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Smith River 10-11 Aug 07

Started by Al, August 12, 2007, 18:31:57 PM

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Al

Lots of folks have given up trout fishing for the year. Many stop fishing out of concern for the well being of the fish who in many of our streams are having a tough time of it due to low water flow and life threatening temperatures. Some claim it is too hot to fish even if you are "wet wading". Others, many of whom are weaned on "hatchery supported or delayed harvest" waters just plain give up because most of the stocked fish have already gone home is some anglers creel. What these folks are all missing is the joy of fishing a "tailwater" during the summer.

Tailwaters such as the Smith River, which receives a daily flush of cold water coming out of the bottom of the Philpott Dam make for some exciting fishing all year long.. This surge of around 44 degree water chills almost 20 miles of what would otherwise be a bream and catfish stream and converts it into a coldwater fishery.   There is no better way to beat the heat then to be waist deep in the Smith River, surrounded by a fog bank while casting a fly to stream spawned Brown Trout and the occasional Rainbow Trout which has survived the gauntlet of bait and hardware fishermen who frequent the river during stocking season.

I did just that on Friday afternoon when the outside thermometer at the Bassett High School read 97 degrees. I checked the streamside air temperature at waist level and the water temperature and found readings of 84 degrees and 62 degrees respectively. I checked again about two hours later at a different location further upstream and received the same readings. It was very comfortable for both the fish and the fisherman.

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I connected with several small Browns within casting distance of my entry point.

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This particular section of the river was in what is known as the "Lower Smith River" and receives a liberal stocking of Rainbows from the VDGIF during stocking season which runs from October 1 through June 15. (Fishermen should remember that if you fish in stocked waters during that time frame you are required to have a Trout License in addition to the Basic Fishing License - Right now you can fish with only a basic license). I caught a couple of these fish which have thus far eluded someone's creel. (A VDGIF biologist once told me they estimate 95% of stocked fish are creeled the same year they are stocked). Kudos to the VDGIF Hatchery System for growing and stocking some very nice size Rainbows this year. I have caught a lot of them throughout 2007 and most exceeded twelve inches.

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Most of my fish on Friday were the typical 8-9 inch Brown Trout. They were not in a feeding frenzy but with a little stealth and persistence you could put a bend in your rod every few minutes. I did catch my big Smith River Brown for the year (to date). At first I thought I'd foul hooked a Rainbow because it pulled so hard. As I got him closer, I was pleased to see the yellow cast of a deep bellied, hook jawed Brown Trout which exceeded fourteen inches. I hope he has the good sense to swim upstream to the Special Regulation Section where he should be safe for another year or so.

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Saturday morning found me in the middle of the Special Regulation Section. I had tried to link up with a couple of my SRTU buddies but they were either busy or I ended up talking to their answering machine. All I can say is they missed a good morning. The morning started out with a nice bank of fog on the water. The air temperature was considerably cooler and a slight breeze soon dissipated the fog. Those of you who recognize this stretch of water should know that I did well in that flat section before turning back upstream and heading for the "Fish Shack".

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Once again the fish were plentiful and perhaps a little larger then the day before. I took my time and even learned a few new spots that I usually bypass that hold fish These new spots call for tricky casting but they were well worth the effort.

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So there you have it. If you live within driving distance of a tailwater fishery, "it's too hot" is not a good excuse. You're missing out on some very good fishing.

One last observation - I did note that all this heat and accompanying lack of significant rainfall has made for an early leaf drop. The slightest breeze sends hundreds and soon thousands of leaves to the waters surface. These leaves make watching a dry fly or a strike indicator a challenge.

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Despite the hot temperature, the leaf drop signals a change in seasons is upon us. It won't be long before this country boy switches gears and gets serious about deer hunting


troutphisher

Nice Report Al!!!!!

I can't wait to fish that water !

TP
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Gofisher

Good report Al, and I noticed leaves here as well. Gotta love a tailwater on a dog day afternoon...

Yankee by birth, Rebel by choice.

Woolly Bugger

Good report Al, I'll be up on the Smith next w/e for some of that cool water.... the smallie action has been great and I couldn't resist the tug of those fish! Not as pretty as the Smith's browns, but they put up a good fight! We'll most likely be in the Special Regs Section. I'm tying flies this week!

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

troutfreak

Al,

I am new to flyfishing and have been pounding the Pigeon River here in WNC every evening and a couple of early mornings trying to catch the elusive Wildtrout/Delayed Harvest sections, with no luck.  Where and how far from say Asheville, NC (I live in Canton, NC) would be the Smith River.  Also, when you talk about Tailwaters, what exactly is this?

Thanks,

TR


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: troutfreak on August 14, 2007, 13:40:57 PM

Al,
I am new to flyfishing and have been pounding the Pigeon River here in WNC every evening and a couple of early mornings trying to catch the elusive Wildtrout/Delayed Harvest sections, with no luck.  Where and how far from say Asheville, NC (I live in Canton, NC) would be the Smith River.  Also, when you talk about Tailwaters, what exactly is this?
Thanks,
TR

TF there is a lot of good water closer to you than the Smith in VA.... get out the Delorme's Atlas and start looking for those little blue lines....

http://www.mapquest.com/directions/main.adp?do=nw&long=%2d81348832&2n=Henry%20County&height=582&1y=US&r=f&mo=ma&1si=gaz&2s=VA&2c=Bassett&dtype=s&2si=gaz&1da=%2d1%2e000000&1rc=A5XAX&2da=%2d1%2e000000&2rc=A5XAX&1n=Haywood%20County&cl=EN&width=1130&2v=CITY&lat=36145973&did=1187114436&1gi=YJtN9pQ9RkOD%2bGMVgaSm0Q%3d%3d&qq=1ADqpk24ofAlNThs3gjwA7vhQCqjOPbBJjrUb6fZHv8fwO0B0MFKwSTym2W2pWLz3RkcWM0Pzw9xXU740JlFjlAgri8LQyT7jxi5H0TfxqU%253d&2gi=YJtN9pQ9RkOD%2bGMVgaSm0Q%3d%3d&2y=US&un=m&1s=NC&1c=Canton&zoom=4&go=1&rsres=1&1v=CITY&ct=NA&1l=K2STOdpQMz+mYNfzRsImtQ==&1g=qQyqabnIilZ9j+pNEztSXw==&2l=e1+i3N102JBlJR2MBL6z2A==&2g=nRC2LHtOHxMCa7crwc3Wqw==

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

Al

 We would love to have you visit the Smith but Woolly is right - lots of good water over your way. Bassett VA is a pretty good drive from Ashville NC

Ref Tailwater - it is a term for a section of river which is chilled by cold water coming out of the bottom of a dam. For example the Smith River was a lazy warm water stream until they put a dam across a deep valley - the cold water discharge from the bottom of the dam now chills 20 miles downstream water and makes an excellent coldwater fishery.


troutfreak

August 14, 2007, 15:26:39 PM #7 Last Edit: August 14, 2007, 15:30:19 PM by Woolly Bugger

Thanks Al, Thanks Woolly for the directions and advice.  I know several rivers around WNC, but I am only familiar with two the Tuck and Pigeon.  This being my first year flyfishing, it is totally different than trout fishing with spinners.  So, going to the old holes with a flyrod is alot different than hitting with a spinner rod.  I guess I just need to take a leap at some of the smaller streams around me and get at it. 



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