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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone fly fished the New River in VA or WV for smallies? Thinking of giving it a try. Would a 20' jon boat with a jet motor work on this river? Any info welcome.

What I know about smallie fishing would fit in a thimble, but the little I have done has been a blast.

It is sometimes fun to put the heavy sink lines on 9's and 10's aside and cast a 7 or 8 wt with a floating line.
 

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Smallmouth

Bill,

Fished the New a long time ago, when in graduate school at Va Tech. We motored around pretty well with a then-ancient AlumaCraft 12-foot vee bottom with a 9.8 on it.

So I'd think the larger jon boat would be fine. Jet drive is good idea. We had to make a bracket with a pitchfork on it for the little outboard, and still carry along a pocket full of shear pins. Ah, the good old days . . .

The area around Narrows, VA, where I was doing my thesis research, did have pretty good smallmouth back then. But had a lot of rocks too. Easy to see in low or clear water, a bit tricky if dirty.

Buzz
 

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I've fished the New every year for the past four years below the dam in the gorge section. The fishing has been terrible and is not really worth the trip unless you are going on a canoe trip or a rafting trip. I wouldn't run a jon boat below the dam as the rapids are frequent and big. I've heard that the fishing above the dam in the VA section is pretty good though and the rapids are not a factor as the river is much more calm. I've heard that the section below the dam is so bad that it's shutting down many of the guide services. There's lots of speculation that it's due to the irregular flows from the release schedule by the Corp of Engineers. The Greenbriar still fishes pretty well if you're in that area.

I grew up in Western NC and the sections that flow between NC and VA are still good smallie waters and could handle your boat. Watch the weather and rain though as the river rises fast and turns to choclate milk with any rains that hit western NC and southeastern VA.

email me if you have any specific questions - [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Buzz and Alex-

Fished the Penobscot in Maine two years ago in Aug. It is a beautiful river and it sure looked fishy. We did catch some smallies on the fly but it was difficult getting around because of the low water and the abundant grass that sucked up in the jet intake. A canoe would have made more sense.

Looking for something closer that may be good. In the very early stages of planning. I will contact you Alex if we get closer to doing the trip.
 

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Bill,

It's been almost as long for me since I was at Va Tech as Buzz. I did some fishing mostly in the area from Radford down to Pearisburg. I wasn't into fly fishing at the time, most;ly I fished ultralight with spinners and rappalas. I did my fishing from a canoe. It's pretty big water and I always seemed to be paddling against the wind. There is one nasty little rapid, (can't remember the name) that would affect a small boat where the river cuts through Brush Mountain. I did OK on smallies and sunnies but nothing that I would have made me take a trip back down there while I still lived in Maryland.

Guy
 

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fished the New just west of Blacksburg this summer. Wade fished, was very tough to fish from the bank, big water, picked up a few smallies. The folks in boats were doing much better, that included jon boats. A guy on a jon in front of me landed a nice smallie in water I couldnt reach from the bank. Check with shops in Blacksburg, I think many sections around there a good for jonboat.

James is another option, I take my jon boat on this, many folks with jons and jets.
 

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i FISH THE JAMES ALL THE TIME AND ITS GREAT FISHING....RIGHT AROUND HOWARDSVILLE BRIDGE...NELSON COUNTY....SHIPMAN AREA....LIVE BAIT IS GOOD RIGHT NOW.....BUT THE SUMMER WE USE JIGS AND TOPWATER....FUN FISHING BUT WE FLOAT DOWN IN TUBES AND CANOES ETC.....
MY FRIENDS TRIED UP ON THE NEW...BUT HAD A HELL OF A STORM THAT WASHED THEM OUT THAT WEEKEND IN JULY LAST YEAR.....MAY GIVE HER A TRY THIS SUMMER...
GOOD LUCK IF YOU TRY THERE AT THE---- JAMES RIVER WMA....!
 

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Bill:
I fished the NEw 3 years ago and we did okay, nothing spectacular except for the river itself, which is a gem as it flows through the gorge. Truly one of the prettiest sections of rivers I've ever fished.

I'll agree with Kendall above...the James is still fishing reall well. I can't tell you anything about running a jon-boat through there, but there are a few outfitteres who rent canoes that can probably tell you more info on that. Parts of the James up in the mountains are probably NOT runnable in a jonboat, but they sure are pretty, small rivers and well worth exporing if you can handle sitting in a canoe. Try finding some numbers on the web for outfitters, they can give you more info on boatable sections.

And why not the Susky? You're kinda close to that, and while it's not fishing as well as it did 5 years ago, there were some good signs last year that it was recovering well. There are lots of sections you can run in a jon/jet (I'm thinking in particular of the area around the confluence with the Juniata), good ramps, and it's close by, too. Even the section below Conowingo will yeild some nice smallies. If you want more info on boating the Susky, I'd call Clouser's shop in Middletown.

Good luck, and go get'em (smallies are addictive, I'm warning ya).
 

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Go over riversmallies.com and ask this question. You'll find there are number of people that run the New and James with jets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys for all the info. I like to try different areas and this is the time of the year to dream and consider fishing trips to come this year.

Doug-

The Susky is real close. In fact my bud with the jon/jet bought one just like Bob Clouser's and has known Bob much longer than I have. My bud fly fished the river for many years and he is my main source of info about how to fish smallies. He and his brother both fish the river and were of the impression last year it was very slow. I think Bob Clouser stopped guiding last year until late in the season. Hopefully it will come back.

It is still fun to take a road trip to somewhere different. The Penobscot was neat but a long way to go and we hit it during a low water time. I would go back but my bud was afraid the grass would ruin his jet motor. We had to keep stopping and pulling the grass out of the pump. After we returned we found a website that predicts what the water level on the river will be several days in advance. That would be some help.

Smallies sure are a blast. Bob Clouser has a beautiful new book on Smallie fishing. I just got a copy. The photos are great and it is printed on glossy paper. Just read a little of it. I am about a third of the way through reading 1776. When I complete it, I will finish Bob's book. I think it will be a must read for any avid smallie fishermen.
 

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I just read 1776 about a month ago :thumbup: McCullough is a great writer. If you want to read another good one by him (but a LONG book): "The Path Between the Seas" about the construction of the Panama Canal. Amazing book, really engrossing, especially if you are an engineering/science/history geek like me.

I dod not fish the Susky last year b/c of the poor reports...but at least it was a bit of an improvement from 2 years ago.

I do plan on fishing the James some this year, plus the Shenandoah was showing signs of improvement last year and should only be better...I'll keep you posted.

-- DHE
 

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Bill-
I've been fishing the New for around 10 years. I've fished it in my 16' jet boat, kick boats, & with guides. I would definately recommend fishing it with a guide; b/c the river is limited to boat use- those areas get alot more pressure. My dad fly fishes the new every year & has pulled out a couple of 4 & 5lber's. For me I can't pass up throwing a 3/4 oz white spinnerbait with a colorado & willow blade behind those eadies.
Growing up on the James & fishing the shenandoah up until the fish kill; the New River is hands down the better smallmouth & musky fishery.
Plus on the new you don't have to worry about a group of 30 tubers coming down the river every 50 yards. Good Luck, Mark
 

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I fished the New River a couple of years ago. Had a great day on a beautiful river and caught a lot of small mouth . Would not rate the fishing as anything above what I have done in the Juanita or upper Susquehanna Rivers. We fished with a guide in rafts rigged for float fishing.
The trip was arranged through the Greenbrier Hotel Orvis flyshop. It was a fun day on a big,rolling river but I would think you could do just as well fishing wise at many other locations. By the way, if you want to take you SO , the Greenbrier is a great place for her while you are on the river . Good food, golf and lots of wonderful outdoors to enjoy.
 

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Wow, Buzz is a Hokie! Me too. I fished the New 2-times a week many years ago (when at Va Tech). We had a canoe, but did beter wet wading. The area north of McCoy falls and down-river from the bomb factory was always good for us. The alternating sandstone/limestone formations ran parallel to the river/current, and there was an area of ditch-like rocks with current running down them. Great place to fish. Hard to wade. You'll get some scrapes and cuts. We caught a lot of 2 to 3-pound bass there. Have not fished there for years but would love to try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Mark, Stu and ko for the added info.

We may actually charter a guide and do the float trip in a raft to check it out. I like the flexibility of DIY but sometimes it can be fun to just fish and let a guide do the guiding.
 

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the new is the best smallie river around IMHO. im a vatech grad too. caught em up to 6lbs. best time for bigguns id right now until april. fish slow. lots of big miskies too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That sounds good SS. The only trouble there is another type of bass that grabs my attention during the times mentioned. Have you fished the New later in the season?
 

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Bill,

I've fished both the James and the New and do a ton of smallmouth fishing. The new can be good in the Va sections but I live in Richmond and I really have never felt it was all that much better than the James. Plus why should I drive 4+ hours to fish the new when I have the best part of the James (in my opinion) within 30 minutes of me and some of it 10 minutes from me.

The James slowed down some in the last 5 years I think because of the huge explosion of flathead catfish that eat everything smaller than it is. However, last year was really good and I caught some really nice fish in the James including one that went 5lbs.

Other than right in Richmond the pressure is fairly light unless there is a tournament going on and there are several sections that are just perfect for a jet boat. My brother has a 17 Jet that he runs all over the river with no problems. I usually flyfish out of my canoe or kayak. Usually only late July and August are problems with grass if we have had little to now rain. However, the last couple years we've had good rain so it's not been a problem.

I think you would find the fishing very good above Richmond and if you want to shoot me a pm I'll give you the locations you can fish. I know you like to hit the stripers in the spring as I do so I usually don't even start fishing for smallies until June but will occasionally hit a few areas in May.

Thanks,
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Tim-

I am going to print out this thread and will keep what you said in mind. Some local info on the James would be very helpful.

Bill
 

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My daughter is at Va Tech now, I'll ask if any of her friends fish (on the off chance they're sober, that's one partying school)
 
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