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.
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:
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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