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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I heard from a friend of mine who lives in Cape Henry Shores, that Speckled Trout were biting off his dock the weekend after Christmas. So on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning December 30th, I went to check it out. I fished out of my jon boat. At about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning I caught my first keeper trout of the season. I fished the whole out going tide that was high at 1:18 a.m. I was using Gulp Alive Shrimp, Gulp Alive Swimming Mullet, and Berkley Swim Baits. I caught trout on all of them, but mostly the shrimp. I caught a pile of little trout, as I have done this whole fall season in Lynnhaven near Broad Bay, but the fish pictured here was the first one over 14 inches long. I then wondered, "If trout have shown back up in Lynnhaven Inlet, are they in the Elizabeth River?" Thus on Saturday 1/2/16 I took a trip to the ER. Long story short, I caught no trout in the ER. We did catch 10 rockfish, most of which were small, but no trout. The rockfish pictured was 23 inches long and was caught in the cove on a Berkley Swim Bait. We fished way up Deep Creek and caught nothing. We came back down near the old hot ditch and we found some more rockfish near the mouth of the cove, both inside and out, and on the drop off in front of Chesapeake Yacht Inc. (FYI you can no longer launch from Chesapeake Yacht.) We saw a good amount of bait, but no trout. I am afraid the "Hot Ditch" as we once knew it, is done. Between no more hot water, an extreme fish kill in the winter of 2015, and poachers, the Elizabeth River, at least in the Deep Creek area, has changed drastically from last year at this time. I am hopeful it will come back in the future, but I am afraid that will not be the case. This is my report.
 

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I'm an optimist that some sort of consistent trout fishery will return to the ER one day again over time, but maybe not on the scale we were all used too. The effects of the winter fish kills and poaching will be felt for awhile. No doubt the plant had an effect on the trout behavior and patterns of concentrating in that part of the ER, but I have never believed the plant was the sole reason that made all those trout inclined to travel all the way down the ER from the main open waters of Hampton Roads and the Bay -- that is a good distance. You have to figure there are wintering trout populations in Rudee Inlet, the Lynnhaven River and other spots around the area that do not have power plants discharging warm water to hold the fish there, and I believe the trout will eventually return to the ER as well, power plant or not. Although they probably will not be stacked up around the High Rise Bridge area any longer -- you'll have to work over broader stretches of the main river for them.

We can only hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree, there was more to those fish showing up in the ER than the Hot Ditch. I failed to mention in my report, that the water surface temperature was 59 Deg F on Saturday. That is very much warmer than the water temp a year ago. I am not sure if that plays a role or not. I think the over whelming factor was the fish kill last winter. I talked to Kymberly Taylor at Chesapeake Yachts and she said when the fish kill happened, there were dead fish on the beach for miles. She said she had never seen anything like it. I too plan to be optimistic, but so far this winter, I have yet to catch a trout in the ER. I have caught hundreds in Lynnhaven, literally, however, all but 1 were too small to keep. The small ones have to be coming from somewhere, so over time I hope they find their way back to the ER.
 

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I caught a bunch of small trout in the Lafayette River this fall. Mostly 10-14". Since this is a tributary of the ER, I take it as a good sign that the trout are still in the river but not at the levels they once were. I still believe the ER will have a decent trout bite but perhaps not as productive as when the Hot Ditch was hot. Also I seem to recall a recent facebook post by Oceans East showing a couple nice trout pulled from the ER. Thanks for the report.
 

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For everyone who believes that the power plant is not the reason the trout were there we also have; the doctor will call you right back, the check is in the mail, the tooth fairy will be here tonight, Santa will leave you presents under the tree, and so on... Yes, they are there but the numbers were greatly exaggerated by the hot water. We have always caught them in the Elizabeth and the Lafayette all up and down the rivers. There was some talk of them reopening it as a natural gas facility. If that happens it will return to it's glory days, and not before.
 

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Fishing on the river was not entirely the ditch since we caught them in cold water up and down the river but when the temps used to drop the ditch kept the fish alive. I agree it will never return to what it was.
 

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For everyone who believes that the power plant is not the reason the trout were there we also have; the doctor will call you right back, the check is in the mail, the tooth fairy will be here tonight, Santa will leave you presents under the tree, and so on... Yes, they are there but the numbers were greatly exaggerated by the hot water. We have always caught them in the Elizabeth and the Lafayette all up and down the rivers. There was some talk of them reopening it as a natural gas facility. If that happens it will return to it's glory days, and not before.
You can forget that. We don't have NG lines big enough to feed a power plant in Hampton Roads. Also they have just built a 1650 MW plant in Brunswick and are in the process of building its twin in Greenville county about 5 miles away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have never tried to fish the Lafayette River. Is there a public boat launch there? I would like to check it out someday!
 

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There used to be a ramp at lewelyn and delaware. in norfolk. I haven't been out that way in a while so I'm not sure its still there.
 

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There are no fish in the Lafayette! No 20-28" trout, no 30" pups, and definitely no striper ( school size up to 36"). Don't waste your time!!!
 

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I heard from a friend of mine who lives in Cape Henry Shores, that Speckled Trout were biting off his dock the weekend after Christmas. So on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning December 30th, I went to check it out. I fished out of my jon boat. At about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning I caught my first keeper trout of the season. I fished the whole out going tide that was high at 1:18 a.m. I was using Gulp Alive Shrimp, Gulp Alive Swimming Mullet, and Berkley Swim Baits. I caught trout on all of them, but mostly the shrimp. I caught a pile of little trout, as I have done this whole fall season in Lynnhaven near Broad Bay, but the fish pictured here was the first one over 14 inches long. I then wondered, "If trout have shown back up in Lynnhaven Inlet, are they in the Elizabeth River?" Thus on Saturday 1/2/16 I took a trip to the ER. Long story short, I caught no trout in the ER. We did catch 10 rockfish, most of which were small, but no trout. The rockfish pictured was 23 inches long and was caught in the cove on a Berkley Swim Bait. We fished way up Deep Creek and caught nothing. We came back down near the old hot ditch and we found some more rockfish near the mouth of the cove, both inside and out, and on the drop off in front of Chesapeake Yacht Inc. (FYI you can no longer launch from Chesapeake Yacht.) We saw a good amount of bait, but no trout. I am afraid the "Hot Ditch" as we once knew it, is done. Between no more hot water, an extreme fish kill in the winter of 2015, and poachers, the Elizabeth River, at least in the Deep Creek area, has changed drastically from last year at this time. I am hopeful it will come back in the future, but I am afraid that will not be the case. This is my report.
Thanks for the update, my buddy and I remember when the E.R. would yield an easy 50 to 75 fish day, whether poaching or the power plant killed the fishery no one can really conclude, but the end result is no fish. What was the result of the poachers trial??
 

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Whether it was poaching or closing the power plant that killed the fishery? Closing the power plant is the reason, no question. The poaching would temporarily hurt the population but a complete ecosystem change killed the fishery. Trout don't like really cold temps. Even in Florida you fish trout differently in the winter than spring and summer, and if you get a prolonged cold snap there are fish kills. Here someone literally pulled the plug on an artificially created environment and wiped it out. Trout will be a seasonal fishery in VA once again like Mother Nature had intended.
 

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Was told yesterday from reliable source that one of the two guys caught in river is back at it again. Old timer lives by ramp guy is using and sees him come and go in middle of night
 
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