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Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 1541
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My brother and I have decided that we might try to pull off a weekend backpacking/fishing trip to VA. He lives in the greater VA Beach area and I am in Central PA so somewhere in the greater Shenandoah Valley area seems to be the area that we will converge upon. Because of the potential for crowds on the weekend, we will probably skip the national park and try to target a National Forest area. Right now, the area we are taking a look at is the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Mary's_Wilderness]St. Mary's Wilderness Area[/url]. Most of what I've read covers the hiking portion and one report states that the fishing is not as good as some other areas. However, even if the fishing is a bust, the scenery looks like it would make up for that.

So, anyone ever fished St. Mary's River and if so, how did it fish? Is it a feasible weekend backpacking/fishing destination?

If not, any other general areas that are worth exploring?


Posted on: 2013/6/21 8:45


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2006/9/11 11:34
From Lehigh Valley
Posts: 485
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I grew up near Va beach as well...I haven't been able to fish out there as much as I hoped, only dabbling in SNP a few times. So I can't offer much advice.
I'm not sure if the crowds in SNP will hinder your fishing too much, especially if you are hiking...and a lot of the main hiking trails aren't always on top of a stream.
I've also heard the streams on the western side of the range get warmer/lower quicker and can be more finicky in general

Posted on: 2013/6/21 10:20


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7749
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I spent most of a summer in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg a few yeas back, by mid summer the streams on the west side get very low, while on the east side they tend to maintain their flows better and are more fishable during the summer. If it were me I'd plan for a trip early in the season until about the end of June and not try it during the summer months at all.
However some other areas hold water longer then SNP, but again unless it's rained they will be low. Hiking in from the top is difficult and getting out is very difficult, so go in from the bottom, and don't worry about fishing below the park boundaries. Stream management is poor outside the park.
Further south the area around Mount Rogers has some good streams, but it's summer and they get low. Do plenty of research before booking a trip.

Posted on: 2013/6/24 16:41
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Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2008/6/28 15:57
Posts: 738
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You might consider Whitetop Laurel Creek- it's below SNP, near the NC border in the Mt. Rogers area. Southwest of Roanoke, around Abington and Damascus. I've never been, but the stream has a great reputation.

The St. Mary's River is one of the streams that was hardest hit by acid rain in the 1980s and 1990s. It used to hold rainbows, browns, and brookies. The first two species vanished. The brookies have managed to hold on, but even they had some lean years for a while there.

The St. Mary's also lost a lot of insect populations and crayfish in the worst years. But it's also perhaps the most famous of the streams that's been subjected to rehabbing attempts, using crushed limestone to buffer the acidity and restore the pH level. There are recent reports of considerable improvement, and it's still considered to be one of the few streams capable of producing wild brook trout over 12".

Posted on: 2013/6/24 17:27

Edited by barbless on 2013/6/24 17:46:41


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2010/7/31 14:41
From SCPA
Posts: 343
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Check out Laurel Fork. Definitely woth the trip! Only way in is to hike, and PLENTY Of fish in the stream!

Posted on: 2013/6/24 17:43


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2010/6/9 12:35
From down the block from the Letort.
Posts: 930
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When are you thinkin'?

I've been sniffing around WV recently and found good fishing on the Elk in the headwaters C&R near Slatyfork during Memorial Holiday week. Also scoped out the Smokehole over the mtn from Seneca, the C&R water there at Seneca proper, the Dry Fork, Red Run and just fished the Blackwater yesterday. All kinds of good looking water there between the Canaan Valley and Snowshoe/Slatyfork neck of the woods.

Lots and lots of NF options all through those drainages... and kinda easily accessible right down 219 or 220 for you...bit of a haul from VA Beach though. 3:20ish from Carlisle to Davis w/ a pit stop.

And it's been kinda dry out there I think, I thought some of the mtn Streams in the GW west of Harrisonburg were starting to look low three weeks ago, and with recent weather who knows what kind of shape they're in now, but WV waters up high still seemed good this wknd. Hooked two fiesty rainbows while nymphin' some Blackwater pocket water, but LDR'd which was fine by me.

Maybe get in touch with Murray's (sp?) Flyshop, Harrisonburg. They should have a finger on the pulse of things down Valley from here.

Posted on: 2013/6/24 19:04


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7749
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St. Mary's River has been treated with limestone sand and is on the rebound. Brookie fishing is very good there. But I still wouldn't fish in the valley during the summer it's very hot there. Plan well and do your research and you'll have a good trip.

Posted on: 2013/6/25 13:20
_________________
There is always time to do more to protect wild trout.


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2007/6/19 21:49
From Lancaster County
Posts: 1541
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Thanks for the suggestions; I dug up a bunch of info about St. Mary's after posting, including the helicopter lime sand dumps. Wilderness status makes doing that type of rehab work and fighting wildfires interesting..

We had to postpone our trip until possibly early fall, since my brother did not get the weekend off that he wanted and I am already planning to be out of town the weekend he did get off.

WV is definitely interesting to me but we are looking at something that we can do in 2.5 days or less (including travel to and back).

Posted on: 2013/6/27 22:22


Re: Virginia backpacking/fishing destination

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7749
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Elk River can be quite good, but it is further away if you're in eastern PA. closer if you're in western PA.

Posted on: 2013/6/28 21:42
_________________
There is always time to do more to protect wild trout.






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