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  • Matt Reilly


The world is changing. The leaves are turning. Consecutive cold fronts are cooling the rivers, and the smallmouth and musky are in transition. It's farewell to summer, and welcome to fall.

The second half of the summer season was a productive and challenging one. Consistent bouts of high water and rain had us on our toes day-to-day, but chasing ideal conditions kept us on big fish, most days. A week of seasonal summertime conditions in late-August brought the most consistent and productive fishing of the summer, and we can only hope for a break in the now-three-year pattern of high water springs and summers in the coming year. Two strong cold fronts in late-September and early-October brought the summer smallmouth pattern to a slamming halt and initiated the fish's seasonal movement towards their wintering locations. Dog days cicadas continue to sing in the trees as I write this, but topwater action has been fading, daily. Larger streamers (and smaller ones on cold front and post-frontal days) and crayfish imitations fished lower in the water column have been the ticket the last few days on the water.

I have a few smallmouth trips left, this month, but my major focus will be shifting towards musky fishing this month. Water temperatures are currently fluctuating in the lower 60s, and have been safe and comfortable for musky for a few weeks.

Wild trout fishing in the Mount Rogers region has been fantastic all summer. The terrestrial season grants us the opportunity to fish dry flies all summer, and the fish are still taking them readily. That terrestrial fishing, like the topwater smallmouth fishing, will begin to fade in the coming weeks, and we'll begin to rely more on nymphs and streamers, depending on conditions, to take advantage of the excellent fishing that fall and winter bring.

I can't thank all of the great clients that I've had the pleasure of spending days in the boat and on the creek with enough for keeping us busy all late-spring and summer. Despite a difficult beginning of the year, we've had a great season, and you are integral parts of that. If you'd like to get on our calendar to chase musky or wild trout, this fall and winter, let's get in touch and discuss timing and dates to maximize the quality of the experience you're looking for. We're excited to fish with you!

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