After fishing Beaver Creek, I took a quick drive up into the George Washington National Forest to check out Black Run. Hart (Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia) described Black Run as a “medium sized wild brook trout stream with a good number of fish that get relatively light pressure.”
I discovered the reason for the light pressure when I finally arrived at the edge of the stream after negotiating a road that requires a high clearance vehicle. The creek was totally dry. I don’t know how trout to survive in the random pools that must exist but those that do must be fairly small. I know that in the height of summer, fish congregate in “community pools” that are the deepest spots stream. But, when you look at the dry stream bed, I conclude that the number of fish who find their way to those community pools represents a small population.
Once the water returns, as it did this last week, the fish in the community pools spread out. That’s all good, but when you consider the relatively small number of fishing living in a stagnant pool, it does not indicate there will be enough fish to make it worthwhile when they spread out across the entire length of the stream.
You read about my bad experience on other streams that dribbled down the west slope of the Blue Ridge in other postings. Based on that fresh experience, I resolved not to waste energy staggering up the dry creek bed, risking a broken ankle in search of one of the elusive community pools.
In my mental fish calculus, for a stream to be productive, it has to have water all year round. That is the only guarantee of food and oxygen being swept to the waiting fish. My rule of thumb is that if you can kick a streambed and see dust rise into the air instead of water, it’s probably not stream worth fishing.
Note, you drive by a large lake that you can see from the road. It is posted and all private property.
Bottom Line: I am going to write this one off. I’m sure there is an elusive pool at some point in its long run, but I don’t have the energy to go find it.
Getting There: From I-81, take US 33 west from Harrisonburg. Turn left on VA 613 (Cloverhill Road), right on VA 743 (Union Springs Road). Stay on Union Springs Road – it changes route numbers and becomes VA 933. Follow Union Springs to where it crosses Black Run.
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: 9/14/2010
Nothing but a big, long dry hole….
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore