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  • Matt Reilly


After a long spring of high water and unfishable flows, the temps are breaking 90 and the rivers are clearing up. And the smallmouth are starting to look up. By far, my favorite kind of fishing is floating a beautiful smallmouth river in the Blue Ridge Mountains and searching likely looking haunts with topwater bugs for big smallmouth bass. And that's exactly what we'll be doing for the next 3-4 months.

I've spent several days in the last few weeks guiding groups of kids on a variety of trips, from local tailwaters to mountain streams and smallmouth rivers.

The South Holston tailwater is seeing its famous daily sulfur hatch, these days, and Sky, a curious 13-year-old from Charlotte got well-acquainted with the wild brown trout it can produce one day last week. Phillip, a 15-year-old bass fisherman from Richmond had a phenomenal day as well, last week, complete with a double on a double fly rig.

The days in between I've spent on the New River, and the fishing is improving everyday. The bigger female bass are showing back up after spending a few weeks recovering from the spawn period. Garry Clark and his son Michael found one of them late last week--a 21" fish that ate a topwater bug. Check out the video, here.

Over the next few weeks, the New River will continue to drop and clear up, and the topwater fishing will only improve. If you want to get on the calendar to experience some of the best smallmouth fishing in the country, give me a call or shoot me an email.

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