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Smallmouth - SF Shenandoah (VA - Island Ford)
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

After my frustration fishing up the west slope of the Blue Ridge in September, I headed back to Harrisonburg to spend the night. Of course, when I drove across the South Fork of the Shenandoah at Island Ford, I took one look at the water and decided to divert from trout to bass.

The parking area is broad and wide with plenty of room to turn a large vehicle around. In late September, the South Fork was at summer lows and was easy to wade; moving upstream from the bridge. This is clearly a popular local spot as there were a number of people clustered around the bank and standing on the bridge pylons fishing the deeper water immediately under the bridge.

I fished away from them, leveraging a long shallow ridgeline that stretched upstream. It gave me a good vantage point to fish into the center where the water ran shallow over a rocky and vegetated bottom. In fact, the ledge allows you to fish in both directions since there is a substantial portion of the river that runs down the left side of the ledge close to the southern bank. There are some deep spots there as well.

Since I did not have much time, I was not able to fish as far upstream as I either wanted or could have. Checking out the satellite view below, you can see additional riffles approximately a quarter mile upstream from the put-in. I stopped just short of those and wished I had had the time to continue.

I don't know whether this is normally shallow. Last summer, we had low water levels across the State and I may have just hit this location on the right day. However, even if you use a canoe and it is deep, the river looks like it is wide enough, with a calm current that you could fish up and downstream from the put in without having to do a shuttle.

Bottom Line: This is worth a return visit.


View Larger Map

Getting There: Take US 340 south from Elkton. Turn right on Island Ford road. Immediately prior to crossing the river, turn left on Captain Yancey Road. The parking area is on the right immediately next to the bridge.

Secrets Revealed?  No.  This is a very public location that is documented on the Virginia VDGIF website

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Pressure Trout Size N/A
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.


Upstream... riffles in the distance

Downstream to the bridge and the access point

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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