Contributing Author: Dr. Patrick Taylor
Date Fished: 11/7/2009
I had fished Hidden Valley (Jackson River) in May of this year. In that trip I only really looked about a mile or so into the Special Regulations section. This time I decided to explore further.
You can easily fish the water pretty much from the parking lot – and it appears productive at the moment , however, I opted to hike into the Special Regulations section about 4-5 miles upstream. I arrived early, around 6.30 am and then proceeded to walk up to the start of the SR section (about 2 miles) and onwards. Looking at the river, I could see some great places to fish. At this time of year, fish will be holding in deeper areas. As I was heading up I could see some great pools, however there were also stretches where I thought fish wouldn’t hold.
I started at Area 1 (see map). This long stretch has a couple of deep pockets – but to be honest, isn’t really a great spot at this time of year. However, moving down, I came across two brilliant pools, where there is a fast entry and then deep pockets. I immediately picked up fish here (see Area 2) – and it is worth fishing into the slack around the corner as I picked up fish there as well.
Although all the water is fishable, I made my down without luck to Area 3 – this is literally just above the start of the SR section – it has a nice deep pool against a rock wall. This was very productive and the biggest fish I had was 15-16 inches. VDGIF had stocked recently – and I could tell a ‘stockie’ versus a wild/adapted fish based on fight. I released all fish successfully.
In all, I had 9 fish. The most satisfying aspect for me was that I caught all my fish on ‘self-tied ‘ flies. I bought a fly-tying kit from Bass Pro and made some great nymphs and a Wooly Bugger (I modified the version they have to include 4 strands of Krystal flash in the tail) – I have previously tied flies, but a while back – however with the video it was easy.
If you are looking at a late season trip, Hidden Valley is definitely an option – and the walk is worth it!
Getting There: Mapquest yourself to Warm Springs and head west on Route 39. There is a sign directing you to the Hidden Valley section (Rt 621). Turn right and follow 621 a mile or so to the next Forest Service sign that points you to the left. Go past the campground and continue on the road. It leads to the parking area. If you cross the river, you have gone too far. The parking area is well marked. The trail to the special reg section is at the far end of the parking lot – you will walk with the river on your left.
Southern Parking Area: 38.104508,-79.812369
Start position for fishing: 38.128041, -79.777200
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Thanks to a friend – Patrick is returning to the UK after working here in the States for the last six months. Thanks to the great fishing in Virginia, he returns addicted to smallmouth bass and mountain trout fishing – a wonderful problem he will have to contend with for the rest of this life!
I certainly appreciate his contributions to this site and enjoyed our fishing trips together!
A good LONG hike into the valley!
Second pool at area 2
16″ trout caught in area 3
First fish on a wooly bugger tied by hand
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore