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Fishing Smith Mountain Lake

AKA: Smith Mountain Reservoir

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Smith Mountain Lake, VA

Popular Fish Species Smith Mountain Lake, VA

Smith Mountain Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Smith Mountain Lake offers great fishing for largemouth bass, however it does get a lot of fishing pressure. Subtle techniques like small lures on light line can often fool these wary bass. Some very big bass roam Smith Mountain Lake, thanks to excellent fisheries management by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, as well as the availability of extensive cover for both baitfish and bass. When the bite is good, bass typically move shallow and are quite aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits around rip rap. Around grass use worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits. In deeper water, big worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons. In winter, spend your time fishing Smith Mountain Lake on deeper structure where the bass spend much of their time. Smallmouth bass also reside here in good numbers.

Smith Mountain Lake Popular Fish - Striped Bass

Striped Bass

Trophy-size striped bass reside here in good numbers and are a favorite of many locals and fishing guides at Smith Mountain Lake. In Spring and Fall work the upper end of the lake where water is flowing into the lake. Look for deeper water in the river channel, as a holding place for stripers. In Summer and Winter, stripers hang out in deeper water during the day and feed close to the bottom, 50 feet or deeper. Morning often draws the stripers to the much shallower water, look for them around the 20-foot range as they feed on shallow-running schools of bait. The lake is filled with plenty of baitfish and sunfish to to keep the fishery thriving. Being successful at fishing for stripers is a matter of locating schools of bait, and the wolf packs of stripers which are likely to be nearby. Fish finders, and forward facing sonar, are a big help in locating these roaming schools. Live bait is very effective here, and stripers can be caught year round.

Smith Mountain Lake Popular Fish - Crappie


Black and white crappie both reside in Smith Mountain Lake, with black crappie typically out-weighing white crappie. The population of crappie has dwindled a bit due to lack of cover, but the remaining fish average a very nice size. Crappie fishing is on the rise and they can be found in sizeable schools. Crappie always like cover and structure, so locate brush and vegetation. Using a fish finder can help locate schools of crappie, which tend to stack vertically around cover. Live bait and small jigs are the most common method for crappie here. In spring and fall focus on the 8 to 12 foot range. As the crappie move deep in summer and winter, follow points out deep, as well as find ledges near channels in deeper water.

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, white perch, yellow perch, striped bass and muskie at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

The most popular lake in VA, Smith Mountain Lake, is a 20,000-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, at Penhook. There are over 500 miles of shoreline for enjoying outdoor activities on land or boating and fishing on the water.

Smith Mountain Lake, located in southwestern Virginia, is a premier fishing destination known for its scenic beauty and abundant fish populations. Spanning over 20,000 acres, this reservoir offers anglers a diverse range of fishing opportunities, making it a favorite among fishing enthusiasts.

One of the most sought-after fish species in Smith Mountain Lake is the largemouth bass. The lake's structure, including submerged structures, points, and coves, provides ideal habitats for bass to thrive. Anglers can target bass using various techniques such as casting crankbaits, working soft plastics, or flipping jigs. Spring and fall are particularly productive seasons for bass fishing, as the fish are more active and tend to move closer to the shorelines.

Smith Mountain Lake is also home to other popular fish species such as striped bass, crappie, and catfish. Striped bass, also known as rockfish, provide an exciting fishing experience for anglers as they can grow to impressive sizes and put up a strong fight. Crappie can be found near submerged structures and brush piles, and anglers often use jigs or live minnows to target them. Catfish, including channel catfish and blue catfish, offer anglers the chance to reel in some sizable catches using various bait options.

Smith Mountain Lake provides a memorable fishing experience in a picturesque setting. With its diverse fish species, excellent boating opportunities, and nearby camping facilities, it remains a sought-after destination for anglers seeking a peaceful and rewarding day of fishing in southwestern Virginia.

There are more than a half dozen boat launch ramps for launching everything from canoes and kayaks to power boats and fishing boats. Fishing enthusiasts will be happy to know that Smith Mountain Lake has a reputation as an excellent bass fishing lake. Additionally the lake has healthy populations of stripers, muskie, perch, crappie, catfish and sunfish. Access to shoreline for fishing from the bank is available at numerous locations around the lake. Several VA fishing guides offer guided fishing trips on Smith Mountain Lake with all fishing gear included. Marinas, stores, restaurants, camping and lodging choices surround the lake for convenient access.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Virginia

Primary fish species residing in Smith Mountain Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish White catfish Black crappie White crappie Bluegill Redear Sunfish White Perch Yellow Perch Striped bass Muskie

Smith Mountain Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: YES
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity on Smith Mountain Lake, with its expansive surface area and numerous coves providing ample space for watercraft enthusiasts. Anglers can explore the lake, search for fishing hotspots, and enjoy the scenic beauty from their boats. The lake permits motorized boats, allowing anglers to cover larger areas and access remote fishing spots.

Fishing Boat Rentals

Captain's Quarters
Rentals: Pontoon boats
540 721-1175

Halesford Harbour Boat Rentals
Rentals: Pontoon boats
540 238-5606

Parkway Marina
Rentals: Pontoon boats and kayaks
540 297-4412

Parrot Cove Boat Rentals
Rentals: Fishing boats, kayaks and pontoon boats
540 721-5363

The Dock at SML
Rentals: Pontoon boats
540 565-0222

Westlake Boat Rentals
Rentals: Pontoon boats
540 721-1159

Public Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Anthony Ford #4 Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Hardy Road, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Crazy Horse Marina Boat Ramp
Located mid lake, west side, off Crazy Horse Drive, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and gravel parking.

Hales Ford Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off Meadow Point Drive, this is a one-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Hardy Ford Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northwest section of the lake, off Hardy Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Oak Grove Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northwest section of the lake, south side, off Oak Grove Drive, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Penhook #9 Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the southeast section of the lake, off Jefferson Dock Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.

Scruggs #8 Boat Launch Ramp
Located mid lake, west side, off Dudley Amos Road, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with a dock and paved parking.

Smith Mountain Lake Parkway Boat Launch Ramp
Located in the northeast section of the lake, north side, off Smith Mountain Lake Parkway, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and gravel parking.

Smith Mountain Lake State Park Boat Ramp
Located mid lake, on the north side of the lake, off County Road 888, this is a two-lane, concrete ramp with docks and paved parking.


Bayside Marina & Yacht Club
500 Shoreline Circle
Moneta, VA 24121
540 721-3664

Crazy Horse Marina
400 Crazy Horse Dr
Moneta, VA 24121
540 719-0620

Crystal Shores Marina
1617 Crystal Shores Drive
Moneta, VA 24121
540 297-1888

Gills Creek Marina & Lodge
790 Fox Chase Rd
Wirtz, VA 24184
540 721-2451

Mitchell's Point Marina
3553 Trading Post Rd.
Huddleston, VA 24104
540 484-3980

Parkway Marina
16918 Smith Mountain Lake Parkway
Huddleston, VA 24104
540 297-4412

Fishing Guides On Smith Mountain Lake

SML Striper Fishing Guides - stripers

Kenny's Striper Guide Service - stripers

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Video
Fishing License

Click here for a Virginia Fishing License.

Camping facilities are available at Smith Mountain Lake State Park, offering a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The park provides campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails, and access to the lake. Camping near Smith Mountain Lake allows anglers to maximize their time on the water and experience the tranquility of the lake's surroundings.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Eagle's Roost Campground - 540 297-7381

Smith Mountain Lake State Park Campground - 540 297-6066

Blue Ridge Campground & Marina - 540 721-3866

Arrowhead Campground - 540 420-7625

Palmers Campground - 540 576-3651

Smith Mountain Campground - 434 927-4198

Sweetwater RV Park - 540 296-0522

Smith Mountain Lake VA Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Smith Mountain Lake
Smith Mountain Lake State Park
1235 State Park Rd
Huddleston, VA 24104
540 297-6066


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