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LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Plan on catching bass this weekend. The largemouths will cruise the shorelines, searching for food. You can cash in on that with a lively jointed jerkbait, such as minnow-imitating, shallow-lipped models make by Rapala and Rebel. Do the stop-and-go retrieve and see what happens. Sunfish and a few crappies will also be hooked.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy runs the Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) concession if you need information. Plenty of bass and catfish are on the “must catch” list in the next several days. Crappies will school soon, but it hasn’t happened just yet.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Marty Magone, who lives by the lake’s shore, caught seven good bass and lost an additonal seven largemouths in the thickest weeds in the back of Great Creek the day before yesterday. “I used Rico and Chatterbait lures,” he said and added that the fishing can be pretty good if you’re willing to work for your bass. By the way, the fishing for striped bass has been great.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) will help with information about water conditions. Bass catches aren’t the greatest, but some decent catches are possible for boaters using crankbaits, even topwater lures, and, of course, scented plastics and spinnerbaits. The crappies that are caught come from deep brush piles, which isn’t the easiest way to fish for them, but it can be done. Catfish have been taken on cut baits in the upper end of the lake. The upper reaches are discolored, but the lower end is fine.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) The fishing guide Mike Hoke (804-357-8518) can be called for bookings. Hoke says the water temperatures have dropped nicely and as a result the blue and flathead catfish have been devouring cut shad, eel or whole sunfish baits. There is quite a bit of floating wood in the river caused by recent storms and strong runoff. The water is slowly clearing, but strangers to the river had better watch where they travel because of the debris.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – From River’s Rest (804-829-2753) Alton Williams says the bass fishing has plenty of ups and downs. “It’s hit and miss,” he said. Some of the bass boaters, however, are doing fine using spinnerbaits. A 6.71-pound largemouth was caught by a visitor and that is noteworthy because the “Chick” is not known for lunker bass, but it has plenty of 2- and 3-pounders. Crappie catches thus far have been very slow.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Fly fishing phenom Harry Murray (540-984-4212, says the river is clearing and providing good catches of smallmouth bass. If you’re planning to visit the South Fork, plan on boat-floating, not wading, but the North Fork, he says, is fine for wading.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Stripers continue to be active early and late in the day around the creek mouths and sharp depth changes at mid-lake. Bass have been hooked inside the creeks and they’ve gone for whacky-rigged plastic worms or quarter-ounce chartreuse/white spinnerbaits.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — The water is still a bit discolored, but unless more heavy rains arrive the smallmouth bass will jump on spinners, small topwater poppers, tubes or little crankbaits. Local experts say the smallmouths will begin to move into deeper river holes as they do every fall. That means your fishing will be better along main-stem rock ledges and dropoffs.


MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City — Offshore boaters will find plenty of marlin, dolphin (fish) and some tuna action around the Washington and Poor Man’s canyons. Inshore catches include bluefish, seabass and a few keeper flounder, with backwater anglers behind the resort city saying small bluefish, some flounder and croakers are hooked now and then, but the fishing has not been spectacular.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – One of our favorite saltwater specialists, Dr. Julie Ball (, said Spanish mackerel continue to snatch up small spoons along the Virginia Beach shore at Sandbridge and Dam Neck in 20 to 25 feet of water. “Schools of false albacore in these same areas will also hit spoons,” she added. Blueline tilefish and jumbo sea bass are taken in offshore waters, Even if it’s a little chilly, those who can make it out to the canyon waters and the Triple Os will find good numbers of white and blue marlin. Some large class yellowfin tunas are possible, maybe even a few blackfins. Dolphin (fish) hookups are common. Surf fishermen are expecting increased visits from red drum on the lower Eastern Shore.

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