With June rolling around, the opportunity to catch some fish with the family is peaking. Many fish have just finished spawning, but the weather not yet unpleasantly hot and the kids are fresh out of school. Among many places for a family fishing trip, we’ve selected some of the best Virginia has to offer.
Anglers who enjoy saltwater action need look no further than Lynnhaven Inlet between Little Creek Amphibious Base and Fort Story Military Reservation off Rt. 60, not far from I-64 and the CBBT. The fishing pier there is nearly 1,500 feet long and has a “T” section at the end of it, offering anglers plenty of access to prime fishing waters in June in the Chesapeake Bay. The pier has been a favorite spot for decades and young and old alike can have a shot at decent spot, croaker, bluefish, some flounder, and mullet — even a puppy drum or two can be caught at the pier.
Casting baited bottom rigs will get you any of the above-mentioned fish, but lures or spoons will also take fish. Bloodworms, GULP or FishBites will draw the best hits. Number 4 hooks or number 2 hooks work well for most species and at least an ounce of weight is best. Heavier weights will allow you to cast further out and keep your bait planted on the bottom.
The best time to fish is on the incoming tide. Tides are posted on the pier so you know when the fishing is likely to be best. Night fishing is much better than the middle of the day. Anglers will find low light periods more pleasant to fish. The charge to fish the pier is $8 for anglers or spectators 12 and up and $6 for those 6 to 11 years old; kids under 5 are free. Wristbands are issued from midnight to midnight.
The pier has a tackle shop, game room, restrooms and rentals for carts and rods and reels. Be sure to take sunscreen and a camera. Crabbing is good in June and no fishing license is required. However, you must register with the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program once a year. If you already have a Virginia Saltwater Fishing License, you are already registered. You may register by phone at 1-800-723-2728. You may register online at http://mrc.virginia.gov/fip/
Go to http://www.lynnhavenpier.com/ to get the latest post on the pier. Or call 757- 481-7071.
Scott Herrmann of VDGIF has been a great source of information for us over the past few years and he was able to help us whittle down the choices for a family-fishing destination at Woodstock Pond at York River State Park.
Herrmann’s first comment about the pond was that it was “loaded with largemouth bass.” That will perk any angler’s ears up. The skinny on the bass in the pond is that they are very numerous in the 10-14 inch range, which is perfect to break kids in on. Moreover, if you let the youngsters talk you into keeping some for the frying pan it’ll help even out the size structure too.
Bass are not the only fish that your bait will entice either.
“One of the other benefits to fishing Woodstock Pond is the great population of redear sunfish and black crappies. Woodstock Pond has secretly been one of the better ponds for producing good numbers of redear sunfish in the 8- to 9-inch range. The survey showed an abundance of black crappies too. Several strong year classes of black crappies are making their way through the system. Anglers can keep busy when they find a school of some of the older crappies that measure in the 9- to 10-inch range,” Herrmann stated.
He notes that even the bluegill population is in great shape but a tad on the small side.
There are Jon boat rentals but no ramp to launch your own boat or canoe. The pond is small at a little over 7 acres, but does have some good shoreline access near the dam and on the piers and platforms. The fact that the pond is quiet and has great numbers of bass and sunfish as well as crappie make it a premier day trip or even a half-day trip if you live close by.
Bear Creek Lake State Park is another small-lake family destination for fishing and camping. The 42-acre lake is located in the Cumberland State Forest in Cumberland County and has great bass and bream fishing. The bass size distribution is excellent and there is now a two-fish-per-day limit on bass; the fish you keep must be over 15 inches.
Bass are not the only game in the lake, though. There are numerous bream that tend to be 5 to 7 inches in size, but fish over 8 inches are not uncommon. Use worms, crickets, hoppers, and bobbers to keep the kids in the action.
There are also redear sunfish, catfish and crappie available.
Anglers may only use electric motors at the lake. Bear Creek Lake can be visited by following Rt. 60 west of Richmond and Midlothian to Rt. 622. Turn north and drive to Rt. 629 and turn left.
A handicapped pier is available with a single lane concrete ramp near the dam. Camping, restrooms, a swimming area, boat rentals and other attractions are available. The park offers some cabins for rental too.