After fishing Paine Run – or least trying to fish it – I moved up the west slope to the next designated trout stream in Hart’s book. Madison Run is described as “a very small stream” in the Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia.
Hart’s directions are good and will deposit you at the edge of the Shenandoah National Park at at the end of a fire road. As you drive up towards the Park, pull off in the last wide spot before the fire road begins to closely parallel the stream with high bank on the left-hand side. If you drive all the way to the gate, you will encounter a “no parking” sign and no place to turn around. I ended up having to back up the hundred yards back to the wide spot.
The fire road itself is a normal gravel road that parallels the stream most of its length and makes for fast movement into the Park.
I was marginally encouraged by the few splotches of water I could see in the creek bed next to the parking area. My hope was that the water volume would increase the farther into the Park I went. I looked forward to encountering some pools that would provide the main holdover locations for the trout.
Sad to say, I lost on that count. I walked a mile into the Park and all that was there was a dry stream bed with not even a hint of water movement. I have to mirror the comments I made on Paine Run about whether this particular area would support fish even with water in it. My suspicion is that if a fish migrated down into this totally dry and barren stretch they would die as the water evaporated. Once I plotted my route on the map, I realized that the entire stream is portrayed as an intermittent stream. That should have told the whole story, kept me from wasting time here, and it makes you wonder why this particular creek was included in the book. If there is no guarantee for year-round water, there can’t be any guarantee of fish either.
Sadly, bikes are not permitted even though the fire road is broad and level. My hope/guess is that water reappears up next to the steep slopes of the western Blue Ridge – but walking a mile without seeing him anything was as far as I was willing to go and represented as much energy as I was willing to invest. After taking a last pathetic picture of the dry stream bed at the top of my walk, I hung my head and headed back to the truck.
Bottom Line: This may be a stream that is worth looking into from that the top, but clearly not from the bottom. All I got for the two-mile round-trip was exercise. Oh well, at least it was a beautiful day and I was not at work.
Getting There: follow US 340.. South of the town of Harriston, turn east on SR 778. Follow it until it dead ends and turn right on SR 661. Follow it to the end.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
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Date Fished: 9/13/2010
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore