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Northern Neck Fishing Report - February 2009«Back to View Articles | Back to All Articles
2/1/2009 - Cheasapeake Angler Magazine

Virginia Fishing Reports – February 2009

The lastest Northern Neck Chesapeake Bay Saltwater Fishing news and advice from Capt Rick Lockart plus Missy Fike's Freshwater Fishing Report for the Neck and Northern Virginia.  Also available are the archived reports back to 2006 for those wishing to track or review trends. 

Click here for Fishing Report Archives        Click HERE for Freshwater Fishing Report

 

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Virginia Saltwater Fishing Reports

By Captain Rick Lockart 

February's Forecast

Right now Virginia is entering some temperatures that we haven’t seen in several years. What effect this will have on February’s fishing is anyone’s guess.  I know that I have no strong desire to be on the heavy water of the Bay or the ocean when temperatures are below freezing. 

I feel that the fish take the same attitude, heading offshore or farther south, particularly the large striped bass that we have become accustomed to catch during this month. Should the weather break, the stripers may make their way back inside the three mile limit, or work their way back across the North Carolina border. That is something that no one can predict.

For striped bass fishing during this month, rely on the hardy that refuse to become couch potatoes, and are willing to share their finding on such sites as the Chesapeake Angler Magazine message board, Tidalfish or the local newspapers.


A Little Ice on the Windscreen

One of the hardy that refuse to become a couch potato
The cold temperatures will have little or no effect on the deep water fish. Several charter captains and recreational fishermen will take advantage of good weather windows to sneak offshore to fish for the tilefish, grouper, and black sea bass.

If interested, give Capt. Steve Wray (757-481-7517), Capt. Jim Brincefield (252-336-4296), Capt Ryan Rogers (804-453-1258) or Capt. Chandler Hogg (757-876-1590) a call.

Most of us will take advantage of February’s cold to tend to our tackle, to travel to warmer climes, to attend fishing seminars, or watch fishing shows on TV. All of us will dream of warmer times to come and/or about the season that just ended.

[Pictures courtsey of Capt Ryan Rogers and the Midnightsun Fishing Charter]


Virginia Freshwater Fishing Report
By Missy Fike

February seems to be the transition month between packing up things from hunting season that are still out and pulling out the poles and tackle to inventory and prepare for fishing season. Many anglers will be attending the fishing and boat shows to get their tackle and equipment ready. While anglers are busy getting their equipment ready they should not discount February as a month to fish. February has plenty of action for the people that can withstand the cold weather.


Ring Perch
This is the month! February and March is the spawning season for ring perch. They can be caught in many areas like Lake Moomaw or any of the tidal rivers and creeks of Virginia. They are fun to catch because they put up such a good fight and they taste very good. The ring perch are down deep. So fishing right on the bottom for them is essential for a successful trip. Ring perch eat smaller fish like juvenile bluegill, alewives, crayfish and minnows. Use a sinker and fish the bottom with live bait. If using artificial baits use bright colors and vertical jigging blade baits on the bottom works great. It is best to use light rod or graphite rod so you can feel the small vibrations from the fish down deep. There are many citations of ring perch caught during February and March.

Catfish
The larger fish will be biting. The lower James, Chickahominy, Rappahannock and Potomac River are all great places. The Potomac can be colder due to its location and the wideness of the river. Fish ledges near deep water with fresh bait if possible. If you cannot get fresh bunker or mud shad try eels. Eels are good bait to use on the Chickahominy and the James River. Clam snouts work well if you are trying to target some of the smaller catfish.

Crappie
Cold never really shuts down the crappie bite for long. They should start picking up and continue to bite really well on through to April. Any of your favorite crappie haunts to include Chickahominy River, Briery, Sandy River, Anna, Buggs, Smith Mountain, Occoquan or ponds are great places to slowly drag or troll a minnow for crappie this month. Use bright colors or white on small jigs and get it precisely to their depth.

Largemouth
Will hit on spinner baits down deep in lakes, ponds and rivers. They will most likely hit better towards the end of the month if the water temps warm up some. They also hit well on large minnows and grubs. Cast around stump, rocks and other underwater structures. They also can be found off the points of lakes and inlets. It is important to slow down the retrievals of jigs, soft plastics or spoons.

Smallmouth
Smallmouth fishing this month will slow some. Keep a tight line or an eye on your line as you drift soft plastics, jigs or minnows through backwashes or pools along the upper rivers such as the Potomac, Rappahannock, James, New or Shenandoah. Choose sunny areas if you can and make long casts to avoid spooking the fish. Fish slowly to get the best hits. The fish like to hole up in about 10’ of water. Best time to go out and fish during the winter is after we had a day or two of warmer weather.  They really seem to hit well right after a slight warm spell. Some of the largest smallmouth are caught this way each winter. If you want to use a plug try a suspending model in a chartreuse color.

Striped Bass
Striped bass will be following the baitfish in the lakes. February is a good month to use live baits. Alewives are a good bait to use at Smith Mountain Lake. Shad and herring are good baits to use in other areas like; Virginia Beach, Buggs Island, Smith Mountain and Lake Anna all offer good action. Fish cranks deep and look for bait or fish on your finder. Jumbo minnows will also well this month. In the larger lakes it’s good to follow the birds. The birds gather to feed on the baitfish and the stripers are generally underneath the baitfish feeding.

Walleye
Should be biting in areas like Lake Anna and Lake Orange. They bite will at night on small grubs from a boat or from off shore casting over the rocks. They seem to hang out over the rocks


Northern Neck Fishing Report is Prepared by the free

Chesapeake Angler Magazine.
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