Normally I'm against hot-spotting, but I'm making an exception in this case. Some people I respect a great deal have told me that the Smith River tailwater is a great fishery in southern Virginia, and that negative impact of greater pressure is negligible compared to the benefits of greater political pressure and awareness to support the river as a wild trout fishery.
Ok, now that the political message is out of the way, let me get to the trout.
The wild browns in the Smith River are very wary and very selective. I arrived at the river this morning and saw rises everywhere around me. However, I couldn't seem to hook up. A bit of observation of the bugs in the air and the rise forms revealed to me that a cream-colored hatch of about size 14 mayflies was underway and the fish were taking emergers. Unfortunately I didn't have the right flies and spent a long time prospecting to find something close enough. I missed a couple on a dropper copper john. I finally caught my first on a size 12 March Brown. It was thin-bodied and close enough to the right size to fool a couple, I guess.
On the way back to car, I noticed the classic swirl of a good-sized trout. After several casts, I landed a beautiful 14" rainbow. The section of stream ~2 miles upstream is stocked with rainbows 8-9" long. This girl must have survived quite awhile and became very wary. I have no convictions about keeping stockers, so my GF and I enjoyed a delicious trout dinner.
The stream is beautiful and very overhung with trees. During power generation, the trout head into the trees to forage for terrestrials in among the bushes. It's unwade-able, but a fun experience if you float it. Always check the power generation schedule before heading out.