It’s still winter, but the trout are biting on the South River in Waynesboro. According to Tommy Lawhorne at South River Fly Shop, recent rains have brought the South back to normal levels with lots of nice Rainbows and Browns being caught. Midges are hatching daily and the Early Smoky Sedge Caddis hatch will be starting soon. Rubberlegs Stoneflies, Frenchies, JW Jig Leech, Cinnamon Poo-pah, Amber Arlie’s Gnarlie Caddis and small streamers have all been working.
Tommy says there have been two stockings downtown by VDGIF in October and again in January. In addition, there were two private stockings in September and November. Additional stocking was also done in early December in the Fly Fishing Only Area.
“We will have one more privately funded stocking downtown before the Expo,” Tommy remarked. “With the Catch and Release regulations there are now lots more holdovers and even quite a few stream-bred Rainbows in the river, which makes frequent stockings much less important.”
Tommy noted that they had electro-surveyed about 20 little rainbows up to 9″ range back in September- at least three year classes.
Tommy said that the South River has many of the same characteristics as the famous Yellow Breeches in Pennsylvania.
“Lots of bugs, great limestone springs, abundant forage and the new protective regulations are finally turning this river into the gem that we knew it could be!” he said.
Tommy also notes that the South River Fly Fishing Expo is scheduled for April 21st and 22nd at Constitution Park on the South River. Hours will be 9-5 both days. Pat Cohen, Capt. Matt Miles, L.E. Rhodes, Tony Dranzo, Bob Romano, Tommy Lawhorne, Kevin Whitfield, Brian Ailles, Reed Cranford, and Josh French will all be presenting on fly fishing tactics and destinations around the region along with destination fly fishing travel. Great gear from Hardy, Orvis, Echo, Moonshine Rods and more. Proceeds from the South River Fly Fishing Expo will be used to continue improving the South River Fishery and the Historic Downtown Waynesboro District.
For more information, contact Tommy Lawhorne at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call the shop at
Things slowed throughout the state last week with a bitter cold snap.
On the Potomac, Capt. Chaconas noted that the cold weather has dropped water temperatures into the upper 30s. Days are getting longer, however and it won’t be long.
Steve says: Take note that boat ramps will be icy when you start. Go later when it warms up. Too cold for fast moving lures. Silver Buddy blade baits are the best choice for covering water, fished slowly and deliberately. Location is key. Choose out of the current bays with steep drops. It’s best to work these spots parallel to keep the Silver Buddy in the strike zone.
Cast to about 3 feet deep. Work the bait out to deeper water, keeping the boat in about 10 feet. Position the boat to make casts that cover various depths. Take note of the depth fish are caught or seen on depth finders. After the bait hits the bottom, a gentle burp of the Silver Buddy creates a very tight vibration and fish will usually hit on the drop. Allow the bait to slowly drop on semi slack line. Once on the bottom, gently burp again. Lift the rod tip about 3-4 inches. but do not overwork. I prefer bait-casting gear like the Quantum Vapor. It’s fast and can cast 10-pound Edge fluorocarbon line easily. For rods, a 7 footer, medium action graphite rod is good for hooksets and to maintain enough pressure on hooks to land fish and not pull hooks out.
Other baits working now, Mann’s Stingray grubs, Mizmo grubs and drop shots with 4-inch leaders. Use spinning gear spooled with 10-pound Torque braid with a 6-pound Edge leader. Soak plastics in Jack’s Juice Bait Spray. Fish slowly.
Water temps are in the 40’s. Most blue cats and bullheads were on deeper flats, along drop-offs, and in channels in the main lake and scattered in creeks, and were hitting live minnows and cut bait. Most crappie were on drop-offs and in channels in the main lake, especially near wood cover. Crappie activity was slow, but when active, crappie were hitting live minnows, Wright Bait Co. and Southern Pro- curlytail jigs, small tubes, Kalin crappie scrubs, small swim baits, and blade baits. Yellow and white perch were scattered or in loose aggregates on deeper flats, drop-offs, and channels in the main lake and when active were hitting live minnows, small swim baits, and small jigs. Many bass and pickerel were on deeper flats, along drop-offs, or in channels in the main lake. When active, bass and pickerel were hitting live minnows, spinnerbaits, swim baits, stick worms, crank baits, jerk baits, blade baits, and jigs.
Fishing with Capt. Conway, Bill Marley had 4 crappie, 1 white perch, and 1 pickerel. Tom Porter had 9 white perch, 1 yellow perch and 1 bass.