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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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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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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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