Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by local guide Captain Travis Patsell of Cats N' Stripers Fishing Charters. (540) 580-3487. With water temperature 78, summer time is here, at least it seems so with the heavy boat traffic. Even with the boat traffic the fishing can still be good. Fishing early or late can really increase your odds of success. Here's what to look for!
Stripers: The stripers really seem to be spread out through the middle of the river arms to the lower end of the lake. I have yet to see any large schools. Mostly seeing singles or small groups of fish. Putting out a spread will help with covering water with scattered fish. Gizzards and alewives are producing quality fish too. Fish your baits on downlines at 15 to 30 ft. as well as long freeline and lite weighted flatlines behind planers, floats and the boat itself are picking up the fish. Bottom fishing with live bait is also successful. You can release the large fish successfully, as long as done quickly. A quick picture and quick head first release.
Artificial: The surface action day and night seems to be slowing as the waters warm. Running a mid depth plug, 6 ft and more or a jighead with a fluke or swimbaits attached, counted down will get you in the strike zone. Jigging season is coming when they school up more and we have already hammered a few jigging already. I do hear umbrella rig trolleys are have success.
Catfish: Flatheads and channels should be in spawn mode. Fishing can be good one evening, bad the next. Not all catfish spawn at the same time. Have a bad trip. Try again. Live and cut bait fished 5-20ft is the areas to focus in. Remember to release those cats over 10lbs.
Crappie:; A lot of crappie fishermen hang it up until fall. Your best option is at night in 10 to 20ft of water.
Smith Mountain Lake: Contributed by: Lt. Burnette of SML Bass Masters: The bass fishing is beginning to pick up on SML. Summertime patterns such as fishing deep rock and brush piles with Texas and Carolina rigged soft plastics is an effective way to catch fish this time of year. Deep boat docks with shakey heads and drop shots will also pick up fish as well. Keep an eye out for schooling fish and throw top water baits such as poppers and walking style baits into the school. The shallow night bite is still around, but the Thunderstick bite is slowly fading out. The alewives are coming up around midnight and not staying up long. If you can find them there will be bass around. Black or grape colored plastics Texas rigged on rocky points or brush will catch fish. Good luck!