This Spring as proven to be exact replica of last years Spring. Dry April then May brought heavy rains. I got out one more time after the stripers on the Staunton River at Brookneal, VA. I figured it was done after the last big rain but there was fish still around. Water was still very muddy and that didn’t help me any but did land one in all the slop. Unfortunately that would be the last one for this year because a couple days later another big rain came along. It was a tough season this year with unseasonably hot weather and low water and then the rains.
Thankfully majority of the time trout is always a option after these big rains. Tailwater rivers like the Jackson can provide fishable water even after storms but not all of the time. Gathright Dam fluctuates flows according to lake level and when it gets near full pond or over you can expect high flows. Flows above 1200 cfs I recommend staying off the river unless you are experienced paddler or oarsman.
I got out on the James river with a friend before the rains last Thursday. We moved several big muskies and had one eat but not hooked. Between muskie spots I tossed my 6wt for my favorite freshwater fish the smallmouth bass. After seeing a few eat something on the surface I switched to a popper and had right many takes and got my first smallies of the year on the surface.
I will continue to guide for trout the rest of May if the weather allows. Once June gets here I’ll make the switch to smallmouth bass and run trips till October. I’m looking forward to throwing topwater all Summer long!