“Healthy looking brown trout, some well beyond the 20-inch mark, have shown up in Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ samplings of the Smith River below Martinsville Dam. Notes Bill Cochran. Outdoor writers for the Roanoke Times.
DGIF has been moving small fish from the upper river to the lower river, and many of these are showing significant growth. Several thousand triploid (sterile) brown trout fingerling have been stocked and are beginning to show up in the samples. All this is occurring at a time when water releases into the Smith River from Philpott Reservoir are not ideal for trout or trout anglers. One of the dam’s turbines was ruined by fire and this has resulted in longer periods of generation and water release, resulting in difficult wading and increased sedimentation.
The ruined turbine is beyond repair and eventually will be replaced with new technology, but that could take years, said Chris Powell, the Corps of Engineers operations manager at Philpott. There are no plans for a weekend generation.
DGIF crews have not been able to sample the upstream section of the river, above Koehler, because flows aren’t high enough to float the sampling raft, but too high for wading.