The top water bite is on.
Boogle Bugs and Wiggle Minnows.
I think it won’t be too controversial saying, catching smallmouth bass on or near the surface is what Virginia anglers love. Although, smallies can be enticed to come to the surface during most of the spring and summer, August and September are hands down my favorite.
Why? Good question. There are two main reasons. First. August and September are when the annual/summer cicadas are not only out in large numbers, but the fish really seem to key in on them this time of year. Crickets and grasshoppers are also prolific as summer starts to wined-down. Second. River levels on the Shenandoah and James river are often low and clear. Making all the above mentioned very easy meals for awaiting fish.
That being said, casting distance and accuracy are paramount. Keep in mind, fish can be very spooky when the rivers get low and clear. Staying as far away from your target as possible and being sure you are dropping the fly in front of the fish will produce more takes. Oh, almost forgot. I also drop down from a 0-1x 9′ leaders to 2-3x and stretch it out to around 12-14′. Just something to keep in mind if the fish seem to spook off when your fly line hits the water.
Cooler temperatures are on the way.
We love the smallies, but I would be lying if I said we aren’t getting excited about trout and musky. If the temperatures stay on this cooling trend we will be opening our private waters in the next couple weeks and we are taking bookings for musky floats on the James river starting in September. We will of course continue smallmouth floats/trips well into October. Musky trips are filling up fast. If you’d like to chase this amazing with us this season please, give us a call.
Hope to see you on the water.