The Fightingest Fish in Fresh Water
As much of a Mecca as southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee is for
the trout angler, one could argue that it's an even greater destination for
the smallmouth bass angler--and we certainly do. With well over 300 miles
of floatable, world-class smallmouth river at our disposal, ranging in
character from the large, ancient New River, to younger tailwater fisheries
and small, remote tributaries and stillwaters, the diversity of smallmouth
bass water in our neck of the woods is second-to-none. This diversity
allows us to chase ideal conditions and stay on trophy fish for most of the
year, while tailoring experiences to the wishes of individual clients.
Float trips targeting smallmouth bass are our specialty and our greatest
passion, and we dedicate the majority of the year to their pursuit,
beginning in early March and wrapping up sometime in November. Conditions dictate where we fish from day-to-day, and some fisheries shine during specific seasons.
Float trips are conducted out of a 15-foot raft, and generally cover between five and 10 miles of river to give clients access to as much water as possible in a given day. If you want to comfortably cover miles of river while casting streamers and topwater bugs to the sportiest fish in fresh water, this is the trip for you. This is also an ideal trip for novice anglers and group parties. Click HERE to get a glimpse of the action.
Spring (early March - mid-June):
On average, our smallmouth spawn in mid- to late-April. The entire spring
season, both before and after the spawn, is truly a wonderful time to be a
smallmouth angler, particularly on a small, clear-water river system where
the movements and life history events of these wonderful fish can be
observed well. This is certainly one of the least-understood seasons of the
smallmouth, and one of the greatest opportunities for those interested in
becoming a more well-rounded smallmouth angler.
The focus of the spring season is on trophy fish. Numbers of fish caught
throughout the course of a day can be lower this time of year, but the
possibility of landing a truly large smallmouth is great. The season begins
as fish are moving out of a winter pattern and feeding heavily as they
transition towards spawning areas. Warming rivers creates a gradient of
effective presentation strategies, beginning with slow, heavy presentations in the coldest water, and tapering into more active baitfish streamer fishing as things warm up.
Post-spawn, during the months of May and June, is generally ruled by streamer fishing, though some topwater fishing opportunities may present themselves, given conducive conditions. These months can also be some of the best of the year for large smallmouth, as well as greater numbers of fish (at times), with warmer water.
Summer (mid-June - late-September):
Summer on our smallmouth rivers begins after the fish have recovered from
the spawn. Feeding and growing becomes their primary concern, and they
diffuse throughout the river. This is one of our favorite times of the year to
be on the river, for the comfortable weather, generally willing fish, and the
visual topwater fishing that dominates. Annual cicadas, damselflies,
dragonflies, June bugs, and a host of other insect food sources emerge,
providing the fish with a reason to orient to the surface. The water is
generally low and clear. Those that enjoy sight fishing will thrive during the
Fall (early-October - late-November):
Around the first of October, a major cold front pushes our fish out of their
predictable summer pattern and into a feeding binge as they transition back
towards their wintering holes, and baitfish are on the menu. Like the spring, this
is the time for the streamer and conventional anglers willing to sacrifice numbers
of fish for shots at large, heavy, predatory bass. It's also an absolutely beautiful
time to be on any of our fisheries as the leaves change and traffic thins.
Full day float trip for 1 or 2 anglers - $400/$450
We don't fish by a clock, but are on the water for at least 8 hours. Rods, reels, flies, and other tackle are included. Lunch, drinks, and photos from the day are also provided. Several days prior to your booked date, we'll work out a meeting time and location, and discuss lunch options.
What to Bring:
Waders (in cold water months--no studs)
A Virginia freshwater fishing license is required. You can purchase yours here.
A $100 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking,
and can be paid by check or Venmo towards the total cost of the trip.
The remainder is to be paid on the day of the trip by check or cash.
In order to better serve you, in the event of inclement weather or
poor water conditions, as determined by Matt Reilly, deposits can be
put towards a rescheduled date within a year's time. Cancellations
made by the client within 10 days of a scheduled date forfeit
- Note: Listed rate does not include gratuity.
Choosing what to tip can be confusing. Generally, throughout the service industry, 20% of the trip rate is standard given you enjoyed your time on the water and your guide. We give 110% to our clients on the water every day in order to ensure that you have a memorable, relaxing, and educational adventure that will stick with you forever.