Explore, Experience and Enjoy the Beautiful Smith River in Southern Virginia

Monday, September 22, 2008

After The Fall

Part 2:

Now if you really want to cool off after a long day, just plan to be on the river right after they shut down the generators and the water begins to fall. The cool evaporation is incredible and in no time at all you will be pulling on that jacket you brought along with you.

Monday afternoon (Sept 8) the generation was scheduled to stop at 6 p.m. I headed up to the base of the dam to time the actual flow stoppage and the water drop downstream. They turned the spigot off at 6 p.m. sharp and the water dropped 1 foot in less than 5 minutes.

The fog banks began to arrive in ghostly striated patterns above the receding waters. After 30 minutes of timing water level decrease near the dam, I headed back down the river about a mile to check on the falling waters at the next waypoint.

Watching a couple of trout rise through the mist below, I had to go back to the truck and grab my waders and flyrod. As the sun touched the ridge and the air chilled even more, I coaxed a few browns into feeding. They were not real aggressive on the bite, just sort of stopped the nymph and held on and it was sometimes difficult to tell whether it was a fish or the DIDYMO algae that had your nymph.

The Green headed Coneflowers (Rudbeckia laciniata) seemed to be the predominant yellow wildflower on this section although there were some goldenrod and wingstem as well.

A bumblebee greedily digs into the nectar of the bloom on a White Turtle-head flower (Chelone glabra).
Soon my indicator was disappearing again and another fat brown was on the line.

A smaller brown took the fly and after a releasing him, he hung out around my boots for a couple of shots (below photo), then I nudged him and he darted off back into the shadows of the overhanging trees along the bank.

One more nice brown and I was heading home.

As I released the last trout of the evening back into the river, I once again marveled at how this place seems so remote yet is less than 15 minutes from our office. Dusk arrived and was quickly followed by darkness as the days grow shorter. I pulled out my headlamp and picked my way back upstream, back to the truck, back to the "other" world.

Photo and article by: Brian Williams
Edited by: Vicky Thomas

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