Lake Anna Report February
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February Fishing On Lake Anna
By Charlie Bowles
Food for thought:
Fishing in the month of February can be very productive for those who have the patience to find the fish. The weather plays an important role in the fish’s activity level and desired depth ranges. While you will sometimes find them together, Striper and Bass can have very different reactions to these changes. For example, during a cold snap with snow and overcast you may find Stripers in the shallows or close to the surface, suspended over deep water. On that same day the Bass may be very localized and closer to bottom structure. The opposite may be true during a warming trend. Striped Bass are very light sensitive, which will sometimes cause them to go deeper on sunny days. Largemouth can prefer higher temps in the winter and will orient to hard clay banks and rocks providing warmer water. In either case, winter makes a fish’s metabolism drop, causing slower movement and less activity than in warmer months. It is very important to remember this and adjust your presentation and retrieve appropriately.
Bass will not be willing to move very far or fast for a meal this month... you’ll be able to find fish on main lake points, drop offs, deep structure and occasionally near the backs of creeks. If you do find them in the backs of the creeks there are probably a lot of them, as they are likely feeding on dying shad. Threadfin Shad begin to die off when the water temp is below 44 degrees. This “shad kill” offers an easy meal for predatory species. This is one of the only times during the year that I like to use live bait for Largemouth. You can find fish holding on structure or brush in the 15-25 ft range… maybe even deeper in crystal clear water. Run jumbo shiners on slip bobbers about 12-22ft down. This technique can produce enormous Lake Anna Bass. If you’re not interested in fishing with live bait, versatility is the name of the game. On warmer days target rocks, humps, and hard clay banks adjacent to deep water with suspending jerk baits. A super slow retrieve with a swim bait or white spinner bait with willow blades can be deadly on deeper structure and drop offs. Make sure to maintain contact with the bottom. And don’t forget to follow up with rattling jigs and shaky heads to entice a bite from a monster bass. Persistence will pay of, just stick with it and remember that versatility is the key.
If you have a choice, fish during overcast weather. With the lower light conditions, the stripers may stay in the shallows and aggressively feed throughout the day. If you choose to go out on brighter days, it should be most productive during early morning and late evening. You can also find some deeper water jigging and trolling action during the middle of the day. Use indicators like birds and bait to locate the fish. You’ll need to use your sonar to identify the size, quantity, and depth of the fish. Look for broken schools of bait and large arches that are closely grouped together… This usually indicates feeding stripers. Early in the morning start fishing shallow in about 6 feet of water on submerged islands, humps, and points, I start with a 6ft. 6 med rod and reel with 10 - 12 lb. mono with a 4” - 6” suspending jerk bait. Usually followed by a ¼ to 3/8 ounce jig head with a 4 inch pearl swim bait. As the sun comes up the fish will move deeper with exception to those prime overcast days. If the sunlight pushes the fish to deeper water then its time to fish the points and river channels with a heavier (3/8 to ½ ) ounce jig head rigged with a 4 inch pearl shad body. If you notice fish on the edges of the river channels you may want to vertical jig a ¾ ounce spoon or blade bait. Make sure to have at least 4 rods rigged up and ready to go so you can adapt to changing conditions and be ready for any explosive feeding action that may go down… One with a jerk bait, one with a light swim bait, another with a heavy swim bait, and the last with a jigging spoon or blade bait. If the fish seem to be spread out over the river channel becoming difficult to land by casting, try trolling. You can cover lots of water and consistently keep your baits within the “strike zone”. Let out about 120’of 12 pound mono rigged with natural shad colored deep diving crank baits ( I Like X-rap’s, dd22’s and xps lec 15’s). You can also attach 1/8 ounce swim baits or buck tails to a 3 ft liter attached to the front hook of your crank bait. Run your boat as slow as you can (2-3mph), if you are above the 4 mph mark you may need a trolling plate or drift socks to slow your boat down.
Plenty of tasty slab sides can be caught in the deeper brush piles throughout the lake. A 5-7 ft medium light action spinning rod with 4-6 pound test is a great set up for catching Lake Anna Specks. Look for brush in the 20 ft range and jig small blade baits, pearl tube jigs and small spoons. You can also use small and medium minnows on a split shot rig or a slip bobber.
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