really well too. Lures that look like live bait work well. Small crayfish or minnow lures work well.

Typically in the upper rivers this time of year a lot of smallmouth, sunfish and some largemouth is being caught. The warm temperatures of June make for really nice float trips on the upper rivers such as the Shenandoah, Potomac, Rapidan or Rappahannock. The Shenandoah and Potomac are also good places for catfish, musky and even some walleye. Some of the panfish might still be spawning so they may need to be teased a bit to get them to strike. Look for shady areas to cast and deep pools. They are great places on hot days to try. The fish like to get in the cooler waters.

Curtis Lake, Motts Run and Hunting Run
The bass fishing this month is great in the lakes and reservoirs. Casting along the points early in the mornings and late in the evenings with topwater lures and buzzbaits should lead to some exciting action. The bream really like crickets this month. They are fun and exciting for kids of all ages to catch. As the temperatures get hotter mid and late June fish in deeper pools with cranks and plastics.

Tidal Potomac
Bass anglers find that the grassy areas great spots for successful trips. Fishing deep is a must this month. Jigs or drop shotted Senkos have been popular in the past. The bass spawn is over this month so the fish should be biting aggressively. The feeder creeks or rivers such as Occoquan, Aquia, and Potomac Creek are all good places to fish. Buzzbaits in low light and high tide over the grass is a good tactic.

Snakeheads are also biting well in the warm temperatures. They pattern a lot with the Bass. They are an aggressive fun fish to land as well as a very tasty one. Catfish are everywhere but the biggest fish are found in deeper holes and ledges where the bait can be hit in nearby shallows. The mouths of feeder creeks are really hot spots to fish.

Tidal Rappahannock
In June the small catfish really seem to be very active. It’s hard to catch other species with out reeling in several small catfish. The small size catfish are very good eating and this a good time of year to fill your cooler up. If bottom fishing is not really active then try switching over to float fishing. Cast along the shoreline with a stick float and 18 inches of line.

The creeks are really good this month for bass anglers this month. Fishing the creeks during high tide seems to work well. Fishing the structures along the shoreline and bottom will be the best places to cast. Plastics and spinner baits are good during the day. At twilight crankbaits work really well in deeper waters and topwater action in the shallows and mouths of the creeks.

Lake Anna
Bass fishing at Lake Anna is most successful when fishing the deeper docks, ledges off points, and boulders uplake. You can watch your fish finder and find the deep spots. Shallow areas with an old creek or river channel cutting through are good spots to watch your finder too. As it gets hotter the fish will suspend more in deeper water.

The striper action will be centered on bait as usual. If you can find the bait balls on your fish finder you’ll find the stripers. The bait tends to be mid-lake but can be found down lake in pockets. The best angling will be early. Use live bait on the fish. If you put your bait down too deep you’ll most likely come up with a catfish since they tend to follow down below the striper.

Chickahominy River
The largemouth bass bite well on artificial worms, small minnows and crankbaits. They like structures like duck blinds, cypress
roots, brush piles, and the lily pads. The bream and bluegill hit really well on night crawlers, small minnows and crayfish. Pan size catfish in the 2lb – 5lb range hit well on night crawlers as well. The large catfish continue to respond well to chicken liver, minnows and night crawlers.

James, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers
In June the fish tend to like the top water lures. The largemouth bass will be off their spawning beds and hitting well on top water baits in James, Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers. Mornings are generally the better time to go fishing through this month. The crappie will be hitting on small to medium minnows or small jigs.

The big catfish will be biting very good using cut bait and eels. The smallmouth will be biting well on small crankbaits that look like perch or crawfish as well as top water lures, spinner baits, and grubs. The flathead catfish are hitting well on live bait. Cut bait work well for the channel and blue cats.

Buggs Island
Largemouth bass will be moving to the shallows. They will be biting well on spinner baits, plastic worms and grubs. The crappie will be in the shallows on brush piles and will respond well to small minnows. The blue catfish like cut bait and the flatheads tend to like live bait.

Smith Mountain Lake
The bass will be coming off their beds and might be sluggish at the beginning of the month. They might have to be teased a bit with jerk baits, jigs, lizards and Carolina rigs. Mid June the bass will transition to their summer pattern and top water lures will work best. The catfish bite will pick up and they will hit well on chicken liver, eels and goldfish. The crappie will continue biting on small minnows and jigs. Striper will be biting on the lake trolling bucktails and flukes.

Virginia's Saltwater Forecast
By Capt. Rick Lockhart

By Capt. Rick Lockhart

May has gotten off to a good start, at least for those of us in the Northern Neck. Striped bass are numerous (though their size is representative of the tremendous hatch we had two years ago, meaning that they are small) and croaker have already started to show.

Spot can’t be too far behind, and who knows, maybe there will be a keeper trout this year. Spotted trout have been iffy (I have a report of a large kill in the Mobjack Bay area. Hope that is an isolated incident), and puppy drum should again be numerous with more keepers this year than last. Please remember that keeper size is 18” minimum, 26” maximum.

To the south of us, area captains will be searching for flounder, spadefish, red and black drum, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, and cobia. Tautog is still closed. The early part of June generally remains good for black drum and red drum.

It is also generally the start of some of the best spadefish fishing of the season. Many think that you must go out as far as the Light Tower to catch these fish, but such is not the case. Many inshore wrecks, plus the islands of the CBBT are prime sites. Offshore, amberjack, tilefish, sea bass, and yellowfin tuna will be the main targets.

Notice in my report that several charter boaters are starting into light tackle fishing from small boats in skinny water. Recreational fishermen have been doing this for years. It is becoming a very popular way to fish, especially with the price of fuel.

Eastern Shore

Capt. Charlie Koski (757-336-3528) says that cloudy water has hampered fishing to this point; however, when clear, they are catching really nice flounder. He also expects the northern whiting to start showing in regularity any day now. Capt. Bob Walter (410-957-1664) will be light tackle fishing for spotted trout and striped bass.


Capt. Tim Cannon (757-705-4614) says that June is the big month along the coast. Tim will be fishing both inshore and offshore. Inshore, he will fish for spadefish, striped bass, spanish mackerel, bluefish, sharks, red drum, and black drum. Offshore, yellowfin tuna, dolphin, and amberjack will be targeted.

Capt. Stan Gold (757-686-2443) will fish for flounder, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, and both varieties of drum inshore, while fishing for black sea bass, tilefish, grouper, and shark offshore. Several captains will be sight casting for cobia.

Last season was one of Virginia’s best, and reports from the south say that this year will be even better. Check on the VCBA website at www.fishva.org to check on these captains. My bet is Capt. Chandler Hogg (757-723-3200) can put you on fish.

Middle Peninsula

Capt. Tom Blatt (804-370-4620) will fish for red and black drum, cobia, and flounder. Capt. Robert Green (804-694-9902) will be fishing primarily for croaker and spot in the Rappahannock. Capt. Don Bannister (804-436-7715)) says that anything and everything will be biting both inside and outside of the Rappahannock River and encourages everyone to go fishing. You have to applaud Don’s enthusiasm. Capt. Ed Lawrence (804-693-5673) will be taking his clients out for spotted trout and puppy drum, mainly in Mobjack Bay

Northern Neck

Striped bass fishing will dominate the first half of the month. Northern Neck charter captains and recreational fishermen will be primarily chumming for the schoolie fish. All will target striped bass until creel limits are met. Most will then leave the chumming grounds and start looking for large croakers.

Capt. Ferrell McLain (804-453-9069) will be among those chumming, then croaker fishing. Capt. Rick Lockhart (804-435-6907) will be fishing in the same manner as Ferrell. Rick is encouraging his customers to bring their children, fish for several hours, then visit Tangier Island for lunch and a tour before heading back out to the fishing grounds.

June is the start of summer. After the winter that we experienced, many of us feel that it has been no too soon in coming. June should also be the start of a successful fishing season in Virginia. Let us trust that June will be an even better month for fishing than May.










APRIL 2013

Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike

April is a very active month for fishing. As the water temperatures reach fifty degrees the largemouth bass and the crappie will start to spawn. Fish tend to be very active in their pre-spawn. They feed actively preparing to sit on their nests. The bass and crappie will most likely be in pre-spawn in many locations at the beginning of the month. Each year there really nice size bass are caught this time of year.

The catfish should respond well to cut shad. Ring perch have been hitting and some nice size ones have been caught. Chain pickerel can be caught in swamps and the shad should be starting up soon. Shad will start running this month. Make sure you know the regulations have changed. Please view the VMRC website. http://www.mrc.state.va.us/regulations/fr1260.shtm

On the Rappahannock River and the creeks feeding into the river, the white perch should bite on night crawlers and small spinners or jigs. Largemouth bass should continue biting on the Rappahannock River and creeks. Bass should start to move towards the shallows and brush to prepare for spawning.

The catfish will be hitting cut bait. Cut shad works really well this time of year. The shad will be running mid-April. Make sure you check the VMRC website and understand the regulations on shad and herring. http://www.mrc.state.va.us/regulations/fr1260.shtm

In Aquia Creek the crappie will continue hitting well on plastic jigs and small minnows. Early to mid-April the shad will be running. Large mouth bass will continue biting on artificial bait and minnows in the creeks and in ponds.

In area ponds the largemouth bass should be responding well to spinner baits and crappie should respond well to beetle spins or small minnows. The bass and crappie tend to go on their beds earlier in ponds then in river in lakes. The water temperatures in ponds warm up quicker than in the lakes and rivers.

On the James River the white perch will be biting well using bloodworms and nightcrawlers. Shad will be biting well mid-April on shabiki rigs and shad darts. The largemouth bass should start to spawn and will be moved into the shallows. Some really big largemouth can be caught during the spring months.

The blue catfish will still be biting well. Once the shad start their run anglers can use them for cut bait. The cut bait works very well on the blue catfish. The croaker will be showing up this month. They generally show up in the York River first and can be caught on squid.

On the Chickahominy River the shad run will be in. Largemouth bass will be biting well on spinner baits. They like structures like duck blinds, cypress roots and brush piles. As the vegetation starts to grow in the river the largemouth bass will move to the lily pads and grass beds to hide.

Once the largemouth move to the vegetation to hide, anglers should switch from spinner baits to artificial worms for a more successful trip. The bream and bluegill will be picking up really well once the water temps warm. Catfish will continue hitting on cut bait, eels and large minnows.

In the Virginia Beach area waters the yellow perch will be hitting well on minnows. Chain pickerel will be hitting on minnow will also be hitting on minnows and they can be caught in ponds or reservoirs.

At Buggs Island the largemouth bass will be moving to the shallows for their pre-spawn stage. They will be biting well on spinner baits, plastic worms and grubs. The crappie will be spawning will be in the shallows on brush piles. They may respond to small minnows. The catfish will pick up at the head of the lake on cut bait or herring. Striper will be heading up river to spawn and live shad or Red Fin lures work well for them.

At Smith Mountain Lake the largemouth bass will most likely be in depths of 10' -12' and will bite well on jigs, Hopkins spoons, jerk baits and deep diving crank baits. The bass will be in pre-spawn and some will be spawning. When the water temps get to 50 degrees then a lot will move onto their beds.

The crappie will begin to move into the shallows and prepare for spawning. They spawn when the dogwoods are in bloom. Stripers will be moving towards to the rivers to start their travel up river to spawn. And will be biting well on Hopkins spoons, lead heads with flukes and crank or jerk baits. White perch will be schooling and biting well on grubs, live bait or small Hopkins spoons.

Virginia's Saltwater Forecast
By Capt. Rick Lockhart

For the majority of the recreational fishermen in the state of Virginia, April is the start of fishing season. There have been a few diehards fishing for the elusive bluefin, striper, tog, etc., but for the majority, it starts in earnest this month.

I would say that this winter has been somewhat typical. Though we did not experience much in the line of bitter cold, we didn't have much in the line of warm weather either. Water temperatures are about where you would expect them to be this time of year, so, unlike last year, there isn't any prediction of early arrival dates.

Reminder, this is the last month of tautog fishing for a while. I?ve been told that March was a great month and that it should continue well into April. The structure along the CBBT has been good. Black sea bass numbers are being cut from 25 to 20, but the season doesn?t re-open until May anyway. Striper season is closed in the ocean as well as the Bay for the month. So, with that out of the way, what is there to fish for?

Croaker will start making a showing, particularly up the rivers. As previously mentioned, tog fishing should be good. Black drum and red drum will start to show in the shallow waters of the ocean and Bay.

Spotted trout numbers and catches should increase, as should flounder numbers (remember, those fishing for flounder in the tributaries of the Potomac River, Virginia's size, creel limit, and seasons are not in effect. All are the same as those set by the PRFC). Maryland?s trophy season for striped bass opens on the 20th.

Eastern Shore

Virginia has again reduced its minimum on flounder. At 16?, Capt.s Mike Handforth (757-894-0166) and Charlie Koski (757-336-3528) will get an early start searching for these delectable fish on the ocean side.


Capt. Tim Cannon (757-426-8508) will continue to deep drop the offshore wrecks for tilefish and grouper, et al. Inshore, Tim will target flounder, drum, if available, and will keep his eyes and ears open for reports of spadefish. Capt. Kenny George (757-548-6991) will be fishing for flounder and tautog.

Lower Peninsula

Capt. Chandler Hogg (757-876-1590) will be deep dropping, and fishing for flounder and togs.

Middle Peninsula

Middle Peninsula Capt.s Bill Bailey (804-314-0835), Don Bannister (804-436-7715), and Glenn Hubbard (804-337-6357) will trek across the Bay to hunt for flounder, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Virginia's Trophy Striper season that begins May 1st. Up river, Capt. Bobby Jenkins (804-798-1775) will be catching large croaker. Capt. Ed Lawrence (804-693-5673) will be searching for spotted trout.

Northern Neck

Capt.s Ferrell McLain (888-229-3474), Rick Lockhart (804-435-6907), and Billy Pipkin (804-580-7292) will be fishing the Maryland Trophy season that begins April 20th. Virginia's season does not begin until the first of May.

April is not the first month of 2013 that will see recreational fishing. It is, however, a month that will bring new fishing excitement for many back into their lives. The shows and seminars are over.

It's time to put what has been learned to the test. Quickly finish polishing the sides and painting the bottom. It's time to start fishing, and don't be surprised at anything.

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