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Courtesy of Andrew East
Dale East used a white Fluke to trick this 18-inch smallmouth bass while fishing the James River from the bank near Eagle Rock.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Weather and water conditions are shaping up for what should be a nice holiday weekend for fishing.
The region's rivers that got high and muddy after Monday's heavy rains are receding into nice shape. The weekend weather forecast also holds promise, with the likelihood of warm weather without oppressive humidity.
The downside? Recreational boat traffic is sure to be heavy on a weekend that serves as the traditional launch of the summer water recreation season.
Anglers on the area's bigger lakes should expect to have plenty of company from the pleasure boat set. This probably won't be a good weekend to take the kayak out at Smith Mountain Lake unless you want to do some wave riding.
Paddlers will also likely be out in high numbers on rivers, but the fishing can still be pretty good for anglers who get an early start.
Guide Dewayne Lamb at Captain's Quarters Marina (www.smithmountainlakeboats.com) said stripers remain massed on large schools around Craddock Creek and near the dam. Slowly presented live bait was the ticket during recent trips, said Lamb, who added that fish were mostly at depths of 25 to 30 feet.
Bass are "all over the map," Lamb said, with some still in pre-spawn mode, others spawning and some done. Competing in the marina's Tuesday evening tournament, Lamb said he caught fish before dark on spawning beds, and post-spawn fish after dark on Carolina-rigged soft plastics.
Catfish are in the pre-spawn mode and hungry.
Surface plugs are still working well after dark as the alewife spawn is still going.
The same tactics are working for all species at Claytor Lake, where the bass, stripers and cats are all in the same mode.
Saturday's full moon will prompt what should be the best sunfish spawning action of the spring to this point. Once a batch of spawning nests are located, the sunfish will hit anything thrown their way.
With water temperatures rising and the bulks of rivers smallmouths done spawning, topwaters will become a key tactic. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are still working well in off-colored streams.
Trout stocking will taper off significantly after this week.
Action for big red drum has been good in the lower Chesapeake Bay, with chummers working shoals catching good numbers of fish to 50 pounds. Black drum action also has been good.
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