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Smith Mountain Lake April Fishing Report - Fish all over the map!

 | By Seamus on 4/9/2024 11:30:56 AM | Views (60)


What a strange spring. Talking to a lot of the bass guys around the lake and even some of the striper guides, it sounds like this is one of the most off spring bites this lake has experienced. Now there is no way to know what happened, but as an avid angler and a person that is on the water most days the two things that come to mind are the super early March warming trend that kicked a ton of fish shallow and also that we have not had a shad stun/kill in three winters now. That seemed to really keep the fish off shore much longer since the food source is so abundant. With the normal spring temperatures here now and the full moon approaching I think we should be back to some more “normal” fishing soon.

April is the spawning month here at SML with most the bass bedding up from mid April-May. This can be a fun a super fun time to fish, but please remember that bed fishing some of the biggest fish in the lake can damage the bass population. Have a good time fishing that way, but mix some pre-spawn and post-spawn techniques in each day because bass are in all three stages.

Pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are located in the same locations on transition spots. This is an important time of year to focus on flatter banks with isolated cover like strumps and hard spots in that 8-15 foot range. Most bass are going to be in that depth for the next 30-45 days. This is also the time of year that you can turn off your front facing sonar and just go fishing (thank you lord). Every day is of course going to be different, but for the most part you can approach a day like this….. Fish are going to eat in early morning and low light. Once the sun gets up the bite will most likely slow down as fish begin to start moving closer to spawning. Once mid day hits you can start focusing on shade lines on docks or looking for beds. As the evening gets close those post spawn fish will start to chase bait and we may start seeing schooling fish as soon as next week blowing up on top.

For baits I love keeping it simple and lean heavy into my spinning rod expertise. A dropshot,, shaky head, smaller jig, neko and ned rig are always on the boat. I loop in a Carolina rig as well for those colder mornings that draw fish towards the bottom. Check out the BAIT SHOP for links to all the early spring baits I recommend. A Missile Baits Magic Worm is always rigged on the dropshot. For a shaky head I like the Missile Baits Craw Father. A Missile Baits Micro jig is hard to beat showing the fish something different. Neko is also a great way to show the fish something slightly different than most anglers throwing a senko. I love the larger Missile Baits Quiver worm. For the Carolina Rig I LOVE going with the biggest bait I can get which is of course the Missile Baits D Stroyer.

If your plan is to target post spawn fish you also need to think big. Those fish are beat up and tired from spawning and they usually rest for days to sometimes a week plus before really getting back to eating. They will be hungry so jumping back on the Megabass Magdraft bite is key to getting those bigger post spawners rolling. Topwater is about to come into play as well and I will say we still have a lot of smaller bait in the lake. I would keep that in mind and downsize to match the hatch before the shad spawn starts. A Megabass Pop X or a Megabass Karashi Twitch Bait.

Stripers are EVERYWHERE on the main lake points right now. With the past 4 seasons of guiding I have really started to notice that the stripers will load up on the main lake stuff when the bass are up shallow in spring and fall. Most of the points in Craddock, the mountain and mid lake area have hundreds on each point. Just like the post spawn bass you will see them starting to blow up. Get a topwater handy, a fluke and a swimbait.

Crappie should starting to stack up a bit more together on laydowns and deeper brush and bluegills will be spawning starting in May. The bluegills are up on the riprap banks in smaller numbers, but that will change quickly.

As always, be safe out there and good luck!

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Catch Information

Black Crappie
Black Crappie



Striped Bass
Striped Bass

This Fishing Report was submitted on 4/9/2024 11:30:56 AM by Seamus and last updated on 4/11/2024 2:24:49 AM.


Huddleston, VA US

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