THAYER, W.Va.– It’s been weeks since West Virginia saw any measurable rainfall. Tributaries and creeks are running as low as most have ever seen them. The state is in desperate need of several days of soaking rainfall. However, those conditions have not caused a negative impact on


Angler Jake Freeman of Point Pleasant enjoys his first float trip down the New River with the West Virginia Experience

fishing on West Virginia’s New River.

During a recent float trip down the river from Thayer to Stonecliff, with the West Virginia Experience, the fishing may have been the best in recent memory.  Over the course of the almost 10 hour trip more than 100 smallmouth bass and red-eye were caught.

“It’s been like that all summer,” said guide Larry Nibert.

Although fishing has been good, they aren’t exactly hopping in the boat. A slow presentation in deeper water was the key.

“If you focus on crankbaits and spinnerbaits at this time of year you’re only going to catch the high percentage fish. Everybody loves to fish for them that way, but your success rate will be much higher if you do things just a little bit differently,”

Nibert noted the technique known as “dead sticking” paid the biggest dividends. It’s a different technique for the fast moving river which calls for you to toss the bait into a deeper pool, opening the bail, and lete it sink to the bottom. The slow, finesse presentation took some getting used to, but it was definitely effective.


Mitchell Freeman of Point Pleasant shows off one of the many smallmouth he hauled in during his recent float trip down the New River

“Focus on the soft plastics along the edge of the current and soak it. Bounce it along the bottom and let the fish pick it up. Over the last 15 to 20 years we’ve learned to do it. It’s true you’re going to lose some baits and you’re going to need some patience, but the fish numbers show why we do it.” said Nibert.

While the state remained in need of rain, the first significant storm will likely slow down what has been a productive couple of months.

“Everything has to do with water temperature and water volume. Somebody far above you and me is in charge of that, so we’ll take whatever we get, but what will happen is the numbers of fish you catch will go down from 80 to 100 a day to about 35, but the average size of them will likely go up.” said Nibert.