The world is changing with great magnitude, every day, now. The short, cold days of winter are behind us. Flip flops, warm mornings, and long days are here and getting more enjoyable with every passing day. The musky we kept a close eye on during our winter season are spawning, the smallmouth are stirring, and bugs are starting to pop on the mountain streams. Spring has sprung, and the most exciting season is upon us.
Our winter season was a good but tough one, as we were, again, plagued by regular high water events and a river that never really hit average flows. This fall, we added another trip option to our arsenal--streamer fishing float trips for wild brown trout on some of the eastern United States' most productive tailwater systems. We are excited for this addition, as it will provide our clients another exciting option, as well as a similar backup option for when we have poor conditions for musky floats. Though overall catch numbers can be lower on these outings, as we're generally targeting the rivers' larger fish, the visual aspect of this kind of fishing can make for incredibly exciting days and memories of aggressive fish you'll never forget. We are, for the most part, wrapping up this offering until the fall, as the tailwaters will begin to see exponentially more boat traffic, and our favorite pursuit--smallmouth bass fishing--becomes more and more viable. However, we'll continue to utilize it on a limited basis, and as a backup option for other trips that get blown out. If you're interested, get in touch, and we'll look at dates for the fall season! Here are just a few of the great moments from the fall/winter musky and tailwater campaigns.
The mountain stream wild trout fishing on the mountain streams was great, as usual, throughout the winter, and will only get better from now throughout the summer. Starting around the middle of March, we started to see some phenomenal Quill Gordon hatches in the afternoon on sunny, pleasant days, and the dry fly fishing has been great. This is the first big mayfly hatch of the year, and the increase in activity generally makes the fishing catch fire both on and below the surface. This was the tune of the day for a few clients from MD, around the start of the hatch, this year, as we stayed tight to above-average wild fish all day, and we ended the day with a few big fish on dry flies!
More hatches will mature as the season progresses, and by the end of April, our dry fly fishing will be spectacular with good streamflows and clarity and will last through the summer season. Lots of anglers dismiss the summer for trout fishing, thinking the water is too warm, but in the mountains of SWVA, our streams run cold year-round, and summer can be some of the best fishing of the year, and it's generally all on top.
Streamer fishing on the mountain streams, too, is generally very good in the early spring, as we usually have elevated streamflows and warming water. Tangling with big wild trout in a small, tight stream can make for some very memorable days, this time of year, and we've been fortunate to have already seen a few of them, this season.
A strong warmup early in March brought water temps into the upper 40s on our bigger warmwater rivers, and gave us the opportunity to get the first few smallmouth floats of the year in. Big fish have been hitting the net each day out. On the warmups, as water temps soar, baitfish patterns fished slow and low in the water column have been viable. Following cold snaps and fronts, fishing has slowed down and so has the bite. Large, heavy dredging flies have been the key in such situations, and will be staples until water temps reach the mid-50s.
Smallmouth will be our primary focus from now until October. The pre-spawn period, which we're in now, can be very productive, and gives up the heaviest, fattest fish of the year. Big streamers, higher water, and heavy fish is the name of the game, and there's no more beautiful time to be on the river. Below are just a few photos from the first couple of trips of the season.
We have a few days left in April for smallmouth floats. Once May arrives, topwater fishing opportunities begin to overlap with great springtime fishing, and we have a few dates available in that time frame, as well. For those of you looking to get in on the summer topwater season, don't wait to book your trip! We have very few dates remaining between now and August 1, and we're booking more every day!
We look forward to fishing with you!