Smallmouth Bass Fishing in Montgomery County ?

            When I read popular outdoor magazines and see writers detailing their favorite places to go I often wonder if they arenít cutting off their nose in spite of their face.  After all, if everyone knows about your secret spot then it really isnít a secret spot anymore.  So with a hint of self reservation itís only fair to share a secret spot I have found to be most unusual.

            When professional fishermen talk about fishing for smallmouth bass they are usually talking about lakes or rivers in the Northeast or upper Midwest .  In our part of the world the dominant discussion revolves around the largemouth bass.  However, did you know that Montgomery County has its own little smallmouth fishery?  Thatís right.  These world-renowned fighters can be found right underneath our noses in the Uwharrie River .  According to popular belief, smallmouth bass were first introduced into the Uwharrie River back in the 1960ís by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  The commission followed up their stocking efforts with research and eventually concluded that the introduction had been a failure.  While it may not have been the success they were looking for, the current populations of smallmouth inhabiting the Uwharrie River can attest that it wasnít a complete failure.  And if you they would like further proof they should have seen the fight one of the smallmouth put up over a fly it tried to snatch last summer.  While the river was running low I was fortunate enough to be able to catch some of these beauties on a fly rod and a nymph-type fly.  During one battle I began wondering how on Earth I was going to land a fish with this type of energy.  It turned out that the fish I was trying to land weighed only about a pound.  Local reports have claimed to catch some weighing in the three to four pound range.  That size smallmouth on a fly would truly be a once in a lifetime experience. 

            So now that Iíve given away one of my secrets I do ask that you respect this fishery if you try to go after these fish.  The waters of the Uwharrie River are slightly warmer than their traditional habitat.  Thus, they endure more physical stress than their northern neighbors.  This stress, combined with over fishing or the removal of some of the fish, could be detrimental to the total population.  So if youíre fortunate enough to catch one be respectful enough to snap a picture and release it back as gently as possible.  Youíll have the experience and picture to treasure and the fish will have many more days to enjoy the waters of the Uwharrie River .