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Professional fisher or novice hopeful: This is the best fishing in this area

Fishing at the Smith River. (Photo credit: Smith River Outfitters)
Fishing at the Smith River. (Photo credit: Smith River Outfitters) (Smith River Outfitters)

If you’re an avid fisher, you probably already have a good idea of some of the best spots in the state that are within a day’s drive from you, but they may all pale in comparison to the Smith River in Martinsville-Henry County.

The best part is, it doesn’t matter what your fishing style is — the river’s character is constantly changing, so it lends itself to any fisher, no matter your style.

Since the river is fed by Philpott Lake, the water is cool and active, which means you’ll find native brown trout. Farther down the river, as the temperatures warm up, you can cast a line and find small mouth and redbreasts.

Fishing at Smith River. (Smith River Outfitters)

Plus, as part of a put-and-take program, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stock portions of the 44.5-mile river with rainbow trout.

With 10 public river access points, it makes finding a spot where you can comfortably cast a line pretty easy.

If you want to actually get on the river, Smith River Outfitters can provide a boat, shuttle service and a guided tour. Whatever the experience is you’re looking for, they can make it happen.

“Our mission is simple: to share our love of the river with you and help you experience a fun and relaxing trip while learning to love our home waters as much as we do,” the Outfitter website states.

Wherever you wind up, you’re likely to have luck, as the Smith River was named one of the best fishing rivers in Southwest Virginia by the readers of Virginia Living Magazine.

Fishing at the Smith River. (Smith River Outfitters)

Whether you wade in the water or stand on the shore while fishing, be sure to take a look around. There is incredible scenic beauty, magnificent rock outcrops and the Native American fish weirs date back to the 1300s. You can snag a waterproof map book detailing the features of the river at the Martinsville - Henry County Visitor Center.

Learn more about the Smith River and all the fishing that can be done there by clicking here.


If you’ve heard of wanderlust, you might have heard it represents a strong desire to travel, but in Virginia, we call that feeling #WanderLove. Though travel hasn’t looked quite the same this year as previous years, you can still fulfill your #WanderLove by exploring Virginia’s beauty with an epic road trip, in just a day’s drive.

Fishing at the Smith River. (Smith River Outfitters)