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Lake Anna: A Twelve Month Fishery
Many fishermen warm their recliners in December, January and February, recording their favorite fishing shows. Lake Anna anglers are on-the-water, recording memories. This amazing body of water is still one of the best on the eastern seaboard for a lunker largemouth bass, and is attracting a growing number of anglers chasing its hard charging stripers, or fine eating crappie.
Known as a true, four-season fishery, Anna offers angler the unique opportunity to fish even in the middle of winter for active fish. While many fishing destinations boast of their spring and fall prosperity, Anna’s winter time angling sets this lake above the rest. Due to Dominion Power’s North Anna Power Station, water returning to the lake is often seven degrees warmer than normal or ambient temperature. This influx of warm water in the winter makes the entire down-lake region, near the Dike III discharge, a winter haven for baitfish and gamefish.
Want a lunker bass over eight pounds? Try this region of Anna during the cold weather months and you might come back with that fish of a lifetime - it has happened many times before over the years. Lake Anna is often the state leader in largemouth bass citations.
Winter fishing techniques and patterns for largemouth bass typically involve slow presentations around deep water access areas including main lake points, humps and river channel edges. Drop-offs and dike rip-rap are also good winter bass areas. Anna’s winter bass will make periodic shallow water feeding movements, so deep water with access to shallower feeding areas is crucial to a good spot.
Some of the best baits for winter bassin’ on Anna include jig-n-pigs, three and four-inch grubs, jigging spoons or blade baits, slow-rolled spinnerbaits and plastic shads. Live bait anglers can try native baits like blue-back herring, or shad, even store-bought jumbo minnows do well when it¹s cold.
As the seasons change and winter melts into spring, Anna sees an influx of anglers looking for the shallower and more consistent bite that has made the lake famous. Spring bass fishing typically means keying in on spawning patterns. With water temperatures on the rise, bass will “hit the banks” in search of a spawning site and tend to feed aggressively just before going on a nest.
Most of Anna’s citation bass are caught in March and April in the mid-and up-lake region. Spinnerbait fishing is at its best in the upper portions of the North Anna and Pamunkey during this time, as this easy-to-fish lure can provide many memorable moments for even a beginning angler. Shallow water fishing up-lake around rocks, boat docks, stumps and willow grass is also good with jig-n-pigs, Rat-L-Traps, small crankbaits and grubs. In the mid-lake region, anglers will want to try suspending jerkbaits and Carolina-rigged lizards along hundreds of creek points.
Since Anna has no restrictions on fishing for spawning bass, catch and release is strongly encouraged during this vulnerable stage of the season. Remember, the future of this fishery relies entirely on a successful spawning season.
Also on the list of many spring time Anna anglers is the ever-popular “freckle”, “silver perch” or just, plain crappie. This fishery has improved each year to the outstanding level anglers enjoy today. In the spring, fish move shallow and are fairly easy to locate. Try dunking small minnows on slip bobbers or small tube jigs around docks, stumps, beaver huts, large rocks and Fish Structures. Crappie over one pound are common and specimens exceeding two pounds are caught each year.
As the seasons change again and the heat of summer arrives, fish will move to deeper holding areas with only periodic forays into the shallows during the early morning and late evenings. Some of the best topwater action of the year occurs throughout the early summer during these low light times. Anglers casting Pop-R’s, buzzbaits, Tiny torpedos and Rapalas toward shoreline and shallow structure will incite incredible topwater explosions from strong, aggressive fish. When bass begin to move deeper during the late summer, anglers should pursue them with Carolina-rigged and Texas rigged lizards and worms as well as jig-n-plastic combos. Now is the time to probe deep boat docks, river channel edges, humps, brush piles and main lake points.
As the dog days of summer give way to cooler fall days and nights, Labor Day will signal the end of the official summer season. Boat traffic lessens and September through October can again offer some exciting topwater action.
Largemouth follow baitfish into the backs of creeks and feed heavily in preparation for coming cold weather. Crappie, too will again frequent shallow, spring-time haunts and the action is great through November.
Lake Anna is a proven year-round fishery, so whenever the mood strikes.
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