Outdoors Notes for May 14, 2021; latest fishing reports

Outdoors Bound

Alex McCrickard of the VDWR holds up a walleye caught on the Staunton River

(WFXR) — Here are the latest fishing reports from around southwest and central Virginia for Friday, May 14:

Smith Mountain Report

The striper bite at Smith Mountain Lake continues to be good.  Weston Hartman of Hartman Guide Services say fish the lower lake from the Craddock Creek area to the dam.  Trolled alewives and blueback herring will produce. 

A SML striper taken on trolled live bait

Hartman says the alewives are starting to spawn, so rip rap areas in the early morning or after sundown are worth targeting.  You can also cast to those fish with F-18 Rapalas, Storm Thundersticks, and Bomber Long As.

Largemouth bass are off the beds for the most part.  They’ll be up in the rip rap feeding on those alewives, too, so throw jerkbaits and spinnerbaits shallow.  They’ll go deeper as the sun goes higher.  Standard soft plastic presentations will take them then.

We are starting to get good reports of catfish moving shallow to feed on spawning alewives, as well as bluegills and shad.  Standard baits apply, so go after those cats with cut bait, minnows, crawlers, or livers.

Good catches of panfish are being reported.  If you’re looking for some tasty table fare work any dock or submerged structure near sand for those fish.

Philpott Report

Philpott Reservoir is producing good catches of walleye as those fish move into the shallows after dark to feed.  Jerkbaits are the way to target those fish. 

Largemouth and smallmouth at settling into their summer patterns.  Soft plastics fished off of points and near submerged cover will take fish.  Runnett Bag Creek has been especially productive for largemouth.

Carvins Report

Up at Carvins Cove they’re catching a mixed bag.  Hybrid striped/white bass have been hitting trolled Jerkbaits, as well as minnows and chicken livers fished on the bottom.  Drop shotting has taken largemouth bass.  We’re also told the topwater bite has started.

James & Jackson Report

Rob England of Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures tells us the action is heating up on the James and the Jackson.  Rob fishes the stretches from Covington down through Botetourt for muskie and smallmouth, and he says both species are moving into summer patterns.

Smallmouth will go after topwater baits under the right conditions.  Larger fish are holding in deep, slow pools and can be targeted with ned rigs, whacky rigs, and jigs.  More smallies are holding in the current seams and using jerkbaits is a good way to find them.

A nice Jackson River smallie/Courtesy Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures

Large glide baits and large spinners are the go-to for muskies.  They’re holding in shallow areas with cover adjacent to drop-offs.

On the upper Jackson, trout are hitting caddis, stoneflies, and blue-winged olive nymphs. Black and silver Joe’s flies are also producing.

Claytor Report

Claytor has turned up some quality stripers lately.  Fish in the 12 to 15 pound range have been reported.  They hit trolled live shad.  Bass are holding on deep points and have hit diving cranks, chatterbaits, and soft plastics fished deep.

New River

Looking to catch smallmouth or channel cats?  You may want to hit the New River.  There’s good smallie action from Buck Dam down to Claytor, and then again from below Claytor the state line.  Small spinners, jerkbaits, neds, jigs, and swimbaits are catching those fish.  Live bait is also a good option. 

Catfish are moving shallow at dusk.  You can also catch them holding in deeper holes during the day.  Live bait is most effective. 

The occasional walleye is showing up in the mix above Claytor.  Muskie action has been fair.

Staunton River

The Staunton is an often overlooked fishery in our region, and it shouldn’t be.  Good catches of white bass and walleye are being reported from the Brookneal area.  Excellent smallmouth and spotted bass catches are being made from Leesville down to Kerr Reservoir.

Trout Report

There is one more month left in the VDWR’s trout management stocking program.  Look for the Roanoke River, Glade Creek, and Tinker Creek to get at least one more stocking.

Scott Wood holds up a big rainbow

Turkey Season

Spring turkey season ends on Saturday May 15.  We’re hearing the harvest has been good this spring.

Dallas Morris with a nice bird

Just Add Salt

Good catches of puppy drum are still being made in the inlets around Virginia Beach.  That’s the word from our friends at Oceans East Tackle in Virginia Beach. Big black and red drum are producing decent action in the surf and in the bay. Target those fish with hard crabs and clams.  Some cobia have been caught south near Sandbridge.  A few whiting and Spanish mackerel have been reported at the piers. Use Gotcha plugs to take the mackerel; cut bait, clam snouts, or squid for the whiting.

Further up the coast, Captain Steve’s in Chincoteague is reporting decent catches of striped bass and black drum in the surf. High-Low rigs baited with peelers or sand fleas will take those fish.  Remember that it’s catch and release for stripers right now in saltwater. The flounder bite continues in Assateague and Chincoteague Bays. 

A big striped bass taken in the Assateague surf

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