Contributing Author: Dr. Patrick Taylor
Date Fished: 9/17/2009
In search of smallies, I headed up toward the Fosters and George Washington access points. Fosters has a well defined parking area and easy access. Looking at Google maps, I could see striations of rock up and downstream. What you can’t always get a sense of is the depth and speed. The flow at Fosters is relatively quick, good for working a fly, however depth-wise it is relatively shallow. I fished downstream for about two hours until I came to a deep stretch. Plenty of small smallies, lots of good sized sunfish and chubb/fallfish.
The deep stretch is a carpet of weed/grass and yielded plenty of sunfish, but I decided I would head upstream and try the rapids above the entry point rather than wade through the slack stretch until it met fast water again. However, upon fishing the upstream area, I found it was shallow and difficult to fish.
I doubt I’d fish Fosters again, however, there are the remains of an Indian fish trap – so you can go and check some history out at the same time as casting a line!
I moved up to the George Washington access. The river here is much better. Again, there is parking and easy access. A note of warning for wading here – it’s difficult – not deep as such but very rocky and uneven. A wading staff or felt soles is a must.
Fishing here was good. The immediate downstream area looks good but I would suggest moving quickly down about 100-200 yards – then there are two stretches that are fantastic – good wide and deep channels. Also, on the south bank, there was very productive fishing in the shallower shaded areas.
I didn’t get any big fish but I picked up a few nice smallies – no bigger than 10-11 inches. I also spent about 30 minutes trying to tempt some carp at the tail end of the first stretch – but to no avail. This is definitely somewhere I would fish again. In
terms of fly selection, I haven’t had much luck with top-water presentations – but seemed to do well on Muddler Minnow patterns/Woolly Buggers with flash.
A final note is to say that although both these places look sparsely populated, there are plenty of holiday houses/camp sites dotted around. So I think it sees some reasonable pressure. Also, there is a commercial boating outfit in the middle – so when a party of 20 people come down, it can disturb the pools for a good while
Getting There: From Front Royal, head south on US 340 for 21 miles. Turn right onto Pass Run Road followed by a right on Sandyhook road. Sandyhook becomes Old Forge Road. Follow it to Sedwick Road, turn right onto Sedwick followed by another right on Bixlers Ferry Road.
- For GWF, turn right on South Page Valley Road (SR 684) and follow it for 5.8 miles and turn right to follow the road to the river.. If you see Grand View Road join Page Valley from the left, you have gone to far. Backtrack 100 – 200 ft and take the road you see to the south.
- For Fosters, turn right on South Page Valley Road (SR 684) and follow it for 7.4 miles to the right turn into the parking area.
Fosters Access: 38.769945,-78.423232
George Washington Forest Access: 38.749105,-78.436772
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Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore