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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saturday. Sept 3. Wade fishing some spots on the south fork. Was targeting smallies with various artificials (Keitech wimbaits, Nikko Hellgramites, Zman TRD crawdad, Savage gear salamander). In a spot I've consistently caught smallies for decades, I managed a skinny ~12" smallmouth (on the plastic crawfish) that I dropped before I could snap a photo. I also caught three redbreast sunfish where I've usually caught "red eyes" in past years.

Sunday, Sept. 4. Wade fished below the confluence. Caught two red eyes. Picture shows that Nikko Hellgramite I was using. I saw a couple of smallies, but they were real spooky.
Are others noticing that the river's smallie fishery isn't what it used to be? My uncle said that the river doesn't have the grass that it used to have. It could just be that my fishing skills are in decline :)

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From all of your other posts its clear that your fishing skills are NOT in decline. Your experience mirrored mine, when in June I floated 5 miles of the South fork and only caught 3 very small fish. So where have they gone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, it is sad because it is different from the river I grew up fishing. I know the smallmouth populations can be cyclical, so hopefully it will rebound. My uncle also thinks that the muskies and cormarants (which he says he did not used to see) are hard on the fish below/near the confluence.
 

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Sad to hear about the New. There used to be an annual smallies float of NCAnglers that I never got a chance to participate but always followed. It unfortunately fizzled out. Partly I believe is just that; river not producing like it used to.
 

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It is awful compared to what it was even 5 years ago……the biggest problem are the constant floods we keep getting especially during the spawn. It never stops raining. I think this year was the first time they’ve actually had a decent spawn in 6-7 years. Also a high number of foreigners all along the river that keep anything and everything they catch. It’s gotten more pressure over the last decade. But I think the floods are the biggest culprit. I wish we could go about a year without a drop of rain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is awful compared to what it was even 5 years ago……the biggest problem are the constant floods we keep getting especially during the spawn. It never stops raining. I think this year was the first time they’ve actually had a decent spawn in 6-7 years. Also a high number of foreigners all along the river that keep anything and everything they catch. It’s gotten more pressure over the last decade. But I think the floods are the biggest culprit. I wish we could go about a year without a drop of rain.
Thanks for the comment kb_rn. I enjoy harvesting fish for a family dinner occaisionally, but mostly saltwater or crappie... it is somehow frustrating to imagine folks keeping smallies, but I'm sure that it happens. Hoping for a dryer cycle so that the New river population can rebound.
 

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Thanks for the comment kb_rn. I enjoy harvesting fish for a family dinner occaisionally, but mostly saltwater or crappie... it is somehow frustrating to imagine folks keeping smallies, but I'm sure that it happens. Hoping for a dryer cycle so that the New river population can rebound.
It will be back if we get a cycle of good spawns. This has happened before. It hasn’t gotten the amount of pressure it gets now though. But it is a resilient river. I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t rebound. It breaks my heart to see how it is at the moment though……at least the upper new
 

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I am only a few miles from the South fork (up off the Parkway) and we have had 43 inches of rain so far this year. I hope that and the large amount of pressure is the cause. I had not thought about the lack of grass but will look for that. Maybe a few slow years will help some folks find another river and the South fork can rebound.
 

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It is awful compared to what it was even 5 years ago……the biggest problem are the constant floods we keep getting especially during the spawn. It never stops raining. I think this year was the first time they’ve actually had a decent spawn in 6-7 years. Also a high number of foreigners all along the river that keep anything and everything they catch. It’s gotten more pressure over the last decade. But I think the floods are the biggest culprit. I wish we could go about a year without a drop of rain.
Low levels are a problem too. Birds of prey and otters catch more fish when levels are low.
 

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Low levels have absolutely nothing to do with why that river has died over the last 6 years. Way more to do with the never ending floods. Until earlier this summer it hasn’t been low at all during that time period.
You're right but I posted what I did to get folks to think about the other side of the coin toss. Tropical storm Ian is on the loose. High water could be back depending on Ian's journey.
 
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