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Fairtax4me

Early Winter fishing, cold rising water, locating fish

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So we have a weather pattern that has brought us snow and several inches of rain in the last week. Lakes are rising and lots of cold water and snow melt is flowing in. Water temps in most lakes are already in the lower 40’s, and we’ve had a few nights with temps down in the teens, with cloudy cold days following. 

 

Where would you you guys look for fish in this kind of situation? Logic tells me cold water sinks, and should push those fish to shallower (relatively) areas. So fishing 20-30 FOW a few weeks ago, should those bass now be moving up to 10-15 FOW? 

Or, would they be more likely to move out to deeper water? 

Im typically fishing lakes in the 200-1,000 acre size, if that matters. 

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Maybe the channel edge? That's where I like to start . Seems like they go from deep to shallow throughout the day

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I have found that no matter what the water temperature, there will be fish shallow but you have to cover water to find them.  I will also agree that the fish like to be able to move vertically through the water column without much effort so with that being said, I always look for channel swings that neighbor flats or other shallow areas that may warm up on sunny days.  If you find some rock on those areas, even better because they seem to congregate there too.

I see you are in central va as am I, unfortunately I haven;'t been able to get out anytime here lately but hopefully over Christmas break I can get the kayak in the water a few days.

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Lots more rain heading our way for December 21st and into the weekend.

 

Check out Wxrisk.com on Facebook and Dave will fill you in.

 

As I have posted, the Historic James River is dirty and high. So if I was you I would forget the Historic James. Same may be true for the Rapp, Mattaponi, and Pamunkey rivers, too. Check 'em out and let us know.

 

Thinking that the Seven Springs Marina on Lake Chesdin would flood again like it did for Hurricane Florence due to the snow and ice runoff and the rain.

 

No idea about Sandy River reservoir, Diascund or Briery Creek. The Chick may be high and dirty, too.

 

One Fish Anna may be a good place to try your luck.

 

Now, to answer your query, where would you look for fish? I would start with any north and/or west shore rip rap and rocks that could hold heat and fish those areas shallow. As you know, the north and west side of any body of water gets the sun for the longest time each day. North and west shorelines are always good places to start your quest.

 

I would look for wood, especially any stickups or wood sitting alone by itself away from other structure. And I would fish all lonely structure that is standing alone in the water.

 

You know the bass will just hover in place, waiting for something to swim by so they can grab it without expending much energy. So I would throw a crankbait (5 to 8 feet), spinnerbait, hair jig and pig, and a lipless crankbait. Then follow up along the same bank with a wacky Senko or a Zoom trick worm on a shaky head followed by a drop shot presentation. Presentations will depend on water quality.

 

Let us know where you end up fishing; the conditions; what you caught; and on what technique and lures.

 

Be safe.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Here is Dave's latest prediction about the weekend of December 21st.

 

48404919_1984981114882470_31969749012358
 
***ALERT *** MAJOR RAIN EVENT LIKELY THURSDAY 12/20 ..THURS NIGHT ..INTO FRIDAY AM DEC 21 ... and T-STORMS are POSSIBLE as well.

Models and the atmospheric patterns show a MASSIVE long wave trough -- see image #1 stretching from MN to Gulf coast DEC 20.. which goes " negative" -- NW- SW on DEC 21. This drives the LOW up the coast either over the mountains or Just East of the mountains. With HIGH pressure off the East coast.. strong south winds will drive in mild air and heavy moisture. Max temps East of the mountains in VA MD NC DEL into eastern PA NJ NYC could hit 60 on DEC 21

and NO there is no chance that this LOW will shift further east or that the precip will fall as snow.

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Thanks Sam. 

Rivers anywhere on this end of the state are ALL out of the question. Rivanna is practically in my backyard and crested around 18 feet (flood stage is 17) early this morning. Solid mud and flat out dangerous. James has flood warnings, same with the Rap. 

Was going to fish the Jackson on Wednesday but the area I was going to fish jumped from 4 to 9 feet yesterday. Will not be fishable by Wednesday. 

 

The Tye, Maury, South, and Shenandoah have similar conditions. 

 

Potomac and Chickahominy will likely have high current and be pretty muddy for the next few weeks. 

 

Sandy flooded big time when the hurricane came though. I have pics of the dumpsters from the parking lot that floated across the lake. o.O 

It had got back to normal level but I’m sure it will rise again some with this latest rain. They had over a foot of snow in Farmville area last week and had at least an inch of rain from this weekend. 

 

Briery was muddy last week, low 40s above the power line. Warmer down towards the dam but I didn’t get all the way down to the dam to see exactly. I suspect that will remain muddy for a while. 

 

Considered No fish Anna, but my buddy and I decided on smaller water. Just hoping it won’t be totally blown out when we get there Wednesday morning! :lol: 

 

Have been keeping an eye on the forecast for next week and the estimated rainfall totals for my area keep wavering around an inch. Everything is already soaked, so it’s not looking pretty. 

 

 

Keep the tips coming if you have some! I’ll certainly put some of these to the test this week! 

What I’m hoping for, is a few days of steady warm sunny weather, leading up to a nice pre-front fishing day just before the full moon. How many more things can add up to a potentially awesome day of winter fishing? :lol: 

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On 12/15/2018 at 11:30 PM, flyfisher said:

I have found that no matter what the water temperature, there will be fish shallow but you have to cover water to find them.  I will also agree that the fish like to be able to move vertically through the water column without much effort so with that being said, I always look for channel swings that neighbor flats or other shallow areas that may warm up on sunny days.  If you find some rock on those areas, even better because they seem to congregate there too.

I see you are in central va as am I, unfortunately I haven;'t been able to get out anytime here lately but hopefully over Christmas break I can get the kayak in the water a few days.

Where in Va are you? Hopefully you can find some relatively clean water. Pretty much everything near me except for Anna is pretty soupy right now. Not what I’m used to for winter fishing. Cold chocolate milk is really hard to fish! :lol: 

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Flood watches/warnings all over the state.  I'd wager even Anna will be muddy to the 208 bridge if not farthur downlake.  We have a friend coming down from Michigan to fish with us the week after Christmas and we are hoping to be able to hit the upper stretches of Aquia Creek on the Potomac for some Crappie but I am wary at this point.  We will be going to the hotside of Anna...maybe a lot!!:lol:

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21 hours ago, Fairtax4me said:

Where in Va are you? Hopefully you can find some relatively clean water. Pretty much everything near me except for Anna is pretty soupy right now. Not what I’m used to for winter fishing. Cold chocolate milk is really hard to fish! :lol: 

I live right outside of Richmond.  I am hoping to get out on Friday if the rain holds off for the afternoon but we will see.  

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Sounds like difficult conditions and I am not good at cold rising water but have had some luck in it. I search out steep 45 degree angle banks and try to find cover on them .

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Had a few places in mind to fish Wednesday and every place that I checked on Tuesday had been flooded and water was receding. Visibility a foot and a half or less in all of them. Leaves, sticks, debris floating everywhere. Muddy cold water like that has always spelled disaster for me in the past. 

 

My buddy and I opted for cleaner water for a fishing trip Wednesday. We found a puddle (literally) with about 8 foot vis clean water, and tore some smallmouth up on blade baits! Rocky bottom, and they were just kind of spread all over out in deep water. 39° surface temp. 

 

Have a few more places on the list to check for this weekend. Hopefully this warm-ish rain were getting right now will wake the fish up a little. 

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Seems like the recent influx of warm-ish water has just spread the bass out everywhere. Last three fishing trips have been tough and if the bass want to eat anything it’s moving super slow on the bottom. Ive caught a few bass, and they’ve been in anywhere from 5 FOW to 35FOW. Have seen bass on sonar in every depth. Bait fish piled up everywhere. 

 

Water surface temps are still hovering between 42-46° at most places it seems. 

Visibility in any body of water within a few hours from here is less than 2 feet. The deep end of Briery was maybe 3.5 feet vis yesterday, but lots of debris floating everywhere.

Anna may be better below the splits but I haven’t been there to check. 

 

And still... more rain in the forecast. Up to 1/2” tomorrow, and possibly another inch or more later this week. 

 

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Rock concrete or something solid.  If I'd run those spots with no luck Then would try the middle of a defined creek. 

 

Figure those fish will put their bellies on the mud.  Once you find the depth that those fish are holding then you should have a pattern that you can take all over the lake.

 

But if you prefer to fish shallow I would head straight to the back of the creeks if the water is rising and muddy water is coming into the lake those fish should be positioned to eat anything and everything that flows down the creek into the lake.  Do not let the muddy water scare you. They don't care.

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