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Trout Hike – Staunton River Trout Fishing (VA)

2022 Update – Probably not worth going. I was there and the water was just about gone!

I am starting to become anxious with the cold weather and looking back with longing at some of my last trout hikes of the fall. In preparation for my upcoming move to Wilmington, NC, I’m trying to revisit my favorite places before Virginia becomes a long trip with a special purpose. One is the Staunton River – a feeder stream that joins the Rapidan River.

I love this section of the Blue Ridge for several reasons:

(1) it takes a moderate sweat exercise to reach the first good access point. The trail veers away from the main trail along the Rapidan River about a half-mile from the parking lot, and then there is a moderate climb to get to the first access point;

(2) once on the water, it’s combat fishing. There is no easy trail along the river, and it takes a bit of physical exertion to move from spot to spot, climbing over rocks and wiggling through underbrush.

After a long absence, I returned to the Staunton on October 1 to get my last few casts before the brookies began spawning. On my last visit, the bright greens of the tightly packed trees that keep the river cool sparkled in the April sun. On this trip, I enjoyed some of the fall colors, even though they were muted due to  the drought we have experienced over the last two years. In fact, I was concerned that there would be a low density of brookies here due to the two years of drought. At the end of the trip, I did feel that there were fewer fish, but there were still enough to justify the hike.

As usual, I used my Tenkara rod collapsed down to 7 feet to allow easy casting without catching more trees than fish. My cautious approach moving upstream paid off, and I did catch some nice-sized brookies (typical one shown below).

I was comforted that I did not see any evidence of other anglers. I’m glad others respect this nice, small stream as much as I do. On this hike, I ventured farther upstream than I had gone before and found that the water (as expected) became skinnier, but there were still fish in the deeper pools. With the move to North Carolina in the near future, I’ll never get to the absolute headwaters, but I bet the upper reaches hold some pretty good fishing, given the uphill hike to get there.

Bottom line: if the fishing on the main stem of the Rapidan is poor or crowded, wiped sweat from your brow, hike uphill and check out the Staunton.

Google Local Coordinates: 38.444044,-78.36952

Secrets Revealed? No. The Rapidan watershed is a very public location that is documented in the following places:

Virginia VDGIF
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Virginia Trout Streams
Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams
Fly Fishing Virginia 

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Date Fished: 10/1/2012

Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

Articles on this site are out of date since some go back to 2006. Regulations and property ownership may have changed since publication. It is your responsibility to know and obey all regulations and not trespass on private property.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

Disclaimer and Warning:  The contents of this site reflect the opinion of the author and you, the reader, must exercise care in the use and interpretation of this information.  Fishing is a dangerous sport.  You can slip and fall on rocks and sustain severe injury.  You can drown.  You can get hooks caught in your skin, face, eyes or other sensitive places.  All sorts of bad things can happen to you when to go into the woods to visit the places documented here.  Forests, streams and lakes are wild areas and any number of bad things can happen.  You must make your own judgment in terms of acceptable behavior and risk and not rely on anything posted here.  I disclaim all liability and responsibility for any actions you take as a result of reading the articles on this site.  If you do not agree with this, you should not read anything posted on this site.

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