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RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – The water in the river above Fredericksburg is very low and clear. Just below the rock line at Route 1 bridge you’ll find some hickory shad, even white shad, but the fishing has been remarkably slow. The low, clear water is blamed for the fish playing possum. Rain is needed.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The lake dam is being repaired and water levels had to be drawn down. We’re told that it will be tough to launch a boat right now. Perhaps a very light aluminum john boat can be carried to the water. The concession is open.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Plan on hooking plenty of crappies if you have minnows and a pocketful of bobbers that can be cast into standing timber or flooded shoreline brush up and down the lake. A few largemouth bass are taken on deep-cranked lipped lures or plastic craws.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – From Holly Grove Marina, (434) 636-3455, fishing guide Craig Karpinski says that bass catches are fine around lake points. Use jigs and suspended baits. Crappie will jump on live minnows under a bobber. Of course, little jigs and spinners also work. A 74-pound catfish was caught on cut fish bait here recently.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles – Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can provide a water condition report. Bobby Whitlow says that the bass bite has been great for anglers using Rat-L-Traps and other lipless lures like it. Soft plastic worms and craws have worked as well. Big catfish are sucking in cut pieces of fish, but we haven’t heard anything about striper catches. Water temperature is approaching the low 60s.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) The catfish catches have been wonderful, but bass and crappie fishing leaves a lot to be desired. For a fun catfish outing, call Mike Hoke of Life’s Revenge Guide Service (804/357-8518)..

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – The fishing has seen lots of ups and downs. Bass should be more cooperative, what with this summer-like weather, but some largemouths, catfish, crappies and perch are caught indeed. River’s Rest (804-829-2753) will provide the latest water conditions.

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Two days ago, Front Royal fisherman, Dick Fox, said, “Fished the river this afternoon, the water was 60 degrees, stained and almost normal level. The bass fishing was slow but the crappie bite was real good and the catfish were pretty aggressive, hitting my crankbaits.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – The bass and crappies are biting in coves and in feeder creek brush and sunken rocks and logs, but striper catches aren’t the greatest right now. A few are hooked. Things will get better as far as the rockfish are concerned.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles —Smallmouth bass are taking a hard look at spinners, small spinnerbaits, tubes, jerkbaits and 1/4-ounce crankbaits. A few smallies have been caught by flyrodders using streamers.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City – Offshore wrecks are giving up tautogs and a few sea bass.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Dr. Julie Ball (drjball.com) has been doing quite well during offshore trips to various wrecks. She’s using crab baits that attract hefty tautogs. Deep wreck fishing can also turn up tilefish.

For additional outdoor news, go to www.genemuellerfishing.com