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Old 06-30-2013, 08:04 PM
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Default Fishing Smith River, VA

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.
Click the image to open in full size.

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.
Click the image to open in full size.

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.
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Smith River, VA

You have a nice fishery. It looks like it has a healthy population of fish.
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Old 06-30-2013, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Smith River, VA

Great photos.... I grew up fishing the Smith... caught my first trout there. But that was circa 1967-70.... Haven't fished it since. See this story about growing up fishing the smith that I submitted as an intro to the forum.

A very belated introduction
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Smith River, VA

I finally got back up to the Smith River today. The generation schedule has been crazy, practically 24-7, trying to keep up with all the rain we've been getting.

I consulted a hatch chart and was properly prepared this time with sulphur dries and emergers. I fished a new stretch that I hadn't fished before between the fire station and the Baptist church.

I landed 3 wild browns and had several more come off in the hour and a half I fished. Not too bad. They were on the rise to sulphur emergers, but seemed to prefer the dry over the soft hackle pattern. I was using a sulphur dry up top and the soft hackle as a dropper. I was able to get a take over pretty much every fish on the rise I saw, and some where I didn't see any rises.

It's a wierd sensation to simultaneously be freezing from wet wading in the tailwater and roasting from the 85F weather in direct sunlight.

All-in-all, another great day on the water. It's nice having such a great fishery only an hour away.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Smith River, VA

I just moved to this area last year and have only got to fish the river once so far. I have heard nothing but good things about it though. Let me know if you ever need some company on the river.
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Old 07-22-2013, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Fishing Smith River, VA

Looks like a great place to lay down some flies. Thanks for the pics!
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