With the rivers running high in mid-June, I took the opportunity to investigate some of the stocked trout water that I had not yet seen. One of the last sections of the Rose River I had not visited was the section below the Park. Last December, I did a quick recon here and fished downstream from the southern entry point as well as taken a quick look and flipped a few flies at the northern boundary of the stocked section. It was not productive then and was not productive now.
Granted, mid-June is not the optimum time to fish stocked trout water in Virginia. But after driving all the way out to fish the blown out Robinson for smallies, I was here anyway. I parked at the large turnout in the middle of the northern stocked stretch that is an obvious place where the stock truck would insert fish into the river. Lon began fishing upstream from there. As you can see from the map, I walked north on the road a little bit and then cut over to the stream to put some distance between us. The pictures below tell the story. There was a decent amount of water still running in this stretch but the key distinction between here and the section in the Park was a lack of gradient. The river runs flat and fairly wide that translates to very shallow water and small fish. A mile up the road, in the Park, the situation is totally different as the water cascades down some fairly steep gradient drops to hold in deeper pools which support larger, wild fish. In fact, after we fished this section, we drove up there and spends a few hours working upstream and had much better luck.
As I walked, I had plenty of luck catching small trout on pretty much any type of fly I decided to flip upstream. Many of them were the little, tiny fingerlings that do nothing more than chew at the fly as they are too small to consume it. I had hoped that there might be a stocker or two left in this section because the water was still running cool and crisp. No joy there! In terms of quality of water, I can see that this would be a good section to visit when it is stocked. It has a rocky, gravel bottom with plenty of pools to hold fish if the water was running a little bit higher.
At the top of the track, I ran into a couple who were also fly fishing. When I stopped to chat with them, I discovered that this was their first day with a fly rod and they had had no lessons. I spent about a half hour with them showing a few basics of casting and strongly encouraging that they move to friendlier water downstream. The tight, tree shrouded terrain in this spot is the exact wrong place to learn how to fly fish. On the other hand, it widens out and becomes “new fly guy” friendly down near Quaker Run Road closer to Syria. I left to walk back to the truck and did see them later in the day downstream in friendlier water.
Bottom Line: This is a short post because there’s really nothing to say. If the water had been higher and the stocked fish had been here and it had been a long enough period of time after insertion for them to become acclimated to natural food, this would be a great spot. Geez — there sure are a lot of qualifiers in that sentence! So, keep an eye on the stocking program and come and visit this section in the fall when it kicks in again.
Getting There: From Syria, VA, drive south on 670 (Old Blue Ridge Turnpike). The Rose River parallels the road and the stocked signs are obvious. Once you hit the dirt road leading to the park, look for the wide road off to the left to the river. It’s a short distance – 50 feet – from the dirt road. Park and work either up or downstream
Google Local Coordinates: 38.507005,-78.354492
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Virginia Trout Streams
Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams
Fly Fishing Virginia
Date Fished: 6/19/2009
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Upstream from my entry point
Downstream from my entry point
Typical shallow pool – plenty of fingerlings
Nice, scenic… and barren of catchable fish
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore