The Fishin’ Report is put together from recent reports from avid anglers, fishing guides, marinas and bait shops for major rivers and lakes all across the state. We encourage you to take advantage of the unusually warm sunny days and head out to your favorite river or lake and take a kid fishing. Please use caution when planning any outdoor activities or going on the water. Always wear your life jacket and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Check conditions before you venture out.
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Tips for Post-Spawn Walleye Fishing
By: Clifford Kirk, Fisheries Biologist Assistant, Region III
The walleye spawn is over now. The fish are not as concentrated as they were last month [March] on the spawning grounds, but the good news is they are hungry and will be much more interested in biting. Walleyes will spread out along the entire lake shoreline, but key habitats will hold more fish. Remember that walleye are light-sensitive, so shady areas will be better during daylight hours. At night walleyes will venture in shallow water looking for easy prey. In lakes that have alewives, night fishing this time of year can be really productive and exciting. The alewives come into shallow water at night to spawn. They spawn near the water surface, with small groups of alewives swimming in tight circles. This spawning activity makes quite a bit of noise and often attracts hungry walleyes. When a walleye hits a spawning alewife it makes a crack that will startle you.
Shallow running minnow plugs are the best choice for walleyes chasing alewives. Don’t be afraid to use larger plugs that would often be considered “striper lures”. Topwater lures with small propellers will also work well during the alewife spawn. One of the best things about this type of fishing is that you don’t have to know the secret spot and you don’t need a fish finder. You just need to listen for surface activity from the alewives. When you hear a walleye hitting the surface you will know it. Cast your plug into the mix and do your best to make it look like an injured alewife trying to swim away.
Virginia lakes that have both alewives and walleye include Claytor Lake, Flannagan Reservoir, Hungry Mother Lake, North Fork of Pound Lake, Philpott Reservoir and South Holston Reservoir. All of these lakes should offer really good night fishing opportunities for walleye from mid- April through mid-May.
Editor’s Note… Just after we received this walleye fishing tips article from Cliff, Bill Kittrell , Fisheries Manager for Region 3 announced that Cliff had passed away after a vaaient fight with cancer. Cliff began working for the Department in southwest Virginia in 1998 as an hourly employee for the Fisheries Division and was hired full time as a Fisheries Technician in November 2001. He spent his entire career working out of the Marion Regional Office. Those of you who knew Cliff will never forget him. His stories of hunting and fishing, of fish sampling, or just plain rural life in Appalachia, will live in infamy. He has touched many people throughout his life in a very significant way. If you didn’t know him well, you really missed knowing a great individual. If you have never heard of him, ask someone who did to tell you one of Cliff’s famous stories. He was passionate about his job, was extremely proud to work for DGIF and was a friend to many. He will be truly missed. Probably no one spent as much time with Cliff in the field over the years as Tom Hampton, Lands & Facilities Manager for Region 3. Tom remembered Cliff along with the featured picture that makes us all smile of Cliff holding a big walleye, “This is one of the many ways I will remember Cliff. I hope you will smile when you see this picture. I am so thankful for the thousands of hours I shared a boat with him. Cliff loved hunting and fishing as much as anyone I have ever known. He also loved his job and his coworkers. Although we are heartbroken for the loss, what a blessing it is to have known Cliff, as a coworker and as a dear, dear friend.” Cliff’s DGIF friends will host a “Celebration of Life” memorial event at the Marion Regional Office on May 10th beginning at 11:00 a.m. View obituary at: http://www.bradleysfh.com/home/obituary/clifford-ray-kirk
Three Generations of Fishing Fun... Avid hunter , angler and award winning nature photographer Andy Maneno sent in this great photo of his nephew Maxwell Larry Maneno with his first crappie caught at the family’s “honey hole.” His 1st Crappie was 15.75 inches- a real ‘rod-bender’! Grandparents, Larry and Ruth Maneno were along to enjoy the beautiful sunny day and commented , “Not a bad looking Crappie for a 8 year old!” Grandma advised , “Its all about having a nice fishing hat when you’re fishing with the kids!”