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  • Writer's pictureMatt Reilly


What a phenomenal spring it's been--certainly from a diversity standpoint, and that's just the way I like it. If there's an overarching theme for the year so far, I'd call it heat. The spring opened fairly warm in April, which sped along striper spawning runs and periodical cicada hatches a tad ahead of schedule, but regular rainfall kept the rivers in good shape until the bottom dropped out in late-spring. It's now officially summer, and it sure as hell feels like it.

All of that said, we had a pretty good prespawn and postspawn smallmouth campaign, with lots of large fish boated, and some very memorable days. One particular standout was a giant 22.5" fish that Mike Siegert landed late in the day on what had been a perfect smallmouth streamer day, though a tad on the slow side. Nearly at the buzzer, that fish engulfed his fly not far from my oar blade. Just a few short weeks later, Jack Steel put that same fish in the boat AGAIN, along with another 20"+ fish. Jack Steel was also a part of another memorable day with Steve Spagna, wherein we put three females over 20" in the boat streamer fishing during the postspawn timeframe. There were several first 20" fish, including Bob Voytilla's and Elizabeth Farnsworth's. The swim fly streamer game was a good one, this spring.

Amidst the craziness of the spring smallmouth seasons, we also took quite a bit of time to fish for striped bass on their annual spring spawning run in Central Virginia. This fishery is short-lived, but an awesome change of pace after our smallmouth begin to spawn, and provides an opportunity to catch a lot of large, hard-fighting fish in a wild river setting. This run generally gets undwerway in late March and early April, but got kicked off a tad early this year. As such, it also concluded a little early, around early May. Some wild times were had, and lots of fish were caught. For more information on our striper trips, check the Striped Bass page on the website.

The highlight of our spring, however, has to be the Brood XIX periodical cicada hatch that covered portions of the southeast from April to June. These bugs usually emerge en masse in late-April to mid-May in the southeast and mid-Atlantic, and live for 4-6 weeks as the noisily search for mates to lay eggs and end their life cycle. During these events, some of the most amazing topwater sight fishing in freshwater can occur, and we were there to take advantage.

The warm weather of the early spring had bugs popping in most places in the region around late-April, with fishing getting underway sometime in early- to mid-May, and finishing up by the beginning of the second week of June.

We spent the first stint of our cicada season chasing giant grass carp on various southeastern lakes. These fish averaged 43 inches in length and about as many pounds, and could be seen cruising shallows and the outer edges of bug-filled trees. While these fish put up quite a fight, they can exhibit very strong bite windows and periods of inactivity as the hatch wears on, and as this came into effect, we moved, finding water eaten up with common carp (our true target) to finish up the hatch. We spent about two and a half weeks fishing common carp, averaging 40 fish per day in the 5-15-pound range. This is truly some of my favorite fishing and guiding, and I want to extend a very warm thanks to everyone that trusted me, and came out to experience this amazing fishing. For more information on periodical cicada fishing, visit the periodical cicada page on the website.

As usual, thanks to everyone of you for supporting us in this pursuit! It was a great spring, and it's shaping up to be a great summer, if we can find running water to float! We'll see you out there.

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