Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by Captain Patsell of Cats N' Stripers Fishing Charters (540) 580 - 3487, www.catsnstripers.com. Cool night and mild days, it's hard to not enjoy this weather. Myself I am a Summer time guy and I hate to see it go, but with Fall, pretty much here, who cannot be excited for fall time fishing! It's that time of the year to get those bows sighted in and respool those fishing reels! Here's what to look for!
Stripers: Stripers as of right now are still relating to late summer patterns. But look for that to change pretty soon! Currently, focus your searches in the lower sections of the river arms, keeping at least one eye glued to the sonar. Scouting before fishing will help you fish over successful waters. Looking for either schools or scattered active fish or both. Scout through creeks and large coves in search of fish. Look around the points and underwater humps. Mostly the fish you will see will be in 30 to 55 ft. of water; with downlines and lite lines being you best methods of reaching them. Alewives will be your bait of choice, but in a pinch peanut gizzards will work too.
Artificial: Jigging action is still hot right now! Keeping your jigging rods rigged and ready as when a school of striper is found, then can be gone just as quick. 1/2-3/4 ounce jigheads matched with a fluke trailer is almost fool proof. I try to stick to a natural color such as White Ice, Pearl, Albino, Smoking Shad and the like. Jigging vertical in a short jig motion moving the rod tip, not much more than 2 to 3 ft in a jig from start to stop, than follow on a lose line back down. A pop or bump action can be added to the jig for more of erratic action... Zoom and Fin-S are the brands I choose and offer quality baits.
Crappie: I haven't heard much this summer. I would still suggest fishing at night around lights in 12 to 25 ft of water.
Catfish: The action is still good this summer for both flatheads and channel cats! Looking around creeks and coves as fishing in low light hours is still you best bet for the best action. Focus in 5 to 15ft of water for both species with live and cut baits and downsizing your baits to specifically target channel cats. Raw shrimp is also an excellent bait for channel cats. Let's do our lake and future a favor and release these catfish over 10 lbs. Plus remember the fish advisory on catfish over 32 inches should not be eaten.
LT Burnette of SML bass master reports on bass: The fishing has been extremely tough all summer long. All of the typical deepwater patterns of fishing brushpiles and rock have been hit or miss the last few weeks with a lot of missing. Some fish are being caught on drop shots and Carolina rigs on main lake points. A few are also being caught on top water lures such as poppers and walking baits as well. There are a few areas where the bass are schooling on this year's shad but they are proving to be tight lipped as well since they are focusing on extremely tiny baitfish. I look for the fishing to improve soon though as fall approaches and the temperatures cool and the summer boat traffic decreases. You can't catch 'em from the couch and remember a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day of work.