Smith Mountain Lake

by Chris McCotter

  Smith Mountain Lake was around 70-74 degrees on the surface from mid to down lake by the mid-May W2 deadline after an up and down period of weather.

   The lake level was  793.81’ and falling.  This was slightly lower than it was at the end of April. Keep in mind normal pond is 795’. Expect the lake to hold steady this month and continue to warm into the upper 70s. 

   This month SML’s  smallmouth bass population will bite fairly well until the water hits 80 and then it slows. Generally speaking the best smallmouth fishing is within sight of the dam here. Target post spawn SML brown bass on hard bottoms in 10-20’ using drop-shotted minnow baits, Ned rigs, topwaters and soft plastic jerkbaits.

  Anglers can target largemouth bass this month with Neko rigs, wacky rigged worms, topwaters and soft plastic stickbaits. By the end of the month, start fishing on the bottom, too with Carolina rigs, shakey head worms and Ned rigs.    

  The night bite and alewive spawn is normally over by now, but the June 3 full moon might mean anglers can continue to cast big topwaters like Berkley Surge Shads, Storm Thundersticks and Redfins to baitfish-filled banks after dark into the second week of June.

  Guide Clint Gray notes for June some fish will still be spawning and some will be post spawn. He will be using herring and shad on planer boards fished on the main lake and at the mouth of down lake creeks.

      Spike and Kathy Francescini operate Spike’s Prime Time Fishin’, one of the longest continuously operated guide services in Virginia. 

  The Franceschinis mostly fish with live baits when they guide and note the lake’s striper population continues to grow. June is one of the best months to land a citation (20+ pound) SML striper.

  They report good fishing for their clients in May with fish up to 14 pounds. They expect similar conditions early this month, with striper on baitfish, often on the surface early in the morning and then moving into the main lake where you can still catch them, especially with good depth finders.

  They will cast some topwater lures, jig a spoon a bit and drop a soft plastic jerkbait on a jig head, but mostly pull live baits under planer boards and on down lines this month.

   The striper population is very high in the lake right now and can be found in most areas of the lake with the mid to lower end of the lake on both river arms being the most productive.  

   Visiting anglers will want to target main lake points and flats with rock or red clay in 5-20 ft of water. The bigger fish are starting to show up in lower ends of the lake following schools of bait around in the shallows. 

   Spike and Kathy will target these fish with larger baits pulled on planer boards up shallow early in the morning or cloudy days, and move out deeper as the sun rises and temps warm. 

  Hot zones to check on this 22,000-acre lake include the down lake region around Cedar Keys and at the mouth of mid lake creeks.

  Spike and Kathy  maintain two watefront rentals on Smith Mountain with all the ammenites. The listing #s are 218590 and 282712 on VRBO.

 Gills Creek Marina & Lodge welcomes your visit to Smith Mountain Lake. They offer waterfront rooms perfect for anglers and their families.         

   Cripple Creek Trout Farm is one of the destinations on the W2 Trophy Trout Trail you can visit in this region of the state. This long-time, family run business offers anglers access to a private stretch of trout stream stocked daily with giant fish.

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