Smith River Visitors 27-29 Jul 12
This past weekend I hosted several Fayetteville NC folks at my "get away" place in Bassett VA. This has become an annual event and because of some rescheduling due to an illness in my immediate family some of the regulars were not able to attend. Not to fear, we had Wounded Warriors and other recently retired military more then willing to take their place. I put up four at my place and a couple more dropped in for day trips and meals. For many this was the first exposure to the Smith River, which even though it is "out of state" is the closest trout fishery to the vast majority of NC residents - from Fayetteville it is 147 miles vs 180 miles to a marginal delayed harvest stream where one has to "take a ticket" to find shoulder room in a pool which may or may not hold fish depending on when poachers last cleaned them out.
We got on the water Friday afternoon with the help of a few friends from Smith River TU who acted as local guides.
One pair of visitors got a special treat which was a float trip down the Smith during high water, ie during generation. We initially planed the float from the dam down to the Bassett Boat Ramp but there was some problem with the transmission lines and Philpott canceled their scheduled generation. A quick change of plans and we put them in below the Martinsville Dam where they floated to the Smith River Sports Complex. I was told it was a beautiful float but the guys were not familiar with float fishing and ended up drawing a blank. My heartfelt thanks to SRTU members Lisa Hall and Brian Williams for the loan of the raft and guide service.
Saturday morning found me with a group at the Rosemont area. The guys were amazed at the fog coming off the cool water. Smiles all the way around as we caught a few small browns and holdover rainbows.
Yep, you're seeing right - we put one fellow with limited walking capability in a shallow area where he elected to "wade it wet" - The ultra lite spinning rod with little spinners did a good job.
Everyone loved the looks of our unique Smith River Browns.
Saturday afternoon we switched around and I went with a fellow who was relatively new to fly fishing. He had been with Lisa during the morning and she helped improve his casting tremendously. Now it was time to put it all to practice. Call it beginners luck, great skill or whatever but you're looking at two very nice Smith River Browns. I was fooling around and caught the smaller one (10-12 inches) and just as I unlimbered my net I looked to my right and my companions rod was set in a deep bend. With a little deft maneuvering we were able to scoop up this beautiful 16-17 inch Smith River Brown. I have only seen one nicer fish all summer.
Come on Barry, you're suppose to smile. You did good my friend - you did very good!
Venison Kabobs and lots of good cheer that evening. A full day on the water and a full belly - what more can you ask for? Everyone slept well Saturday night.
Sunday morning after breakfast some headed out with local guides or on their own for more fishing and some packed up and headed for home. All in all a very good weekend. We have exposed several new fishermen to the local region and the Smith River. Every one of them said they would be back and several of them to promised to show up August 4th to help with the Smith River Clean Up.
- Fly Fishing