Smith Mountain Lake: With this type of weather we're having, fishing or not, this is an amazing time to enjoy the lake, scenery and fall colors. Still, the fishing is good and here's what to look for:
Stripers: Now is the time! And an awesome time it can be. Look for most of your stripers to be in the mid to upper reaches of the lake. Some schools of smaller fish hang out in the lower reaches of the lake. Methods for the fall can be a variety, from shallow planers to deep downlines. A good rule of thumb, is to go deeper as the sun gets higher... planers boards and floats baited with gizzard shad and alewives will produce. Downlines and Lite lines I normally tend to bait with smaller gizzards or alewives. Keep your focus in creeks as well as over main channel points and flats.
Artificial: Keep your eyes peeled for busting stripers, especially early and late in the day. Keep your rods ready. Shallow running plugs work great, but tend to be a hassle when the action is fast or a fish gets to wild in the net with all those treble hooks! It is good to keep swimbaits, swamp monkeys, flukes matched with a jig head or even a bucktail tied and ready. Even when the fish aren't busting casting your baits to the shore side on points and even through bait schools can produce fish! Keep in mind the slot limit becomes effective Nov 1st. No fish can be kept between 26 to 36 inches. Please remember to release those trophy fish for our future.
Catfish: Look for these whiskered fish to be working bait right with the stripers. Fishing live or cut bait on the bottom will produce. Look for baitfish to be present and fishing among them as well. Remember to release those catfish over 10 lbs!
LT Burnette of SML bass masters reports The fall bass bite is finally here. The water temperature has reached the low 60s and the bass are starting to fatten up before winter comes. The shallow bite along natural rock and rip rap is heating up. Try a jig, Senko, or shaky head along the bank for a good chance of getting bit. On sunny days you can use the same baits around and under the numerous docks on SML. Look for docks in the creeks that have shad nearby. The presence of shad is key this time of year, as the bass are following them into the creeks because they make for an easy meal. Now is a great time to be on the lake due to deer season coming in so take advantage of it while you can!