Fishing reports and outdoors notes for May 7

Outdoors Bound

(WFXR) — There’s a lot happening on the outdoors front in our region. Here’s a little of what we’ve been hearing”

Smith Mountain Lake Report

The striper, largemouth, and smallmouth action at Smith Mountain Lake has been hot.  Good catches of all three species have been reported in the past week.  The cold front that’s moved in could slow things down. 

Striped bass have been hitting trolled blueback herring and shad.  The lower sections of the main lake and the Blackwater arm have been productive areas. Captain Weston Hartman of Hartman Guide Services tells us he’s been focusing on shoals, islands, and humps during the day. He also says Craddock Creek is a good area for striper anglers to explore. He’s looking forward to the alewife spawn when stripers and bass will move into the rip rap to feed on those spawning baitfish. Night casting with F-18 Rapalas, Berkley Hit Sticks, Bomber Long As, and Storm Thunder Sticks will take those fish.

Smallmouth are hitting swimbaits, swim jigs, Texas-rigged soft plastics, and deep cranks.  Cranks and soft plastics in crawfish patterns are taking fish.

There are still largemouth on beds, though many are moving off.  Dropshotting has been taking fish, so have Texas and Carolina-rigged soft plastics. Swim baits are also a good option as those fish key on shad. Captain Hartman says the bass fishing has been stellar! Look for those fish in the five to ten foot depth range.

Some channel catfish have moved into pre-spawn summer patterns and are actively feeding.  Cut bait, livers, and nightcrawlers have produced.  Look for those fish near sandy points, and especially near where bluegills are holding.

Panfish action has been fair.

A nice SML striper taken on trolled live bait

Claytor Lake Report

Good catches of stripers and hybrids are being made on trolled shad.  Some walleye are being taken in the upper end of the lake. 

A mixed bag of bass – largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted – are being taken.  Spinnerbaits and dropshots are the way to go.

New River Report

The smallmouth bite has been phenomenal from Allisonia up to Buck Dam.  Jigs, neds, and swimbaits will take fish. 

Some native walleye are in the mix.  They’ll also take minnows and Jerkbaits.  The catfish bite is picking up. 

Some muskies are also being taken, mostly on large inline spinners. 

Below Claytor smallmouth and muskie have been cooperating; jigs for the smallies, large soft body lures for the muskies.

Staunton River Report  

The walleye and smallmouth bites have been on fire.  The stretch from Altavista to Brookneal has been producing.  Look for those fish holding in seams where current meets slack.  Swimbaits, flukes, and jigs will take fish.

Kentucky spotted bass are being taken near downed timber on soft plastics. 

Good catches of white bass are being made on jigs and flukes. When a school of those aggressive fish move in, the action is fast.

Alex McCrickard of the VDWR holds up a nice walleye caught on the Staunton near Brookneal

Philpott Lake Report

Smallmouth bass are cooperating in the lower end of the lake on swim jigs and jerk baits. Look for them around deep points.

Jerk baits are also taking walleye.  The night bite for walleye is picking up. The areas near Twin Ridge and Deer Island have given up fish.

Largemouth bass are hitting jerk baits, swim jigs, and swim baits fished throughout the lake.

Scott Woods with a nice Philpott walleye

James & Jackson River Reports

Our friend Rob England at Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures say the Jackson smallmouth bite has been spectacular.  He’s had 50 fish days recently.  The stretch from above to Clifton Forge down to the James has been stellar for smallies, especially on swimbaits and neds.  The muskies should be just about ready to fire up.

Jackson River smallmouth bass/Courtesy Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures

Trout action has been good on the Jackson below Gathright Dam.  Streamers and minnow imitations appear to be the key there.

A gorgeous Jackson River rainbow

Local Trout

The Roanoke River at Salem received a new stocking of trout on Thursday, May 6.  Powerbait, nightcrawlers, and Gulp minnows will take those fish.  Any sort of bead head nymph will also produce on the fly.

Get Salty

For those wanting to make a run to the coast, saltwater fishing has really picked up.  The folks at Ocean’s East Bait and Tackle in Virginia Beach report good tautog, black drum, and red drum action near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Whole or half crabs have been the bait of choice.  Some speckled trout and flounder are moving in.  The areas near Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlet have seen an increase in numbers.  Good catches of puppy drum are being made there, too.

Further up the coast, the folks at Captain Steve’s in Chincoteague say the flounder bite is on.  Good catches of keeper fish are being made.  Bucktails and the trusty old squid and minnow sandwich have been catching fish.

Chincoteague Flounder caught this week/Courtesy Captain Steve’s

Grin and Bear It

Sgt. Randy Dillow of the Bland County Sheriff’s Office got a bit of a surprise while out on patrol last Tuesday, he encountered two bear cubs that had been treed.  After snapping a picture he did what we’re all supposed to do. He left them alone.  Sure enough, the mother bear returned later to collect her cubs.  Mother bears will often tree their young if they sense danger, and then return for them once the threat passes.  If you see bear cubs in trees by themselves for more than four hours, call the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Bear cubs in Bland County/Courtesy Bland County Sheriff’s Office

Spring Turkey

You have until May 16 to get that turkey. That’s when the season closes in Virginia this spring. We are hearing of good numbers of birds being harvested.

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