What's Happening Now in Virginia Fishing

A look at current Virginia fishing action as of April 1st, 2014 and a glimpse into the next 30 days

Current Fishing Conditions in Virginia Waters

Winter hung on, stubbornly refusing to let up, during March.  Due to the harsh winter, water temperatures were only at 44.2 degrees at the CBBT and 49.6 offshore of Virginia Beach on April 1st.  The net result is a late start to spring fishing in Virginia Coastal waters.  If April follows its normal path water temperatures should make it to the lower or mid 50s by mid month spurring the start of the spring season.

For Non-Locals, Virginia Fishing Acronyms you should know!




Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel


Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel


Monitor-Merrimack Bridge Tunnel


James River Bridge

CLT Chesapeake Light Tower

Best Bets This Month

Due to the prolonged harsh winter, tautog on ocean wrecks and lower Bay structure are still your best bet until the water warms sufficiently later this month.  The Hot Ditch on the Elizabeth River is still producing nice speckled trout, puppy drum and a few school rock but these species should start to move into the lower Bay by mid month.


Late March / Early April Virginia Regional Fishing Reports

Virginia Fall Line Fishing Report - Richmond, Tri-Cities, Fredericksburg

Shad and herring should be available at the Fall Line in Richmond or Fredericksburg, albeit a bit late this year. Rockfish will follow the shad upriver but spawning regions upriver are protected zones and all stripers must be released until after the spawning season.  Largemouth bass, crappie and pickerel will be active in the tidal creeks of the James and Rappahannock Rivers once the water warms just a bit more.  Reservoirs like Diascund and Chickahominy Lake will also be good during April for these species.

Further upriver, west of the Fall Line, smallmouth bass fishing will be slow due to cold, muddy water.  Fishing will be much better for the bronzebacks by the middle of next month. 

Northern Neck / Middle Peninsula Fishing Report - Smith Point to York River

Plenty of nice rockfish (stripers) in the Bay and tidal rivers now but it's all catch and release for this species until early May.  Many region captains will get a head start on spring rock by venturing into Maryland waters where the season starts in mid April.  Water is still cold here as everywhere else in the Old Dominion.  Croakers will start to take baits in this region by mid or late April unless the weather stays cold.  At that time speckled trout will be available for casters in the area around Gwynn's Island, the lower Piankatank and Mobjack Bay.  Tautog are over submerged structure in this section of the Bay but few bother with them in this region.

Lower Peninsula / South Hampton Roads Fishing Report - York River to Bay Mouth

Ditto for this region because of cold water.  Croaker should be available by mid month all along the lower Bay shoreline and tidal creeks. Speckled trout and puppy drum may start to take anglers offerings in the Lynnhaven River and around lower Bay shorelines.  Tailor bluefish should show up by late April for both pier and boat anglers by late in the month.  Both black and red drum will begin to move onto shoals at the north end of the CBBT and lower Bayside Eastern Shore by month's end.  A few grey trout may also be available at that time.  Pier and surf anglers will take blues, croaker, school rock and a few whiting late in the month.  Once the water reaches 50 degrees flounder will become active for boaters drifting along the CBBT where tautog are already taking crab baits.  Plenty of rockfish around but it's catch and release until early May.

Atlantic Ocean Virginia Fishing Report - Chincoteague to the N.C. Border

Tuna are available in far offshore waters, but few will pursue them until later this spring because of the distance.  Only other game offshore is "deep drop" bottom fishing near the Continental Shelf for tilefish, grouper, rose and barrelfish.  Further inshore, there are plenty of sea bass and tautog on wrecks 10 to 35 miles off the beach along with some red hake (ling cod)There should be a few big bluefish suspended above these wrecks.  As of the first of the month, rockfish were still off the beach and heading inside the Bay to spawn.  Your can take ocean caught fish now if they meet the 28 inch minimum.  These Bay-bound schools of rockfish should complete their journey by mid month and the ocean schools will dissipate.  Along the beach look for blues, whiting and croaker to be active by mid or late month.  Speckled trout and puppy drum should start by the 1st weekend in April in Rudee Inlet.

Over on the Eastern Shore, the spring flounder have not yet moved into the marsh channels on the Oceanside.  Perhaps by the first weekend in April they will be there and hungry.  By the end of the month the Seaside surf will be active with the arrival of red and black drum, whiting, croaker, rockfish and bluefish.  On the lower Bayside look for croaker, blues, flounder, red and black drum to appear late in the month.