I had pointed the truck at the Staunton Reservoir and was rumbling along, feeling pretty good, when I rolled up on the bridge over the North River. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I hit the brakes and pulled off to walk back and stare at the sad scene in front of me.
You would assume that below the reservoir, there would be plenty of water in the North River to feed all of the downstream demands created by both agriculture and recreation. There was absolutely nothing in the streambed. It was totally bone dry. The implications of this raced through my mind.
While the North River gorge is stocked trout water, it also has places that hold smallmouth. Hopefully, the fish retreated to the deeper holes and the stagnant water has held enough oxygen to allow them to survive the drought of 2010. This may also be why we have not seen the gorge pop up on the fall stocking plan. There simply has not been enough water pushed into the dry bed to make stocking worthwhile.
Pay attention to the gage readings as we head farther into the winter, and certainly into the spring, before you drive all the way out here to fish. I think we can rely on watching the stocking schedule to determine when it’s worthwhile. The fisheries folks will not insert fish where they cannot survive for a reasonable period of time.
Getting There: Take S.R. 42 to the south end of Bridgewater, turn right just after the bridge, onto S.R. 727. Go west 3.3 miles to a “T” intersection with S.R. 613. Follow S.R. 727 to the left and go another 2.6 miles to the intersection with S.R. 730. Turn left onto S.R. 730 to Stokesville. At Stokesville, turn west onto S.R. 718 and continue one mile to the intersection with Forest Development Roads 95 and 101. Turn left onto FDR 95, follow past Todd Lake Campground; road is gravel from this point. Continue another 4.6 miles to the intersection with FDR 95B. Turn left and drive to campground.
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Date Fished: 9/14/2010
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore