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Courtesy of Jenae Patsel
Alexander Davis hit Smith Mountain Lake for his 11th birthday with cousin Travis Patsell, and was rewarded with this 16-pound striper.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
After a couple of days of thankfully dry weather, the region’s rivers had been dropping.
But even though the weather forecast for the weekend looks great at this point, caution is still the order of the day, especially with the thunder showers that hit Wednesday afternoon across Western Virginia.
The New River still has the appearance of the mighty, muddy Mississippi. Even if the rain finally ends, fishing by this weekend could be iffy. Prior to Wednesdays’s storms, smaller rivers were in better shape than they had been recently and the James was at a pretty good fishing level.
The region’s big reservoirs are offering a mixed bag. Fishing is about what you’d expect it to be for this time of year. The upper ends of the lakes are in pretty rough shape, however, with lots of color and lots of debris.
Vigilance can help protect your boat’s lower unit.
Usually in July, Claytor Lake is super clear and that can lead to really tough fishing.
After a steady dose of high water from the upper New River for much of the past six weeks, even the lower end of the lake has a nice greenish tint.
That may be what is contributing to a fairly unusual shallow water bass bite. Seth Dalton at Rock House Marina said that many competitors in the marina’s Tuesday night tournament were catching their bass in 4 feet of water. The winning weight was 12.5 pounds, which is pretty decent for July. Drop-shot rigs are most anglers’ approach of choice.
Striper fishing and catfishing have both been slow at the lake. Dalton cautioned that debris is heavy on the lake’s upper end.
At Smith Mountain Lake, live bait on downlines is still working well for stripers, according to Hawk Lamb at Captain’s Quarters Marina. Hot spots include Betty and Beckys Creek, Indian Point and near the dam.
Topwater lures such as Zara Spooks and poppers are taking some bass early and late in the day. After dark, many anglers continue to go with big plastics fished around main lake points and brush in 10-15 feet of water.
As rivers recede into safely fishable conditions, noisy lures such as spinnerbaits and rattling crankbaits should do well on smallmouth bass. Jigs fished in eddies can also work well when the water is high.
Cobia fishing remains good in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Chummers working shoals are finding good numbers of fish. The excellent Spanish Mackerel action off Virginia Beach continues.
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