LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Slow going for bass, but sunfish and catfish are possible. The water simply is too warm for productive bass outings.
LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy runs the Angler’s Landing (540-672-3997) concession if you have questions. Catfish and bluegills are willing if you are. The bass catches are down, way down.
LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Holly Grove Marina (434-636-3455) will supply last-minute weather conditions if you’re heading this way. Early mornings in the upper lake areas and feeder creek mouths are good for topwater hookups on stripers and some hefty bass, but overall numbers are not what they will be when autumn arrives.
KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can tell you the latest water conditions. Catfish are heading the list of catches and a few bass boaters say they’re finding a largemouth now and then. Let’s face it, it’s the summer doldrums and the fishing will get better eventually.
JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) A few hefty blue and flathead catfish are hooked in the Dutch Gap area on chunks of juicy, cut fish attached to bottom rigs, but little else is happening right now.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – Check with River’s Rest (804-829-2753) for the latest water conditions. The bass fishing has seen better days, although a few decent largemouths are taken early in the day along brushy or marshy shorelines on soft jerkbaits, fat worms that are wacky- or Texas-rigged.
SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “The river remains low, with water temperatures staying around 85 degrees. The fishing has slowed up a bit, what with the warmer water, but smallmouth bass can still be caught. We are still using the same lures, such as topwater plugs, spinners and small plastic baits. Your best bet is to fish early in the day or late in the evening.”
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Nighttime striper anglers find some action, but you must seriously hunt for your smallmouth or largemouth bass. The fish in this lake don’t care for hot weather and they’ve seen far too much of it this year.
UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — Local Guide L.E. Rhodes (434/286-3366) can be called if you wish to book a professional. Meanwhile, the next several days should be good for waders and johnboaters going after smallmouth bass with a variety of lures. That includes flyfishing streamers and poppers.
MARYLAND: 153-175 miles – Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City said the flounder fishing in the back bays and from the ocean pier has been very good. Although you must content with plenty of undersize flatties, a good number of 18- to 22-inch specimens have been hooked on drifted minnows or squid strips. “Croaker fishing is up and down in the bay,” she said, with some days turning up bonanza catches, while others give up little. “Bluefish are biting around the Inlet area and Route 50 Bridge and a few nice stripers were caught at the inlet,” added Foster. If you like big Norfolk spot, the back bay is loaded with them. Sharks, skates, small bluefish and kingfish are hooked in the surf, with the Route 50 bridge a good bet for stripers and blues. The nearby offshore headboats find sea bass and flounder, while the distant blue-water boats get into billfish, sharks and dolphin fish when all goes right.
VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – According to the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, the Spanish mackerel fishing along the Virginia Beach ocean front continues to deliver the goods. Many of the fish weigh over two pounds (which is good for Spanish mackerel) and they’re caught by swiftly trolling small silver spoons and the like. Good numbers of snapper bluefish are mixed in with the mackerel. Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) adds that black-tip sharks up to six feet in length are showing up in coastal chum slicks. Black-ti0p sharks up toPlenty of Taylor bluefish are also around. A good number of sharks, especially black tips, are sniffing out chum slicks along the coastal and lower Bay waters. Some of these fish are pushing to over 6-feet. “Amberjacks are still circling offshore wrecks and the Southern Towers,” said Ball, “but the fish are holding tight to the towers lately.” In the distant offshore waters, the billfish action is still good, with blue marlin showing up more frequently. Catches are spread out from the Norfolk Canyon to the Cigar. Tuna are widely scattered, and a few dolphin fish, wahoos and mako sharks are hooked.
• For additional outdoors news, check out www.genemuellerfishing.com.