Canal Flatties

Canal Flatties

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rivanna Reservoir Crappie Fishing

    Today I went kayak fishing on the reservoir with my two brothers and out friend. We put in at the "twin bridges" ramp, and paddled 30 yards to the little bridge. I caught 3 on a 1/32oz marabou jig of my own creation in the first 5 minutes. We could even see some fish suspended below us, but we couldn't hook many, they would be gone as soon as they hit! Wyatt dropped a small mosquito fish (netted some at the ramp for bait) and discovered they would hold on to those much longer. I didn't want to use up all my bait though, so I tried a trout magnet. I started catching just as many as he was, and soon we were both fishing trout magnets. Ewing went to the big bridge with Alex, and after a while we ended up joining them. The only decent fish we caught was a 9.5" white crappie at the little bridge, and I kept some 8" blacks. The biologists from the VDGIF that surveyed the reservoir suggest that you keep your 25 fish limit whenever possible, because the crappies are overpopulated and stunted, and most stop growing at 7-8" in length.
     Ewing and Alex were trolling 2" chartreuse curly tails at the big bridge, and had picked up several keepers. I tried this as well as tight lining a minnow with another rod, and that soon proved to be more productive. I then rigged my other rod with a 1/4oz carolina rig (what I use for tight lining) and put a trout magnet on it to slow troll. I immediately began catching fish around 10 feet deep on both rods, and within an hour, I had 20 8-9" black crappies on my stringer. I started releasing fish at that point, holding out for some nice ones, and rigged up everyone else with trout magnets to tight line with. The fish were plentiful, and we selectively kept fish until we were roughly 10 fish short of out 4 man limit of 100 crappies. The bite had slowed down at this point and the fish had moved down to 15-20 feet deep and were hard to catch. We went back to the little bridge and weeded through the 5" crappies and finally ended up with a limit. I counted my fish as usual, to add to my "fish tally" for the year. I caught 106 black crappies, 5 white crappies, and 5 bluegill. I think it took us about 2 hours to filet all the crappies, but they are now all in the fridge, and will be frozen tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

Also thought I'd throw in a picture of a fish I caught in Hollymead Lake, he was 13", and the only thing over 10" we have ever seen there, I'm thinking he must be ridiculously old, judging by the size of his head.

The only fish I photographed were white crappies, since they are an uncommon catch for us, and account for less than 5% of the crappies in the reservoir.

You can tell this fish is old and stunted by looking at the size of his head compared to his body, and the fact that he is shaped more like a largemouth than a crappie.

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