5 Questions with Aaron Conover of Down River Outfitters

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Down River Outfitters offers guide services for fly fishing trips, artist floats, and scenic river tours in the Roanoke Region. The experienced pros also offer fly fishing instruction.

Co-owner Aaron Conover has been an outdoor professional for 30 years and has multiple degrees in outdoor recreation. When Aaron is not exploring rivers with his drift boat, he is the Director of Ferrum Outdoors and a Recreation Instructor at Ferrum College.

He is passionate about sharing what he has learned along the way and enjoys learning from others. Here’s what he has to say about his business.

5 Questions with Aaron Conover

down river outfitters fishingWhy did you decide to open in the Roanoke Region?

Because the Roanoke Region is awesome. I have been involved with and exploring the outdoors here both professionally and personally since 2003. Its proximity to six rivers, multiple lakes, and numerous streams make it an ideal year-round fishery that provides a variety of species to target.

Also, the back drop of the mountains with the water provides awesome scenery everywhere you turn. The other reason is all the things to do when the day is done. There are so many great food, beverage, and activity options that a client can enjoy and participate in.

What’s something people may not know about your business?

Fly fishing is our main specialty, but we offer other types of trips including overnights. The Boulder Drift Boats are great for floating rivers in comfort, safety, and hauling gear. I like to call them a pickup truck on the water. We also can take out artists, photographers, birders, or folks that just want a unique experience. If someone has physical limitations or adaptive needs, we will work with them to do our best to get them out.

If it’s someone’s first time fishing where would you take them?

When teaching fly fishing courses, having a pond with bluegill or sunfish works well but being out on the river changes how and what you learn. A lot depends on the time of year.

During the summer, it would be on the James River or New River for smallmouth bass. They are fun to catch and you can use subsurface or top water fly patterns. In the fall and spring, the Jackson River for me is the go-to floatable river to learn to fish for rainbow and brown trout. The Roanoke River through Salem and Roanoke provides a close by location for wade fishing and during the stocking season offers opportunities for trout.

What’s your favorite thing about the outdoor community in the region?

All the amazing people. What I find unique is how supportive outdoor businesses and everyone is of each other. The other part is how the community gives back by helping create new resources and protecting the ones we have.

What’s your favorite spot to fish?

You know when you ask someone who fishes that you probably are not going to get an honest answer.

I really do not have just one favorite location. However, my favorite spot to fish out of is definitely a drift boat floating down a river with great folks. Something aesthetic about it.

The Roanoke Region has always been an outdoor wonderland. Did you know that it’s an outdoor business center, too? Down River Outfitters is just one of the many businesses taking advantage of a rich mix of outdoor amenities with limitless potential for growth. Learn more.