Smith Mountain Lake: Contibututed by Captain Travis Patsell, owner of Cats N Stripers Fishing Charters (540) 580-3487. Holidays are over, theres a chance of snow in the forecast. Its just cold outside! But I did take notice that the days are staying a slight bite longer now but its still a long time till spring. Untill then, heres what to look for:
Stripers: Bait fishing is still very productive right now. Presenting alewives and peanuts on downlines has proved very effective, as are floats and planers. Big bait will still equal big fish. Dont be scared to put your baitsn to just a ft or so from the bottom.
Artificial: Keep your eyes peeled and look for active birds working over fish. Jigging and casting is my winter time passion for stripers. Spoons are becoming effective now as the water dips close to 30 degrees. A lot of times casting will be more productive than jigging when the fish are more spread out. Try swimbaits, swamp monkeys, spinner jigs (basically same jighead as I use for flukes but has a spinner attached to the chin) and bucktails. Dont forget about Alabama Rigs A good rule of thumb in winter, cloudy day use a gold spoon, sunny use a chrome or white.
I dont have much to report on catfish or crappie right now, but you cant catch them on the couch! Please keep wearing your life jacket over your winter clothes.
Lieutenant Burnett of Smith Mountain Lake Bass Masters reports on smallmouth. Fishing this winter has far proven to be tougher than usual. The Alabama Rig bite which has been so dominant this time of year has yet to really turn on big time for most anglers. The best action has been vertical jigging spoons and drop shots in deep water on points and humps. To do this, having good electronics and being able to read them is key. It takes time and practice but once you figure it out you will have a lot of success. There are a few fish being caught on jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigs as well but has been sporadic due to the up and down weather temps and water level in the lake. Once the temperature stabilizes I look for the fishing to pick up and with deer season finally closing its time to knock the dust off your fishing gear and head to the lake!