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Courtesy of Tommy Brown
Tommy Brown of Troutville pulled this 10-pound bass from Briery Creek Lake earlier this spring.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Unstable weather continues to shape fishing action across the region.
Heavy rain early this week once again blew out many of the region's rivers. After dropping to a great fishing level of 1,200 cfs before the rain, the James River at Buchanan boomed up to 20,000 cfs by Tuesday afternoon. The New River in Radford was up to 15,600 cfs Tuesday afternoon.
Dry conditions for a couple days helped the rivers drop, but thunderstorms seem to be an almost daily threat.
One reason streams are rising so much with each rain is that soil is already saturated, leading to extra runoff.
Until we've had a long stretch of dry weather, make sure to check stream flow data (do a Web search for Virginia streamflow data) before heading out.
And remember, the smaller the stream and the higher up the watershed, the faster the stream will drop after rain.
James Clayton at Parkway Marina (www.parkwaymarina.com) said daytime bass fishing at Smith Mountain Lake has been so-so, with winning tourney weights in the 13- to 15-pound range.
Early and late in the day, topwaters will take some bass. On the lower lake, small, dark topwater lures can fool bass that have been looking up for cicadas.
Striper fishing has been good on live bait in the morning.
Alewives are still coming in to the banks at night on Smith Mountain and Claytor lakes, but the peak of the action is happening later by the day.
Slow-waked plugs such as Redfins and Thundersticks are still taking stripers and bass, but the bite is on its last legs.
The region's rivers are receding into decent shape but, as we've seen a lot this spring, that can quickly change with the arrival of strong thunderstorms.
When the region's larger smallmouth bass rivers drop, action should be excellent as smallmouths should be out of the post-spawn doldrums by then.
In murky water, single-bladed spinnerbaits and crankbaits should work well. Hopping big jigs through mid-river rocky structure is also a great tactic.
Because of high water, the region's Delayed Harvest trout streams still have some fish. With steady warm weather, many of the DH waters will soon warm to the point where trout can't survive, so get on the fish as soon as the water drops to fishable levels.
Red drum action has been good in the lower Chesapeake Bay, where cobia are also starting to arrive in better numbers.
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