Waterway and Maritime Transportation Fishing
By Ken Neill
It was a long and cold winter. Spring is finally here and along with it, the weekly Fishing Spot. With the arrival of mild weather, anglers are anxious to get back out on the water. These are two events that will help you get your season started: The Poquoson Kiwanis Club will hold a boating and fishing flea market 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Poquoson High School. The Hampton Boat Show will be at Hampton Roads Convention Center March 27-29.
There are several things going on at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission that are of direct interest to recreational anglers. VMRC has updated their mobile site. Visit mrc.virginia.gov/mobile for instructions on how to place VMRC Mobile on the homepage of your mobile device. You will find all of the current regulations, citation qualifying minimums and the state record for each fish species.
If you have not purchased your saltwater fishing license for this year, you may want to wait to do so. License fees were increased for 2015 but changes to the state budget will allow VMRC to return license fees to 2014 levels. This may be done as early as April 1 or as late as July 1. The details will be decided at the March 24 VMRC meeting. You may be able to save yourself $5 by waiting until April to purchase your license.
Striped bass regulations will be set at next week’s VMRC meeting. Despite the cold water, striped bass are in the bay and up in the rivers. Currently, recreational anglers are allowed one fish at least 28 inches long in the coastal waters and only catch-and-release fishing is allowed inside the bay. There have not been any recent reports of recreational catches, but there have been some impressive commercial catches of striped bass in the bay with fish more than 60 pounds being caught in the nets.
With the cold winter we had, it is going to take some more time to get our saltwater fisheries going. The freshwater scene took off as soon as the ice melted enough to get boats back on the water.
A look at what is happening at some of our local fishing spots:
Little Creek Reservoir: Bass are moving up into the shallows to feed. Fish up to 5 pounds are being caught. Crappie and bluegill are both providing good action but not many large ones are being caught. The yellow perch bite is on with good numbers of trophy-sized fish being caught.
Chickahominy River: Bass and pickerel are active and being caught on live minnows and artificial baits. Catfish are biting well both above and below the dam. Yellow perch are fat and active. Crappie are congregated up in the creeks.
Buckroe Fishing Pier: The pier is closed. It is scheduled to open April 1 to coincide with the anticipated arrival of croaker.
James River: Wilcox Bait and Tackle reports catfish are being caught from the upper James down to Newport News. Don’t be surprised if you hook into a big rockfish while you are fishing for cats.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel: Striped bass are a possibility for catch-and-release action. Tautog will become more active as the water temperature increases a few more degrees. Flounder should arrive sometime in April.
Eastern Shore: It is quiet right now but activity will pick up soon as the shallows of the seaside inlets start to warm. This is where the best early season flounder action will start. In about a month, we will see the arrival of big drum on the seaside of the Eastern Shore.
Beaverdam Reservoir: Some bass are being caught in deeper water. They will move into the shallows soon. Pickerel are actively chasing bait in the shallows now. Crappie activity has been slow but should be picking up. The park will be holding a Big Bash Open Bass Tournament on March 21.
Offshore: Tuna is being caught out of the Outer Banks. Some boats have made the long run south out of Virginia to get in on the action. Bluefin and yellowfin tuna are being caught. The main action off of Virginia has been bottom fishing for blueline and golden tilefish in the area of Norfolk Canyon.
This item was posted by a community contributor.