Well I had two very nice but long days on the water at Fletchers. Sat was a pretty good day and it was a steady bite for me and my friend who came down from PA. As allways for me Pink was the hot color with FLO green second. I don't really thing color means much as is getting the fly in fromnt of the fish. Surprisingly I did much better in the slower current. Most were hickories but there a few very nice Americans mised it.
Sun started off with a scare when we got the next to last boat at 640AM. Fishing was also slow for most. I had a steady pick lower in the cove and again in the soft water. It started to pick up around 100pm when we called it a day. One interesting point is that i usually do not retreive fast perferring to do a slow retrieve with a littel twitch. But during a slow period I started doing as I can best describe as a vilolent two foot pull with a pause. It really turned them on and I ended catching close to ten fish in row using that method. Overall it apperared the bite has slowed down with the cooler temps which may be better and have the run go longer.
It officially opens at 7am but on weekends at least someone is there between 0530-600 and if you wait til 7am you are usually out of luck. Weekdays you should have no problem getting a boat. They rarely sell out. Not sure if there is anyone there early during the week or not.
It’s always good to hit conditions just right. Dunno if your friend has ever fished for shad before… if not then good for you for introducing him to shad fishing at it’s best. Fletchers can be an easy place to experience shad fishing due to there being lots of fish there (if you hit it right) and minimal things on the bottom to lose tackle to.
Unfortunately, yesterday I hit it wrong. I fished Fletchers from shore on Tuesday, 4-3-12, 10:30am-2:00pm. Low tide was 12:55pm so I was pretty much fishing an hour or two on each side of dead low tide. That was a big strike against me. As I was arriving, guys I met that were leaving said action was really good early in the morning for nice sized hickories. Several guys reported catching several dozen, many were big females.
I caught ~18 hickories. Nearly all were small bucks (some were really small) with only 2-3 nice females in the mix. I saw a few very nice white perch caught. Also, some one had filleted many dozens of big white perch and threw the waste off the foot bridge. Jeez… what a mess that was. Looked like the waste wperch were a couple days old already.
Forgot to add that I am seeing big schools of very small minnows in the backwaters, 1000s of them maybe 1.5"-2" long. I'm also seeing them out in deeper water too. I couldn't ID them. I'm pretty sure they were too large to be YOY from the early runs of herring, hickories and gizzards that started mid-March, but you never know for sure. Anyway, there are a boat load of them throughout the river, many times more than I've ever seen before. No doubt predator fish will be keying in on them real soon if they aren't swept away by heavy flooding.
Those minnows might be smelt that make a run up all the trubutaries this time of year. Many of them are much larger though, like 3 and 4 inches. ideal crappie, white perch, walleye, anything bait. many guys trap their own minnows and fish for perch with them just below fletchers. They rack up insane numbers. One time on lower rock creek I saw thousands of these smelt fish and with them was a school of good size largemouth atacking them in a relatively small creek. So many of the smelt are aroudn 2 inches and many of them are quite a bit larger too so not sure.
Just above the sisters, find the sandy beach, then there's a rock outcropping with a ledge perpendicular to the current. The fish usually on the Va side near the sandy beach in about 25 feet of water behind the ledge. It takes at least an ounce to hit bottom at that depth, double bottom rig, bait (shrimp, bloodworms...., cut bait and of course minnows). Sometimes it takes 2 oz and I just don't like fishing 2oz when the trophy fish is only 8oz himself and 12 inches long or whatever they weigh. They rarely get over 12 inches and they take so much weight to get to them. yes you can fish flies on full sinking or artificial on the double bottom rig but it will only get bit 10% of the time compared to bait guys. Now when the perch move shallow, that's another story but they don't school heavily in shallow like they are now at that spot. Shad are 10000x times more fun.
I plan on fishing sat on my kayak and doing a little exploring. I'll take the fly rod and a spinning rod. A few shad, a few white perch, maybe a schoolie rock and might even dunk a cut bait for cats. Just plan on paddling around and learn the area more than just Fletchers cove.