Chesapeake Bay – As the days grow longer, and water temps climb, the Speckled Trout become more and more active, and are striking a larger variety of lures. Mirr-O-lures still dominate, but plastic fluke-style baits, paddle tail swim baits, and Gulp! baits are also beginning to trigger strikes. Anglers are finding big fish in other places other than the Elizabeth River. Mobjack Bay, creeks and rivers along the Northern Neck, and inlets on the lower bay and ocean are attracting Specks. There’s a strong run of Rockfish up the tidal rivers as they are driven by the urge to spawn. Fish up to 44 inches have been reported in several locations, but they must be released. Fresh Shad is excellent, but Herring are illegal to possess. Some are awaiting the news of Flounder catches, but usually the early season Flounder are caught from ocean waters, but some of the bay-side inlets of the Eastern Shore will produce early also.
Ocean – Some of the bottom fishing charters hooked up with some nice Flounder and Tautog over the last week. Some private boats have ventured out offshore and scored very nicely on some huge Tog. Rumor has it that some keeper Puppy Drum and Specks are inside Rudee Inlet. There have also been rumblings of some Flounder caught from the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Some big Bluefin Tuna are being caught, but not many are targeting them as the word is slow to circulate.
Fresh Water – The big news here is that the Shad have started to bite in the lower James. This is a much awaited annual event that can be enjoyed by anglers of all skill levels. Shore anglers and boaters alike can enjoy excellent action. Spoons, darts, and flies will all take fish depending on how you want to present your offerings. For the next 2-3 weeks, the bite will improve greatly. As the Shad and Herring migrate upstream, anglers can encounter Rockfish, Catfish, and Perch if they choose to use fresh Shad for bait. Big Rockfish will surely by caught, but must be released right away. Some of the largest catches of Cats will occur in April, as new sources of food become plentiful. The Largemouth bite has also increased, as daylight lengthens and the shallows warm. Their strike zone also increases, make lure choices almost endless. Spinner baits are most often reached for first. The upper James sometimes gets over looked with much of the attention on Shad fishing. But the river is in fine shape right now, so Smallmouth fishing is very much an option. Crawfish crank baits and spinner baits are typically best for bigger fish. The Potomac River is slowly warming up as grass patterns emerge. Hard cover is still an option as cold fronts move in and out. 20+lbs was the winning weight on the 24th. Lake Chesdin produced an impressive 5 fish limit of Bass weighing 26+lbs! in the same tournament, a 10 pounder was also weighed in and took the lunker award. Lakes Anna Bass are still relating to rocks, but shallow flats and stumps will be the preferred cover soon. Brush piles will also produce Bass as well as Crappie. Beaver huts are holding Crappie now also. Target mud flats and channel edges for Stripers mid- to up-lake with live bait and swim bait. 18+lbs won the Fishers of Men Tx on the 23rd at Kerr Lake. Anglers reported catching fish on Shad Raps, A Rigs, jerk baits, and jigs. Water temps are in the mid 40’s to low 50’s. Local ponds are turning on quite well for Crappie and Bass. When heading out to a pond of lake, take along gear for both keeping your options open for a very successful day.