Lake Gaston is located
in both Virginia and North Carolina. It is a large lake of 20,300 acres. Many
professional and amateur tournaments are held here each year, so it receives a
good deal of fishing pressure. This is where we competed in the regional finals
for the Red Man Tournament Trail in 2000. The main species of fish in the lake
are largemouth bass, striped bass, and black crappie. Other species include some
walleye, chain pickerel, white perch, bluegill, and catfish. The main forage
base is composed of alewife, gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and herring.
Lake Gaston has
relatively stable water levels, and high quality water. There is a good
population of largemouth bass, with many large fish available. Most of the bass
we catch at Gaston run around 15 inches and about 1 1/2 pounds. We have caught
numerous 5 and 6 pounders and some larger fish were caught in the finals. In
fact, some of these fish were 8 or 9 pounds. The lake record is 14 pounds 2
ounces, so there are plenty of big bass left in Lake Gaston. Gaston's striped
bass fishery depends mainly on stocking. Many striped bass are caught each year
that weigh 3 to 8 pounds, but plenty of 20 pounders are taken each year. The
walleyes are doing well at Gaston also and many trophy fish of 8, 9, & 10 pounds
are caught. We caught a few of the Stripers while fishing for bass on the Lucky
Craft crankbait shown below.
The striped bass make a
spawning run each year up to the Roanoke River in April and May. Lake Gaston has
a variety of structure also, such as submerged bridges, stumps, submerged roads,
and lots of grass in the summer. Most of the water flowing into Lake Gaston
comes from the Roanoke River. The visibility in the lake usually ranges from 4-8
feet, although heavy rains can make it muddy. There is a thermo cline in Gaston
in the summer at about 20-25 feet. In the summer, oxygen levels are low are far
down as Great Creek. The bottom is sand and gravel with some flats covered in
silt, and clay hillsides. The shoreline is mostly wooded, with some high slopes.
North Carolina Power and Virginia Power owns the entire 350-mile shoreline.
There are lots of docks, rip rapped banks, and brush piles. There are really a
lot weeds, including elodea, milfoil, and hydrilla. This is especially true in
the creek arms and coves, with the deep weed line at about 10 feet. They do
treat the grass and also have added some grass carps.
The best locations for
largemouth bass in the spring (March & April) are the north side creeks,
especially Pea Hill and Lizard. They normally turn on first as soon as the water
temperature reaches about 50 degrees. The next places that turn on is the
Southside arms, especially Lees and Poe. We like to fish these areas around the
boathouses, rip rap, and lay downs with a chrome / blue Ambush Stealth Diver and
a Terminator Colorado spinnerbait. We stick to the structure that is in the 5-10
foot deep water. Bass here start to spawn around April 15th, and last till
around June. The other areas that can be real productive are Pea Hill and
Six-Pound Creeks. Sometimes we use floating worms, and wacky-rig them for some
hot action. Another method that works well in these areas is soft plastic
jerkbaits. During the tournament, and at other times also, we really caught most
of the better fish on these baits. "Sizmic" Flu-Go's" were our top producers.
Lake Gaston is known for a good top water bite. You can really get into some
decent bass in these areas on buzzbaits and poppers also. Even Lucky Craft
"Sammy's" produce well at times.
Later in the year, about
June, the largemouth like to relate to classic bottom structure like humps,
points, and stream channels, or even large beds of hydrilla. These hydrilla beds
produce large bass as well as numbers until about September. We usually probe
the deep weed line with a Texas-rigged worm or Yamamoto grub. The 'SENKO's' also
produce well here. Usually in the mornings and at dark, we twitch jerkbaits over
the top of the hydrilla, or even throw Terminator buzzbaits.
If you like to fish
structure, then the main lake points at creek mouths like Pretty Creek are good.
Another good spot that has bass on humps and drop offs is Hub quarter and Lyons
Creeks. The 15-20 foot deep area is best, as that is where most of the baitfish
are. Carolina rigged lizards are a good choice, as are for worms, 'SENKO's' and
grubs. At times, we catch good fish here on deeper crankbaits as well. The water
starts to cool off a lot in October and November, and the bass start moving back
to the 5-10 foot deep water. The best areas at this time are Jimmie's, Lizard,
and Six-Pound Creeks. We use a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jig at this time, with a
black/blue or brown/orange 'Uncle Josh Pork trailer'.
We like to carry several
spinning rods for the lighter lures, in different lengths, from 6-61/2 feet,
with a medium action, in a good graphite rod such as a G Loomis and Falcon. We
like Shimano and Tica reels, spooled with a 8-10 pound Trilene. For baitcasters,
we carry a variety of rods, in 6 1/2 to 7 foot lengths, in a medium/heavy
action, and a crankbait rod, in 7 foot. We use Falcon's and G Loomis rods, and
Shimano reels on most outfits, with 17-20 pound test.
Owner of Anglers
Radio and Delaware Tackle at http://www.reeltimeanglers.com