After spending all morning on the special regulation section above the 666 bridge, I decided to work my way downstream and hit every bridge crossing that supported any kind of public parking. According to all the books and reports, the Smith River is all good as a result of the cold water that slips out of the Philpott Dam. Given that, the entire stretch supports a population of brown trout that is augmented by the VDGIF stocking program.
Public parking at the Trenthill bridge is plentiful. To the north of the bridge, there is a broad concrete pad on the right that makes it easy. Gear up and you can follow the well beaten, moderate gradient path next to the bridge to get to the river. As I waded into the water, I noted that a member of the kitchen staff from the Italian Restaurant on the other side of the bridge was sitting on a rock doing a little fishing during his break. Good to know that downstream must be a good choice, but I did not want to disrupt his hole by sloshing downstream, so I pointed my rod upstream.
Unlike the flat part of the Smith that marks the beginning of the special regulation area, there are plenty of rocks here. The water breaks over the boulders with energy, spitting small sprays into the air to add to the drama of the scene. The river is reasonably wide – maybe 40 feet with a rocky bottom – small rocks. Given the current, and the generally shallow water in front of me, I decided to stick to dry flies and started lobbing them at the various seams I could identify around the rocks.
Within a few flips, I was rewarded with energetic slurps. After my bad luck on the upper section, I was not prepared to react properly and did my standard New Fly Guy immediate action – a rapid hookset which missed the mark. At some point in my fly fishing career, I hope that I can automatically execute the perfect, calm hookset that allows that carefully measured second for the trout to suck the fly all the way in and close his mouth to test his decision.
I waded upstream fishing the rocks. The action was consistent but I continued to fail to close the deal. I fished this area for about an hour and then decided I had to move downstream to the next bridge crossing.
Bottom Line: Worth coming back to. In addition to the visible action I experienced, the bridge supports easy access for stocking activity. There is an active factory on the east side of the bridge that limits the “trout experience”, but if you are catching fish, who cares. The special regulation section starts about ¼ mile upstream from this spot, so another approach is to start at the 666 bridge and work your way down to this spot. You can climb out and walk back on the road to your truck – cutting the corner of the river.
Getting There: Follow Route 57 into Bassett. Turn right on Trenthill. Go across the bridge and park on the right.
Google Local Coordinates: 36.766237,-80.000961
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Virginia Trout Streams
Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams
Date fished: 10/3/2008
Downstream from the bridge
Upstream from the bridge
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore