Lake Anna Regional Focus Report

by Chris McCotter

   The Lake Anna watershed received significant rainfall last month, however due to continued mild temperatures, the lake continues to be in great shape for a winter visit. The water level on the main lake is at full pool. The water level on the Waste Heat Treatment Facility or Cooling Ponds is about six inches low due to North Anna not using all the intake pumps since water temperatures are lower.

  In fact, the water temperatures were 42-45 up and mid lake and 50-54 down lake.    

  These steady conditions created ideal fishing days last month and could again add up to a great February for big fish.

   The big news last month was the 30.11 pound, five-bass limit caught by long time tournament partners Nathan Sullivan and Eric Johnson while fishing the January 22 Sturgeon Creek Winter Series event. (See our article on page 16). This is the heaviest five fish limit in known history – but who knows, it might be bested this month!

  Here’s what you can expect for a February vist with some news from around the lake.

   Guide C.C. McCotter notes water temperatures were abnormally high for much of the early winter and remain mild with baitfish still in the upper regions of the lake. Water temperatures should rise by the end of the month ranging from 40-53. The Dike 3 discharge region will offer the warmest temperatures on the main lake at around 55-56 degrees.    

   Baitfish moved into the mid lake region back in December and oddly moved into the back of creeks like Pigeon, Mitchell and Sturgeon. Normally they would remain on the main lake.

  This behavior has created good conditions to target largemouth bass, striper and wiper around visible bait.

   Mid lake should remain the best area to target the lake’s largemouth bass this month. McCotter will use the Nikko Winnow 5” swimbait, the CAST US Prodigy 3.5” swimbait and various suspending jerkbaits for most of his bass fishing trips.

   It’s time to start “snake charming” big bass with suspending jerkbaits like the Megabass Vision 110 +1, the Lucky Craft DD baits, Jackal Squirrels and Berkley Stunna.   

    Most bass caught on jerkbaits come from points where deep and shallow water touch.

 Targeting bass on bait will be another key. You’ll find these situations daily, especially early and late in the day where seagulls will often indicate where to fish.

  For February striped bass and wipers, McCotter is not going to make any predictions as the conditions will dictate where the fish go.

  He’s seen mild Februarys draw striper and wiper way up the North Anna and Pamunkey Branch, and harsh February’s hold the fish mid lake.

  When they find fish, he and his clients will be using Fitt River Darters on 1/4-oz. jigheads, Capt. Mack’s Super Spoons. multi-arm rigs and suspending jerkbaits. Should you find birds on fish mid lake, try the swimbait or River Darter. If you see them deep on your depth finder try the spoons. When you find birds working move quickly and strike fast as the fish won’t stick around. 

   It’s entirely possible a state record wiper will be pulled from the lake in the coming year. A 13-4 fish was the high mark last year, caught in early May by Richard Stone.  The original stocking took place in 2012. An interesting comparison is Claytor Lake. Wiper were first stocked there in 1993 and reached 10 pounds by 2000 with a 15-13 caught in 2016 holding as the state record. 

       McCotter says crappie fishing should improve over the next month. Crappie school on bridge pilings and deep brush now. Two-inch Baby Shad jigs on a 1/16-oz. head with six-pound test line are very good around structure in 10-20’ depths. Mid lake has the biggest fish. Up lake has the most. 

  At some point the crappie will leave deep water and suspend near structure with bait nearby. This is when a good depth finder will help you stay on the fish. Forward-facing sonar is very effective when crappie fishing. Jigging or slow dropping for suspended fish can be excellent when all else fails. 

  Fish Tales is the home of Dave Fauntleroy, one of best resources for anglers on the lake. You’ll always feel welcome at this shop that features a great selection of bass and crappie gear, fuel on the water and plenty of ramp/parking room. Dave will be on hand this winter to welcome you to the lake and point in the right direction for any species you want to pursue based on his 30+ years of experience at the lake. 

   Check out the schedule of tournaments coming up this year at Anna Point – it’s impressive and includes the Big Bass Battle on March 11 – a new event for the lake with multiple weigh-ins and prizes throughout the day, as well as a visit from the teams of the VAElite70 on April 1. There’s a new big bass tournament March 4 as well as a number of open events held March 5, 12, 19 and 26.

  Over at High Point Marina/Lighthouse Inn, Carlos and his staff invite you to see their tackle shop; fully stocked with winter bass, striper and crappie lures like Toothache Spoons, Capt. Mack’s spoons, Megabass jerkbaits and swimbaits, swimbaits from Fitt Premium Lures, Berkley and Missile Baits, ZOOM Flukes and Dave’s Tournament Tackle spinnerbaits.

   If you just like to recreationally fish or are fishing with a guide and need lodging, call the Lighthouse Inn and make a reservation. All rooms are waterfront with dockage for boats.

 Sturgeon Creek Marina is home to the Winter Series where the Kings Of Cold are crowned each year after a series of tourneys held in November, December and January. Some of the year’s most impressive limits are usually weighed in this series. 

  After nine weeks the team of Nate Sullivan and Eric Johnson had a solid lead of over 25 pounds from their closest competior. In nine events this duo had weighed 45 bass that weighed 157.71 pounds – a  17.52-lb. average!

    Sturgeon Creek Marina also 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.

  Before the season breaks open, stop by Anna’s Marine Center and see Dee or Will about a SKEETER, Nitro or TRACKER boat because the 2023s are here and arriving! 

   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, fried chicken and pizza. They sell Exxon gasoline.

 While it doesn’t open seasonally until April, it might be a good time now to call Christopher Run Campground and make your reservation. They offer cabins as well as camping sites. Chrissie McCotter

They are located right on the water in the North Anna side of the upper lake and have launch ramps.

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