Smith River Cleanup Report

Brrrrrrr, it was chilly but the Smith River Trout Unlimited (SRTU) river clean-up on Saturday, March 28th was a huge success. The weather kept attendance down but those who did show up pitched in and got the job done.
Our goal was to clean the road and river banks along Shady View Lane and The Great Road downstream from the canoe ramp. These two sections are divided by Highway 220 Bypass.
We ended up cleaning the length of Process Rd., also.
Some very chilly folks left after we finished up, others gathered for some dogs and burgers from the grill.
Thank you one and all. We made a difference one trash bag at a time. When all were collected in one spot they totaled close to 50 bags of  trash – that’s pretty impressive.

Some fishing was done afterwards, too!




Re-Scheduled Meeting w/Musky and Striper Program, April 2

The  Musky & Striper program  which was scheduled for last month was cancelled due to ice storm. Thankfully Matt Miles was still available and willing to reschedule for Thursday, April 2nd.  I’ve  attached a couple photos to show what you’ve been missing if you have not fished for these species.  . Details below:

With prime time fishing season just around the corner Smith River Trout Unlimited (SRTU) will host a  “How to” Musky & Striper fishing program  at Rania’s Restaurant on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm. Well known musky & striper expert and Orvis indorsed guide Matt Miles will shorten your learning curve on these two hard fighting species. You do not have to be a member of SRTU. Anyone with an interest in regional fishing opportunities is encouraged to attend.

Our regular meetings will now feature a “swap shop”  set up in the back of the room. Bring what you want to sell or trade. Slap your name and a price on it and recycle the stuff you don’t use or need. Look around for those “it was a good idea at the time” purchases you made but now reside in the back of your closet or garage. We already have an Orvis Sling Pack and several other items ready for new owners.  Be ready to haggle. Bring some extra cash and walk away with some neat “I need one of those” items!

Rania’s is located in the uptown or historic district at 147 E. Main St., Martinsville, VA  24112.


For more information contact SRTU President  Doug Jessie at 549-874-6560 or SRTU Secretary Al Kittredge at 910-624-3457


227825_1056675662812_1416_n 11001762_1051426434873139_512610544430033835_n

March Meeting Info and More

Smith River Trout Unlimited (SRTU) has a great “How to” Musky & Striper fishing program lined up for you when we meet at Rania’s Restaurant in uptown Martinsville, on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm. Musky & Striper expert and Orvis indorsed guide Matt Miles will shorten your learning curve on these two hard fighting species.

We’d also like to remind you about two other up coming events:

Smith River Clean Up is on Saturday, March 28th. We’ll meet at the old church at the end of Shady View Rd at 9:00 am and concentrate our effort on both sides of the Hwy 220 Bypass Bridge. This is a good time to bring your friends, neighbors and anyone else who loves the river and hates litter. We can all help make a difference, one garbage bag full at a time. We will host a cookout and fishing after the cleanup.

Grindstone Fishing and Camping Trip, May 15, 16, 17 – Stay at Grindstone Campground on the North side of Mt. Rodgers and fish Smyth, Grayson and Washington Co. streams. We have had a blast the past two years we did this trip and you could join the fun. We eat good, stay at a great campsite, fish great trout waters and have a great weekend in general. The club covers the campsite fees. We split the food costs and chores. Campsite accommodates 12. Tent sites and good trees for hammocks, too. Club members have first dibs. Sign up before we open it up to guests on April 6. Contact Doug Jessie @ 540-874-6560

You do not have to be a member of TU to attend our meetings.(You must be a member in order to vote on chapter business). Anyone who has an interest in the Smith River Fishery is encouraged to attend.

Rania’s provides us with a nice meeting space with the expectation that the majority of attendees will purchase a meal. (Good food, moderate prices). Address is 147 E. Main St., Martinsville, VA 24112. It is in the historic district of Martinsville known as uptown as it sits on a hill.

2015 Events, Mark Your Calendars!

Hi folks – The Smith River TU leadership met recently to come up with an agenda for the 2015 calendar year. We have an exciting year ahead with something for everyone.  Other items may be added as well. We would love your ideas and energy to spearhead a project or your favorite program.



The following calendar events were proposed, discussed and agreed to by the SRTU Board of Directors.


  • March 5, Regular Meeting – Musky & Striper fishing. Presentation by Orvis indorsed guide and regional expert Matt Miles.


  • April ??, Philpot Expo  – Set up table with fly tying demo, casting demo, talk up SRTU.


  • March 28, River Clean up – Concentrate on section both sides of Hwy 22O Bypass Bridge. Meet at old church end of Shady View Rd. Cook out and fishing after clean up.


  • May 15-17, Group fishing/camping trip to Mt Rogers / Grayson Highland  / Grindstone campground area.


  • June 4, Regular meeting – “The Joys of Fly Fishing for Warm Water Species”. Presentation and fly tying demo by well known fly fisherman and tier Anthony Hipps.


  • June 12-14, Fish, Lie & Tie, Bassett Cabin, Modest fee for campers so we can have dinner(s) catered, supply food, etc., excess funds to the treasury.


  • August 8, Smith River Fest – Fly tie demo, talk up TU, casting demo.


  • September 3, Regular Meeting. Salt water fishing. Guest speaker TBA


  • September 12, Fish with a friend & cook out. Meet at Mirror Plant parking lot. Scott Griffin is lead on this.


  •  December 3, Regular Meeting, “Health of The Smith River” report from VDGIF.  This is VDGIF annual summary of It’s sampling which occurs in late July or early August.


Other items of interest:


Darrin Doss is working on an update to SRTU website and needs feedback on what we want to see and ideas on how to present it. He also needs material, links, photos etc to insert at appropriate places.  While checking things out click on over to our Facebook page and let us know what you would like to see there as well


Everyone is encouraged  to look through their gear for items they no longer use or have a need for. Bring these items to our meetings where we will set up a swap or for sale table. As the saying goes, “one man’s trash, another man’s treasure


Reminder there is a Fly Show in Winston Salem  on February 6-7 (Friday & Saturday)  Many of the regional folks also hold a Lying & Tying event at the Marriot Hotel each evening once the show closes down. This is a good chance to meet local fishermen and have some one on one fly tying instruction.


Nat Greene Fly Fishers is holding their Annual Spring Banquet & Seminar on February 28th at the Bur-Mill Park Clubhouse, Greensboro,  NC.  Tom Rosenbauer, well known fly fishing author, Orvis spokesperson and TV personality will be the keynote speaker. Contact Laura Kennerly 336-707-7665 for details.

December Meeting Minutes

On Thursday, Dec. 4, we meet at Rania’s Restaurant in Martinsville. We had two speakers, at least two guests, and over twenty members in attendance. It takes a good program to draw a crowd, huh?

The meeting was called to order by Shane and after recapping the club events (Grayson Highlands Camping and Fishing Trip, Fish With A Friend Day, Lyin’, Tyin’ and Fishin’ Weekend, Smith River Fest, River Clean-up) over the past year, he reminded everyone that we had elections to hold for new officers after the presentation.

And yes, we had a great program. George Palmer and Scott Smith from VDGIF gave us a presentation on the stream sampling that they did this summer on the Smith. It was a very entertaining and informative presentation with a lot of questions and answers throughout the session. Here are the highlights that I came away with.

Following comments are from Philpott to Martinsville Dam:

  • they samples 8 sites above the Martinsville dam. All together, they totaled about 8000 feet of river sampled.
  • 2300 fish were collected. 70% were Brown Trout, 2 % were Rainbows, 13% Darters, 5.5% Chub. and the other 9.5% were other baitfish, bass, sunfish, etc. They estimate that they only collect about half of the fish in the sampled areas using the barge technique employed on the upper river.
  • They have collected an average of 11 trout/10 meters over the last ten years. Last five years have trended higher.
  • The average fish size above Martinsville dam was 8.3″. This is also trending higher.
  • Higher numbers of trout were collected from the Mirror Plant to the Philpott Dam. Numbers collected fell of dramatically below Bassett. But baitfish numbers were reversed. The waters below Bassett become harder to samle and the sampled areas were smaller, but is something else going on?
  • No trout over 14″(I think?) were sampled above Martinsville.

1300 brown trout were moved from the upper river to the waters below Martinsville after they had their adipose fin clipped. They were released in three+ locations.

Following comments are from below the Martinsville dam:

  • They sampled 11.1 miles of river below the dam. The technique, equipment and measurements were different because of the different river conditions.
  • They used one raft with a rower, a shocker and one dipper. They could only sample the water right around the raft. They could not cover the width of the river as they can higher up. Deeper holes were also harder to shock and sample.
  • Fish sampled are measured in fish/hour, not fish/meter or feet. This is the sampling and measuring system used on most larger rivers.
  • Much more chubs, bass, sunfish, darters were sampled
  • 175 brown trout were sampled. Most fish were 12-20″.
  • 43/hour were sampled. They were impressed since it was the crews first time on this stretch of unfamiliar water. By comparison, George said that smallmouth sampling on the upper New River, a premier water, averages about 88/hour. Musky sampling is less than 5/hour.

Considerations/plans for above Martinsville:

  • More extensive testing/sampling from Collinsville/Fieldale to Martinsville Dam. Why low populations? There is more food available. No spawning habitat, high water temperatures, fish not moving down from higher water, past/current pollutant issues?
  • Relocate clipped adipose trout from Philpott area to this stretch below Bassett. Study growth and survival of these fish.

Considerations/plans for below Martinsville:

  • Continue to move more fish from Philpott area.
  • Stock sterile Brown Trout fingerlings (George has requested 11,000 for 2015). They will OTC marked so they can examined for growth in future years. Sterile fish do not waste energy on reproduction, so growth rates are higher.
  • More extensive sampling and testing. Especially of the trouts’ diet.

That concluded our program. George and Scott stayed through the meeting and talked with us more after the meeting. They were extremely generous with their time and knowledge and we are very grateful for them spending the time with us. And we’re glad to have such good guys in the positions they are in. Thanks again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20140819-IMG_1454 20140819-IMG_1489 20140819-IMG_1495 20140820-IMG_1520 20140820-IMG_1550-Edit 20140820-IMG_1584

We moved on to the nominations and elections.

We had a proposed slate prepared and Al received no new nominations from the floor. Al called for a second and then a vote to accept and it was a done deal. New officers for 2015 are: President, yours truly. Doug Jessie; Vice President, Eric Tichay; Secretary, Al Kittredge; Treasurer, Scott Griffin, for his third term.

Next meeting is scheduled for March 5, 2015.

Hope everyone has a great Christmas. Maybe Santa will bring you some new gear? And go fishing!

Notify me if you have corrections/additions, please.

Doug Jessie


June Meeting and Fish With A Friend Report

On Saturday June 7 we met at the Bassett Mirror Plant parking area. We had a quick little meeting to cover upcoming events and answer questions.

Here is what’s up:

June 20-22      Grindstone Campground Trip      Camp and fish

July 19              River Clean Up                                 Upper river and road, dam to Philpott Rd., lunch served

August 9           Smith River Feast                             Sports Complex, tent display, fly tying, casting

September 4    Meeting

December 4     Meeting

We had 7 members and two quests in attendance.

The meeting was adjourned and fishing began.



Scott was the lead on the vent and he had brought his grill. We met back at the parking area for burgers and dogs and lies. After that we broke camp. Some went on their ways and others fished. Wish we had seen more of you there! Some spots are still available for the Grindstone event!


IMGP0738_zps2a3ccb44 IMGP0724_zps5a58bf8e IMGP0714_zpsf0468732 IMGP0710_zpse899a857 IMGP0709_zps209f93fd

June Meeting and Fish With A Friend – Combined At The River

We usually hold meetings on the first Thursday evening. But, on Saturday, June 7 we’ll hold our regular meeting at the river. After a quick discussion of business and the calendar, we’ll break out for a few hours of fishing. The club will provide burgers and dogs at 1 PM and you can resume fishing after that.

This newer version of SRTU is fishing and fun first, everything else second. It’s a great opportunity to team up with a Smith River veteran for some tips and tricks. Newer, less experienced members and visitors alike would benefit. Peek in fly boxes, check out leaders, vests, rods and talk access and strategy. We invite anyone and everyone to come join us. You might gain a new fishing buddy!

Contact Scott Griffin to sign up or get more info. griffin.s.scott

!!!!Events Postponed!!!!

The PHW event with the VDGIF for Saturday March 29th is postponed. Due to heavy forecast rain, they have decided not to have the vets exposed to such foul weather. re-scheduled for April 26. More info to follow!



The clean up we were assisting Gateway with on April 12th has been postponed. No new date has been decided. We will update when we have more info!

Schedule Updates!

  • March 29, Project Healing Waters Event, Henry Co., two bass, catfish (and soon to be stocked with trout) ponds owned by John Hopkins and Sons off Rt. 57 east of Martinsville, not limited to fly fishing, we’ll provide angler assistance at this PHW sanctioned event and fly casting instruction as needed, we will also have a basic fly tying station for tying Wooly Buggers, etc., 9-2 event, 8am set up, lunch follows, contact Al Kittredge to volunteer



  • April 12, River Clean Up w/ Gateway, area of concentration will be Reed Creek/Smith River, there are a lot of tires to be recovered that washed down during a flood years ago,  contact Lizz Stanley for details, we’ll be starting later for those who want to take advantage of Spring Gobbler opening morning,



  • May 16-18, Lyin’, Tyin’ and Fishing, fish during the day and tie after dark, Bassett Cabin along the Smith, limited to about 18 participants/campers, you can fully participate without camping (but NO drinking and driving!), SRTU members have first crack at signing up until March 22nd, non-members can sign up after that date, cost will be $20 and will cover basic supplies and a BBQ dinner Saturday evening, other meals are on your own, the cabin is rustic, very basic kitchen with frig, stove, deep fryer, griddle/grill, running water, electricity, but no heat or cooling, 8 bunk beds, no linens, two screened sleeping porches w/4 available mattresses in the upper porch, one large tying room, pit toilet, horseshoe pit, a level area for tents, water directly in front of the cabin is the upper stocked area of the Smith, contact Shane Pinkston for sign up and details


Location map and further details will be sent to participants as we get closer.

March meeting Reminder!

Just another heads up!

Our March meeting is set for Thursday at 6:30, Rania’s Restaurant, Martinsville.


We will be featuring a Gear Review. Have a rod/reel/line/leader setup that works great for you? Come show it off and tell us why.

What kind of vest/pack arrangement works for you? How do you arrange your fly boxes? What floatant works and what indicator system do you use?  Split shot set up? Dry/droppers?

All of this and more. It’s a show and tell program, so please participate!


Also, we have a whopper schedule set. Especially for the next 4-5 months. We will discuss details of our first Project Healing Waters event, stream side meeting, river clean ups, Camping and fishing Trip to Grayson area, and our first Lyin’, Tyin’ and Fishin’ event to be held in may.


Lots of good stuff, see you there!

%d bloggers like this: