After fishing the Rapidan River in the morning, we pulled up at the bridge that is the junction of the Rose and the Robinson. There is a parking area on the east side of the bridge that can hold a large number of vehicles. What attracted us to this spot was the hypnotically deep pool underneath the bridge where the Rose River joins the Robinson. Lon went over to fish that pool and work downstream on the combined river while I headed upstream from the parking area.
I had driven along the Robinson before during low-water and, quite frankly, was not impressed with what I saw. Farther upstream, the river is not much more than a meandering creek that runs listlessly across a rocky bed. From White Oak Canyon downstream, the “river” is a lucky to get to be 10 feet wide. But, by the time it gets to the junction of the Rose, it widens up to 30 or 40 feet.
As I fished up the Robinson on this initial mile of river, I realized that the Robinson has a unique characteristic that drives success. In effect, it’s exactly like the Rapidan except it winds through a flat valley. The similarity is that you have to fish from pool to pool because the flat gradient creates long sections of shallow water that will only support to the smallest of fallfish. Once you recognize this, you realize you do not need to fish every inch of the river. Instead, move upstream and identify the deep areas that might hold fish. Granted, you might spook a random pool or two that is hidden in an otherwise shallow stretch but just mentally mark it to fish on the way back to your truck. I did not run into many of those — the parts of the river that hold fish are obvious; just look for that deeper shade of green or brown that indicates depth.
There is the deep hole underneath the bridge that Lon fished and another one 20 yards upstream next to a small concrete wall extending from the parking area a short distance into the river. Skip upstream another 50 yards, and you find the next deep spot on the right-hand bank. The next deep area after that is several hundred yards upstream. Given this layout, you need to plan on walking as you look for these deeper holes. This was a high water day as a result of the rains we had had earlier in the week and that extended the reach of the deep spots farther out into the river. On a normal day, with normal flow, the pools would be tight with the fish huddled together.
The river had been stocked a week and a half earlier, and there were still plenty of trout in this section. At the second deep hole, I picked up three trout floating a Hendrickson pattern in the current seam. They had to fight their way to this dry fly as the fallfish are numerous and aggressive. Frankly, I don’t mind catching any kind of fish on a dry fly — it’s all an adrenaline bump. I know that there are smallmouth in the Robinson farther downstream. I was not able to verify that there were any this far up — but the potential is there in the deeper water. My guess is that they live below the junction with the Rose where there are deeper stretches that would support them better than the shallow water upstream.
The layout of theRobinson is a little bit perplexing. While there is no fence at the parking lot, as you move upstream a wire fence pops up on the east edge of the river – the road side. The west bank is not fenced and opens up onto a wide open field.
Since this is stocked trout water and is marked as such, access is permitted but it is awkward and odd to see the fence. You have the sense that you are violating someone’s private property.
Bottom Line: Hit this part of the Robinson before the water level drops and in concert with the stocking truck calculus. When June rolls around, this will be dead water except for the fallfish.
Getting There: Navigate to Criglersville, VA. Continue north on the Old Blue Ridge Turnpike (Rt 670). Turn right on Rt 600 at the bridge. The parking area is to your immediate left.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.473616,-78.314195
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Date Fished: 04/24/2009
Upstream from the entry point. Fish immediately to the right of this picture
Downstream from the entry point. Good hole on the other side of the bridge
Farther upstream, the river narrows and gets shallow
Upstream from end point. Looks good, but is very shallow
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore