Outdoors Bound: Fish, crabs, and fake plastic trees!

Outdoors Bound

George Noleff with a typical SML striper

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Here is what we’re hearing about fishing, hunting, and the outdoors this week:

Lakes

Fish have moved into their summer patterns at local lakes.  That means largemouth and smallmouth bass have moved deeper during the day.  You can still target those fish with soft plastics, jerk baits, and spinner baits early, but once the sun goes high those fish go deep, and it turns into a jig bite.  Some fish are being taken on deep-diving cranks, as well.

On Smith Mountain Lake and Claytor Lake, striped bass will still take shad, shiners, alewives, and bluebacks trolled up in the water column early in the morning.  As the day goes on stripers move deeper.  Live bait fished on down lines, or A-rigs or diving cranks/jerks trolled deep will also take fish.

Kim Smith holds up a striper on SML

Anglers at Philpott are taking walleyes and bass fishing jerk baits in the shallows after dark.  Some walleyes are being taken on nightcrawler harnesses fished off of bottom bouncers during the day.

Panfish and channel catfish are cooperating in a big way.  Good catches of sunfish and bluegills are being reported, as are banner catches of channel cats at most area lakes.

Rivers

Staunton:  Smallmouth action has been fair from Leesville to below Brookneal.  Spotted bass have been good.  Some walleye are being taken in deep holes.  Channel cats are also in the mix.

Roanoke:  Smallmouth and largemouth are holding in deep holes near cover. 

James:  Smallmouth action has been fast from the Head of the James down to Buchanan.  Some muskies are also being caught.

Jackson: Trout are being taken above Covington upstream to Lake Moomaw.  Fair smallmouth catches have come from Clifton Forge to Iron Gate.

New River:  Walleye are being taken on deep trolled cranks and on crawler harnesses fished off of bottom bouncers from Allisonia to Claytor Lake.  Good catches of catfish are being reported with some giants in the mix.  The smallmouth action has been good from below Claytor to the West Virginia line.

Salt

Virginia Beach:  Good catches of kingfish (whiting) and spot are being made in the surf and from the piers.  Bloodworms and Fishbites are the go-to baits.  Puppy drum are being taken on soft plastic and cut bait.  Good numbers of Spanish mackerel and bluefish are being taken from the piers.  Throwing Gotcha plugs and casting spoons have paid off for both species.

Up the coast, decent catches of flounder are still being made near Chincoteague and Assateague.  Most of the bottom fishing has turned to kingfish.  Crabbers are taking good numbers of crabs chicken-necking off of bridges and near the Beach Access Road.

Fish Habitat

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) has placed 16 artificial fish habitat structures around Leesville Reservoir.  They’re made out of reclaimed plastic and resemble fake trees. They will provide structure to create hiding places for the forage fish base.  That forage will attract gamefish.  Leesville is an under-fished resource with wide water fluctuations. The VDWR has a guide to fishing it.

VDWR places artificial habitats in Leesville

Hunting & Trapping Guide

It’s not too early to start gearing up for the fall hunting season.  The 2021-2022 Virginia Hunting and Trapping Digest is now available from the VDWR.  It details all of the hunting and trapping regulations for the upcoming fall and winter seasons.

Courtesy VDWR

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