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  • Matt Reilly


It's been an interesting year in every sense of the word, and it's difficult to believe that we're already living in July--well into the smallmouth season, and it seems like we've really just been getting started. Since June 10, we've been fully back in the saddle with guiding operations, running smallmouth floats and trout trips nearly every day and trying to make up for lost time. Despite the early setback, our smallmouth season has been tremendous, so far, and we're looking forward to a full and exciting summer.

As has been standard for the last several years, streamflows have been challenging over the last few months, offering us very limited windows of good fishing conditions. However, hopping around, following ideal conditions, and utilizing some backup options have allowed us to stay on top of the game and have some great days, with lots of topwater fishing opportunities.

The smallmouth spawn in Virginia was a late one, this year--about a month behind the historic average. I saw one male smallmouth sweeping a nest on March 30 after a few weeks of warm weather that brought water temps into the low 60s on some of our smaller rivers. Unseasonably cold weather in April and early May brought the water temps back down into the low- to mid-50s, and we didn't start to see water temps consistently in the 56-60-degree range until late May. Thus, smallmouth were relating to good spawning habitat throughout June, requiring the angler to take a critical look at the river and focus on high-percentage areas in order to have consistent success. As I write this, we are between spring and summer patterns. The fish have (largely) abandoned spring spawning locations and are diffusing throughout the river. Fish can be anywhere, but nowhere in particular, and covering water is important. Soon, the fish will be established in their summer haunts and habits, and the great big sweet spot of the smallmouth season that is summertime will be upon us.

Thanks to regular rainfall, trout fishing continues to be viable, and should throughout the summer, barring any particularly dry and warm weather we might get. Terrestrial (dry fly) fishing is very productive, right now, the weather and water is comfortable, and the fishing is great. If you've never experienced the fire of wild trout fishing in a beautiful setting, let us initiate you. It's an incredibly special part of the landscape we live in, and it's a unique opportunity within the state of Virginia as a whole.

I have three dates that remain open in July (July 10, 24, and 27), and they won't last long. If you'd like to get on the water, this month, don't hesitate to reach out however you prefer, and we'll get started planning your experience!

I look forward to fishing with you!

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