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Smith Mountain Lake September Fishing Report - Early cool temps running fish shallow

 | By Seamus on 9/7/2023 2:27:30 PM | Views (116)



 It’s an El Niño weather pattern this year and we are already seeing the effects on the fishing, water temp and how they are biting. Bring it on!!!!! I’m ready for some big changes in the fish this fall as we have had a much slower than normal transition. El Niño should have us getting a wetter and cloudy fall and winter. We had such a delayed Spring and Summer that I don’t really think many bass went super deep. As I am writing this the 10-day forecast is already calling for evenings in the 50’s. This is good to see this early and should keep the fish shallow and eating for the time being. However, the dreaded turnover is on its way.

A quick recap on what turnover is. As the water heats up in the summer it becomes stratified. This means that the water above is warmer than the water below and a thermocline is created. This is the area in the water that is the most oxygen rich and draws a lot of baitfish to those depths. As we start to see these low evening temps and much shorter daylight hours the upper layer of warmer water is going to cool below the cooler water that is below and the lake with turnover. This chases a stressful event for fish and can lead to some tougher fishing days on the water. Keep an eye on the watercolor this time of year or the bubbles you see on the water left from say a topwater. If you notice the water is stained more than normal even though it has not rained you could be in a turnover area of the lake. Not all the lake is going to turn over at the same time so keep moving until you find normal looking water or run up either of the river sections to get into some current areas. This should only last a week or so until things will normalize, and the fish will start to really eat again.

The largemouth and smallmouth are doing somewhat similar things in different areas of the lake. Schooling is still the best approach for numbers and if you can find the right sized schooling fish you can put a great bag together. The lower end is starting to see lots of smallmouth activity while the upper rivers are holding a lot of largemouth schools. Topwater in the morning on sunny days are a great way to get the schools fired up. A walking bait or popper are a great tool this time of year to see if they want something moving fast or something slowed down. Burning a smaller swimbait is also a great morning bite as the predatory fish are looking up to feed. Focus on main lake and secondary points that are close to the river channel and main lake. If you must slow down this time of year a jig is key to getting some bigger bites. The crawfish are starting to move around a lot and targeting rocky transitions can lead to some bigger bites. I throw a Missile Baits Head Banger jig trimmed up with a Missile Baits twin turbo trailer to get lots of action out of the bait. This is also the time of year to really start getting out the bigger baits. Glide baits are a live or die way of fishing, but the bass know the weather is changing and they need to start feeding up for the incoming change. Keep an eye out for good transition docks that may old some very large fish this time of year.

Stripers are still deep as of this week. I am finding lots of schools on main lake points or off the points in the standing timber. A spoon or jig head with a fluke is still the first choice to get some bites. Keep a topwater close by or a weightless fluke incase the school decides to come up on the bait. If you can time your trips id focus on a calm and cloudy day for the best action.

The crappies are stacked on the channel swing banks in brush up both rivers right now. Focus on that 15–25-foot range with your jigs and smaller spoons to get those packs fired up.

The last term I’ll use on this report is junk fishing. September is known as the junk fishing month for bass, and it holds true every year. You could catch a fish on a moving bait, a jig, a dropshot, topwater in the middle of the day, it’s just random sometimes this month. Try not to get discouraged this time of year and keep covering water and breaking down the structure you’re fishing.

As always, I have my BaitShop tackle list here that you can see what I will have tied on this month for myself and my guide trips to catch bass. If you have any questions on the list shoot me an email.

Tightlines and stay safe out there.

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Catch Information

Black Crappie
Black Crappie


Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass


Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

Striped Bass
Striped Bass

This Fishing Report was submitted on 9/7/2023 2:27:30 PM by Seamus and last updated on 9/9/2023 3:39:53 PM.


Huddleston, VA US

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