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LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The lake concession’s phone number is 540/219-1673. Not much is happening now during the lake drawdown.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Many of the bass are on their beds and the crappies are jumping on jigs, grubs and darts under a bobber. Live minnows actually are not needed. The catfish are hungry and you can catch them on cut baits or strips of beef liver from the pier next to the concession stand. Angler’s Landing concession phone is 540/672-3997.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Bass are spawning and some fishermen are not doing very well. Stripers are possible and crappies are found on feeder creek bridge abutments.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles – Bobcat’s Lake Country Store 434/374-8381 can provide a water condition report. Heavy bass spawning is the rule right now. Large catfish are waiting for your cut fish baits and the crappies will leap on small minnows and artificials over brush piles, sunken trees and dropoffs next to rip-rap.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) The guide Mike Ostrander, 804/938-2350, will put you on large catfish. We’re talking trophy blue “cats.” Of course, you can head downriver to Dutch Gap and give it a shot without a guide. Upriver, at the fall line in Richmond, there’s a chance for catch-and-release hickory shad.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – River’s Rest, 804/829-2753, will provide the latest water conditions. Fairly good bass fishing now even though a fair number of the largemouths are spawning. Upper river also turns up crappies, perch and catfish. The “Chick” is a good weekend pick.


SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Front Royal’s Dick Fox, said, “The river is back to a normal level with the water temperature standing at degrees. The fishing is picking up. Its time to start looking in areas close to flowing water, then fishing the deep nearby eddys. The smallmouth bass now are more scattered. Tubes, flukes and crankbaits are working well.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Largemouth and smallmouth bass are available in the feeder creeks and along wooded shorelines in the main lake wherever cover and shallow-to-deep edges are found. Crankbaits and jig’n’craw lures can score. Some stripers are hooked now and then, but the wind has turned the fishing into a chore.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles – Look for deep pockets of water (which can be a tough assignment during these shallow water periods) and drop tube and grub lures into the holes. Smallmouth bass will be there, but also cast spinners and small crankbaits toward shore where the shallows turn into deeper layers.


MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City – Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle, 410/524-3433, said the Easter weekend saw lots of wind and cold temperatures. “It was not the greatest fishing weekend,” she added. However, when the wind settled down a fine 40-inch-long striper was caught in the surf. Before the strong winds kicked up a fuss, there were a few black drum and rockfish in the Assateague surf, but that ended when it began to blow. Foster said that local anglers are using clam, crab, or “Fishbites Crab” or combinations of the artificial “Fishbites” bait with clam, crab, or bunker to try and catch a drum. Bunker has been the most popular bait for stripers.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Large red drum (also known as channelbass or redfish) are possible along the barrier islands of the Eastern Shore. Thus far, it has been mostly surf casters or ocean kayakers who are serious about going after them. Dr. Ken Neill, however, reported that Eric Burnley caught four hefty red drum from a larger boat this week. Some of the surf casters, by the way, have hooked small black drum up to 20 pounds. Offshore waters turn up tilefish, black bellied rosefish and grouper in over 300 feet of water, according to Dr. Julie Ball ( “On the Eastern Shore, the seaside inlets near Oyster and Wachapreague continue to produce flounder up to four pounds on bare hooks donned with strip bait,” she said. By the way, get ready for tuna action. It is already happening in North Carolina waters and the tunas are heading north.

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