With most freshwater species developing lockjaw during winter, one landlocked fishery, John H. Kerr Reservior, still provides excellent action when ice forms in the guides of your fishing rod.
“Stripers are being caught between Grassy Creek and Butcher’s Creek,” said guide Joel Richardson of Kernersville.
Most striped bass in Kerr’s 49,500 acres on the North Carolina-Virginia border will be deep, but Richardson indicated that some surface activity is taking place.
“Some days, you’ll go out and can cast bucktails and swimbaits around where (gulls) are diving and catch ’em,” said Richardson (336-803-2195). “But I like to move and look for bait schools with stripers under ’em and catch ’em with a jiggin’ spoon.”
As an added attraction, Richardson said he’s recently caught 5-pound walleye while jigging for stripers in 30 feet of water, along with white perch and freshwater drum. Because stripers are eating “little bitty shad,” Richardson has downsized from a 1-ounce to a half-ounce jigging spoon.
On his last trip to Kerr, aka BuggsIslandLake, Richardson caught stripers from 26 to 27 inches in length.
“I’m talkin’ about nice fish, eight pounds and a little better,” he said.
When gulls are diving on stripers that are slashing through schools of shad near the surface, Richardson likes to throw bucktails.
“I like a white 3/8-ounce butterbean bucktail, and I use a 4-inch piece of white plastic worm threaded onto the hook,” said Richardson, who uses a 6-inch Mann’s jelly worm and bites off about two inches
“Some people like ribbontail worms, but I like Mann’s,” he said. “They’re very tough and won’t fall apart after several stripers get on them.”
A lot of anglers are catching fish trolling slender minnow plugs or live bait in 15 to 20 feet of water.