Lake Anna

by Chris McCotter

  The good news at Lake Anna is the big fish potential of March. Many of the biggest largemouth bass, crappie, striper and wiper of the year are caught this month. The region has experienced a very mild winter so far with trees budded out by mid-February. Could there be a spawn on the March full moon? We’ll see, but water temperatures were very high for February last month – 55 down lake, 50 midlake and 46-48 up lake.

   Here’s what you can expect on a March visit along with some news from around the lake.

   Guide C.C. McCotter says hopes for an early spring appear to be possible. He reports there were plenty of largemouth bass that remained in shallow water pretty much all winter. They key was massive schools of threadfin shad in the down lake region. If you found these shad shallow, the bass, striper and wiper would visit at some point during the day. 

  McCotter targeted these shallow fish using the CAST US Prodigy three-inch swimbait, a Tiger Shad Lake Anna Special spinnerbait and the shallow diving Berkley Flicker Shad.

   These fish will stay close to where they were in Febuary and if the water hits 60 in March they will spawn in the same down lake creeks and coves. Good areas to check would be from Duke’s Creek down to Valentine’s Cove. Lake Anna bass in this region mostly spawn on stumps and docks.

  If the weather turns cold, the down lake fish will hold off until early April to spawn. If that occurs, anglers can target cruising singles and pairs using Neko-rigged soft plastic stickbaits, swimbaits and Ned rig offerings.   

  Fewer bass have been caught up lake yet, but, this could change if the water continues to warm and clear. Anglers should try the Dave’s Tournament Tackle spinnerbaits to catch largemouth in more stained, shallower water around willow grass weed lines. 

  Mid lake fish stay schooled the longest. You’ll need to search for them in creeks like Sturgeon, Mitchell, Pigon and Marshall. If you cannot find a school, hit the banks and the first bit of structure you can find next to deep water.

     The mid lake region has been the best over the past few springs, but there are plenty of fish to target down lake, too.

   Turning to crappie fishing, McCotter notes crappie could push shallow and attempt to spawn around the full moon on March 19 if the water temperature approaches 60 in the upper end of the lake. 

  Before they spawn expect up lake freckles to push shallow and feed on threadfin shad returning to the warming, up-lake and mid lake flats. The biggest spawn will probably occur in mid-April. The up lake region will be best for crappie fishing this month, regardless of the spawn. 

  McCotter suggests you to release all fish under 10”. He also notes the new owner of The Boardwalk at Lake Anna will enforce the No Fishing From Docks policy again this spring, so be warned. 

   The upper North Anna tributaries as well as those in the upper portion of the Pamunkey Branch and Terry’s Run will hold shallow crappie first this month. Johnson Beetle Spins in muddy water are good when you are trying to locate big fish scattered on flats. Try two-inch jigs on a 1/16-ounce head for fish on structure or a slip bobber/minnow combination. Live, small threadfins are great around bridge pilings.

     March striper and wiper fishing can be quite good if you find the fish. Some years they are still down at Dike III. Other years the mid-lake region is best. When we have mild winters and early springs, the up lake region is best, McCotter says. 

  Anglers began reporting consistent striper and wiper catches last month in the Christopher Run region of the North Anna arm and the S-Turns are of the Pamunkey Branch.

    Try targeting March striper and wiper up lake using shallow water tactics.Cast swimbaits or jerkbaits right to the bank in the upper section of all three major tributaries and work them all the way to the boat. Strikes will often occur as you are about to pull the lure out of the water or about five feet off the bank.

  Reports of anglers catching saugeyes fishing the Cooling Ponds have been common this winter. These fish followed the threadfin through Dike 3 and took up residence in the 60+ degree water. We’ll see if they make it back into the main lake. Remember, they must be 18” to keep.

      Turning to the news from around the lake’s fishing marinas, Fish Tales at Anna Point has announced they will hold a full schedule of weekend open team bass tournaments as well as Big Bass tournaments (up to three anglers per boat, March 4, 18, 25, April 8, 15, 22, 29 and May 6 and 13) with Dave Fauntleroy at the helm as Tournament Director. Top local and regional anglers will test their competitive skills on one of the east coast’s premier bass fisheries during the height of the spring season starting this month.

  Ed Dustin’s Potomac River Battle Series wil visit Anna March 11 from 7a-3p out of Anna Point Marina. This uniquely formatted event will offer a $2,000 first prize, $1,000 second prize and five paybacks per hours based on a 100-boat field.

    Over at High Point Marina, the Wood family and staff invite you to join them for the 2023 fishing season. This is the only place on the lake that offers a waterfront motel (The Lighthouse Inn), in addition to boat ramps, storage and a great tackle shop.

   Inside the shop you’ll find the only place to purchase the guide-selected gear like Capt. Mack’s spoons, the Toothache spoon (it’s back), special colors of MEGABass jerkbaits, Fitt Premum Lures, Tiger Shad Lake Anna Special spinnerbaits and much more.

    The Sturgeon Creek Marina Lake Anna Winter Series concluded at the end of January with the team of Eric Johnson and Nate Sullivan defending the title of  Winter Kings.   Sullivan and Johnson won the title with 177.45 pounds (10 events), amassed five wins along the way, caught a record-setting 30-pound limit and averaged 17.75 pounds per event!

 Sturgeon Creek Marina has a great tackle shop with lures and live baits, 24/7 fuel on the water and multiple launch ramps located in a protected mid-lake creek.

  Dee Kidd at Anna’s Marine Center invites you to stop by the dealership and check out his selection of Skeeter, TRACKER, Nitro, Tahoe, Sun Tracker and Bennington boats. 

   The new SKEETER ZXR boats are in and look awesome. This is one of the hottest bass boats in the country with stunning graphics and colors with a layout that bass anglers love. 

  Anglers looking to fish Anna from the bank can try Lake Anna State Park and the Dike III Fishing Access Area. Visitors to the latter are able to fish from the shore and launch kayaks but there is no fishing from the bridge permitted any longer.

      Elk Creek Store is “hot side” fishing headquarters. Check out Uncle Mike’s Tackle Shop for the fishing tackle and minnows you’ll need. The deli offers sandwiches, Perfectly Southern fried chicken and pizza. They sell Exxon gasoline.

   While it doesn’t open until April, it might be a good time now to call Christopher Run Campground and make your reservation if you are planning a visit. They offer cabins as well as camping sites. They are located right on the water in the North Anna side of the upper lake and have launch ramps.

  Lake Anna Outfitters has the new Feel Free Moken 10 V2 pedal drive kayak. They took delivery of many 2024 kayaks last month including the new Moken 10 V2 Lite, Lure 11/5 V2 pedal drive and Seastream Angler 120 PD. If you are in the market for a new fishing kayak, these are hot models. Chrissie McCotter

    All area hunters need to price Value Pak dog food at Hellems & Son on the upper end of the lake. It’s a great option if you have hounds that need to be fed affordably and nutritiously.

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