Smith River 4-14-14
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Thread: Smith River 4-14-14

  1. #1
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    Default Smith River 4-14-14

    Deer hunting is my passion so it has been awhile since I did any serious fishing. With urban archery season behind us I have no excuse - well maybe a little excuse because I'm now scouting for next season and moving stands. Deer hunting for me never really ends. Anyway the generation schedule did not kick in until late afternoon this past Monday so I hit a section of the Smith River.


    Maybe some of you guys with photographic memories and eagle eyes can figure out this secret spot.


    It took about five hits before I was able to close the deal with this small Smith River Brown. I was fishing a soft hackle dropped off my traditional Allieworm. This particular section had a lot of ditty-mo which made me shorten the distance from the indicator to avoid globs of ditty-mo AKA "rock snot".


    Before too long I got into a pod of stocked Rainbows. Kudos to DGIF for stocking some nice size fish.


    I now look at Rainbows on the Smith as competition for the limited food source so creeled a limit of six for the skillet. You eagle eyed folks will note the soft hackle is holding it's own.


    I finally caught a decent brown which would have been protected under the 10-24 inch slot limit.


    I was about to dump my entire fly box of Alliworms in the river when this small Brown fell for the old standby. This was followed by several more of about the same size. Probably a good thing because I have so many Allieworms if I'd chucked them all in the stream I could have been cited for creating a hazardous waste dump.

    Well there ya have it. I now have something to do while waiting for deer season to roll around again. Hmmmmm, now let's see - I still need to move the deer stand down near the old stump about 15 feet to the left.


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  3. #2
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    Unfortunately it seems that the stocker rainbows are the biggest fish you'll catch at the Smith now.
    gambusia likes this.


  4. #3
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    Some truth to that and there are lots of reasons, mostly have to do with food. I do see things getting better. Browns have grown a bit due to the recent slot limit and the expanded fishery below MV dam where there is more food is producing a few real nice fish.

    One way to look at it is that with gas exceeding $3.50 a gallon it makes more sense to drive to the Smith for your trout fishing fix rather then 2 or more hours further to a NC or TN stream.
    gambusia likes this.


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  6. #4
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    Thanks for the report Al. I think I do recognize that midstream rock in your first photo. Glad to see the old allieworm is still working for you. I don't get up there much anymore but I'm thinking of taking the six weight, sinktip, and some of those jumbo articulated streamers below Martinsville dam and target some of those big browns. Hope to see ya up there sometime.
    Take care!
    Bob
    broncotwisterjim, and Fish_Fiend like this.


  7. #5
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    How far down the river do you find the brown trout?

    Thanks

  8. #6
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    Nice work, that place ain't easy.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gambusia View Post
    How far down the river do you find the brown trout?

    Thanks
    30+ river miles from the dam on down to Mitchell Bridge. Bunches of tiny wild browns in the upper stretches below the dam and good to very high populations continue for 17+ miles down into Fieldale. From Fieldale down to Martinsville dam and beyond, there are fewer fish but growth rate is noticeably improved with some very nice browns available. Though some trout are caught all the way into Eden, I don't believe many folks would spend time concentrating much beyond the Sports Complex area. Of course you can continue to use the same patterns and expect to catch some smallmouth bass from that section on down.
    Here's some info to put things into perspective.
    http://www.danriver.org/river-information
    gambusia likes this.


  10. #8
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    Crabman pretty will nailed it. Wading is a problem much beyond Koehlor Church. Good area for toon, canoe or kayak. Same can be said for below MV dam. Not as many fish but if your looking for a 20 inch brown below Koehlor is place to go.

  11. #9
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    What exactly changed from the 1970's that produced all those huge browns? Something to do with the bait fish but don't remember how or why.
    I follow my own Blog
    Man can build a lake, but only God can make a river

  12. #10
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    During the heyday of the monster brown trout, Alewives in great numbers from the lake would flow into the river below during power generation. The alewives were easy pickens for the Brown trout in the river and growth rates were phenomenal. In speaking with the lake biologist (Dan Wilson) a few years back, he indicates that the lake ecology changed to where the alewives no longer bunch up around the dam like they once did.
    The water temeratures in the river below the dam are cold to the point that is not conducive for forage species such as darters, chubs, and suckers. The trout are relegated to feeding on a sparce population of aquatic insects and thus growth rate for trout is far less than ideal. As you move down river and the water warms there is more food available to the trout but not at the level that was produced by the alewives from the lake back in the good old days.
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  13. #11
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    Are there giant browns in the lake above chasing those alewives? Have any big ones turned up in recent years down around Eden in the warmer water?
    I follow my own Blog
    Man can build a lake, but only God can make a river

  14. #12
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    VDGIF stocked trout in the lake up until ~2003. During that period there was a very consistent fishery for rainbows in the 1-3 # class with the occassional 5 pounder. Brown trout were fewer but larger with a decent supply of 6-8 # fish. Haven't heard of any large browns from there in the last five years or so, but some small trout are caught periodically that apparently come down from stocked streams entering the lake system.
    Haven't heard of any large trout from the Eden area and only occasionally a report of a small fish or two. Summertime water temps are not conducive to holdover trout.
    As Al mentioned earlier, if you are looking for 20" class trout you should concentrate between Koehlor to on down below Martinsville dam. Keep in mind that these fish are not the size of those that were present in the 70's.
    gambusia likes this.


  15. #13
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    I was training a guy for a Fedex route in the Martinsville area a few years ago, and we were at some business located near a bend of the Smith. We saw a kid come up out of the river with a rainbow around 23 inches long, along with three smaller browns. Caught them on red worms, he said.lol Almost made me wanna take up trout fishing full time!

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by crabman00 View Post
    During the heyday of the monster brown trout, Alewives in great numbers from the lake would flow into the river below during power generation. The alewives were easy pickens for the Brown trout in the river and growth rates were phenomenal. In speaking with the lake biologist (Dan Wilson) a few years back, he indicates that the lake ecology changed to where the alewives no longer bunch up around the dam like they once did.
    The water temeratures in the river below the dam are cold to the point that is not conducive for forage species such as darters, chubs, and suckers. The trout are relegated to feeding on a sparce population of aquatic insects and thus growth rate for trout is far less than ideal. As you move down river and the water warms there is more food available to the trout but not at the level that was produced by the alewives from the lake back in the good old days.
    I went to a Smith River TU event and fished with some Smith River regulars last Sept. Crabman is right about the alwives and I was also told screens were put in front of the turbines which caused less chopped up minnows to come through. There were also walleye stocked in the lake and they did a number on the shad population. The big fish numbers started to decline immediately after those things happened. The story goes in the mid 70's before these things were put in place you couldn't even record your catch in the newspaper unless your fish was over 10lbs. That's how common big fish were in that river. These days if you catch a fish over 1lb\13-14inches you should consider it a trophy.
    gambusia likes this.


  17. #15
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