It definitely seems like all the local migrations are happening earlier this year.
The warm water temps are expediting the process and I, like most fishermen, am not complaining. The magic of this time of year is more than welcome as many of the popular sport fishing species enter our local waters and get our juices flowing.
Reports of bluefish, puppy drum, flounder, speckled trout, and stripers pepper the local forums. Togs are also readily available, but remember the closed season starts on April 16th this year. A few regulations have changed for some of the species, so check out this site if you’re not up to date.
The local rivers are also experiencing peak spring populations of anadromous species. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to paddle out on the James River after work. Making my first paddle strokes a mere 5 minutes from home was also a warm welcome. Richmond, VA (RVA) boasts a great venue to take in this special time of year. Near the I-95 bridge, the hickory shad action was on fire from the first cast at 7pm until I decided to scoot down river around 7:45. I was hooking up on almost every cast. If I let my orange and green shad fly sink near the bottom, the white perch were all over it. After keeping a couple of each for bait, I drifted down and set up two fish finder rigs just above a good size hole. The little catfish up to 28″were incessant, but every once in a while, I’d hook up a 26″-28″striper.
I was hoping for either a big bertha kitty or a striper that was bigger than “schoolie” size. It wasn’t long and my wish was granted in the form a 38″ clicker-squealing heifer.
Various striper lures should work well over the next couple of weeks, including topwater poppers near the fall line rocks.
If I don’t find myself looking for other highly anticipated saltwater species, I’ll be back on the river chasing RVA kitties n stripers. Hope you get out to your favorite spring fishing destination soon.