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Enter a Report

Subject: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

Submitted by Mike Snead (ip 24.149.65.188)

Date Fished: 12/6/2010
Water Temperature: 54
Water Clarity: 1 foot

Fishing Report

December 6 - 19, 2010 Water Temperature: 54 degrees Water Clarity: Fair/Good

The recent blast of cold weather and low temperatures are bringing the lake surface water temperature down and pushing the cold water down in the water column. While the surface temperature is around 50 degrees in the main lake, it is several degrees lower in the backs of creeks and sections of the upper lake. The water temperatures will continue to drop if the current forecast is realized. It is calling for low temperatures in the 20’s and highs in the 30’s and 40’s over the next two weeks. The long range forecast is for near normal temperatures through December and temperatures that will average 5 degrees colder than usual in January and February. We had a huge acorn crop this year, another sign we could be facing a very cold winter. We will see increased amounts of moonlight and increased visibility at night as we move toward Christmas. While there is currently no moonlight at night, we will have a first quarter moon on December 13th and a full moon on December 21st. The lake continues to be near full pond and all public launches are open.

The striped bass that were heavily concentrated in the upper sections of the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers for over a month are moving back down the lake. Stripers are currently being found in small clusters and schools that are scattered from the mid to the upper (headwater) sections of the lake. Stripers continue to push large schools of smaller shad into shallow water in the backs of creeks, shallow shoals and points and feed on them aggressively. Shallow diving jerkbaits including the Thunderstick, Bomber Long A, Redfin and Rapala are producing stripers early and late as well as when stripers are chasing bait near the surface during the day. Live bait is also working early and late on shot lines behind floats and planer boards in creeks and off points near the mouths of creeks. A number of anglers continue to report success pulling medium to large gizzards behind planer boards, shotlines and floats keeping them away from the boat. Swimbaits, bucktails and flukes rigged on belly weighted hooks and jigheads continue to produce as well, especially in the morning, evening and on days when skies are overcast. As the lake continues to cool, the stripers will move deeper into the water column and will continue to move further down the lake. Several anglers report they have been catching stripers from small schools found 18 to 35 feet below the surface using live bait on downlines, jigging spoons and flukes. Vertically jigging with spoons and flukes is a fun and easy way to catch striped bass this time of year. This technique will prove even more successful as the lake continues to cool and we move into winter. All that is needed is a rod, reel and a plastic lure box with a selection of jigging spoons, lead headed jigs and fluke bodied plastics in a couple of colors. Popular jigging spoons include the Hopkins Shorty, Kastmaster and Luhr Jensen Smashflash. Some spoons come with marginal hooks, so I suggest you purchase quality treble hooks and replace them. If jigging with flukes or bucktails I suggest you also pick up a pack of pack of split rings and swivels. Attaching a swivel to the jighead with a split ring will prevent your line from twisting. Not only is vertical jigging a great technique for stripers and bass, it is also effective for white perch and flathead catfish.

A similar technique that is also working now is to cast, countdown and retrieve spoons, flukes and bucktails. The weight of the jighead or bucktail and type/size of plastic trailer will obviously change the rate of lure descent, so once you find a good combination I suggest you stick with lures similar in weight. Casting and retrieving a bucktail or fluke on a short leader behind a lightweight spoon is a great way to catch stripers this time of year. If you need a little assistance setting up a rod and reel for winter fishing or need help selecting and learning how to use several of the better producing lures, just stop by your favorite local tackle shop. They can provide you with the knowledge, advice and tackle needed to enjoy what is considered by many to be some of the best fishing the lake has to offer.

Crappie fishing continues to be very good. Anglers are using small hair jigs or small live “crappie” minnows rigged on 1/16-oz jigheads or #4 and #6 gold thin wire. Live bait rigged 12 to 18 inches below a small spilt shot, on very light line, is producing good numbers of quality crappies. As the water cools, the crappies will found suspended in deeper water cover.

Bass fishing has been mixed. Many anglers are finding it difficult to find and catch quality fish. The patterns are not consistent. Suspended fish are being caught off the front of deep-water docks and near selected deep-water cover using drop shot rigs and jigging spoons. The Hopkins, Cotton Cordell, Berry’s and Luhr Jensen spoons weighing from .6 to .75 ounces are all good choices when vertically jigging for bass. The Berry’s spoon is particularly popular as it can be bent to alter its descent and most strikes occur as the spoon is falling. Medium to deep diving crankbaits in shad and crawfish colors are successful.

Bass are also being caught under docks and the sides of steep rock shoreline on pig and jigs (Dave’s, ProTackleDirect, Bill Easterly, Cheeseburger) and shaky head finesse jigs. Heavy football head jigs with plastic crawfish imitating trailers by Netbait are producing bass found in natural rock near steep drops and deep-water points. Suspending jerkbaits, including those by Lucky Craft and Rapala, are also producing bass.

If you do not have cold weather clothing appropriate for fishing or hunting in the cold winter weather, I suggest you invest in a good set. I personally love the very lightweight, warm and comfortable Arctic Armor line of cold weather clothing. We have been selling this line of outerwear for over three years, and it is without question the warmest and most cost-effective cold weather clothing available. The cold water temperatures found this time of year greatly increase the danger of hypothermia. The risk of slipping on an icy deck, dock or section of wet carpet and falling into the water is much greater in the winter than at any other time of the year and the consequences can be fatal. If you or a loved one enjoy being out on the water in the winter, a warm cold weather suit is essential. Arctic Armor Cold Weather Gear (CWG) is not only incredibly warm, water resistant and made of a breathable fabric, but it will also float the wearer should the worst circumstance occur. To learn more about this incredible clothing and to see actual news videos of the suit in action go to http://www.idigear.com/video.php. Arctic Armor Cold Weather Gear (CWG) bibs, jackets and gloves are available at Virginia Outdoorsman Sporting Goods and at prices far less than other cold weather clothing found at large box stores.

One of the best-kept secrets around the lake is that the Virginia Outdoorsman has a great supply of new and used handguns, long guns and ammunition at some of the best prices in southwest Virginia. If you have not been by lately I suggest you stop in and see our selection of Springfield Arms pistols including the new XDM Compact and 1911 Range Officer. Other pistol manufacturers represented include Glock, Taurus, EAA, Keltec, Ruger and Keltec. We also sell guns online at http://www.davidsonsinc.com/consumers/subsites/dealer_home.asp?dealer_id=963406. You will find thousands of guns there that can be ordered online and shipped to our shop where they are purchased without any additional transfer fees.

Enjoy holiday savings through Christmas at our Inventory Reduction Sale now in progress. Let the staff at the Virginia Outdoorsman help you select the perfect gift for your special outdoors person. While supplies last, save up to 30% on your favorite rods, reels, lures, guns, ammunition and shooting supplies.

All “in stock” ammunition and many shooting supplies, including binoculars, scopes and rangefinders are also on sale. We are closing out all remaining archery products including sights, strings, rests, broadheads and accessories. The sale is limited to store stock, so come early for the best selection. As always, we continue to offer layaway, special Christmas gifts and special orders for all items. We are still able to locate and order those hard to find items so they arrive well in advance of the holiday, so drop by to check out our sale prices and to obtain assistance selecting the right gift for the special outdoor enthusiast on your list. Enjoy a wonderful holiday season and make time to get out on the water and enjoy the great fishing opportunities available this time of year.

Mike Snead http://www.virginiaoutdoorsman.com (540) 721-4867 TOURNAMENT FISHING TACKLE - FIREARM SALES AND TRANSFERS

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