In his book, Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia, David Hart points to the Thornton River as a decent size stream that is heavily pressured since it parallels US 211 out of Sperryville
It’s a short walk to the water from the turnoff… that’s the good news. The bad news is that dense foliage packs both shorelines and reaches over the narrow streambed making it difficult to cast. The pools ranged up to 2 to 3 feet deep, but they are always protected by overhanging branches.
I walked upstream, testing the water with a Mr. Rapidan, and was pleased to see a positive reaction from the trout. Unfortunately, it was only the little, snapping ones that were interested. Given the closeness of the road, you wonder if thier big brothers still live here or whether they have all been taken out by the pressure Hart mentions.
The stream bed is classic Blue Ridge. It’s full of rocks with small sand beds spread in different spots and, of course, the requisite pools at the places you would expect them. Unfortunately, for someone with my skill level, it was borderline unfishable. After fishing upstream for 4/10 mile, I gave up and headed back to the truck.
Bottom Line: Not worth it. With so much other good water close by you should skip this one. Granted… this river is longer than the 4/10 mile I saw – so my conclusion is based on a very small view. But… this is the first place you can get at it inside the park and the map shows that the river becomes an intermittent stream a bit farther west… so I think this is a fair view.
Getting There: Head west from Sperryville on US 211. Approximately 0.6 miles after crossing into the Park, you will see a turnoff on the left side of the road. Be alert or you will miss it. Park there and follow the trail to the river.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.65831, -78.28199
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
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Date Fished: 5/28/2010
Upstream from 1st crossing
Good pools, tight overhanging brush
Downstream back towards the crossing
Farther up… tighter
River narrows and less water
But… there are a few good pools
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore