Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Smith River Virginia
The freestone section of the river has a large diverse population of aquatic insects but
not very many of any one species. The brook trout can be fooled with several different
attractor or generic flies. Matching the hatch isn't that important most of the time. From
here on we will concentrate on the tailwater section of the river.
As with many other tailwaters, the midge is king on the Smith River. It is not as popular
as one might expect, we believe, simply because the locals haven't really caught on
the fishing midge imitations. Fishing tiny flies on light line for big brown and rainbow
trout takes some time to get used to. However, once any angler sees just how effective
midge fishing can be, they can become addicted to it in a very short time. It is tough
fishing flies you can't see to trout you can't see but all in all it is the most effective way
to catch trout consistently on this river. You should have a good selection of midge
larvae, pupae and adults anytime you fish this river.
Hendricksons hatch from about the middle of March through the middle of April. It is
not huge but it can bring on some decent dry fly fishing.
There are hatches of various species of Blue-winged Olives, none of which are very
consistent. You will find them from January through February but only here and there.
The cloudy, overcast days are best but even then, you may not find a hatch occurring.
The little BWOs hatch again in the late fall from about the first of October through
December but again, it is not consistent or dependable. If you find them hatching by all
means fish it.
The Sulphur hatch is the big event of the year. The hatch is usually very good and
trout can be taken on dry flies. It is actually a Eastern Pale Evening Dun hatch for the
most part. Both the true Sulphurs and the PEDs exist in the stream. It usually starts
about the first of May and last through the month of June. The slightly larger PEDs
start first and the smaller Sulphurs follow.
Terrestrials can be important during the summer. From around the first of June
through September, you will find imitations of beetles, ants and grasshoppers work
great. Another plentiful insect is the moth larva, or inch worm most anglers call them.
They work well during the summer when the little worms are falling off the tree limbs.
Another overlooked insect is the Crane Fly. They are very plentiful in April and May
but are present throughout most of the warm months. Our "Perfect Fly" Crane Fly
Larva and Adult imitations work great on the Smith River.
Don't forget the streamers. Next to the midge imitations, they may well be the most
important fly to use on this river. Imitations of sculpin, small crawfish, minnows, and
baitfish work great, especially for the large trout during high stream flows (from the
banks, please don't wade) and anytime the water is off color. They work great very
early and late in the day when the light levels are low.
If you haven't already done so, please give our "Perfect Flies" a try. You will find they
are by far the most effective trout flies you can purchase.
Smith River Virginia
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