After fishing in the South River delayed harvest area and visiting Ridgeview Park, I got a wild hair to just drive downstream and access the river at any convenient bridge crossing just to see what would be there. After all, they do stock downstream in Grottoes as well as upstream in the delayed harvest area. Or, there might be smallies cruising around.
I drove out of town a little bit and found great access at the Hopeman Parkway bridge crossing. On the right, there’s a short dirt road that leads directly to the river and runs along it and for about 100 yards. I was encouraged by the sign posted there that cautioned against eating any fish caught out of the river. Hopefully, that was an indication that there were actually fish here that someone would want to eat.
I drove to the northern end of the access, parked the truck and jumped into the river. As I walked down the improved bank near the power substation that was the reason for the dirt road, I saw some fish scatter in front of me — another good sign. The river here is about 30 feet wide and 2 feet deep. There’s a deep cut that runs along the east side of the river that is sheltered by a large number of dense, overhanging trees and bushes. In addition, there are a decent number of smaller fallen trees that provide shelter for fish. I moved to the west side and focused my casts on that structure to the east. I started with various streamer patterns with no success. Once I switched to an Adams dry fly I started to pick up fish. Well, that’s if you consider fallfish to be fish.
All those fish I saw scattering? They were fallfish. This place had a tremendous population of them who were eager to take anything off the top. No smallies, no trout. I have to admit I did have a good time with these guys because any fish caught on a dry fly provides a bump of adrenaline and excitement. Once I realized that I would only encounter fallfish here, I climbed out of the river and walked back to the truck.
Bottom line: This is probably my shortest fishing report in the hundreds I have published. Hopefully, the above provides the crystal-clear reason for the brevity of my comments and nothing further is required. Caveat — there may be smallies in this stretch of the river in the warmer months. I have never been successful in catching a smallie after October.
Date Fished: 11/8/2008
Getting There: From 340 in Waynesboro, turn onto the Hopeman Parkway. The access I found is to the east of the bridge.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.088685,-78.876514
Secrets Revealed? I guess. This spot is not documented anywhere I could find. Granted, I did not really search hard. Not sure it is a secret if there is nothing there worth catching.
Looking upstream from the entry point at the north
Downstream from the entry point at the north.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore