The period of June 7-9, 2013 has been designated as Free Fishing Days in Virginia. No fishing license of any kind will be required for rod and reel fishing in freshwater or saltwater, except in designated stocked trout waters, on these days. Plan some time to go fishing and boating; take the family fishing and boating or learn to fish and boat.
Lake Orange: According to Darrell Kennedy of Angler's Landing (540-672-3997), Lake Orange is clear with temperatures in the low 70s. Largemouth bass are mostly in a post spawn pattern with the top water baits the best option due to the recent cicada hatch. Several nice bass have been brought in. Bill Deeds of Orange caught a 6-0 largemouth on Memorial Day. Crappie are also in a post spawn pattern, suspending at 10-12 feet and hitting small minnows. Bluegills and shell crackers are spawning in the shallow coves, biting red wigglers and night crawlers. Catfishing has picked up a little with the warming temperatures. Some large stringers have been caught at the upper end of the lake on chicken livers.
While many anglers concentrate on larger lakes this time of year, the local ponds are just coming into their own. Bass have mostly spawned and are hungry, feeding close to shore early and late in the day. The bluegills are fanning out beds and the crappie are biting.
Eddie Monger of Crozet took his nephew, Kaleb Jesse, on a trip to a pond in Free Union over Memorial Day. A freshman at NC State, Kaleb had fished with a bass club down in Raleigh and used that experience to land a citation black crappie, measuring 15-inches. The fish hit a red wiggler dangled on the bottom. Eddie also landed a nice crappie at 10 ½ inches. The pair had fun, for sure.
There’s a strong top water bite going on at Lake Anna for largemouth bass. A shakey head jig is also working well. Nineteen-plus pounds won a recent tournament at Anna. Live bait seems to be the ticket for consistent catches of Stripers at Anna. Crappie are gathered beneath deep-water docks and are hitting small Kalin jigs.
Buggs & Gaston
Fishing rip-rap areas at night is producing quality catches of stripers as well as largemouth bass at Buggs and Gaston. Bluegill and shell cracker fishing is also picking up, says the Greentop Pros. Billy Nicar of Henrico caught a 1-14 shell cracker. This bite will improve in the next few weeks. Live night crawlers and crickets are both effective.
Matt Miles fished Thrashers Lake in Amherst County and did well by throwing cicadas patterns to the banks. The largemouth bass and brim were hitting the fly almost every time the fly landed. Now is a great time to fish any body of water with the cicadas out.
Walnut Creek Lake
Kenny Hale of Woodbrook Sports fished Walnut Creek Lake in southern Albemarle County and had a great day with the bass - including a fat three-pounder. At 45 acres, Walnut Creek is stocked with sunfish, channel catfish and largemouth bass. Bass 12 to 15 inches must be released immediately. The limit on bass is five bass per day.
To access the lake, take Route 29 South; Turn left onto Route 708 (Red Hill Road); Turn right onto Route 631 (Old Lynchburg Road); The Park is 1/2 mile on the left.
Capt. Steve Chaconas had a pretty good week of post spawn fishing. “My reliable Mann's Baby 1-Minus produced as fish are slowly getting into a summer pattern. Chatterbaits are also working in chartreuse or chartreuse and white,” Steve noted
“Jerry and Ernie from Baltimore were high school friends. Retired now, they've decided to take up fishing together. They fished two days with me. Jerry used the Baby 1-Minus to perfection on day one. Ernie was scoreless, but made up for it on the next day, with his first bass, his personal best, of 4.6 pounds.” Jerry added several more with Steve’s” River Shot Technique” and a homemade, hand poured centipede. “We wrapped up the tour with some nice bass on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on MIZMO tubes. It was great to see these old friends have a good time, reminisce and catch some nice Potomac River bass.”
Middle James. This section is fishing well. The water levels are back near normal, the water is clearing and the smallmouth are off the spawn and responding to top water offerings like buzz baits. Flathead cats are also being caught more and more frequently. The flatheads (which can push and exceed 100 pounds) prefer live bait.
James River (Richmond)
The James River continues to provide outstanding catches of bass, say the Pros at Greentops. Twenty-four plus pounds won a local tournament (5 fish) out of Osborne Landing. Seventeen pounds plus won an evening tournament during the week. The Lunker Fish went 8 pounds. Senkos and top water baits have been big fish producers.
Mike and P.J. Buchannon from Richmond had an all around great day fishing this past weekend, says Mike Johncox at Riverside Camp. The pair landed a total of 32 bass with the largest at 4 pounds. They also boated three 3 stripers, 3 bowfins, numerous bream and a citation ring perch. All were caught on 1/4-ounce spinnerbaits and 6-inch Culprit red shad worms around the lily pads and in front of creek mouths.
Another Riverside camper, a Mr. Giancaterino from nearby Quinton, had not fished the Chick in 20 years, but picked up right where he left off and caught lots of bass, including a hefty five-pounder.
Mike says there were plenty of catfish caught and cleaned for a later fish fry by a group from the Navy base in Norfolk. Plus, other campers just sitting on the pier fishing for bream and catfish also caught plenty of fish.
Riverside rents boats and motors for $40 a da. They also have cabin rentals at $69 a night. These are basic cabins with a full bed and a set of bunks. They have AC, a fridge, microwave, T/V, table and chairs, outdoor fire ring with grills. Sounds like a nice place to spend a weekend.
With water a little high on the New, Upper James and Roanoke rivers, Guide Matt Miles made a run down to Weldon, N.C. to intercept the striper run.
“My friend Kevin and I landed around 40 stripers on fly rods. We used 500 grain sinking lines and white and grey Clouser's,” Matt said. “ Most of the fish were in the 20-inch range. As late afternoon approached, I believe every fish in the river started to spawn. It was like bombs going off from all the stripers on the surface. Kevin landed our biggest striper of the trip an 8-pound female.”
Water levels are back to normal flows, reports Mossy Creek Fly shop. “The largemouth bass are finishing up their spawn and the males can still be found in their shallow nests protecting eggs and fry. The smallmouth spawn was most likely lost in the recent high water events. However, we have seen incredible population densities in the Shenandoah this year. We are hoping for one of the better smallmouth bass fishing years we have seen in a decade. The musky fishing has turned on with the recent warm weather. We have been landing some large fish into the mid 40" range. We expect the musky fishing to continue to be excellent this month until water temps approach the 80's. Unfortnately, we are seeing some sick fish on the Shenandoah. Some rockbass and smallmouth are being caught with lesions. Please report sick, dying or dead fish to VDGIF, DEQ, and the Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Please note when and where the fish were caught in your reports.”