New River Fishing Report 29-30MAY18 – Big Smallmouth and a 47” Muskie!

Welcome to God’s country!  A buddy and I drove down to Pembroke, VA to hook up with the New River Outdoor Co. to fish for trophy smallmouth and as a bonus take a few shots at some giant muskie.  We purchased the Spring “Trophy” Package which includes a guide, raft, top notch equipment (like G. Loomis GLX and Shimano Stradic Ci4+), lures, and lodging at the Walker Creek Retreat – amazing cabins with fishing right outside the door. 


Conditions / Fish:  I was worried about all the rain, high and fast water, and chocolate milk water color.  Our guide, Austin, assured us they were catching them and that we had a good shot at a citation muskie.  Austin is young but is old and wise when it comes to fishing on the New River.  It was a pleasure having Austin guide us for two days and the fishing was excellent:  110 smallmouths – 7 fish over 17”, 1 muskie follow, 1 muskie blow-up, and 1, 47” muskie hooked up!  Unfortunately, the muskie preferred the bass tackle vice the muskie tackle and about 30 seconds into the fight the line broke. 


Lures / Technique:  Our best luck came on two lures:

  • 3” square bill crankbaits in black back/chart, chart shad, and brown craw – vary retrieve below rapids, the backside of current breaks, through eddies, and in tight to banks that hold rocks.
  • 4” super fluke jr in white perl on a 1/16 or 1/8 spider classic slider head – cast into the backside of current breaks and through eddies, twitch a couple times and let it sit.
  • 6 – 6.5 ft med, fast action rod, 2500 spinning reels with 20 lb braid and a 10 lb mono or fluorocarbon leader.


I cannot express enough gratitude about the excellent experience we had due to Austin’s guiding, the equipment, the lodging and dining at the Palisades restaurant.  I highly recommend a trip to the New River!




Tight Lines,


Peter Arnold, BayBass writer