Even though the official “stocked water” signs start right after you leave the main road to drive along Chopawamsic Creek, it’s not worth fishing between the first stream crossing and the small lake (Greys Reservoir). Keep this in mind as stocking is currently underway.
Early in 2008, I was happy to see a report on the VDGIF website that confirmed the Quantico trout stream had been freshly stocked. So I drove down there the following morning and decided to fish the lower stretch since I had not seen that water. As you can see from the map, I worked up from the first stream crossing to the small lake.
The stream in this section is reasonably wide and acceptably deep. It’s typically a foot or two in depth with the usual deeper sections near the bends. The bottom is sand with small gravel and presents no impediment to wading. I was encouraged by the fact that I began to pick up bluegills right away. It confirmed that there was life in this section of the stream and, in my mind, only a matter of continued casting before I would tie into the freshly stocked trout. After all, I had had good luck in the other two sections on previous visits.
As I fished my way up the stream, I became more and more perplexed and concerned that I had not run into any trout. Since I was here the morning after the stream with stocked, I could not understand how it could already be cleaned out. I tried everything. I used dries, streamers and even a few nymphs where the current was fast enough to push them downstream with a little bit of energy. In short, I didn’t catch any trout that all but did get plenty of practice on bluegills.
I walked back to the truck and was taking off my waders when another guy pulled up. We chatted for a little while about the fishing and then he dropped a bomb on me. He said, “you know, they don’t stock the slower section even though the signs are here.” You could’ve pushed me over with a feather. I had just wasted an entire fishable morning on an unproductive stretch of the stream when I could’ve spent that same time upstream where there was the opportunity to catch some trout. Honestly, I was grateful for this intelligence and thanked him.
Hindsight is always 20 — 20. As I think about what I have learned about the calculus of stocking over the last year, it’s now clear to me that the lower section would have never been filled; with the possible exception being the deep pool at the first stream crossing. The stream runs too far away from the road to be accessible to the truck. That’s not the case associated with the other locations upstream. There are a number of stream crossings, all bordered by deeper pools, that are more likely spots for the stock truck to visit. I should’ve realized this and not wasted my time wandering the stream so far from the road. In addition, you would not get any migrating trout in this section because of the small dam at the pond effectively captures the trout in the upper section.
Bottom line: While Quantico is certainly worthwhile to fish after stocking, be sure you skip this section. If you want, you can always fish the first pool where the road crosses stream in case anything was left there. But do not waste your time wading upstream. Instead, start above the small pond.
Getting There: Take exit 148 west from I95. Within 100 yards, there will be a dirt road on the right that leads to a creek. Take this right and you will immediately drive over the stream.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.523022,-77.373233
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the Virginia VDGIF stocking plan
Date Fished: 4/26/2008
Typical width. Deeper along the cut
Structure is in the stream – the bluegills loved these spots
Geese getting into the action
Actually, it’s a pleasant stretch… just no trout
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore