Even though I did not catch any fish on this section of the Smith River, I’m not sure that there is any bad section in this great tailwater. After starting the day in the special regulation area above the 666 bridge, I had spent the rest of the afternoon working my way downstream; parking at the various bridge crossings and seeing what was there. This crossing would be my last stop of the day.
There’s a small parking area off to the right (west) of this bridge crossing which provided easy access and convenient parking. I walked down the smooth embankment and easily stepped into the river below the bridge. As is my custom, I immediately turned and began to fish my way upstream. Initially, the river was about thigh deep and I could wade easily in its center. However, the farther upstream I went, the deeper it became. I was eventually closed out as a result of the increasing depth and had to leave the river.
Since it was deep, I relied on streamer patterns for my fishing here. Nothing was moving on the October afternoon when I visited. Since I was closed out moving upstream, I returned to my entry point and headed downstream. Here, the river was much shallower — knee high — and made for even easier wading and movement. I fished downstream for 100 yards or so; focusing on the spot where I small creek joined the river from the west. I did not catch anything — nada.
I certainly do not hold that against the Smith River but, rather, attributed it to the time of day, time of year and lack of skill. There was clearly evidence of other fishermen around – although not the normal empty bait boxes and other trash. Instead, some random footprints hinted at the visit of fishermen earlier in the day. Assuming these individuals were not visitors like me, I believe that this is an indication that this section of the river can be productive.
The river bottom in this area is mostly sand turning to gravel in the downstream riffled area. The banks are steep as you move upstream and are protected by thick undergrowth. I had to look hard for a place to exit the river once I was closed out. Downstream, the high banks continue and once you are in the river, you pretty much stay there.
Bottom line: If you read all my reports so far on the Smith River, the common thing that will jump out is that I did not really do very well on my day here. I caught a few fish, but not a lot. That does not mean that this is not a great place to go. There is too much documentation and to many associated pictures you can look at of grinning fishermen holding trophies to conclude that the Smith River is a place to ignore. I look forward to my next opportunity to drive down and test my skill again.
Getting There: Follow 57 north into Bassett, VA. Turn left onto Field Avenue near Fielddale. Cross the bridge and park.
Google Local Coordinates: 36.700924,-79.933219
Secrets Revealed? No. The Smith River is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Date Fished: 10/3/2008
Upstream from where I was closed out
Looking downstream to the Field Ave bridge
Riffled area downstream
Looking upstream back to the bridge
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore