Gene Mueller’s weekend fishing report

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RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (***) -The upper river turns up smallmouth bass in fair numbers, and the waters below Fredericksburg have mostly been good for catfish, some perch, but very few bass. The tidal water bass catches improve a bit by the time you reach Port Royal.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (**) - (Route 793, off Route 29) Crappies are biting; so are the bluegills. Bass numbers aren’t the best.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (***) - (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Catfish are taking bottom-fished clam necks or nightcrawlers, while the fly-rod poppers are scoring on fat bluegills that are spawning. Bass numbers could be better.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (***) -(Route 46, Gasburg) Lake and creek rip-rap delivers well-fed bass, as do the grass beds up-lake.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (***) - (Route 58, Clarksville) Catfish love bottom-fished bluegills or cut fish slabs. Bass and crappies are in shoreline brush.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (***) -(Tidal Richmond area and downstream) This is the top place in the middle Atlantic region for blue catfish up to 60 pounds. Bottom-fished slabs of herring or menhaden do the job. The mouth of the river has lots of fat croakers.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles (**)- (Williamsburg area) On June 14 this will be a busy place as the WalMart Bass Fishing League’s Piedmont Division holds its bass tournament.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (***) - (Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas) Front Royal’s Dick Fox says the smallmouth bass are little, but very willing. “They’ll look at anything you throw,” he said.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (***) - (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Many bass are either still spawning, or just now leaving the beds. The fishing is good, including nighttime boaters who jig lures and baits in the “S” Curve.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (***) -(Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Fine catches of smallmouth bass are possible. Use spinners, streamers, tubes, grubs or small crankbaits.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (***) -(Route 50 to Ocean City) The DNR’s Keith Lockwood says the head boats are finding sea bass and tautogs on the offshore wrecks and the catches have been good. Offshore tuna catches are bound to pick up steam after wind and rain and cooler night temperatures. The Jackspot, Hambone and Hot Dog areas show chopper bluefish roaming about. Inshore surf anglers find sharks and a scattered bluefish now and then.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (***) - Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) reports fine bluefin and yellowfin catches in the far offshore waters. Inshore catches include newly arrived spadefish, with some wreck anglers continuing to find tilefish and groupers. 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: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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