Smith Mountain Lake Regional Focus Report

by Chris McCotter

  Smith Mountain Lake level was 794.50’ and rising due to rainfall by the end of January. This is slightly lower than at the end of December.  Keep in mind normal pond is 795’ so the lake was in good shape.

    Water temperature was 47 degrees on the surface from mid to down lake by the lateJanuary W2 deadline. Expect the lake level to hold steady in January and watch the water temperature begin to rise into the lower 50s by the end of the month. 

  February on Smith Mountain is not unlike January with mostly diehard anglers on the water pursuing striper with a smattering of bass fisherman.

   February is a good time to catch a big SML smallmouth. Using an Alabama rig within a couple miles of the dam over rocky humps and around rocky points on cloudy days is a common tactic used by local anglers. If baitfish are present, you should do well. Finesse and hair jigs fishing slowly along the bottom can be good when you cannot find any baitfish.

  Closer to the end of February a decent suspending jerkbait bite will begin as well as a swimbait pattern.   

   Most February largemouth bass will be caught deep on spoons and blade baits but some will be around bait, and they can also be targeted with A-rigs and swimbaits. Bait, in the form of alewives is a key factor to finding bass this month. Suspending jerkbaits are good for largemouth bass, too, by the end of the month.

     If you visit for striper, target them in the mid section of the lake this month, especially in larger creeks.

   Best striper lures are swimbaits, jigging spoons and ZOOM Flukes fished on 1/4 to 1/2 oz. jigheads. The best depths will be from near the surface to 60 feet deep. Fish areas with the largest concentrations of baitfish. 

   Fishing for crappie will be fair on SML this month. They will be found 15 to 40 feet deep. The best areas will be in the larger, main creeks around brush and around bridge pilings in the mid portion of the lake. Small live minnows and 1 ½ to 2 inch tubes or shad shaped plastic lures fished on 1/32 to 1/16 oz. lead heads will work best. 

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

   They note striper will often migrate into and lower portion AND upper portion of the lake at some point in the late winter with the baitfish. Live bait anglers will target them with shad fish begin side planers with long leaders along deep banks.

    Jigging spoons, Zoom Super Fluke Jr’s on jigheads, A-rigs and swimbaits are all good choices for anglers that prefer to cast to winter striper on SML. Remember, you can now keep two fish per day under 30” or over 40”.  

   Give them a call if you want to trying fishing the lake this coming season. Spike and Kathy are now booking their 2023 season!

  Hidden Gem Trout Fishing is ready for your visit with some big fish in the private stretch of stream they manage. This fishing venue is not far from Christiansburg and permits all types of trout fishing.

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