Lake Frederick Fishing Report


by Bryan "BayBass" Novotny




Sunday December 30th was a cold morning on Lake Frederick with air temps at 32.  The skies were partly cloudy most of the day with the sun poking through in the afternoon for a few hours.  I drove through sleet and snow flakes on the way to the lake located in the Front Royal area of Virginia.  Luckily the forcast called for the winds to be light and it ended up being a very comfortable day.  I arrived at the lake at 8am and launched my Ranger and got to work.  Water temp was 41 at launch, 42.5 at 2pm, and water clarity was 4.5' which is considered stained for Lake Frederick.  I'm now on my 5th Ranger and finally in a rig which has a 36V trolling motor, and I can't stress enough how much I've been missing over the years.  


On my second cast off a brush pile on the point across from the ramp, I got bit and caught my first fish on my "Search Rig" drop shot in 16'.  I call it the Search Rig because it consists of a small bite size 1.5" lime green grub with a 10" leader, and 3/8oz weight which is better used for crappie and perch fishing.  When I'm attempting to locate active fish in the wintertime, I'll go to it before switching up to larger baits for better fish.  Despite my efforts and marking more fish on the point in 10-28', I decided to move on after 90 minutes.  I headed uplake and fished a few brushpiles and timber piles in 15-25' without any success although I was marking them well in a key area on the left hand side half way up the lake.  I then headed back down the lake and fished the main point yet again, determined to get these fish to eat.  I blanked after another 30 minutes. 

I then scoped out two areas I know hold fish in the wintertime and I fished just one.  The dam area holds a ton of fish this time of year, but they are not up against the rocks the majority of the time.  Nearly 50 yards out from the rocks, far past the spillway, there is a LEDGE that runs parallel to the entire rip rap bank.  It is a sharp ledge with a good amount of structure on it.  Along this ledge there are some wood debris mixed in with large boulder style rocks specifically in the 20-30' zone.  This area was lit up but it was not on my hit list for today, so I'll go back to it in a few days.  On the way to my last spot I stopped by the fishing pier which was empty at that time, and scanned the area.

This pier is loaded with fish.  I couldn't get them to eat, and I lost $20 in drop shot rigs and blade baits, so I threw in the towell.  This pier sits in 10-23' and the very front and sides of the pier have brushpiles on it.  The crappie are thick on the front of the dock and casting out far off the pier is not the way you want to fish the pier this time of year, especially if you have live minnows/shad. I'd either live line them directly on the end or corners or run them under a float with bobber stop at 8-15'.  Dumping 2 cans of tuna mized with a 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of water and 4 tablespoons of powdered garlic will be a super way to chum them to a feeding frenzy here.  Shake it up pretty well and pour evenly over the area you want to fish.  Wait 10-15 minutes and enjoy.


With just one fish to my name and only three spots fished and one mapped out I headed up the right creek arm where I fished the small coves with submerged and standing timber/brush piles in the 12-18' range on both the left and right side.  My jerkbait started producing and I was suspending it down as far as 15-16' with long pauses.  A Pointer XD will not normally get this deep but I made tackle modifications to get it this deep today.   A few fish actually ate the bait while twitching bottom.  A few fish did not want the jerkbait in these same areas and after continued pressure I was able to get them to eat the Cincy Fisher blade bait, known to many by the ever so popular and well known Silver Buddy designed in 1983 by Paul Buddy Blanks. 

Cincy Fisher is a BayBass sponsor and owner Bryan May, has a tremendous product which I believe is better than the original, and half the price.  I'll share his link at them bottom.  I go through 100 1/2oz silver ones every year, no exaggeration.  I ended the day with a dozen keepers with no fish caught under 12", and the largest was 17.5" and 3.5lb.  My average fish was 15". 


Fishing this lake without sonar is a no-go.  Without my units, I would not be able to fish this lake with confidence.  I'm not using $3,000 units on this latest rig of mine, infact I'm not even running downscan or sidescan on this boat, but the units do the job and I have GPS mapping. That is all that matters to me.  The rest is just bells and whistles which surely do help but they don't catch the fish for you.  Here are some images of the areas I was catching fish in today. 

Many fish were suspended 10-15' down over 20' and these fish were tough to catch.  The fish on the bottom were more agressive for me today and they were coming up for the jerkbait if I didn't take it deep enough for them twitching nearly on the bottom in some instances.  I did fish the 20-32' depths without success in these same areas.  


I offered 11 different presentations to these fish with the deck full of rods.  I threw a 1oz spinnerbait with a #7 Indiana on the rear, a 1oz Chatterbait, a tube jig on a 1/4oz head, a 1.25oz structure jig with a Zoom Horney Toad trailer for the added thump and slower fall rate down the ledges, a BayBass Bug and/or grub on a drop shot, a 1/4oz grub, a Cincy Fisher 1/2oz blade bait, a Cincy Fisher 3/4oz Fat Head blade bait, a 6" Tsunami Swim Bait, a Pointer 78XD, and a Pointer 100XD.  


I fished the blade on 12oz P-Line CXX, a Daiwa Tatula 7.1:1 JDM model, and a 7'2" MH Powell Endurance.  If you have issue with the hooks getting caught in your line, you are using too light of line.  The jerkbait was a Lucky Craft Pointer 100XD fished on 15lb P-Line TCB Braid with a Shimano spinning reel and a St. Croix Avid X 6'8" M.  These were the combinations that did the damage. 


Suprisingly, none of these fish needed to be "fizzed".  If you don't have a fizz needle, you need to have one with you when fishing deep water.  I've killed (accidentally) a handful or two of bass over the years by not fizzing my fish after dragging them up from the deep.  Last week one of the Burke Lake Eagles got one of my fish after release.  I didn't have my needle, and luckily it was a small one.  Tackle Warehouse sells several types and YouTube "How to Fizz a Bass" or Google it as well if you'd like to read up more on it. 

Many anglers wonder why the bass will swim on their side or upside down in the livewell.....this has to do with their "swim bladder" having a drastic change in pressure as the angler pulls the fish through the water column.  This medical condition for Mr. Fishy is called Barotrauma.  The swim bladder is affixed to the top of the fishes abdomen.  There is a soft membrane directly underneath the spinal cord which contains no organs.  This is the "swim bladder" and it's filled via gas exchange from the blood.  The swim bladder is a sterile organ and you must use a CLEAN needle or you risk your fish developing Columnaris which is the most common bacteria among bass and can cause open soars, fin rot, and death and it is also highly contagious.  A good antimicrobial disinfectant like chlorhexidine (a cheap antiseptic) will work.  Let the needle air dry as wiping it off with anything else will contaminate it yet again.  Pretty detailed huh?  If you truely do care about your fish, you'll follow these steps and spend the $10.  Don't forget that a dead fish penalty in a tournament will cost you MUCH more.


Hey VDGIF, can we get a freakin toilet at the lake?  A Porta-Potty would be fine.  I don't need the extra soft......I don't get butt-hurt easily.  It's better than leaving a present for Greg in the parking lot.  Can you fellas also bring in some more "57 blue stone" to fill in the massive pot holes at the ramp parking lot?  I could have fit all my fish in those pot holes today and they would have all had room to swim.  The Tackle Shop in the big trailer, "Gregory's Lakeside Bait and Tackle" will be open in the spring.  Follow his Facebook page by clicking on his banner on my left column.  Greg has the Pointer jerkbaits in stock so message him on his Facebook page via the banner ad to the left on this site.  If he is out of the XD, simply downsize your line while using the DD. 


I'll be out west much more this winter than my usual stomping grounds of Occoquan River in the wintertime.  I'm on the hunt for larger bass and smallmouth and my Rangers have been all over the Shenandoah in recent years and I'm learning more without hitting any boulders yet.  My river smallmouth fishing is getting much better, and I'm hooked on those big smallmouth.  I'll be on Burke, Germantown, and Frederick as well as the Shenandoah this winter and ealy spring in the new yet used Ranger.   A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  My wife and I will be fishing at 7am on New Years Day.  Here is the link to the blade baits I've been using for years now. 1/2oz silver is the go-to.  Tell Bryan May that Bryan Novotny said hello.  

Tight Lines,

Bryan BayBass Novotny