If fished the South River on the way back from the Pedlar. The road runs along the edge for a number of miles; something that is both good and bad.
The good of it is that this river is big and broad enough that it should be able to withstand a significant amount of pressure. While there are numerous turnout, I believe a little bit of walking and wading will move you to better water quickly. The bad of it is that all the water is reasonably close to a turnout. You should not expect to have a good walk to get to the best spots. On this river, fish whatever looks good.
The section between Irish Creek and the town of Midvale looked the best to me. You can stop at any number of places, walk a little bit and find some good pools and runs. In his book (Virginia Trout Streams), Harry Slone confirms this assessment based on his more extensive recon and practical experience with this water. He makes the point that folks will quickly write off this water as fished out – and make a mistake. While it is stocked, it’s big enough for the fish to disperse and not be held in one small pool waiting for the predatory fisherman to swoop in and harvest all.
Interestingly enough, the South River is not listed as a fishable river on the VDGIF website, but is shown as a “red” line indicating “stocked trout water”. I imagine this gets pretty warm as the summer heats up, so it’s probably best to fish earlier in the year after they dump in the years stock of “planters”. There is a small section of delayed harvest up at the northern end near Waynesboro – that is the only mention of any restrictions – so anything goes everywhere else in the river.
Bottom line: This is a good river to fish if you have to drive by it on the way to another good spot and have some extra time. It is not a destination river or anything worth a special trip if you have to drive more than an hour to get here.
Gettting there: Mapquest yourself to Midvale and just follow 608 along the river. Stop anywhere that looks good. Obviously, pay attention to any Posted signs.
Typical sections of the river – broad, somewhat shallow in spots
The area south of Midvale has more spots like this with a little bit of gradient
As Slone indicates in his book, the South River does have good deep spots. The section shown in the picture at the left offered up a few good fish. It was probably 6 feet deep over next to the bank.
You just have to search a bit for these spots. Of course, that begs the question that the locals will already know about all of these and have cleaned them out.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore