It was a little high for this time of year, but not high from a paddling safety factor. Very easy water still. Actually, the extra water made it a little easier. From the road, it looked stained and muddy. But when you got down to the bank it actually had about 18" visibility. The wind was up and down all day. Still for a time, and then blowing for a time. I was rowing my one man raft, and so I was grateful for the wind blowing at my back. It was only the second time with a drag chain. It's a real joy to use it, but I've got a lot to learn about boat control.
The fishing was off. I got no hits subsurface. I tried drifting some dark tan and olive woolly buggers, and I tried some crawfish imitations (and lost all that I tried to ledges), and once the Shenandoah Blue Damselfly hatch kicked off I used both a subsurface blue and white clouser meant to imitate the emergers and also a damselfly surface pattern. All to no avail. I did find a bit on a white popper at grass islands. Not grass banks ONLY on grass islands, but it was a generous bite.
I found what I think is probably the most picturesque spot on the Shenandoah I've ever seen. The fish weren't biting there for me (my partner took half a dozen or so on crankbaits off the bank), but the river was wide, there were farms, a good 360 view of the Blue Ridge and the bottomland, and someone at a nearby camp was playing outlaw country music so the spot even had a soundtrack.
I would like to have spent more time on the river, but I had a situation that required me to get ashore somewhere, and all the land there is private. What isn't private was the George Washington National Forest, and while I don't mind digging a cathole in the National Forest the banks were all too steep to clamber out in my particular condition. So I powered on down river to the takeout. I'll go back to that spot, and I've found just what I need on NRS.
- Big D