Don’t think for a minute the fishing is over for the winter in the Chickahominy region. All those 8-10 pound largemouth bass don’t vaporize. No, what happens is that they head for overwintering areas where they can find schooled baitfish and continue to feed, albeit less frequently, all winter long.
Some traditional areas to look for winter bass on the tidal Chickahominy River include the backs of lower river creeks like Morris, Tomahund, Gordon’s, Shipwreck and Yarmouth. Largemouth bass will school by the dozens in deeper creek bends with wood. You can target them with a three-inch swimbait on a 1/4-oz. jighead or a similar bait on a drop shot rig.
In the upper Chickahominy, you’ll want to target the region from the first big bend up from Riverside Camp right up to Walker’s Dam. In this region, savvy anglers know hundreds of fish school in the deep channel bends. Don’t be afraid to fish 18’ of water with blade baits like a Riverside Ripper or Crazy Blade. Many species are harbored in this deep water including largemouth bass, crappie, yellow perch and catfish.
Crappie will school around Walker’s Dam this month, too. Be careful to observe safe fishing practices around this structure. Crappie love the concrete and wood structure in the water here where the river is separated from the lake.
Up on the lake, guide Art Conway knows December can be a very good month to catch bass and crappie. For the panfish, he’ll target deep wood with minnows and ultra-light jigs with his clients in the lower section of this lake that has produced another bumper crop of big bass this year.
When you are on the middle river, use Riverside Camp & Marina’s facilities, which include a fine boat ramp and piers, tackle shop and campground with rental cabins. On the upper river, Rockahock Campground (and cottages) is fishing headquarters.
Up on the lake, Ed Allen’s Boats & Bait is fishing headquarters on the lower end of the lake. Here you’ll find a boat ramp, jon boat rentals, minnows, tackle shop, restaurant, fishing pier and the home of the ongoing Ed Allen’s Winter Series.
Another Chickahominy Lake launching option is Eagle’s Landing. Located a couple miles above Walker’s Dam, Eagles Landing offers a concrete ramp, rental boats, tackle shop and live bait.
In nearby Toano, a bit down Rt. 60, there’s a great gun shop and an awesome tackle shop.
Toano General Gun Store is area headquarters for hunters and firearms enthusiasts. Inside you’ll find everything from long guns to handguns, accesories to ammunition. You can also pick up a gun you’ve ordered online from the shop.
Visit Fishing Pro Tech this month and you won’t be disappointed. Lin Bell has a huge supply of special run colored ZOOM baits, Megabass Magdrafts and suspending baits, the new CAST Prodigy swimbaits and more. He’s also preparing for another incredible show both at the Richmond Fishing Expo held January 20-22.
Tomahund Marine is the area headquarters for marine resupply, repairs and winterization. They also sell War Eagle and Beavertail boats, so if you are looking for a duck and fishing boat, perfect for hunting and fishing the marshes of the Chickahominy and James River, they have a limited number in stock and they sell very fast!
Conveniently located on the way to West Point you’ll find the Surf & Turf Outdoors shop. It’s full of great saltwater gear used for fishing the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers that meet in West Point to form the York. Striper is what everyone is after now, so stop in and see what they are biting on! C.C. McCotter