ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — There’s plenty to report about fishing and hunting in our region this week, including news about sharks, striped bass, and the latest hunting season to open.
The sharks are moving in off of Assateague Island. A seven-foot-long sandbar shark was taken in the past week, tagged, and then released. That’s a picture of it up in the headline, courtesy of Captain Steve’s Bait and Tackle. These fish put up a fantastic fight but must be put back in the water. Anglers targeting them are reminded to be very careful, even with smaller sharks, because they can thrash and inflict bites.
Warmer temperatures haven’t affected the striper bite at Smith Mountain Lake. Good numbers of fish are being caught, but you’re going to have to fish early in the morning or late at night to take them. Trolling live bait will work from just before daybreak to a few hours afterward.
Once the sun gets high in the sky, those stripers will move deeper. You can still target them with live bait on downlines, or by trolling deep diving cranks or umbrella rigs. Gills Creek, Craddock Creek, and the dam have been the most productive areas.
The late night/overnight stickbait bite is still productive. Fishing riprap areas near Bernard’s has turned up fish.
Now that we’re into June, the size limits on stripers at Smith Mountain Lake have been lifted through the summer.
Largemouth have moved into their summer patterns. Soft plastics and jigs fished in eight to 16 feet of water has put fish in the boat. Smallmouth are also cooperating.
There are reports of huge channel cats being taken. Cut bait, chicken livers, and nightcrawlers will all work.
Excellent reports of big bass are coming out of Briery Creek. The lake just south of Farmville has been stocked with Florida-strain largemouth, which tend to run larger than northern-strain largemouth. A good number of fish in excess of five pounds have been reported from Briery Creek in the past week. Jigs in purple and in peanut butter & jelly patterns have been the ticket. But, you’ll have to go deep, those fish are being caught in the 15 to 20 foot depths.
The Late Spring Squirrel Hunting Season opens in Virginia on June 5 and runs through June 19. The Virginia Department of Wildlife resources says the squirrel population in the commonwealth is robust. Anyone who has ever eaten one understands why they are sometimes called “chicken of the trees.” You can find more information on squirrel hunting here.
The Jackson River from Covington to the Head of the James has been on fire for smallmouth bass lately. Our friend Rob England of Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures tells us 50 fish days are not uncommon. Muskie have also started moving around.
Free Fishing Days
June 4 through June 6 are free fishing days in Virginia. That means you can fish Virginia waters without a state fishing license.
Our friends at Captain Steve’s in Chincoteague say flounder fishing has been lights out in Chincoteague Bay and off of Assateague. Minnow squid sandwiches are the way to go. Whiting are taking fish bites and bloodworms in the surf.
Further down the coast, Ocean’s East Bait and Tackle report flounder have been cooperating at Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach. Good catches of black and red drum are coming from the surf. Cut bunker and blue crabs have been the bait of choice.