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RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 40-80 miles – The rain, says Virginia biologist John Odenkirk, can actually be beneficial. “The water could stand having a little color in it,” he said, “but if the rain continues, it can be a problem.” So far, the smallmouth bass catches are good, so is the tidal largemouth bass fishing, with the Fredericksburg sector delivering good catfish opportunities.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The concession stand’s Lori can be reached best during weekends at 540/219-1673. If you can approach the water, go for crappies, bass and sunfish even though the levels are still way down.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy of the Angler’s Landing concession (540-672-3997) will provide water condition reports if you need them. The bass, catfish, sunfish and crappies are biting.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Holly Grove Marina (434-636-3455) can provide water condition reports. The bass are definitely off the beds and in some areas, the catching is not very good, but you’re sure to hook plenty of male bass around the lake’s shorelines. The crappie bite has been good, especially if you bring a pail filled with bait minnows.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles – Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) has lake condition reports if you need them. Catfish are on a rampage, said one lake visitor who caught blue cats in the 30-pound range on slabs of alewife bait that he brought with him froma Chesapeake Bay supplier. The bass fishing is in a transition period now that the spawning is done. Some days the fishing is good, others it can be terrible.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) It’s mostly blue catfish time, but there are some decent bass caught in the “graveyard” and down in the feeder creeks below the Appomattox River.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – River’s Rest (804-829-2753) will have water conditions for you if you require them. The bass catches have perked up, but they will get much better in a week or so when the up-till-now tired females will want to fatten up after their spawning chores. Crappie and catfish add to the day’s activities here.

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – If much more rain visited as this was written, it will hurt your fishing for smallmouth bass. But before it poured, the smallies jumped on soft plastic grubs and spinner lures.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – Cooler than normal nighttime temperatures have made bass fishing a chore this week, but the creeks and stump-laden shorelines are home to plenty of largemouths, while rocky areas hold smallmouth bass. No word yet about explosive rockfish action. Some are caught, but things could be better.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles – The local guide Guide L.E. Rhodes (434) 286-3366 may be talked into providing water condition reports. So far, the smallmouth bass fishing is holding up well even in slightly stained water, but here’s hoping not much more rain will fall.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 165 miles to Ocean City – Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City said the flounder fishing has not improved all that much. Blame windy and overcast cooler weather. But the tautogs took baits in the resort city’s inlet. There’s a decent chance of catching a striped bass in the surf from Ocean City and down along Assateague Island, but don’t promise the neighborhood a free fish dinner until after you’ve caught the rockfrish. Offshore boats have been in port because of the recent winds.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Dr. Julie Ball (drjball.com) reported that big red drum are still patrolling the breakers off Smith and Fisherman’s islands on the Eastern Shore. Incoming tides provide the best results of late. “Surf anglers are still faring very well on the reds from Smith and Myrtle Islands, with good sized striped bass to over 41-inches also taking offerings,” she said. The red drum action is also picking up along the Nine-Foot shoal area, especially in the evenings. Both peelers and blue crabs are working well, but alewifes will also get the job done. Bluefish are hooked along the Virginia Beach ocean front and inside Rudee Inlet. Surf and pier anglers are pulling small spot, sea mullet and medium-sized croakers out of the surf line off Ocean View and Little Creek.

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