Fishing & Boating News

Smith Mountain Lake Readies for YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference Opener

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

(Apr 18, 2017 - BEDFORD, Va.)

YETI FLW College Fishing is headed to Smith Mountain Lake April 29 for the first of three regular-season stops in the Northern Conference. A full field of college fishing clubs will be competing for $2,000 and an invitation to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship.

“Smith Mountain Lake is full of fish and this is a good time of the year to catch them,” said FLW Tour pro Billy Shelton of La Crosse, Virginia, who has two top-10 career finishes on Smith Mountain Lake in FLW competition. “Right now bass are in all three phases of the spawn. This will be one of those events where anglers are able to do whatever they want to catch a limit.

“For those anglers who have never fished Smith Mountain before, you can’t go wrong targeting docks,” Shelton continued. “There are thousands of them on the lake. Obviously, teams will have to pattern which docks bass will be on. They are usually in the backs of pockets or the mouths of pockets.”

Shelton said that finesse-type baits, wacky-rigged worms and jigs should produce some quality bites for anglers.

“Teams may also run up the Blackwater and Roanoke Rivers to find a little stained water,” said Shelton. “Crankbaits and spinnerbaits will do well in shallow-water areas, but the majority of the lake is pretty clear.”

Shelton went on to say that swimbaits may also play a role for competitors, but it will depend on weather conditions.

“If there is wind and clouds, they may be able to catch them on rocky points near the mouths of pockets,” said Shelton. “The conditions will have to be right, though. If it turns out to be a calm, bluebird sky kind of day, a wacky-rigged worm around docks will be the way to win it.”

The Virginia pro said he expects the winning team to bring a five-bass limit nearing 20 pounds to the weigh-in stage.

Anglers will take off from Parkway Marina, located at 16918 Smith Mountain Lake Parkway in Huddleston, Virginia, at 7 a.m. Saturday. Weigh-in will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.

Schools are allowed to register up until the morning of the tournament. Entries may be made either by phone or at

Schools currently registered to compete in the Smith Mountain Lake tournament, which is hosted by Visit Bedford, include:
Adrian College – Caleb Taylor, Zionsville, Ind., and Nickolas Marsh, Commerce Township, Mich.
Adrian College – Dalton Breckel, Onsted, Mich., and Alex Henderson, Mooresville, Ind.
Adrian College – Jarrett Martin and Zachary Graham, both of Gallipolis, Ohio
Adrian College – John Franco, Clare, Mich., and Jack Hippe III, Davison, Mich.
Adrian College – Nicholas Czajka, Brighton, Mich., and Jacob Bayer, Westfield, Mich.
Bowling Green State University – Corey Miller, Perrysburg, Ohio, and Hunter Johnson, Monclova, Ohio
Central Michigan University – Hayden Gosen, Sanford, Mich., and Zach Nelson, Northville, Mich.
Christopher Newport University – Mariela Fuson, Dumfries, Va., and Tanner Knecht, Spotsylvania, Va.
Fairmont State University – Jacob Smith, Martinsburg, W. Va., and Corey Straight, Barrackville, W. Va.
James Madison University – Daniel Jenkins, Midlothian, Va., and Xander Bradley, Vienna, Va.
James Madison University – Spencer Selby, Loudoun County, Va., and Blake Miles, Chesterfield, Va.
James Madison University – Troy Goddard, Oakton, Va., and Scott Pohlmann, Virginia Beach, Va.
Kent State University – Zachary Asher, Sunbury, Ohio, and Christian Hylton, Deerfield, Ohio
New River Community College – Shane Chrisley, Franklin City, Va., and Mark Southern, Pulaski, Va.
Patrick Henry Community College – Hunter Altice, Glade Hill, Va., and Brandon McAlexander, Patrick County, Va.
Paul Smith's College – Jon Herrman, Oneida, N.Y., and Taylor West, Lakewood, N.Y.
Pennsylvania State University – Derek Horner, State College, Pa., and Maurice Hudson Jr., Broomall, Pa.
Pennsylvania State University – James Shank, Blakeslee, Pa., and Matt Huggler, Clarks Summit, Pa.
Pennsylvania State University – Tom Oranzi, West Grove, Pa., and Stephen Jesso, Plymouth, Pa.
Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg – Ryan Fox, Thornhurst, Pa., and Chad Burkholder, Palmyra, Pa.
Radford University – Sam Shibley, Radford, Va., and Joshua Greenberg, Montpelier, Va.
Radford University – Zack Lemaster, Bedford, Va., and Matthew Cooley, Chesterfield, Va.
Slippery Rock University – Jason Frontino, Cranberry Township, Pa., and Ryan Kozlowski, Pittsburg, Pa.
The Apprentice School – Hunter Atkins, Carrsville, Va., and Kitt Moger, Suffolk, Va.
The Apprentice School – Sean Coast, Virginia Beach, Va., and Nicholas White, Hampton, Va.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Andrew Davis, Penhook, Va., and Ethan Morrison, Gordonsville, Va.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Cantley Krafft, Christiansburg, Va., and Corey Smith, Dublin, Va.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Jacob Thompson, Moneta, Va., and Tyler Dixon, Abdington, Va.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Michael Muther, Baltimore, Md., and Garrett Jennings, Boones Mill, Va.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Robert Odum, Max Meadows, Va., and Cole Bitler, Earlysville, Va.
West Chester University of Pennsylvania – Kevin Deley, Warrington, Pa., and Thomas Arena, Carlisle, Pa.
West Virginia University – Branden Newcome, Ellamore, W. Va., and Jacob Osborne, Amherstville, W. Va.
Youngstown State University – Jonathan Creed, Youngstown, Ohio, and Jared Latone, Austintown, Ohio
Youngstown State University – Mario Chance, Youngstown, Ohio, and Stan Miketa, New Middletown, Ohio

FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments and the top 20 teams from the annual FLW College Fishing Open will advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Additional teams will qualify for the National Championship if the field size in regular-season events exceeds 100 boats.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.

About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.