Smith Mountain Lake was around 46-50 degrees on the surface from mid to down lake by the mid-February W2 deadline after a mild winter.
The lake level was 794.34’ and rising. This was slightly higher than it was at the end of January. Keep in mind normal pond is 795’. Expect the lake level to rise slightly in March and watch the water temperature rise a bit to around 52-58 by the end of the month.
March on Smith Mountain is a month when many anglers fish their first tournament of the young year and fishing can be tricky. Cold water, coupled with cold fronts and wind can wreak havoc on a pattern established in practice.
One pattern that tends to be consistent in March regardless of the conditions is dock fishing. Top anglers will use shakey head worms, swimbaits (Megabass Magdraft is a local favorite) and suspending jerkbaits.
The best docks will have metal poles on them since they sit on rock. The hard bottom attracts prespawn fish.
Before they hit the docks March largemouth bass will be caught around main channel points, brush piles, on rock piles and ledges. Best depths will be from six to 30 feet deep. You can pursue them differently, using spoons, spy baits, multi-arm rigs and plastic minnow imitators on Moon Eye heads or use suspending jerkbaits and swimbaits depending if they are eating alewives, shad or crawfish.
The lake’s smallmouth bass population will be active this month, feeding in preparation for their annual spawn. Generally speaking the best smallmouth fishing is within sight of the dam here.
Target SML brown bass on rock ledges, humps and rocky points near deep waters using tubes, drop-shotted minnow baits and suspending jerkbaits.
You can target striper in the upper section of the lake this month, especially in larger creeks, but they can be anywhere and constantly moving now.
Best lures are swimbaits, jigging spoons and ZOOM flukes fished on 1/4 to 3/4 oz. jigheads. The best depths will be from near the surface to 40 feet deep. Pay attention to sea gull activity when looking for fish.
Spike and Kathy Francescini operate Spike’s Prime Time Fishin’, one of the longest continuously operated guide services in Virginia.
They will begin fishing again this month and note the lake’s striper population continues to grow and that March and April are two of the best months to land a citation (20+ pound) SML striper.
Not only do the Franceschinis offer guided fishing trips but they also rent lodging they own at the lake. Kathy’s Place, 3 br/2b, sleeps eight with game room. The other rental is is a 2 br/1 bath, sleeps four with kitchen in the great room. Both have flat screen tvs and wifi and fully equipped kitchens. You also get use of a golf car with each rental to use to and from the docks.
If you want to catch a big trout this month, try Cedar Springs Lodge or Hidden Gem Trout Fishing, both in southwestern Virginia.