Lake Anna: Striper Hotspot Dec 14, 2019 13:32:40 GMT
Post by Ghost Comanche©® on Dec 14, 2019 13:32:40 GMT
Lake Anna: Striper Hotspot
by Game and Fish Magazine
At just under 10,000 public acres, Anna is on the small side to produce truly massive stripers, but this central Virginia lake has surpassed all expectations and continues to draw anglers from all over the region. Sheer numbers of fish in the four- to 10-pound range is the reason.
Lake Anna's striper fishery is the result of an aggressive stocking program by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. On a typical year over 100,000 three-inch fish are dumped into the lake. By three years old, they usually reach the minimum size limit of 20". While initial estimates did not predict Anna would ever produce stripers approaching 20 pounds, it has. In fact, the lake record stands at just under 28 pounds.
Guide C.C. McCotter has spend almost 20 years fishing Anna and the last 13 have been for hire. He's seen some dramatic increases in the past five years as far as the fishery.
"I am continually amazed at the amount of stripers in this lake. When I see numerous schools over 100-fish strong on my Lowrance, I know the VDGIF is doing a good job here," he says. "I think a lot of anglers will be surprised how good the striper fishery has become recently."
McCotter and his striper guides use both live bait and lures to pursue fall stripers on Anna. Some clients want to use live bait, others prefer to cast artificial lures. Each trip is tailored to the client's desire.
For October, he says Anna's stripers will be on the move toward the upper portion of creeks and other areas of the lake with a good source of food. Depending on the region of Anna, that could be blueback herring, gizzard shad or threadfin shad.
"In the midlake region we target creeks with herring. Uplake you are on more of a shad bite," he explains.
Why is it important to note the difference?
"Anna stripers can be picky. Pull a herring in front of one that is feeding on 3" threadfin shad and you usually don't get bit. It's very important to match your offering to what the fish are feeding on," the 35-year-old guide notes.
His October and November trips feature the use of side planers, free lines and corks when using live bait. Artificial lure selection is fairly simple. His choices include soft plastic swim baits, walk-the-dog topwaters and soft plastic jerkbaits. All are usually fished in water less than 15' deep, with the best in less than 10'.
Good October through much of November striper areas on Anna vary from year-to-year based upon baitfish migration. McCotter suggests visiting anglers target the back of mid lake creeks like Contrary and Pigeon, the uplake region of the North Anna around the mouth of Gold Mine Creek and above the mouth of Terry's Run in the Pamunkey Branch. A quick boat ride through these areas around 4 o'clock in the afternoon should tell you a lot about what's going on.
By the end of November, he says some of Anna's stripers will be headed backdown lake and often get bunched up at the bridges. Sea gulls will also begin to indicate baitfish concentrations. Use these two clues to pattern stripers during your visit.
"Stubb's and Holiday Mill Bridges are two that usually have fish within a quarter mile of them where you can count on at least a week of super striper fishing," the Lake Anna angler reveals, "Keep an eye out for birds early and late in the day and you should be able to find the stripers."
An average day on Anna over the next two months should produce 10-15 stripers of varying sizes. Live bait trips often produce more fish. Thirty-fish days are not unusual.