Don’t fret boys and girls, this little cold spell isn’t going to do much harm to the fishing scene for the next couple of weeks. Forecasts for next week have temperatures back into the 60s with a few days in the 70s. And the cold didn’t last long enough to drop water temps very much at all.
So, what’s on the menu? Sounds like it’s time for another fishing forecast.
How about starting the show with speckled trout: it’s already been a banner year and it looks like solid action will continue. That is, until we get some of that stupid cold weather that makes you prefer sitting in front of a fire with the drink of your choice over sitting on the water trying to catch fish. Not to mention, a lot of clothing layers to stay warm.
Trout are being taken throughout the lower bay – at the mouth of the York River, the Poquoson Flats, a majority of the bay-side creeks on the Eastern Shore, in the shore’s seaside backwaters, in and around the mouth of the Nansemond and Lafayette Rivers, throughout the Elizabeth River, inside all three southside creeks, and along the beaches. Basically, if you can’t find specks, you’ve already plopped yourself down in front of that fireplace.
Puppy drum are being taken in many of the same haunts and, around this time of year, they’re really digging cut bait fished around deeper rip rap. That’s not to say you won’t take a few throwing the stuff you would for trout. The pups’ elders, big bull reds, remain plentiful in the lower bay, especially along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Anglers also are sight-casting for them around the mouth of the bay, outside Eastern Shore breakers, and along the beach. It’s also been a good season for pier anglers who are seeing a good number of hookups.
Striped bass are around in pretty good numbers, but a majority of them are school-sized. And the one fish in the slot limit hardly makes it worthwhile unless you just want to enjoy some exciting light tackle action. Bigger rockfish are being taken from the mid-Chesapeake Bay to points north.
Tautog are moving into the bay, so look for them around the CBBT and any wrecks and artificial reefs. They’re also being found around near-shore structures. There, you also should find some remaining triggerfish. Sheepshead remain in the lower bay, but who knows for how long.
Spot and croaker have been disappointing overall, but there have been some good runs. Wrecks off the coast are yielding plenty of sea bass. Deep-drop bottom bouncers are finding tilefish and a few other species. Swordfish action has been pretty good.
Freshwater action is prime, with largemouth bass spending more time around shallow cover. Crappie are being taken from around and in shoreline cover in waters 5 to 10-feet deep. Shellcracker and bluegill continue to be taken along shorelines, with the larger fish in waters also 5 to 10-feet deep. They’ll be moving to the edges of creek channels real soon. Catfish, especially large blue cats, are being taken in good numbers in most tidal systems.
To follow some of my other work, go to: www.leetolliveroutdoors.com