Smith Mountain Lake: Stripers: Bait fishing is awesome right now, with planer board season in full swing! Big bait equals big fish. Small bait equals numbers. Big gizzard shad or alewives placed behind boards or floats is your best method right now.
Stripers, artificial lures: Casting to shallow water right now is really paying off. Best times are early morning and late afternoon. Some scattered single fish can be seen busting. But working the points and areas holding bait are really paying off. Casting lures such as flukes, swimbaits, bucktails and my favorite the Swamp Monkey. As well as shallow running plugs like Yo-Zuri crystal minnows, bombers, x raps and the like are all key to success on artificial.
Catfish: Look for the cat bite to pick up big time as the water warms into the 50s. Fishing from and anchored boat and placing cut baits in 10 to 25ft. of water during the day time will surely pick up the channel cats. Look for the flatheads to pickup as well. Fish the same depths with cut and live bait. Finding the bait fish will find you the cats.
Crappie: With the water warming look for the smaller crappie to move to the brush first. Fishing open water in 10 to 20 ft, with a good sonar you can locate the schools of big crappie. Spider rigging is successful when fishing open water to cover a lot of water. Minnows on slip corks are always good as well as 1/16-1/8 ounce tube and twister tails.
With a lot of big fish being caught this time of the year, remember to CPR - catch, photo, release to preserve are fishery.