Sat08272016

Last updateWed, 24 Aug 2016 3pm

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Virginia Outdoor Updates

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show

Since this column last ran, we enjoyed visiting the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show down at Richmond International Raceway. The Virginia Deer Classic is held there every year, and some mighty fine bucks are on display. This year Kayleena Fike entered a buck she took last hunting season. Her buck weighed 221 pounds live, 166 or so dressed and was 8 points. The buck took third place in the youth division and was mounted by Jim Harper of King George. Harper did an outstanding job. His attention to detail was obvious as the buck has veins showing, wrinkles in the skin where its head is turned and he even left the bark on the antlers that the deer had rubbed during the rut. Congratulations to Kayleena on her third place in the show’s youth division.

We have heard that the show will be different next year. Hugh Crittenden, who owns a taxidermy business and was the owner of the show for 33 years, will be retiring and has sold the show. The new owners are reportedly interested in including fishing and other outdoor pursuits to the venue and hope to make the show even bigger next year.

NWTF Rappahannock Spurs Chapter Banquet

The Rappahannock Spurs chapter of NWTF held their annual fundraising banquet this past Saturday at the Fairgrounds in Fredericksburg. This chapter was responsible for sponsoring the King George youth on their springtime upland bird hunt at Rose Hill Game Preserve. The banquet was held outdoors in a relaxed atmosphere. A great barbecue supper was served after some appetizers of shrimp and wings. Raffles, games, silent auctions, live auctions and sponsor tables were set up. The King George Outdoor Club members volunteered their time on Saturday to help out at the banquet, including the calling contests. Much artwork and other great prizes were given away via raffles and games. The money raised is used to support women’s event, Wheelin’ Sportsmen Events and JAKES/youth events. A big thank you goes out to those who helped with the banquet and those who supported the banquet and the local Rappahannock Spurs chapter by attending and donating money for a great cause. Julie Abel, the Women in the Outdoors Coordinator for NWTF, deserves a big congratulations for a job well done. It was an enjoyable event.

HD has hit Virginia again

This past week I received an e-mail from Matt Knox, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ deer project coordinator, stating that VDGIF has already received five reliable reports of Hemorrhagic Disease  in Shenandoah County and one from Rockingham County. HD was once predominantly an eastern only event in Virginia, but it appears the disease does not know any boundaries. There were reports of HD in 2007 and 2012 west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and now we are seeing it rear its ugly and horrible head again. In 2012 and 2014 our area saw some HD activity that really put a dent in our deer herds. This is the time of year when landowners and farmers begin finding deer lying dead, buzzards circling and so on. Often the high fever from the “blue tongue” disease drives the deer to creeks and water sources to try to cool off before many of them drop dead. Normally, it is thought that dry summers when sloughs, creeks and ponds dry up are the best times for the biting fly that transmits HD to rapidly populate in the remaining stagnant water and mud and spread the disease. This summer, although somewhat dry, was not a drought. However, there have been unofficial reports of deer that appear in distress with swollen mouths and tongues seen in our area. If you find a dead deer carcass, leave it alone but do report it to the Wildlife Helpline at 855-571-9003 or call Charles City at 804-829-6580. I would take a picture and offer to send it. It is very unlikely that anyone will come look as HD is not uncommon at this time of year. No worries of the disease spreading to humans or pets.  

Mark Fike

 

Outdoor Report for August 24

The heat was again a factor in the fishing, but the cooler spell this week will push things back on track.

Rappahannock River

Ken’s Tackle in Spotsylvania reported that anglers are still catching catfish on cutbait and stinkbait. Some bass are being caught on plastics on the river. The upper river was low but the recent storms pumped up the levels some. Look for smallies and sunfish to bite on live bait and spinnerbaits in eddies.

Potomac River

Ken’s reported some small sharks on the Maryland side of the river. Anglers took pictures and then released and cut the lines, letting the sharks go. I personally saw what I am sure was a shark on Saturday near buoy #30. Later some rays were seen cruising around. Sharks do eat rays. Croaker are being caught according to Aqua Land Marina and we caught some nice fish in 25 feet of water on the drop-offs early in the morning. Some jumbo white perch are taking squid on the shoals while the smaller ones are also willing customers. Wade through the little ones to get through the filet-size fish. Small striped bass were breaking up and down the river. RatL Traps, swim baits and spoons are good bets. Some lone menhaden were observed swimming in the river near Dahlgren. Odd seeing them alone and not in a huge school.

Inland

Motts Run reported poor fishing this week. The water temperature was pretty hot.

Ken’s said pond action was great for bass when anglers were using minnows. One angler caught and released a fish they weighed to be 10 pounds.

Saltwater

The cobia bite in the bay was really good but the season is closed. Spadefish are seen in schools now but can be elusive to entice a bite. The king mackerel are near the CBBT now and some are leaping out of the water too. Sharks are around everywhere and giving anglers a good run. Some mahi mahi were hitting near the Chesapeake Light Tower last week. Spanish were north of Point Lookout and some bluefish are in the mix. A few spot are showing up as well.  

Upcoming seasons:

Dove Season Dates: Sept. 3-9 (noon until sunset), September 10-October 30 (½ hour before sunrise until sunset) 15 per day. HIP required.

September Canada Goose Season Dates: Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 Bag Limit: 10 daily, 30 in possession Hunt Area: Statewide Shooting Hours: East of I-95

  • Sept. 1 – 16: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset

  • Sept. 17 – 25: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset

Gray and Red Squirrels: Sept. 3 through Feb. 28 – statewide

September Teal Season Dates: Sept. 17 – Sept. 30 Hunt Area: East of I-95 Season Dates: Sept. 21 – Sept. 30

Mark and Missy Fike

Outdoor Report for Aug. 17

The heat was really bad last week, and the water temps are in the upper 80s. However, anglers are still catching fish.

Rappahannock River

Ken’s Tackle in Spotsylvania reported that anglers are doing well for catfish using eels at night.

The fishing was reportedly best in the King George area of the river versus upstream.

Find a deep hole, anchor up and sit on it at night when the sun is not bearing down on you. The smaller cats are hitting very early and late in the shallows. Cut shad is the best bait for the larger eating size fish. A bass angler was using a Creek Chub minnow and took a citation largemouth bass.

Potomac River

Ken’s reported some small croaker around Colonial Beach, but the fishing dropped off. Probably the heat pushed the fish deeper.

The big news this week was the repeated sightings of small sharks 3 to 5 feet long from Colonial Beach up to and past the bridge.

We have those sightings from multiple sources in different places so the info is solid. A big bloody piece of cutbait would be good to have on hand if you wanted to catch one.

Inland

Motts Run reported good fishing for panfish, but the number of anglers was much lower this week. The water temperature was pretty hot.

Bowies Pond in Westmoreland was giving up some nice chunky bass on plastic worms.

Pond action was reportedly good for crappie, ring perch and bluegill. The size of the fish was reportedly good and most took small minnows. Ruffins Pond was one such spot.

Saltwater

The cobia bite in Maryland waters of the bay is still reportedly good. We have good reports of nice bluefish near Point Lookout and scattered reports of Spanish in the same area. Some gray trout (small) were also being caught. That was a bonus and a nice report to get!

Sheepshead fishing is hit or miss on the CBBT but the Spanish bite, crabbing and spot are hitting down around Virginia Beach. Some mahi mahi were caught a few miles from shore this week.

Doubt they stick around that close but some guys got into some great eating!

Calendar

NWTF Rappahannock Spurs Chapter Banquet is Aug. 20 in Fredericksburg. Mark your calendars!

Upcoming seasons:

Dove Season Dates: Sept. 3­9 (noon until sunset), Sept. 10­Oct. 30 (1⁄2 hour before sunrise until sunset) 15 per day. HIP required.

September Canada Goose Season Dates: Sept. 1 – Sept. 25 Bag Limit: 10 daily, 30 in possession Hunt Area: Statewide Shooting Hours: East of I­95 ● Sept. 1 – 16: 1⁄2 hour before sunrise to 1⁄2 hour after sunset ● Sept. 17 – 25: 1⁄2 hour before sunrise to sunset

Gray and Red Squirrels: Sept. 3 through Feb. 28 – statewide

September Teal Season Dates: Sept. 17 – Sept. 30 Hunt Area: East of I­95 Season Dates: Sept. 21 – Sept. 30

Mark and Missy Fike

Outdoor Report for Aug. 10

The heat is still taking a bite out of angling, but the fishing is still good.

Rappahannock River

Ken’s Tackle in Spotsylvania reported that anglers are doing well for catfish using eels at night. Some eating-size catfish are hitting cutbait early and late in the shallow water. Float fishermen are taking some decent smallmouth around town with minnows. White perch are still hitting in the river near Fredericksburg on worms.

Potomac River

Ken’s reported some good snakehead fishing on Z-Mann frogs. The bass were also hitting topwater. There was also a report of a shark near Colonial Beach, but keep in mind that porpoises also have a dorsal fin and it could have been that. Striper are hitting topwater upriver from the 301 bridge and downriver as well. Fish early and late. Aqua Land also reported good keeper striper action downriver and around the bridge. The croaker bite was quite good, according to them, on Friday evening in 20 feet of water. A few small perch and a few catfish were also in the mix.

Inland

Motts Run reported good fishing for panfish such as shellcrackers from the piers on worms. Some bass in the 1-3 pound range were hitting plastic worms. The water temperature was a hot 96 degrees! Hopefully the storms cooled it down some.

Hunting Run Reservoir was giving up bass to dedicated plastic worm anglers fishing near the dam. The shellcrackers and bluegill were hitting well on garden worms. Nothing seemed to interested in minnows.

Saltwater

The cobia bite in the lower bay is closed but it went out with a bang. Sight casters did well. The spadefish bite was good too around the CBBT. Use clams. Bluefish are starting to show up around Point Lookout. Spanish are also showing up there. We have good reports of Spanish near the CBBT and Virginia Beach. Puppy drum were also showing up heavily near Smith Point but none legal size. Good fighting ability to enjoy though!

Calendar

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond at the Raceway is Aug. 12-14.

NWTF Rappahannock Spurs Chapter Banquet is Aug. 20in Fredericksburg.

Mark your calendars!

Mark and Missy Fike

Outdoor Report for August 3, 2016

The heat is definitely taking a toll on anglers and the fishing unless you are offshore or inshore near Virginia Beach.

Rappahannock River

Ken’s Tackle in Spotsylvania reported that anglers did well fishing for catfish with eels at night near Hicks’ Landing this week. Early morning and late evening anglers are also scoring some eating-size catfish without much problem. It is definitely better to fish at night, though, for comfort. Some anglers are catching white perch near the City Dock at night.

Potomac River

In an odd twist, the croaker all but disappeared from the Dahlgren area. There are some small fish being caught but overall they up and left. Hopefully it was just the heat that drove them downriver. Anglers that are catching a few are either moving a lot or are changing up baits regularly to entice a few fish.

Aqua Land reported catfish are being caught with bloodworms. Some white perch are hitting croaker baits. Upriver the report on the bass angling is pretty much the same with a good topwater bite very early and late. Then the fishing dies off quite a bit. Use jigs in thick grass later in the morning.

We also heard stories of nice rockfish hitting sporadically near King George upriver from the bridge. Some nice croaker were also in the mix in isolated holes.

Inland

Lake Anna anglers are still finding fishing to be decent for striped bass well before the sun creeps up. Most anglers have slacked off with the storms and heat though. Look for the fishing to pick back up later this week when things normalize and the fresh slug of water stirs things up from the rain we got.

Pond anglers are taking nice crappie on small bass assassins and minnows. Fish deep and slow though. The topwater bite first thing in the morning is good for bass. Weedless baits like Scumfrogs or Phat Rats are working well.

Motts Run reported good fishing for panfish from the piers and some small bass on plastic baits.

Saltwater

The cobia bite in the lower bay is in its last week before the season closes. The fishing is good though. Spadefish are still around structure like the CBBT. Flounder are hitting strip baits and sheepshead are also hitting near the CBBT. Some red drum are being caught and Spanish macks are biting well from Windmill Point to the ocean front. A few bluefish are being caught now near Point Lookout but the fishing is hit or miss. The croaker bite is best near river mouths or in the bay.

Calendar

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond at the Raceway is Aug. 12 to 14.

Potomac River Fisheries Commission Finfish Advisory Committee meeting is Tuesday, July 26 at 6 p.m.

NWTF Rapphannock Spurs Chapter Banquet is Aug. 20 in Fredericksburg. Mark your calendars!

Mark and Missy Fike

Outdoor Report for July 27

The heat finally took a bite out of the fishing, but it is mostly the people not fishing instead of

the fish not biting.

Rappahannock River

Ken’s Tackle in Spotsylvania reported that anglers are fishing for catfish with eels at night to

beat the heat, and are being rewarded with some nice fish. Some anglers are busy using

nightcrawlers and fishing structure for largemouth and doing quite well. We also heard that the

croaker are biting down around Tappahannock.

Potomac River

The croaker are smaller this week according to several sources and have moved downriver

some too. Aqua Land reported small croaker and a few small spot mixed in. Many catfish are

being caught while anglers are fishing for other species. White perch are holding near rocky

spots on bloodworms and Fishbites. Upriver the report on the bass angling is the great

topwater bite very early and late, then the fishing dies off quite a bit.

Inland

Lake Anna anglers are finding fishing is good well before the sun creeps up. In fact, bass, striped

bass and hybrid bass are all taking topwater lures all over the lake, although uplake seems to be

the better option.

Pond anglers are also finding the best action for bass to be the early morning topwater bite.

Weedless baits tossed into the lily pads are deadly. Some bream are also being caught with live

bait in the pads.

Motts Run reported very good catfishing at their night event. Otherwise fish in the shade.

Saltwater

The cobia bite in the lower bay continues to go strong this week. Sight casting eels and live spot

or croaker is the rage. Anglers fishing the CBBT did well on flounder but did have to work for

them. Some decent red drum are being caught now too, but very few puppy drum are showing

up in creeks. It is odd how we had that blitz of puppy drum two or three years ago and did not

see the larger fish after that from that brood. Spanish macks are biting well from Sandbridge

and along the oceanfront. Few bluefish are being caught now which is also a bit odd. Some nice

croaker being caught in the lower rivers. The crabbing off piers at Virginia Beach is reportedly

very good. Sheepshead are reportedly biting on the CBBT on fiddler crabs.

Calendar

Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond at the Raceway is Aug. 12 to 14.

Potomac River Fisheries Commission Finfish Advisory Committee meeting is 6 p.m. July 26.

NWTF Rapphannock Spurs Chapter Banquet is Aug. 20 in Fredericksburg. Mark your calendars!

Mark and Missy Fike

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