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Courtesy of Danny Feathers
Wayne Wilkerson of Vinton hooked this 48-inch-long muskie during a recent float on the James River with buddy Danny Feathers of Roanoke. Wilkerson released the fish.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Summertime fishing reports tend to fall into a rut.
That's happening this season, but the pattern is a bit unusual. Instead of reports of hot weather, low water and sulking fish, this summer has been about rain and high water.
As of midday Wednesday, the New River at Radford was rolling at 23,500 cubic feet per second. The normal for early July is just a touch over 2,000 cfs. In short, if you had plans to float fish the New on Independence Day, I hope you had a backup plan.
No matter what river or stream you hope to hit this weekend, be sure to look up current streamflow data (find the link on my Wild Life blog, under "related links").
As for stillwater fishing, keep in mind that high water has pushed a lot of debris into the region's lakes, so boat with caution.
In areas of the region's reservoirs muddied by high inflows, big and noisy lures such as spinnerbaits and jigs will take some bass. On lower ends of lakes, where the water is not as murky, topwater lures such as poppers, frogs and Zara Spooks are working OK in the evening.
After dark, many bass anglers at Smith Mountain Lake are now probing deep brush piles with big plastics, a typical July and August approach.
Smith Mountain Lake's stripers are packed in pretty big schools, and still tend to be concentrated around the mouths of major creeks. Trolling umbrella rigs will take some fish but the best action is coming on live shad fished on downlines.
Drop-shot rigs have become the go-to bass approach at Claytor Lake, reports Seth Dalton at Rock House Marina. Striper fishing has slowed down and Dalton said he hasn't been hearing much about catfish.
Walleye experts are picking up a few fish at Philpott Lake by pulling spinner rigs baited with nightcrawlers.
Again, pre-trip research is critical for river anglers. For example, while the recent rains completely blew out the New and Roanoke rivers, the James River was not as severely effected, and could be fishing well in a day or so.
As the rivers drop into fishing condition action for smallmouths should be excellent.
Al Kittredge reported great trout fishing on the Smith River during a recent rare break from Philpott Dam generation.
Spanish mackerel action has been good off Virginia Beach.
Weather JournalComplexities of ice accretion