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The Smith River is formed in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the south central portion of Virginia and is known as one of the top five trout streams in Virginia for the trophy browns. Although the Smith River is very long, reaching from the Blue Ridge Mountains down into North Carolina, the major tailwater fishing portion, of approximately 20 miles, lies between the Philpott Dam in Bassett Virginia and the town of Martinsville Virginia. The Smith flows past a few urban areas in its journey to North Carolina.

  More about the Smith River
  Access Map
Dan River Basin Map including the Smith River


Posted on June 9, 2016 by lkennerly


Dear fellow members,

I have received the message below from Doug Jessie, President of the TU Smith River Chapter. I thought it important that you be aware of some of the next steps being taken to try to reduce weekend generation.

I have indicated to both Mr. Jessie and to Ms. Wittorp of TU National that they have my personal support and that of Nat Greene Fly Fishers.

Adam Irving

Subject: Weekend Releases on the Smith River from Doug Jessie, SRTU

Good morning all.

Some of you TU chapter presidents I know, some I don´t. I´m the president of Smith River Chapter based out of Bassett/Martinsville, VA.

I´m writing you because your chapters are our "neighbors" and many of your members probably fish the Smith River. The Smith has a lot of challenges. It is a 30 mile trout tail water that has existed for over 60 years. The fire in the powerhouse that shut down all generation is the newest challenge that threatens her. But when that gets resolved we have another man made challenge to consider.

Last year, there was an announcement that the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) brokered an agreement with the Corps of Engineers and Dominion Power to have four hour generation with one turbine on both Saturday and Sunday. The generation occurred from 10 am to 2 pm and sent a slug of water downstream at 650 cfs and greater. The goal was to increase paddling recreation on the Smith and thus economic growth. See the linked news release:

If you will notice the list of stakeholders involved in the discussions did not include any representatives of the fishing community or the state´s VDGIF biologists. Nor did they consider the negative economic impact of the loss of fisherman´s dollars. They do mention the flows will provide cold water that will benefit the fishery downstream. We and VDGIF have been asking for a 1-2 hour pulse of cold water on summer Sundays for 10-15 years and have always been told that was impossible. Now we get releases for 8 hours in the middle of the day in every month? It is the biologist´s contention that the fall, winter and spring releases are detrimental to the fishery as well as the length of the proposed summer releases.

Since we have always wanted some weekend release, we would prefer a compromise. Heck, many of us are paddlers, too. We would like to see one day of generation, preferably Sunday. We would like to see it reduced to 3 hours. We would like to see it for June - September only. We would like to have a representative in all discussions and want VDGIF included in all.

I have enlisted the help of Lauren Wittorp, National TU Advocacy Manager.

She is developing an action alert that triggers letters to stakeholders, legislators, etc. We would like to forward it to you and your members so they can contribute their opinion. The link will be shared on social media, letters to the editor and other various outlets. The idea is to flood their inboxes with a call for the fishing community to be more strongly considered. It would be beneficial if you would sign on to the letter to add your support. Can I ask you to do that?

Also, DRBA scheduled three Public Input meetings. The third and last one is June 16 at 6 pm in the First Baptist Church of Ridgeway in Ridgeway, VA. If any of your members want to come come and voice their concerns/opinions, they are encouraged to do so.

Finally, DRBA has a survey that needs to be completed by as many of your members as possible. It is an important part of the public input. Please get this link out:

Please email or call me if you have any questions.

And please let Lauren and myself know if we have your support and can use your signature on the letter.

Doug Jessie

Smith River Flows Public Meeting Rescheduled to 6/16/16

Posted on June 8, 2016 by lkennerly

The June 9th Meeting for public input has been rescheduled to June 16th. It is very important for fishermen to express their concerns, please try to attend.

June 16, 2016
First Baptist Church of Ridgeway
15 Church St.
Ridgway, VA 24148

Smith River Public Meeting on Water Flows - Tonight in Bassett, VA
Posted on May 17, 2016 by lkennerly

The DRBA Smith River Flows Public Input meeting has been rescheduled to May 18th and will be held at EMI Imaging in Bassett (The old Bassett High School) from 6-7:30 pm - It is important that fishermen show up so their voices can be heard.

Mtg. Tomorrow & Great Article by Jim Brady
Posted on January 12, 2015 by lkennerly