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RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (***) — The upper river continues to deliver smallmouth bass, but a slowdown on the largemouths has been noticed in the tidal parts of the river. Blue catfish are hooked now and then in Fredericksburg.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (**) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Bass, sunfish and crappies. The sunfish caught on a popping bug are your best bet.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (***) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Crappies and fly-rod-caught bluegills will make anybody happy. Bass and catfish round out the picture, but there are more willing catfish than bass.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (***) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Early and late hour topwater poppers can result in powerful strikes from bass in Songbird, Jimmy’s and Peahill creeks. Main-lake grass delivers some fat largemouths to users of soft plastic worms.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (***) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Catfish are the main catches, but early morning bass hunters also score with topwater lures and plastics. Crappies are going deep in this heat.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (***) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Large blue catfish are the rule between Richmond and the Appomattox River. The bass fishing is only so-so.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (**) — (Williamsburg area) Don’t forget the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League’s Piedmont Division bass tournament on Saturday. This will be a busy place.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (***) — (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) Front Royal’s Dick Fox reports the smallmouth bass fishing to be excellent — a strange thing to say when so many people believe the river is terribly polluted.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (***) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Some decent bass fishing is had in the upper lake. Loud surface lures and scented plastic worms are all you need.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (***) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) The water is warming, but the smallmouth bass aren’t the least bit bashful. Tubes, jigs, grubs, spinners, streamers — all of them work in rocky pools and riffles.


MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (***) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Offshore bluefish, tuna, dolphinfish and even the chance for a billfish are possible, while closer to land the headboats find seabass and a few tautogs over various wrecks. Even the new reef, created when subway cars were dumped on the Jackspot, already has turned up some bluefish. Inshore action at the Ocean City Inlet includes rockfish, sheepshead and some snapper blues. The flounder fishing in the backwaters isn’t bad, but keeper-size fish are hard to find.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (***) — Ken Neill reports that billfish have joined the offshore mix off Virginia’s coast. “Offshore action is good from Morehead City, N.C., to Ocean City, Md., and we are right in the middle of it. Tuna, dolphin, wahoo, marlin and sailfish are all being caught offshore. Out of Virginia, the Triple 0s to the 41200, east of the Cigar has been a good area to fish. Offshore bottom fishermen are doing well with sea bass, tilefish, and a few large snowy grouper.” Large amberjacks are possible at the Chesapeake Light Tower and other structures. Spadefish are being caught at the Chesapeake Light Tower and over nearby wrecks.” Virginia Beach’s Julie Ball said decent catches of nice yellowfin tuna and gaffer dolphin were accented by a whirlwind of billfish activity near the Triple Zeros where several blue and white marlin were released. Michael Hall, of Virginia Beach, landed a 38-pound dolphin while trolling at the Cigar. For more information, go to 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: