ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Fall is the time to target brown trout in the western Virginia stream. Browns are stocked and managed in a number of waterways.  Two of the top streams are the Smith River near Bassett below Philpott Dam and the Jackson River below the dam at Lake Moomaw.

Brown trout spawn in mid to late November and become very aggressive and feed heavily just before they do. That is why late October and early November are prime times to target brown trout in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has a page and video dedicated to targeting brown trout. The site lists techniques and some top locations to find browns.

How do you target them?

A lot of anglers like to swing streamer flies and wooly buggers for them; typically, with five to eight-weight fly rods loaded with a full-sinking line.  Currents are generally swift on these larger streams, so being able to get your presentation down to the fish requires weight.

Depending on conditions, and especially on smaller streams, floating lines may be the best way to go. Water conditions and current flows will determine your approach.

Because adult brown trout primarily feed on other fish, you can also employ small crank baits, spoons, jigs, or spinners on spinning gear. 

The DWR has more brown trout management here.

For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list