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LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Walleyes have been biting and that’s a species that too many Southern anglers are overlooking. Angler’s Landing (540-672-3997) said walleyes in the 2- to 4-pound range have been hooked on minnows or nightcrawlers slowly retrieved on an in-line spinner. If it’s crappies you want drop a white hair or plastic jig into a brush pile and see what happens. Shellcracker and bluegill fishing can be terrific now.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Holly Grove Marina, 434-636-3455. Craig Karpinski reports that bass action is good. Try top-waters, plugs, lizards and frogs. Local crappie are responding to minnows and jigs. Lake residents Marty Magone and Dez Rubesch had a fine day earlier this week. Said Marty, “While attempting to escape an armada of pleasure craft we ran to the flats and had a pleasant surprise. Bass and nice catfish were slamming Rat-L-Trap type lures in three to five feet of water. Largest “cat” weighed 17 pounds. Water temperatures are in the 70’s.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bob Cat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) says the striped bass should be coming out of the rivers and the Clarksville channel should see schooling fish. Swimbaits, flukes or live shiners will get them. But Rudds, Eastland and Grassy creeks also will show rockfish action. If it’s bass you’re after, fish mid-lake points and don’t overlook the effectiveness of topwater buzzbaits and poppers during low-light hours. The upper parts of the lake continues to give up blue catfish. The crappies are done with spawning and now will move into brush piles and fallen trees.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) Although the state says the blue catfish population is still good, the biologists say the larger specimens are in a bit of a decline. However, plenty of 30- to 40-pounders are available. The bass catches have not been as good as those we see in the tidal Potomac, but some post-spawners are taken in the coves, creeks and backwaters of the river.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – The River’s Rest (804-829-2753) staff reports that bass can be caught on spinnerbaits, soft plastic worms and medium-depth crankbaits. The crappie fishing can be good if you use live minnows under a bobber, but small feather or plastic jigs also do the job. Cut bait will find large catfish now and then. Water conditions are improving quite a lot. 

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Fishing for smallmouth bass will slowly resume after weeks of up-and-down water levels and far too much rain for anyone wanting to wade or use a small johnboat. Our Front Royal river expert, Dick Fox, yesterday said, “The river is up a couple of feet and stained, but its fishable. Use caution. Rain is predicted over the next few days.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Trollers get hooked up with rockfish. Now and then breaking fish are seen and they will slam a Rat-L-Trap and various swimbaits. The bass have gone for wacky-rigged fat worms, such as the Zero or Senko models, in the shallows. Try also regular Texas-rigged plastics around wood pilings and rock formations.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles – Recent stormy weather saw river levels rise to more than 10 feet and even now the water conditions aren’t the best, but things are improving. By the weekend — barring more storms — there’ll be good fishing for smallmouth bass on a variety of spinners and tube jigs, or flyrod streamers and poppers. Interested in hiring a guide? Call L.E. Rhodes at 434-286-3366.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles – The Ocean City Fishing Center (410-213-1121) says one of its captains, Ron Taylor, who runs the Playtime charter vessel, had a 34-inch bluefin tuna and released an additional 10. The charter boat Game On had 6 yellowfin tunas, the heaviest weighing around 56 pounds, and seven false albacore. The boat Wave Dancer, with Captain Jeremy Blunt, hooked nine yellowfins and one 37-inch bluefin. You can see that good things are happening in the offshore waters. Inshore fishing is also holding steady. The headboat Morning Star found sea bass and tautogs. The down note is the slow going for flounder. Not many are caught right now, but catches of rockfish in the surf and inlets often make up for any disappointment regarding the flounder fishing.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Jumbo sea bass, some weighing as much as seven pounds are hooked over the offshore wrecks. There should be some bluefin tuna showing on the sea mounts like the Cigar, Hot Dog and 26 Mile Hill, says Dr. Ken Neill, of the Peninsula Saltwater Sport Fishing Association. Bluefish have been taken by Virginia Beach boaters and around the seaside inlets and barrier islands, anglers continue to find drumfish. Both reds and blacks are being caught. The flounder bite is improving in the Chincoteague and Wachapreague backwaters.

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