Blue Ridge: Level: 8.1 feet below full pool. Temp: 86-87 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Hot weather in August slowed bass fishing that should pick up early in September as the water temperature begins to drop, said Blue Ridge guide Nathan Lewis. “We are still catching a few smallmouths on topwater early and late. By mid morning, you might want to try something like a fluke, and then later in the day a tube jig and go a little deeper. We have even been catching a few bass on spoons 20 to 25 feet deep.” The bass, mostly smallmouths, are holding on the thermocline, he said, and essentially just suspending over open water and waiting for schools of shad or bluebacks to come by. “There are some guys doing pretty well trolling deep-diving crankbaits like a DD 22,” he said. “Look for schools of bait, and then adjust your depth so your plug will run at about the same depth as the bait.” If the fish are holding deeper than a DD 22 will run, they will come up in the clear water to hit, he said. For bass on a spoon, look for humps in the lower lake, or fast-dropping points near deep water. Offshore humps usually produce better than points, Nathan said. For topwater, try a Pop-R or Sammy. “The Pop-R is usually better for smallmouths that are running mostly in the 1 1/2- to 3-lb. range. They will slap at something like a Sammy but won’t take it. If you get one on a Sammy, it will usually be a good one.” Nathan is expecting to see some big smallmouths this fall. “I caught 50 or 60 last winter that weighed three pounds or more. They ought to be back this year as 3 1/2- or 4-pounders.” Nathan expects the bait to begin moving off the main lake and into the creeks during September. The bass will become more aggressive, and the Shad Rap bite will pick up.
Walleye: The walleye fishing at Blue Ridge is dead. Nathan is on the lake regularly and says he hasn’t caught a walleye since February. “I haven’t been fishing at night when your chances might be better, but the guys I know say the walleye are pretty much non-existent.”