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

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Smallmouth on the Smith

July 4th, Smallies !

A beautiful and "scrappy" smallmouth bass being released back into the river

On Saturday, Darrin and I headed out to the Smith River to do some fishing and take a few pictures. We also had to try out his new canoe, a used 15 ft. Buffalo he'd just bought a few weeks ago. Trout are usually our number one priority but today we set our sites on Smallmouth. For this trip, we’d be running the lower Smith somewhere between Martinsville and the Dan River. I’d tell you where, but its top secret !

I can tell you it was a really beautiful section of river with no access points for at least 7.5 miles. We had enough water to make it down the river without getting hung up on any of the numerous small rapids and gravel bars. So we dropped off a truck at the take out point and then got on the water by 3:30. I’m familiar with most of this particular section of river and had previously fished it for smallies. The first hole we came too, I told Darrin, “there’s usually one or two right here” No sooner had I got the words out of my mouth when Darrin hooked up with the first bronze-back of the day, and it was a nice one.

The "bronze-back" flash of a nice smallmouth is seen just under the surface as Darrin brings him to the boat.

Man them smallies can put up a fight !. Our plan of attack was to run downstream and catch an eddy, turn into the current and make a few cast before drifting on through each hole. It wasn’t long before we realized that we would never be able to cover all the good water we were seeing so we kept up a fairly good pace only stopping briefly at each site.. The smallies were cooperating and we had plenty of action with lots of chunky bronze beauties, all of which we released back into the river.

This section of the Smith is remote and the scenery is outstanding. It’s a little run section due to lack of access points but it certainly deserves high marks for rock outcrops and gravel bars. We picked up a few nice redbreast and a rock bass as well, but our main objective was smallmouth... and we were not disappointed.

Another chunky smallmouth is released

I knew we’d be close to dark getting off the river but about 2 miles before our take out, Jenn called to report that she was having car trouble on 220, so we started paddling to get to the bridge as soon as we could. We had to pass up a lot of great water...I kept trying to pick up my rod and cast but Darrin would say, "just keep paddling". We still had to get the canoe out and up a steep bank before getting back on the road. Its unfortunate that Jenns car broke down but its probably a good thing or we might have been on the river long after dark…or at least till the smallies quit biting ! Darrin did call later that evening to report they all made it home and the truck had overheating due to a bad thermostat. Oh well, we got a great excuse to go back now...there's lots of good looking water we missed...course, we'll probably be out past dark next time too ! (sorry Jenn)


  1. really beautiful places.

  2. those rock bass are probly roanoke bass......va has found them in the rver from marrowbone creek on down into nc and also in town creek where they are thermally isolated....mack

  3. Mack in nc
    Thanks for your comment. I have wondered about that as the species listed for the Smith include both Rock Bass and Roanoke Bass. Can you give me a positive ID from a few photos? These guys have really bright red eyes.
    you can email me at bwilliams@danriver.org