LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – Even in heavy rain conditions, this lake can turn up catfish, bluegills and bass, maybe a crappie or two.
LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy runs the Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) concession if you have questions. The lake will take on “color,” as some fishermen describe murky conditions, but expect a catfish to take a cut bait, clam neck or strip of liver. The bass will play hard to get.
LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Our fishing pal Marty Magone said that the lake’s water levels have returned to normal pool and coupled with the many new emerging grass beds in Gaston’s feeder creeks bass fishing is on the rise. “It’s really a take your pick situation; run to the flats and uplake grass lines or motor to the back of any feeder creek looking for the visible grass beds,” he said. Tie on a topwater popper or Chatterbait and work the edges. How the bad weather system that is passing through the mid-Atlantic states with all that rain will affect Gaston is not known yet, but Gaston can handle a lot of runoff.
KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can tell you the latest water conditions. Rain generally doesn’t bother this huge reservoir, but there’ll be high water at the boat ramps. Catfish and bass are possible if you can get out.
JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) The fishing guide Mike Hoke (804-357-8518), can help with a blue catfish booking, but please don’t ask him to simply supply water condition information. The man is trying to make a living. Catfish can be cut on cut baits, but there’ll be a lot of muddy water coming down over the Richmond fall line. Don’t expect great things to happen.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – Check with River’s Rest (804-829-2753) for the latest conditions. Rain will discolor much of the river, but there are plenty of hiding spots in this waterway where boaters can fish in their rain suits. Bass and catfish are willing if you are.
SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “With the river on the rise and rain predicted all week, I would definitely call ahead before coming to the Shenandoah to do any fishing this weekend.” That sounds like good advice because the steady rains will definitely change conditions.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Rain will not affect this huge impoundment as badly as it might a river or creek. The lake can take a wet pounding, but if the wind blows, all bets are off for striper and bass fishermen that had been doing quite well over the past weekend.
UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — In two words: Forget it. The rain will raise water levels and speed up the flow. Flood warnings have been issued for the area.
MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City — Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle said that after Hurricane Irene passed by it wasn’t long before lots of stripers were caught at Indian River Inlet in the wee hours of the morning and bluefish as well as stripers were hooked around the Route 50 bridge. In addition, small bluefish came into the surf and flounder reappeared in the backwaters. However, what the current rain and wind forecasts will do to the resort city visitors who bring their rods and reels is anyone’s guess. If the wind slows down, offshore billfish and dolphin catches will be good.
VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – A. Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) reports that schools of big red drum are off the Virginia Beach shorelines.If the wind allows it, they can be caught on bait or dragging large bucktails and other artificials. If the weather allows it, fishing phenom Dr. Ken Neill says the offshore billfish bite can be excellent. “Most of the catches are white marlin but there are blue marlin, sailfish, and spearfish also being caught.” In addition, Dr. Neill said that a lot of dolphin (mahi-mahi) are in the mix. “Inshore hills like the Hot Dog and 26 Mile Hill are covered with false albacore and good numbers of dolphin. The coastal wrecks are holding good numbers of sea bass and flounder,” he added.
• For additional outdoors news, check out www.genemuellerfishing.com.