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  • Matt Reilly


Fall is halfway gone, and it's safe to say that conditions have been a total contradiction to last fall. Low, clear water and warmer temps have been the rule. At this point, temps have turned seasonal and downright cold on some mornings, but low, clear water is still something we're dealing with.

The smallmouth season finished on a strong note, with a 22" giant hitting the net on the last trip of the year. However, looking back on the season, I feel comfortable in saying that, while many great memories were made, and many big fish were landed, numbers of fish caught day-to-day were down from the last few years. However, this year's young-of-the-year class seemed to be strong, which bodes well for future fishing.

The wild trout fishing in the mountains has been good, despite exceptionally low water. The best fishing will be found in areas that see low angling pressure, and that feature good low water cover, like strong riffles, depth, and shade. The silver lining to low water now, is that angling pressure on the mountain streams is generally lower than it would be otherwise, meaning that when the water comes up, the fish will be fresh and ready to eat flies, readily. We're leaning heavily on nymphing right now, and will, for the most part, throughout the winter, unless we get higher flows that make streamer fishing more effective.

I've kicked off the 2019-20 musky campaign, this month, and fishing has been good, though we've had to hop around the river a lot to find ideal conditions for hunting. We started the season with several heartbreaks--fish hooked and lost at the boat, but the streak has been broken. Several trophy fish have been landed in the last week, including a 48" beast. Given good conditions, the fishing will only get better from here.

As of this writing, the New River has risen, thanks to rain in the upper river valley and headwaters in western North Carolina, and more is predicted for the later part of this week. That rain has filled up the mountain streams a little, too, and I expect them to be full after this coming weekend.

Fall and winter are great times to be on the water in the Old Dominion. Traffic on the river is low, the musky are biting, and some of the best wild trout fishing to be had will be available between now and spring. If you'd like to get on the river this season to chase musky or wild trout, let's get in touch and start planning your adventure.

I'm looking forward to fishing with you!

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