Now that spring is here, I am back on my strategy to visit every fishing location within 3 hours of the DC area. Part of that approach is to work through the various sites from the MD, VA and WV fish and game sites. This weekend, it was the turn for Virginia. I’ve already fished most of the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, so I just dropped a bit farther south, popped the Basswife in the truck and off we went to look at some water.
In other words, I disguised a fish recon as a “picnic”. The Basswife is a bass catcher, but does not like trout fishing any longer because it involves bugs and sweat as you work a tough stream. But she does like picnics… so, I was golden and I threw the rod in the back “just in case”. Heh, heh…
This post is about Swift Run. A wide and shallow stream the VA DGIF advertises as a category C stream, which means it is stocked three times from October to April 30. From the map recon, it would appear that this is a nice run which should have plenty of pools given the the 400 feet of vertical elevation is loses over the track shown in red. Sadly, it just does not look that great. [Note: Since the initial posting of this, folks have told me that Swift Run is OK inside the SNP. This post is about the section that is marked as stocked. Inside the SNP, this becomes a normal wild trout stream.]
First, it is in a heavily populated area. While the stocked trout water is marked, there are also plenty of POSTED signs along the stream. In fact, the best way to fish this is probably to start at the bottom and work your way upstream. Not sure you will find many pools as the stream in generally narrow, fast and shallow. But, with crystal clear water, sometimes there are pools that you just can’t see from the road.
Second, there were at least three truckloads of guys fishing the upper part. This section is very narrow – you can pretty much step across. They did not appear to be casting at all – just drifting something downstream and waiting for a reaction – it was that tight. With that pressure in such a small place, there must be fish or these guys would not have come. I did several searches – on message boards, in the fishing regs and in the general internet and did not come up with anything that would indicate even a moderate amount of interest in this water.
If you fish this, start at the bottom where you see the first “stocked water” sign. Once beyond the bottom of the stream, it tightens up, the houses are literally everywhere, and you have to assume that the stocking is for the locals. I would be really interested in other opinions on this water. With good water just up the road (Hughes, Rose, etc), I was glad I took a recon down here to just look instead of cashing in a kitchen pass to come and be potentially disappointed.
Since this was only a recon without actually trying to fish, this water does not get a rating table
Getting there: Mapquest yourself to Stanardsville and follow 646 west to 810. Turn north on 634 and you will find yourself next to the stream in short order.
At bridge at base of map looking North
Looking upstream from hard right turn on map. Note houses
Looking downstream from hard right turn on map. Good looking bridge pool right here… also next to a densely populated area – note the houses. The road you see in this shot runs next to the river, so there is no real physical challenge to get at the water.
I was really bummed out as this had all the markings of a nice stream. It had good vertical drop, tight terrain and a couple of nice looking feeder streams.
The negatives just seem to outweigh the positives – apparent tight and shallow run, plenty of houses and limited stream access.
If anyone has actual experience fishing this water, drop me an email
I would love to be proven wrong on this one.
Added: As noted above, folks have told me that Swift Run is OK inside the SNP. Up there, it becomes a normal SNP trout stream with the typical small brookies you expect to catch. This post is about the section that is marked as stocked trout water south of 33.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore