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Bass in the Grass at Stillhouse
Break out the lawn mower

Texas Summer bass snuggle deep in grass beds. Dig them out with lipless, bream-pattern crankbaits worked parallel to the edges, or Texas-rigged worms dropped into pockets. Work the outer edge of deeper beds with jigs dressed with a craw-worm trailer. Vertical presentations work best. When you connect, work the area thoroughly. Grass bass bunch up in some spots. Try topwaters early and late in the day. Expect a mix of largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass. Stillhouse features all three in good numbers. The bronzeback fishing is especially good around canyon and rock structure. Crayfish pattern grubs and crankbaits get the nod.

Contact: Mike Hastings (512-280-2861).

-Don Zaidle

High Rock Feast
Bass beef up in post-spawn

North Carolina Use deep- diving crankbaits and soft-plastics for High Rock largemouths. Both are equally effective on aggressively feeding bass seeking to recover from their May spawning duties. Fish Texas-rigged worms and tubes around boat docks-they’ll produce plenty of bites in early June. Carolina-rigged lizards are very effective once fish move out to humps off creek channels or secondary points away from spawning flats.

Target them at 8 to 10 feet deep. Offshore structure at High Rock is often covered with stumps or rocks, plus man-made brush piles-the lake is also a productive crappie fishery.

The daily creel limit for largemouths is five, with a 14-inch minimum and a two-fish daily exception. High Rock is 45 minutes southwest of Greensboro.

Contact: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (919-733-3933). -Dan Kibler

Lap of Luxury in the Bayou
Start saving your pennies for a unique fishing trip

Louisiana Just 30 minutes from New Orleans, The Lodge of Louisiana is an unusual sportsmen’s paradise. It’s a headquarters for saltwater and freshwater fishermen, and duck hunters during fall. Located near the town of Lafitte, in the Barataria Bay area, the giant 180-foot-long, 40-foot-wide converted Mississippi riverboat recently went through a $2 million restoration. It now offers outdoorsmen plush accommodations. Top fishing is available just a short boat ride from the lodge.

While fish can be caught in the Barataria Bay area of coastal Louisiana year-round, much of the best fishing is found March through November. Bass action is good April through June, then again in October and November. Speckled trout, redfish and flounder peak in March through June and September through November. For tarpon, July and August are choice. Oil-rig fishing is good during those same spring-through-fall months, with cobia especially good in June and snapper in May and October. Duck season runs October through early January.

Light-tackle action is fast for trout, redfish and flounder fanatics. Fishing grub jigs below a popping cork float is a deadly tactic for schooling trout. That rig also will take redfish. Gold spoons cast to marsh grass edges and around oyster shell bars tally plenty of redfish. Rig-fishing is exciting in nearby Gulf waters. You’ll get quite a workout targeting cobia, jack crevalle, snapper, bonito, kingfish and other line-burners. Bright-colored jigs in the half- to one-ounce range do well, and under the right conditions fly-rodders score, too.

Contact: The Lodge of Louisiana (504-689-0000; www.lodgeoflouisiana.com). -Bob McNally

Upstate’s Top Trout Streams
Blue Ridge Mountains offer a multitude of options

Georgia Throughout the northern quarter of Georgia, dozens of rivers provide ideal habitat and excellent fishing for brown, rainbow and brook trout.

Some of the largest trout come from a three-mile stretch of mountain stream called Waters Cree located in the Chestatee Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Each year, rainbows and browns weighing over four pounds are caught from the little mountain stream.

The best fishing for five-pound ‘bows and browns on the sprawling Chattahoochee River in Atlanta occurs from the Morgan Falls Dam to the I-285 bridge. You’ll have the most success in small boats and float tubes as trout can be widely scattered throughout the deep, wide river.

Coopers Creek, in Union County, is heavily stocked and fished hard, but big browns are available. Nearby is heavily stocked Rock Creek, where rainbows and brookies are the targets.

The swift-running Tallulah River and Wildcat Creek (in Lake Burton WMA) are near the town of Clayton in northeastern Georgia. Tallulah is larger and best for bigger brookies and rainbows. Both streams are heavily stocked and receive moderate fishing pressure. Be prepared for fast mountain waters.

Contact: Fish Hawk tackle shop, Atlanta (404-237-3473). -B.M.

New River Muskies on the Prowl
Target cooler waters for a shot at the voracious fighters

Virginia Although muskellunge are present above and below Claytor Lake, the biggest and the most fish are found below the dam in the New River and on to the West Virginia state line. Blane Chocklett, a guide from Roanoke, targets wood cover in deeper holes below springs and creeks in the summer. “That cooler water draws muskies as the water warms up. I also find them in deep pockets close to riffles and below ledges,” he says.

Top offerings include big-as-your-hand in-line spinners, large jerkbaits and live chubs and suckers. Drift live bait under floats or free-line it through deeper holes, particularly those with some sort of additional cover. The best colors for artificials vary from day to day, but Chocklett says that when a New River muskellunge decides to eat, the fish will take a swipe at whatever you put in front of it.

Access is plentiful and excellent daylong floats can be planned for the entire river below the Claytor Dam. Most of the river is gentle enough to be floated by novice canoeists. The state-record muskie, a 45-pounder, was caught from the scenic New River.

Contact: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (540-951-7923); Blane Chocklett (540-563-1617). -David Hart

Sipsey Fork Trout
Give the bass boat a day off

** Alabama** In a state where bass dominate angling circles, cold-water discharges from under Lewis Smith Lake’s massive earthen dam into the Sipsey Fork of the Warrior River create Alabama’s only consistent rainbow trout fishery.

When it comes to fly-pattern choice, variety is the key. Terrestrials work quite well in summer. Mayflies and caddis begin hatching in late spring and continue through summer, along with midges. Small minnow imitations also are productive. Light tippets and long leaders are recommended for the clear-water pools.

Water temperatures on the Sipsey Fork remain between 55 and 60 degrees year-round. River levels may fluctuate as much as 15 feet, rising quickly without warning. Discharge schedules can be obtained by calling Alabama Power, but schedules are subject to change. Wading is the primary way to target the trout, but leave the river immediately if you detect water levels rising. Access is available along the bank off State Route 69.

Contact: Riverside Fly Shop (256-287-0050; 1flyfish@bellsouth.net); Alabama Power (800-525-3711). -Alan Clemons

ALABAMA
Guntersville Panfish: Target spawning shellcrackers and bluegills in shallow, sandy coves and downed treetops along shorelines four- to seven-feet deep around Honeycomb, Allreds and Brown’s creeks. Use crickets or Keystone minnow imitations under corks on light line. Beetle Spins also are great. Contact: Doug Campbell (256-582-6060).

Smith Lake Stripers: Nighttime action for striped bass picks up on Smith toward the lower end of the lake. Work shiners on a free line under a balloon around lighted docks. The lake was impounded 40 years ago and stocked with one-inch Gulf Coast-strain stripers in 1983. By 1996, anglers were catching 40-plus-pounders. The lake record is 46 pounds. Contact: Dale Welch (256-737-0541).

Key Dates
June 5-8: EverStart Eastern Division Bass Tournament, Lake Guntersville.
June 8: Alabama free fishing day.
July 25-27: BASS Masters Classic, Lay Lake, Birmingham. Contact: B.A.S.S. (334-272-9530).

** ARKANSAS**
Chasing Mr. Whiskers: You’ll find good catfishing action on the Arkansas and White rivers and in oxbows along both. Take blues with fresh chicken livers, cut shad, shad guts and stinkbait. Live bluegills will take the flatheads. Contact: AGFC (501-223-6300).

Summertime Smallies: Critter imitations like a Rebel Wee Crayfish, Cat’r Crawler or Hellgrammite can be outstanding for smallmouths while wading or floating the upper sections of the Caddo and Ouachita rivers. Ultralight rigs and 4- or 6-pound-test line are all that’s needed for wading. A 12-mile stretch of the Kings River has been designated a trophy fishery, with an 18-inch minimum. Contact: AGFC (501-223-6300).

FLORIDA
Indian River Sea Trout: Every year anglers catch five- to eight-pound speckled trout from the Indian River and several world records have come from the east-central Florida waterway. Many anglers head to the river for dawn-, dusk- and night-fishing. While a wide assortment of jigs, spoons and streamer flies bring in good numbers of sea trout, local anglers rely heavily on D.O.A. Shrimp and TerrorEyz lures. These soft-plastics imitate area bait and account for plenty of huge trout, as well as snook, redfish, tarpon and other species. Topwater plugs like the indefatigable Zara Spook and Bagley Bang-O-Lure score well on dawn/dusk trout, too. Headquarter at River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp. Contact: River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp (561-334-0401); Guide Rufus Wakeman (561-334-4645); Guide Terry Parsons (561-589-7782).

Charlotte Harbor Hot: Charlotte Harbor-Florida’s second-largest bay, located between Fort Myers and Sarasota-offers some of the state’s best summer snook, tarpon, sea trout and redfish action. Cabbage Key is a popular island restaurant for visitors, and there are island cottages for rent. Contact: Cabbage Key (941-283-2278); Guide Phil O’Bannon (941-964-0359); Guide Tommy Locke (941-964-0083).

Kingfish Time in Jacksonville: The Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament will take place July 8 to 13 out of Sisters Creek Marina, on the city’s north side along the St. Johns River. Over $700,000 in prizes is up for gr Doug Campbell (256-582-6060).

Smith Lake Stripers: Nighttime action for striped bass picks up on Smith toward the lower end of the lake. Work shiners on a free line under a balloon around lighted docks. The lake was impounded 40 years ago and stocked with one-inch Gulf Coast-strain stripers in 1983. By 1996, anglers were catching 40-plus-pounders. The lake record is 46 pounds. Contact: Dale Welch (256-737-0541).

Key Dates
June 5-8: EverStart Eastern Division Bass Tournament, Lake Guntersville.
June 8: Alabama free fishing day.
July 25-27: BASS Masters Classic, Lay Lake, Birmingham. Contact: B.A.S.S. (334-272-9530).

** ARKANSAS**
Chasing Mr. Whiskers: You’ll find good catfishing action on the Arkansas and White rivers and in oxbows along both. Take blues with fresh chicken livers, cut shad, shad guts and stinkbait. Live bluegills will take the flatheads. Contact: AGFC (501-223-6300).

Summertime Smallies: Critter imitations like a Rebel Wee Crayfish, Cat’r Crawler or Hellgrammite can be outstanding for smallmouths while wading or floating the upper sections of the Caddo and Ouachita rivers. Ultralight rigs and 4- or 6-pound-test line are all that’s needed for wading. A 12-mile stretch of the Kings River has been designated a trophy fishery, with an 18-inch minimum. Contact: AGFC (501-223-6300).

FLORIDA
Indian River Sea Trout: Every year anglers catch five- to eight-pound speckled trout from the Indian River and several world records have come from the east-central Florida waterway. Many anglers head to the river for dawn-, dusk- and night-fishing. While a wide assortment of jigs, spoons and streamer flies bring in good numbers of sea trout, local anglers rely heavily on D.O.A. Shrimp and TerrorEyz lures. These soft-plastics imitate area bait and account for plenty of huge trout, as well as snook, redfish, tarpon and other species. Topwater plugs like the indefatigable Zara Spook and Bagley Bang-O-Lure score well on dawn/dusk trout, too. Headquarter at River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp. Contact: River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp (561-334-0401); Guide Rufus Wakeman (561-334-4645); Guide Terry Parsons (561-589-7782).

Charlotte Harbor Hot: Charlotte Harbor-Florida’s second-largest bay, located between Fort Myers and Sarasota-offers some of the state’s best summer snook, tarpon, sea trout and redfish action. Cabbage Key is a popular island restaurant for visitors, and there are island cottages for rent. Contact: Cabbage Key (941-283-2278); Guide Phil O’Bannon (941-964-0359); Guide Tommy Locke (941-964-0083).

Kingfish Time in Jacksonville: The Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament will take place July 8 to 13 out of Sisters Creek Marina, on the city’s north side along the St. Johns River. Over $700,000 in prizes is up for gr

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