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RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (★★) — The overall tidal bass fishing has slowed down quite a lot. Some catches are made on 4-inch finesse worms and Baby 1-Minus lures among the blowdowns on the shorelines or in the mouths of feeder creeks. Upper freshwater parts above Fredericksburg deliver a few smallmouths, but we’ve seen better fishing.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (★★) — (Route 793, off Route 29) The current heat hasn’t helped the fishing, but a few bass, sunfish and catfish are hooked. It’s not a bad place to spend a morning.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (★★) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) The bass catches have not improved. Blame the hot weather, but catfish, sunfish and some crappies are possible.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (★★★) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake resident Marty Magone says Songbird Creek has been hot, if it’s bass you want: “The mouth of the creek — next to the Eatons Ferry Bridge — has shown large schools of baitfish moving up on the points and bars. Get out early. The topwater action usually lasts two hours with 20- to 30 bass not unusual during that time period. Chug Bugs and Rico poppers have been productive.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (★★★) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Deep water delivers huge flathead or blue catfish that love juicy cut baits. Bass catches actually are pretty good for earlybirds.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (★★) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Slow going for everything right now. Even the big blue catfish haven’t been jumping onto the hooks.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (★★) — (Williamsburg area) Some bass, sunfish, perch and catfish are taken, but fishing boat traffic is down. People aren’t visiting in the big numbers anymore. Blame gas costs.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (★★★) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) Continued good smallmouth bass fishing, if you’re on the river before the heat gets you.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (★★★) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) The bass fishing is holding up quite well, thank you. Soft plastics, crankbaits and topwater baits can do a good job around lake points, boat houses and stump fields early and late in the day.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (★★★) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) At the risk of sounding like a broken record: This place is fine for smallmouth bass, but if heavy, prolonged rains come, forget it.


MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (★★★) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore billfish action is getting better every day. Of course, some decent dolphin fish, king mackerel and sharks are taken, with large bluefish decked in the Jackspot and Bassgrounds areas. Headboats find some sea bass, but it’s not the best fishery in the world. In the backwaters behind Ocean City, small flounder are typical, but some keepers are found by minnow drifters. The surf shows typical summer fare: kingfish, sand sharks, snapper blues.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (★★★) — Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball ( said Eastern Shore small-boaters continue to get excited over sightings, even hookups, of tarpon. Yes, tarpon. “Amberjacks are taking live bait and jigs at the Southern Towers, as well as several offshore wrecks,” she said. Offshore billfish action is on the rise as more white and blue marlin are hooked. Some yellowfin tunas are caught, but most of the tunas are of the 100-pound bluefin variety. Quite a few dolphin fish, king mackerel and wahoos are boated. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/491-8000.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: