Saltwater – Cold temperatures have slowed interest down for all but the most die-hard anglers. The lack of cooperation from the Rockfish has also affected efforts for many anglers. Saltwater anglers can turn to the Elizabeth and James Rivers for Speckled Trout and Puppy Drum. When targeting Trout in the Elizabeth, many prefer to troll suspending jerkbaits on long lines to locate fish, some fish this way exclusively. Others also drift or anchor in popular areas with live shiners. For those preferring to cast, Mirr-o-lures are often the top bait used. Slight twitches with long pauses are often the ticket now as water temperatures are low and dropping. Another popular species during winter is the Tautog. These fish definitely prefer structures such as rocks or wrecks, which typically requires precise anchoring. Clams are a good alternative for bait, as crab can be difficult to obtain now. Deep dropping is also good now, but be prepared for a long boat rides to get to the fishing areas. Tilefish and Rosefish are the main targets and are worth the effort once you sample the meat. There have been reports of a few hookups of Bluefin Tuna, but not much action at the scales.
Freshwater – Bass have been biting good at Lake Anna on spoons, jerk baits, jigs, and swim baits. The warm water discharge at Dike 3 makes it a popular area for both Bass and Stripers. Surface feeding is still a possibility in the Dam/Dike 3 area, so be alert for activity. Swimbates are very good for this, as they can be fished at any depth. The lower James continues to produce monster size Blue Cats now, and as with many other species, now is the best time for consistent catches of bigger fish. Late January and February are also when title anglers begin to target Ring Perch. The upper James is at a good level and color, but temperatures are low, so live bait is often your best bet when targeting Smallmouth. 3 inch smoke grubbs can be hard to beat in coldwater also. When venturing out in these temperatures, be safe, and wear your life jacket!