Saltwater – Speckled Trout remain as the main focus from saltwater anglers. The Elizabeth River provides trophy fish opportunities almost daily, and can be fished in conditions deemed unfavorable in other locations. Slow sinking twitch baits, suspending jerkbaits, and live bait are all providing success. Fly anglers are also taking advantage of the opportunities. Five pound fish are common, and fish over 10 pounds have been caught over the last week. Tautog are another species actively biting when targeted on wrecks typically in 50-100ft. of water. Since crabs are scarce currently, clams are being used with good success. Seabass and small sharks are often caught in these same locations. Remember, Seabass are illegal to possess right now. Tilefish, Rosefish, and Grouper are available for those interested in deep dropping adventures.
Freshwater – The tidal rivers took a hard hit from melting snow and rain this week creating high and muddy conditions on most of them, but the Chickahominy remains an option, as it often does. When the rivers calm down, target Ring Perch with small grubs, blade baits, and small to medium minnows. The new moon occurs on Friday February 28th , which is often a good trigger for an increased bite. Bass are starting to respond to lipless crank baits on tidal rivers as well as lakes. As mentioned earlier, the rivers may still be high and muddy, but Blue Cats can still be a good big fish option. Just be aware of debris, both on the surface, and just sub-surface. It’s possible that the rivers will become tolerable this weekend, especially the upper James for Smallmouth. River levels can be monitored by calling the river hotline at 804-646-8228. Anglers are enjoying a very good Musky bite on the New River. Tyler Bruce of Mechanicsville just recently caught a 41incher on a fly. Ice has disappeared from most of the lakes and ponds across the state. As daylight hours increase, so does the metabolism of fish, causing the need for increased feeding and shallow movements on warm, sunny days. Early spring/late winter can sometimes find fish nosing the banks. Experiment with different depths and lures to locate feeding fish. The last week of February is historically know for trophy catches of Bass; both Largemouth and Smallmouth.