Captain Matt's Blog

Spring Fishing
March 31, 2024
Spring has sprung and the days are longer. Just brings a extra pep to my step knowing Winter is behind us. So far no complaints with the weather and the fishing thus far. Water levels are good, not to high or to low. Spring here in Virginia offers a few options for the fly angler. Trout fishing is always high on the list with aquatic insect hatches kicking off and offering great dry fly fishing. Smallmouth bass has definitely grown in popularity and the pre spawn bite can be great for large smallies when they are at their heaviest weight.
Peacock Bass Fly Fishing
February 20, 2024
Fresh off the boat from my 6th trip to the Amazon with Nomadic Waters. This was my third time visiting the Rio Negro with Nomadic Waters. It was a awesome trip, best so far, my 10 guest landed 1809 fish in 6 days! I lost count of the quality fish we caught over 10 pounds this trip. One of my guest landed a 10 kilo (22 pounds) on the fly! I was also fortunate to land my largest to date at 18 pounds. Out of the 10 anglers 6 of them this was there first experience fly fishing for peacock bass. Everyone landed a double digit fish this trip. Weather was great not terribly hot, a lot like July in Virginia. Had few rain storms but they were short lived. Other species included aripiama, wolf fish, oscar, and ariwana.
Winter Fishing
January 31, 2024
Winter is in full swing here in central Virginia. So far it hasn't been to bad, had one week with snow and cold temps keeping the ground covered but now its gone with temps in the high 40's and 50's. January is my slowest month of the year far as fishing and guiding but no complaints because the body does need the rest from the grind. Theres no reason to quit fishing this time of year, fish still eat you just have to work a little harder to catch them since their more lethargic.
Happy Holidays
December 22, 2023
The holidays are upon us and want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! Thank you for the time spent on the water over this year. Its crazy how fast Christmas got here, maybe its my age but the years seem to be getting shorter. Trout fishing has been good this Fall on the Jackson river tailwater section above Covington, VA. We continue to deal with low flows but we have started to get some good rains here finally. The days have gotten short and the water as gotten colder but if you put in the work you'll catch fish this time of year. Water temps on the trout water are ranging 40 to 45 degrees depending on daytime temperatures. Fishing the water throughly and making sure your getting your nymphs down will bring success.
Virginia Fall Fishing
November 22, 2023
Now thats out the way lets talk fishing. It has been a interesting Fall with low and clear conditions. Our small mountain streams and medium sized trout waters have been to low to fool with. The Jackson River near Covington, VA has been the place to be with steady flows coming out of Gathright Dam. Even with low flows there I am still able to float the river with success. The wild browns and rainbows have kept my anglers happy. The brown trout should be finishing up their spawn this week so the bigger browns will start eating more often and get off the tailouts and their redds. Its been a warm Fall with a few cold fronts here and there but had some days I fished in flip flops. Cooler temps are on the way which means cooler water temps.
All About that Bass
September 23, 2023
Its been all about that bass the past few months. Its been great Summer and unfortunately Summer is coming to a close with Fall starting yesterday. We have dealt with low and clear water this Summer but fishing has been great. Topwater or popper fishing was the ticket and now that things are cooling off we have about one more week left of good bug or popper fishing left. Once I see the bugs start disappearing the minnow bite will fire off. The cooling water temps will send the smallmouth bass into a frenzy to put on more weight before Winter temps arrive.
Bug Season is Here
July 29, 2023
What is bug season? Bug season to me means that there is a lot insects out and the fish are noticing them. Which means its time to start using those buggy looking poppers or topwater flies. Damsels and dragon flies are hovering over the water aggravating smallies to jump up after them. Beetles, ants, and other insects are falling from the trees, so plenty of bug life now to interest the smallies appetite
Summer has Arrived
June 23, 2023
Summer is here even though it hasn't felt like it with cooler temperatures we have been having. Low humidity and a lot of mornings starting off in the 50's lately. Never met anyone that really likes real hot weather so this has been very comfortable. It has kept water temps lower than normal which is great for the trout fishing. Only thing that hasn't been great is it has been dry around here. Thankfully this week we have received some much needed rain
Orvis Guide of the Year 2023
May 27, 2023
Early March I received a phone call from Pete Kutzer from the Orvis Company. Phone call started with small talk and then I was asked if I was attending the manager meeting in Manchester, VT this May. I said no sir I wont be able to make it due to my busy guiding schedule guiding in Weldon, NC for the striped bass run. Then Pete dropped the fact that I was nominated as one of the finalist for "Guide of the Year"
Roanoke River Stripers
May 18, 2023
I'm fresh off the boat from being in Weldon, NC for the past few weeks. It was bitter sweet leaving because the fishing was just getting really good. The striper run this year was a bit goofy. First two weeks I was there the water temps never got above 62 degrees from cool weather we were having. With the cooler temps it kept the stripers from spawning because they really want 68-72 degree water on that river.
Crazy Weather
April 30, 2023
The weather this Spring has been crazy. Hot a few days then back to 50's and 60's. All the temperature swings doesn't help fishing thats for sure. Here in Virginia we have been very dry with river flows a lot like Fall. Thankfully we got hammered this past Friday with inches of rain. Rivers are blown out right now but we need the groundwater to help keep our flows more normal. Downside is the smallmouth bass spawn, hopefully this doesn't just destroy our chances at a good spawn year.
Spring Has Sprung
April 10, 2023
I have been rolling since the first of March and just now getting a chance to update on whats going on. I had a awesome week down at Roanoke Rapids, NC for the annual migration of Hickory and American (White) shad. This year was my first time guiding shad down there and it was a big hit with the clients that came down. I will plan to return each year now that I have the interest for the fishery. We had 100 plus days on the fly and likely 200 plus days on the fly it was a great season!
Spring is Almost Here
February 19, 2023
We are officially 29 days away from the start of Spring! It has felt like Spring the most of February so far. Although January wasn't terrible, its nice to see that month in the rearview mirror. January's cold nights kept rivers and streams in the low 40's water temp so the fish stayed pretty lethargic even with nice daytime temps. With these warmer temps this month rising water temps are starting to get these fish out of the Winter funk.
Another One Bites the Dust
January 1, 2023
2022 is done and would like to thank everyone that has fished with me this past year! It was a good year for fishing in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to visit Brazil with a group of anglers twice in 2022 with Nomadic Waters. I'm taking 2023 with off from Brazil and returning February 9-17, 2024 with hosted trip to the Rio Negro, details to come
Rowing into the Holiday Season
November 19, 2022
Its hard to believe the Holiday season is already here. We thankfully have received some much needed rain over the past couple weeks. Finished up with smallmouth bass fishing for the year since the cold temps and higher flows have arrived. I sure will miss them but as fast as Winter is approaching maybe Spring will arrive fast as well. Pretty much from here on out till March my main focus will guiding trout and musky. Since we have gotten this rain and cold temps musky fishing will be in full swing until they spawn in mid March.
Fun in the Jungle
October 12, 2022
I'm fresh off the plane from a incredible trip in Brazil with my friends Nomadic Waters. This was my 5th hosted trip with Nomadic Waters and my best trip with high fish numbers and high numbers of double digit sized peacock bass. I took 11 anglers on this trip, it was awesome to finally get this trip done after a two year break due to covid19. My group beat my 2018's group record by 200 fish. My group landed 1820 fish in 6 days! I'm not sure on numbers but the best Ive seen with 10 plus pound peacock bass caught. One angler caught 10 big fish in the 6 days with the largest being 15 pounds! One day my co angler and myself hooked 5 big fish and landed 4 of them with two of them being 13 pounds. I'm already making plans for next years trip, as of now I will have another early Fall 2023 and a February 2024. Should have dates set in the next month.
Best Topwater Smallie Action
September 15, 2022
The past few weeks has been outstanding topwater fishing for smallmouth bass. The annual cicadas have started to die off from the cooler nights. Since a cicada is a easy to catch piece of protein, smallies are paying attention to the surface more and ready to inspect what just fell on the surface.
Summer Smallies
July 24, 2022
Hard to believe July is almost over but time flies when having fun. Its been a good Summer so far targeting my favorite freshwater fish the smallmouth bass. No matter their size every smallmouth fights with everything its got when hooked. Besides how hard they pull and jump, smallmouth bass fishing is simple. They eat on the surface or under so you only need a few good flies. Also their typically not leader shy so 10-15 pound leader is all you need.
End of Spring
June 5, 2022
Spring is coming to a close and it has been a great year on the water so far! I spent three weeks guiding two trips a day in Weldon, NC on the Roanoke river for migratory striped bass. This year was different than all my other previous years. The water stayed consistent majority of the run but the river flow was lower than years past. Wasn't a lot of fish high in the rapids due to the lower flow but there was some nice stripers. Most of my time there was fishing downstream finding huge schools of hungry fish. A couple mornings never left the sight of the ramp due to amount of striped bass feeding. Already looking forward to next year down there and thank you to all that came down to enjoy this awesome fishery!
Variety of Spring in Virginia
April 21, 2022
Spring is in full swing here in central Virginia. Flowers and trees blooming far as the eye can see. The rivers have been especially beautiful with all the different colors. Maybe it comes with age but I have differently been looking at the scenery more than I used to. Besides all the pretty colors, the fishing really starts to heat up with warming water temps. Right now just a short drive from my home in Amherst County, VA I can go smallmouth bass fishing, striped bass, and trout. With all the variety of species to target one has to think a little harder on which one to pursue
Change is coming!
March 13, 2022
Well it has felt like Spring the past few weeks but we got a hard reminder this weekend that Winter isn't over. Rain, snow, and high wind greeted us yesterday at Escatawba Farms for a fly fishing school with Tale Tellers fly shop. The ten anglers that signed up braved the cold and the wind to learn how to nymph, streamer, and dry fly fish for trout along with learning where trout like to hold in a river or stream. Although the air temps went from 60 to 20 degrees in a 12 hour period the fish still cooperated for the us
Return from the Jungle
February 24, 2022
I returned home just a few days ago from another amazing trip to Brazil. Its been since November 2019 since my last visit there. It was a long two years but once aboard the mothership for 7 days on the Rio Negro I felt like I never left
Days Gone By
January 8, 2022
Happy New Year! Its been awhile since I have done a blog but what better day to do it when its below 30 thirty degrees outside? You may have noticed the new website by now and this is one of the reasons I have been slacking on doing a post. Now that I have learned how to edit and create on the new site I'll get my butt in gear on keeping it fresh.
Bug Fishing Coming to a End
October 19, 2021
Fall has officially arrived. Warm weather is still hanging on with some cooler mornings requiring a vest or light jacket. With the cooler night temps the remaining annual cicadas will die off and with the cooler nights brings cooler water temps.
Skinny Water Smallies
October 19, 2021
Its been a bump and grind over the past month with rivers lowering from the lack of rain. My 11 year old drift boat receiving more scratches each day. We have received some much needed rain this past weekend and more forecasted this week.
Summer Small Jaws
October 19, 2021
Well Summer is in full swing here in Virginia. Humidity, bugs, and hungry smallmouth bass have been keeping us busy on the area rivers.
Better Late Than Never
October 19, 2021
I have been behind on keeping the blog up to date, I apologize. My Spring has been packed with trips, so no complaints other than sore shoulders.
Marching into Spring
October 19, 2021
Its been 15 days since I have had to wear thermals aka long johns, hallelujah! February was cold and wet, thankfully we have had a 15 day break from rain with temps in the 50’s to 70’s, its been glorious.
Just a Snow Show
October 19, 2021
Well the groundhog got this one right, six weeks more of Winter. The past few February’s have been mild but not this one.