Category: Fishing Stories and Photos
Photos from trip to the Rapidan/Staunton
For many of our events on the mighty Rapidan River we reference the “Junction Pool”. The old-timers will tell you it’s the first big pool down in the valley after going over over top the mountain. For those with more modern direction finding equipment, the coordinates for the Junction Pool are N 38.462108, W 78.365307 (or 38.462108,-78.365307 for google entry–either one will work).
According to the all-knowing Google, it’s 4.3 miles on VA 649 (Quaker Run Road) from the intersection of VA 670 and VA 649. The road can have some pretty deep ruts, so leave the Ferrari in the garage.
For your viewing convenience a link to Google Maps can be found by Clicking Here. See you on the water!!
We had a great turnout at the 2012 Rapidan Chapter Annual Fishing Show. Many thanks to all who volunteered and to the almost 400 attendees. We are collecting the many pictures that were taken. Check back often to see the new pictures that will be added.
Kids’ Day 2011 at Grave’s Mountain Lodge was another great success. See the photos attached for some of the highlights.
Rapidan Chapter member Fred W. Fox fished the Salmon River (Oswego County, NY) on Columbus Day 2011 with his wife’s cousin Bob. Ideal conditions for central New York, daily highs 80 -81 deg. F. at Syracuse airport with clear skies and spectacular fall foliage. River flow 335 CFS, 60 degrees.
Bob arranged for a guide and we entered the river before 5:00 AM in the village of Pulaski, staked-out a good run, stood in the cold river and waited for dawn. Guide Dave explained the technique; swinging egg patterns just off the bottom with spin tackle, 12 lb. test. During this demonstration, Dave hooked a nice Chinook salmon and handed me the rod. The fish barreled upstream peeling off line against the drag, eventually turned downstream and broke off. We repeated this lesson again but with Dave’s help and a huge net, landed the good-sized Chinook. I was feeling bad about keeping this beautiful specimen I had not personally hooked, but while posing for a photo, it thrashed out of my grip and was gone. Continue Reading »
Rapidan Chapter President Rob Paul and Fred W Fox explored the upper Hazel River on May 6. Air temp upper 60’s, watertemp. 53 deg. F., and partly cloudy. Hazel River flow at the Rixeyville gauge was 625 cfs. Obviously the flow was a lot lower in the headwaters, but Rixeyville is a reference for the watershed. From the Shenandoah National Park trail-head, we hiked in 1.5 miles, sampling a few pools along the well-maintained trail. Excellent stream profile and water flow, clear and slightly above average for this time of year. Saw at least 5 different species of mayflies above the stream, from Sulphurs to those big brown ones almost the size of hummingbirds.
Started fishing at about 1800′ elevation. Neither of us saw a rise form the entire day and only 1 or 2 fish were seen in the water column (swimming to cover). Net result: using dry flies of multiple pattern, two plump brook trout caught and 2 – 3 additional hookups. Also met some of residents near the trailhead and made goodwill contacts.
Our general impression was that although this was a gorgeous stream and looked fishy, there just weren’t many trout in there. A different season, different part of the stream (perhaps higher) and different tactics may produce. Any readers who have different experiences on this stream please comment.
Greg Safford and I spent a few hours on a lovely Easter Sunday fishing the Rose River. With all the recent rain, we weren’t sure in what condition we would find the stream, but could not have been happier. The large rains have cut new channels and made new holes, and the water flow throughout was as strong and gin-clear as we can remember. With every major rainfall, every stream will change a little, but the Rose had changed considerably since the last time Greg and I fish it, and it is in a good a condition as we have ever seen it.
Between us, we caught about 15 fish in the course of three hours. Nothing smaller than seven inches, and most a plump and colorful nine inches. Interestingly, we didn’t see a rise until about 1 PM, but every fish caught rose to dry flies. I started with a size 14 Parachute Coachman (my go-to fly) and caught 4 fish, but switched to a size 14 Brown Body Elk Hair Caddis for the rest of the day. The Rose has always been a favorite of ours, but recently has not been as productive for us as it had in years past. With the steady rains to date, we are hoping the flows stay steady and strong as we move into the warmer times of the year.
If you need a great stream that’s within an hour’s drive of Warrenton, throw your gear into the car and go straight to the Rose. Stay on the road going past Grave’s Mountain Lodge until you can go no further. Park at the entrance to the fire road and walk in about 10 minutes. Find a gentle grade sloping down to the stream and fish dry flies upstream for as far as you would like to go. There is also a metal bridge, about a 20 minute walk in on the fire road, where a small tributary flows into the Rose. Many find the fishing even better from this point upstream on the Rose. The distance tends to keep all but the serious off the river, so much less pressure.
Fished each afternoon after Trout Heritage Day activities at Graves Mt. Lodge, April 2 & 3. Sat. evening on the Rose (SNP section), caught one brookie on my third or fourth cast, then nothing! Gave up after another hour, cold and breezy evening.
Sunday a nice day, upper 50’s. Rob, Kevin, and I all decided to head to the Rapidan after our shifts at Heritage Day. I got a big head-start and went above the 2nd bridge – what Steve Moore calls the “upper canyon” in his book. Flow sufficient but low for this time of year. Caught and released 30 in just under 4 hrs., all on dry flies of 3 different patterns – it didn’t seem to make much difference. Also about a dozen interesting hook-ups. Fish rising occasionally and sluggishly to naturals, looked like March Brown mayflies.
PS – VDGIF did a nice stocking for Heritage Day(s), saw some kids w/ very large Rainbows and maybe Browns. Also, VA Conservation Police really stepped-up enforcement this year, saw several young men receiving citations.
From member Fred W Fox: I was in Southwest Virginia for the annual Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture meeting. After discussions about climate change effects, genetic diversity, etc., I felt compelled to do my own trout survey. Checked with Tangent Outfitters in Pembroke on Rt. 460, right at the mouth of Little Stony Creek and talked to their guide, Steve. Steve says he had a 100-fish day on Monday 10/25 just before a cold front came through and he set me up with a couple of patterns he said were working.
Little Stony Creek is in the Jefferson National Forest and has a well-known waterfall, the “Cascades.” I fished on Oct. 27 with Tom Allen, president of the Mad River (Ohio) chapter. The stream has a beautiful profile and there was plenty of flow. I landed 7 or 8 rainbows in about 2.5 hours of fishing; they appeared to be mostly wild fish with beautiful color. Returned the next day about 5 pools above where I left off, and landed another 5 brookies and rainbows, in 2 hours. I highly recommend this stream and it was good to find a trout stream with near-normal flow after our terrible drought.
July and August, in recent years past, have found Greg Safford and Judson Walls on an annual pilgrimage to Almont Colorado and our dear friend, John Bocchino. However, bowing to more recent economic challenges, Greg and I opted for less distant, and less expensive, waters in northeast Tennessee—The Watauga and the South Holston Rivers. Both fed by bottom-release, power-generating dams, these two rivers promised a respite from the high temperatures and low water conditions we’ve experienced in the east for the past several months. With justified expectations of plentiful and large fish, Greg and I put a great deal of planning into this trip. Consulting maps, researching and tying flies, and booking hotels were all done well in advance as required by two people who feel lucky to find time to breath. Continue Reading »