If you read my post on Passage Creek outside of Front Royal, you have already read this review. Jennings is a duplicate of Passage except it is down near Roanoke. The duplication is meant in the sense of general feel, pressure and volume of water. Like Passage, Jennings is usually a “Heritage” water which means it gets bulked up on stocking before the various heritage fishing days early in the spring trout season. This results is a staggering amount of pressure on this put and take body of water.
As you can see from the pictures below, you should fish here in the spring rather than the fall. The water levels drop to insignificant with only a small trickle of water keeping the fish that hold over going. I visited Jennings in early October; a week or two before the fall stocking season opened, so I did not really expect to see any fish. But, I was surprised! There were decent sized trout still in the deeper pools – something I discovered when I tripped and stumbled on my approach – telegraphing my arrival with an avalanche of rocks. But it did give me a good view of trout scattering for cover!
Jennings runs along the road and you can fish where there is a posted “stocked trout” water sign. There are plenty of turnoffs and I imagine they are pretty busy in the heart of the season since Jennings is north of Roanoke, a major Virginia City and near Buchanan
I did not spend a lot of time fishing here since the water was so low. I walked upstream looking for the deeper pools and had some good results with late season terrestrials and BWO dries. Nothing big, nothing remarkable, but enough to convince me that there are fish here.
The stream is exceptionally rocky, but the rocks are small and relatively free of “rock snot”. I felt comfortable walking here without my wading staff. The sense is on of a gravel bed with a few large rocks here and there. The stream was running a paltry 2 or 3 feet wide and inches deep in most place. However, the high water mark indicates that during the spring runoff, this can hold plenty of water and fish – a characteristic that matches Passage as well.
Fishing here is easy. The trees do not block out the sun and stay away from your fly. Since the track is narrow, you end up casting either up or downstream. Without the overhanging trees, you do not need a huge amount of skill to avoid offering your flies to the tree gods who so greedily devour them on tougher water like the Patuxent.
The Flyfisher’s Guide recommends you stop into the Acadia General Store to get advice. Since that small store is on the way, I agree – they probably can put you onto the right fly and maybe even the right stretch. The Guide also indicated that you can fish on McFalls, Middle and North Creeks; all of which feed into Jennings.
Bottom Line: No need to drive hundreds of miles to visit Jennings, but if you are in the area, you should stop by. The frequency of the turnouts and the fact that I saw other folks fishing in early October implies that this area, like Passage, is absolutely hammered once the stocking starts.
Getting There: Take exit 168 from I81 east on Rt 614. Cross the James (you can fish there) and it merges into 622 for a bit. Keep going and it turns back into Rt 614 and becomes Jennings Creek Road. Follow it and you will run down the creek
Google Local Coordinates: 37.537227,-79.618263
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
One of the wider sections. Shallow water
Run right next to the road for most of its public length
These pools hold the all season trout
Skinny water in the late fall!
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore