Weekend Fishing Report

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LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (★★★) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) You absolutely must start your fishing in the wee hours to enjoy a measure of success with bass and landlocked rockfish. The dark hours are great for tossing topwater chug lures toward rocks, wood, even open water in the case of rockfish that often show up above the Splits. After sunup, the rockfish go to the deepest holes. In the case of largemouth bass, if you throw an early morning topwater lure, they’ll do the rest, but switch to soft plastics as the sun bakes the water.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (★★) — Your best bet for smallmouth bass is a fair wading stretch around the Rapidan junction. Chartreuse/pepper grubs will do the job in low water. You’ll have to find a few deep holes to score. The tidal water bass action has been slow, but a few are taken with soft plastics near Hicks Landing.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (★★) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Slow as far as bass are concerned, but catfish and bluegills are in ample supply.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (★★★) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Largemouth bass have schooled in the early hours, chasing minnows. Surface lures can work well when that happens, but soft plastics are better as the sun rises. Crappies are willing in up to 15-foot-deep water, so be prepared to drop your line and minnow deep. Catfish are always wililng to inhale a cut bait or clam necks.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (★★★) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Lake resident Marty Magone said, “Main lake patterns are still holding. Get out early and pick any number of shallow points adjacent to the river channel. Topwater lures, jigs and plastics all work well before the jet-skis come out. Upriver, the stripers and catfish are nailing live shad rigs below the Kerr dam area. Schools of white bass can be located in 20 feet of water near the Eaton’s Ferry Bridge for fishermen using blade baits. You’ll get lots of strikes and a few [of the fish] are of good eating size.”

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (★★★) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Early hours are fine for bass around creek entrances, sunken wood and brush. Wacky-rigged plastic worms can score, so can spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. Catfish are always hungry in this lake, so bring some cut fish to be used as bait.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (★★) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) A repeat of last week: Slow going for the big blue catfish.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (★★★) — (Williamsburg area) Bass like minnows or minnow-like jerkbaits, but also topwater chug baits. Catfish are willing if you are. The river is seeing higher than normal salinity levels because of low amounts of fresh water entering the upper river.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (★★★) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) Water is warm, so start early. Cast your grubs and tubes into shoreline brush or rock formations. The smallmouth bass will take it from there.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (★★★) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Surface water temperatures are over 80 degrees so think of fishing deep when you’re after striped bass. The bass catches are holding up nicely, with Pop-R’s and Rico surface lures scoring during overcast or dark hours. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms work well during daytimes.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (★★★) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) The smallmouth bass have been cooperating in the Howardsville to Bremo area, says the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Water conditions are low, but almost daily thunder showers help a bit, although they also tend to discolor the river. P{oppers, tubes and spinners do well.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (★★★) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore boaters find marlin, even some sailfish and beautiful dolphinfish, with a possibility of hooking tasty king mackerel. The inshore waters produce chopper bluefish, but you need to work hard on any other species, such as sea bass or other wreckfish. In Ocean City’s surf expect some kingfish, skates, snapper blues and sand sharks, while the backwaters give up flounder and a few nighttime stripers at the inlet.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (★★★) — Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball (drjball.com) said, “King mackerel are making an extraordinary introduction as boats scramble to get in on this exciting bite along the Virginia Beach shoreline. Many boats are experiencing multiple hook-ups with most fish ranging around 20-pounds.” She also reported that offshore action is on the upswing with several boats returning with multiple white marlin releases and big bull dolphin catches. “Captain Mike Romeo, skipper of the Gannet out of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, scored on a trip with four whites this week,” Ball said. Another boat returned to Virginia Beach with seven marlin flags flying. The wahoos are also making a good showing. Along the Eastern Shore, flounder fishing will get underway tomorrow, but the most excitement so far these past several weeks have been visits from the Sout by large tarpon. For charters, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/491-8000.

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