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Trout/Bass - South Branch Potomac (WV - Ketterman Bend)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When we left off in an earlier report, my son and I were working your way downriver on the South Branch of the Potomac. On this particular August day, we had good luck in the sections closer to Smokehole, with this particular spot marking the transition from good to bad.

The South Branch has miles and miles of accessible river. The road runs right next to the river and you can check it out as you drive by. There are numerous turnouts that facilitate your ability to see something good and then stop and take advantage of it. In this particular case, we saw something bad, took some pictures of it and moved on.

Upstream of this location, the river was a mix of gravel and large rocks that provides the perfect habitat for smallmouth and trout (during stocking season). Rounding the bend into Ketterman, the river makes a dramatic change from rocks to sand. As we stood on the high bank, we looked intently at the water and could not see any activity -- nothing moving at all. Based on my poor experiences looking for smallmouth bass in "desert" locations, we decided to skip this spot and move on towards the Big Bend Campground.

In addition to being a good spot for smallmouth bass, the South Branch is heavily stocked during trout season. I imagine this particular location gets its fair share given the proximity of the road to relatively deep water. If you are here pursuing trout, this spot would be a likely place you should stop and fish. But for smallies? Forget it.

Bottom Line: Skip this spot if you come here in the summer looking for bass. It's worth a check as you cruise down the road during trout stocking season as I am sure fish are planted here.

Getting There:  Mapquest yourself to Franklin, WV and follow US 220 north or to Petersburg and head south on the same road. Turn onto Smokehole where 220 breaks away from the river. Smokehole road follows the South Branch.

Pressure Trout Size
Physical Fitness Bass Size
Access Regulations
Hard to Find Stocking
Scenery Overall

Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section.  I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.


Google Local Coordinates: 38.877403,-79.259491

Secrets Revealed?  No.  This is a very public location that is documented in the following place in addition to the WV DNR website:

Flyfisher's Guide to Virginia 

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Date Fished 8/1/2009

View upstream - not the sandy bottom

View downstream - sandy bottom continues

 Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  Calibrated Consulting, Inc disclaims all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

Finally, access points may be different or restricted based on changes in property ownership since posting the original article.  It is up to you to make sure you are fishing where it is legal.

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