I knew I was pushing the end of the season on June 13 when I started to look for one last place to go trout fishing. I had read a little bit about the Sugar Hollow Reservoir area and the Moormans River that flowed into and out of it. Recognizing that we were at the tail of the season, I decided to do some checking before I drove all the way down. I called an individual who I believe was a reliable source (he shall remain nameless) and got a big thumbs up that the Moormans River would still be active and have trout and it. However, he cautioned that I needed to purchase a permit from the Albermarle Angler fly shop to fish the Trout Unlimited section which was immediately below the Sugar Hollow Reservoir dam.
I contacted the Albermarle Angler and learned that the permit could not be purchased online. I had to come to the store to pick it up and the store did not open until 10 AM.. They recommended that I fish the Rivanna River that morning until they opened. So bright and early on June 13, I headed down to Charlottesville and hit the Rivanna as described in the other trip report. What a spectacular time that was as I caught and released the biggest smallie I had ever run into! So I was feeling pretty good by the time I rolled up to the store, walked in, purchased the permit and got some directions on how to get to the TU section. I really wish they had waved me off because this turned out to be the absolute biggest waste of time this late in the season.
The local Trout Unlimited chapter stocks about a half mile of the Moormans River from where it exits the Sugar Hollow Reservoir dam. To fish here, you need to pick up the aforementioned permit which costs $47 for the year. In exchange for that, you have the right to fish in this section which they stock during the normal trout season. It was with high expectations and I drove up and finally located the start of the special regulation area.
The start of the area is marked by a wooden kiosk type bulletin board and a few hard to read notices pinned to trees indicating the start of the special regulation area. I walked over to the water and was instantly disappointed. At this point in the season, the Moormans River was no more than a trickle. I looked out over a stagnant pool and wondered how could there be any trout in this water this late in the year. But, I was here, I had spent the money on the permit, so I was going to give it a go.
As I geared up and got ready, I kind old gentleman drove by and yelled out the window of his car that the fishing would be better at the next hole up. He also seemed indicate that there might be a trout or two left in the water but told me that I would mostly catch “yellow bellies”. That did not sound too good because I can catch sunfish anywhere without paying $47. Always being one to take advice, I hopped back in the truck and drove the short hundred yards up the road to the turnout he indicated would be the best spot.
It was a stagnant mess identical to the first spot. I certainly hope that there’s higher flow through this section during the real season in the spring and the fall because otherwise this is just bad. The edges of the pool were starting to become a little bit crusty with algae and scum. It did not look as if any significant amount of water had flown through this area in a long, long time. A quick glance around revealed that there must be a lot of people who do not respect the catch and release, fly fishing only, no bait provisions of this section of water since there were plenty of empty worm containers scattered along the bank. With increasing disappointment, I walked a little bit up the River to see if it would get any better. It did not.
While I certainly don’t mind donating the permit fee to the TU chapter, I really wish that someone would have told me that I was wasting my money to go on June 13. In fact, the signs in the area indicate that this section is pretty much done on June 15. $47 for two days of nothing. I’ll check in the fall to see if the water flow makes it worthwhile to come back and if the TU chapter does a fall stocking program. Given that, I bet this section is absolutely hammered when it is in season. The evidence of human beings was overwhelming and I doubt that you would have a “trout fishing” experience on this section of water as other fisherman might stack up behind you waiting for their turn at the pools. Remember, this is only a short section of the River.
The Moormans River above Sugar Hollow Reservoir is stocked trout water that is recharged by the VDGIF. If you come here, it might be worthwhile to check that out but I have not been there yet.
Finally, check closely before you fish here – there is plenty of controversy surrounding the control of water in the Moormans.
More info from another blogger
Bottom line: This report is not meant to be a knock on the TU guys. I was here 2 days before the official end of the season so my visit here was my mistake, not theirs, for not stocking to the last day. Besides, with the low flow, it would have been cruel to the trout.
Getting There: From Rt 29 in Charlottesville, turn west on Barracks Road. It eventually becomes Garth Road. Follow Garth Road and be alert for Sugar Hollow Road which will be at the left Y in the road where a small gas station sits. Follow it to the TU section.
June 15…. nasty stagnant mess that is a foot or two deep
No water moving
Scum starting to edge onto the top
Trickle of water…
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore