A few weeks ago, Chris and I headed out to check out Passage Creek. It’s written up as a pretty good place in “Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams: A Fly-Fishing Guide”, so we figured it was worth a look. As we do on all Recons, we took along our gear.
It was a Saturday and we were stunned by the traffic. I could not believe we would see 6 cars pulled over in the same spot at the side of the road near the access points – I wonder what the 3rd thru 6th arrival think they are going to get for a fishing experience? If you are the second guy, then you can assume you will work in the opposite direction from the first arrival.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with other fisherman is not my idea of fun. Besides, trout are typically wary and take an hour or so to calm down after they are stirred up. What luck does the 6th person think they are going to have. Oh, yeah – it’s 6 cars, so that’s probably at least 12 fishermen – not that many people go alone.
Given our perspective on crowding, we kept driving south from the downstream end by Front Royal. You quickly leave the Park and end up with the public vs private land dilemma. The creek is wide and looked fairly deep from the road – we just could not get to it – posted signs. We finally found a stretch that was not posted and fished it (see map at right). We had some strikes – there are definitely fish here, but did not catch anything. After giving it about a half hour, we wanted to head farther south to see what the headwaters were like inside the GW National Forest.
Looking back to the North where we stopped – nice water
Looking south. As you can see, the creek is wide
The upper end of the Passage was not that good looking. The water was low and there was not much of it. It reminded me of Jeremy’s Run – where you really had to be patient and look for pools. We drove up and checked it out from the car, got out in a few places and were not impressed.
However, the extreme southern end where the creek has to run down some drops might have potential. We were anxious to move on to the next spot, so turned around as shown on the map and headed out.
Net assessment: If you can find a quiet place on the wide part of the creek at the northern end, fishing might be pretty good. Southern end needs more investigation if for no other reason than to find the spots where the pictures were taken for the book.
This creek has fish – it is stocked and there are a bunch of pictures of nice looking trout in various books and magazines – I doubt those were taken in front of the Food Lion.
Typical stretch of water at the upper end
As you can see, low flow, not much for pooling.
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore