Thursday, May 27, 2004
Bill Cochran's Mailbag: A special interest ripped, defended
Bill Cochran's Outdoors
- Virginia’s hunting totals produce mixed results
- A good trade: Virginia trout for Kentucky elk
- Forget the odds-makers; Salem’s John Crews believes he can win the Bassmaster Classic.
- The good and bad of the 2012 saltwater fishing season
- Column archive
Bill's Field Reports
- Virginia General Assembly goes soft on outdoor issues
- Quail Unlimited calls it quits
- Field reports archive
BILL: I totally disagree with your stance (on allowing timber cutting on the national forest). The Ruffed Grouse Society is definitely a special interest group, and is not looking at the big picture, which is the devastation of our national forests.
RACHEL: No question, the Ruffed Grouse Society has special interests, as you say, but even more so do the preservationists groups that want to turn our national forests into national parks by ending timber management practices. Such practices provide a variety of forest habitats that benefit most species of wildlife from grouse to songbirds. I see the philosophy of the Ruffed Grouse Society as being much more beneficial to the forest and its plants and wildlife than those of preservationists.
BILL: My family and I have taken to vacationing at Smith Mountain Lake State Park. Last year we didn't have much luck fishing, largely because I know very little about the lake. I have a very small boat with a 7.5-horsepower outboard, so getting to locations very far from the park is difficult without trailering the boat.
I'm just looking for a spot to catch anything worth cooking for dinner -- catfish, stripers, you name it - -and something that will be active enough to keep my 7- and 9 year-olds interested. Do you have any suggestions? We'll be at the lake June 5-12.
JAMIE: In my opinion, Smith Mountain Lake isn't a family friendly fishing spot, especially in June when boating traffic picks up and water temperatures rise. But you should be able to find enough fish to keep you and the kids occupied.
My recommendation is for you and your family to do some "giggle" fishing. That's a term my old fishing buddy Bob Cromer gave to our pursuits of going after fish with light tackle and being happy with the catch no matter its size or species.
Here are some recommendations that Bob and I would make:
Fish early and late in the day in order to avoid the growing boat traffic and the bright sun on clear water.
Use your boat in protected coves away from areas where large boats may be kicking up wakes that could be troublesome for your small craft. Wear life jackets. There are some bowl-shaped coves around the park, so you don't need to travel far. In fact, this has been a favorite spot for Bob and me.
Go after catfish on the bottom with worms. There are places around the park that you can do some bank fishing, meaning you can fish for cats just after dark, when they prowl the shoreline shallows.
Cast worms to the shoreline for bluegills. Use a float to adjust the depths you probe. It is getting late in the season, but you still may be able to find some bluegills on their beds. See my last week's column.
The area around the park is a favorite spot for striped bass. Try casting a bucktail jig or Red Fin lure at daylight and at dark. The lake currently contains good numbers of small stripers.
Get some minnows and cast to boat docks, brush piles, stumps, rocks, down trees, pilings or any cover you can locate. That way, you target a variety of fish; namely, crappie, bass, small stripers, catfish, carp and bluegills.