With the wet spring we had in early 2009, the Robinson, as well as some of the other Shenandoah trout streams that tend to dry up early, remained robust and full well into May. That same positive news for those streams with horrible news for the larger waters. For weeks, they were blown out; running full and muddy – making them impossible to fish. That’s what drove me back to the Robinson in May as I searched for a fishable stretch of water.
Earlier, I fished up from the junction with the Rose River and was favorably impressed with the first mile. So, I drove farther and did a recon to verify that the “stocked trout water” signs continued upstream. I remembered from my earlier visit that it was a little confusing about what was public and what was private although I believe everything is public where those signs exist. After all, the Kings Grant nightmare does not exist on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge.
I pulled off at the first turnoff where I could see a nice pool — recognizing that this was stocked water and it would be heavily pressured. But, spots close to the road get the heaviest dose of fish, so why not start there. I began fishing my way downstream and immediately picked up a few nice rainbows on hare’s ear nymphs. I let them go for the next guy as I wasn’t interested in keeping anything even though it was late in the season and all the fish were doomed to die within the next month or so.
This is a scenic stream to fish. As you work your way downstream, you see broad green pastures on the western side and the road is hidden from your view to the east by thick bands of bushes and trees. The river winds its way down through some shallow riffles protected by thick overhanging bushes and trees that make casting problematic. In fact, the farther downstream I went, the shallower it got. I knew from my experience on the upper portion of the section I had fished earlier that it petered out into a shallow run so I stopped and retraced my steps upstream.
I moved past the entry point and immediately got into better water. It included a short 50 yard stretch of shallow riffles that was followed by a deeper section that held a number of trout. The nymphs seem to be the ticket for success on this day and I continued to use them as I went upstream. At the top of my hike, I encountered a deeper section with a wire fence stretched across it. I switched to dry flies and was rewarded with catching a final trout in the deep section on the left-hand side. Being nervous about walking around the fence, I decided to end my day here and headed back to the truck. I saw another fisherman walking up the road and I stopped to chat with him. He was using spin gear and was having fairly good luck on smaller size spinners with a gold flash working well on this overcast day. He agreed with me that the stretch I had just fished was probably the best we would encounter on the Robinson. I pointed him at the deep pool with its promise of additional fish and headed back to the truck.
Bottom Line: If you watch the stocking reports, they will tell you when you can fish on the Robinson. I doubt the fisheries people would insert fish into a body of water that was not robust enough to sustain them until caught. Definitely hit this prior to May as that is when it starts to run dry in a normal year.
Getting There: Navigate to Criglersville, VA. Continue north on the Old Blue Ridge Turnpike (Rt 670). Turn right on Rt 600 at the bridge and follow it north as it parallels the stream.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.479831,-78.311791
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Date Fished: 5/1/2009
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Upstream to the entry point
Downstream from the entry point – good stretch around the corner
Lower down, the water gets tight and shallow
Trees make casting tough if you have a long rod
Good luck throwing anything into this mess
Good holes like this wait for you if you keep walking
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore