New River Trip Report

Thursday to Sunday trip to the very upmost (meaning upstream) part of the New River Gorge was a success. It was a success in that I made it there and returned home. As far as the fishing, it was definitely off. We had some of the best smallmouth fishing guys around there, (including the infamous Al A and Dirty Ed from P-net) and I think it was Al A that got the most but that number was still well below what I can normally catch with more meager skills.

Anyway, the water was warm and low, but not as low as I’ve seen it in August before. The weather was mildly unstable with middle of the night rains and heavy mist in the early morning burning off to fairly clear skies during the day. Except Saturday, Saturday it was cooler (roughly 80 degrees air temp) and overcast all day. That was the best catching day. That was also the day I got to fish and paddle with Dirty Ed and Al A. I followed Dirty Ed to learn from his lines through the mild rapids and chatted with Al A. Let me tell you , Al can handle a canoe!

The fish could not be patterned. I didn’t find a pattern any day, except on Saturday I guess you could say that they related to bank. But it wasn’t the same kind of bank. Sometimes rocky, sometimes sunny, sometimes sandy, sometimes shaded. No real consistency. No one lure or presentation seemed to work effectively either. Very “off” fishing for the whole period.

The trip - Thursday slow trip with construction and blasting on the highway and other delays at home before starting. I got there, set camp, and then plopped my behind in my hammock and chilled out until beer o’clock. Beer o’clock turned into whiskey o’clock and I pulled out my guitar. About that time Dirty Ed came with his and we swapped songs until 2:00AM. Actually Dirty Ed played songs and as that bottle of whiskey became more and more empty, I started playing two thirds then half of songs before I couldn’t remember chords and lyrics.

Friday I got off to a slow start (as one would imagine), but feeling fine. Then I banged my head on my truck door frame getting something out of the back seat and gave myself a minor concussion, so we just paddled a short section. On that short section I hit the one and only hole in a wide shoals rapid but popped out thankfully, then got pinned on the one rock of another riverwide ledge on a wide river. The river was flowing THROUGH my boat at one point. I got off by crawling onto the rock and feeding the boat through holding the painter then crawling into the boat while it sat in the eddy. No fish that trip, but I fished the heck out of the whole river, taking four hours or so to fish a 2 1/2 mile section of river.

Friday night I remained whiskey free and played and sang much better, which went on until roughly 1AM, at which point I fell asleep in my chair, being awakened at an unknown hour by the clinking of beer bottles when someone folded up their chair to call it a night.

Saturday was a longer stretch with better water. I got four fish, with the limits as before. It was a treat to fish and paddle with Dirty Ed. I’ve known him for something like eight years and never once floated with him. Al A was also on that trip and it was good to get to know him in person rather than just on the boards. Fun guy (not a fungi, a fun guy). I broke my favorite rod, but Dirty Ed had a spare he lent me. The buddy whom I had loaned a canoe broke one of the paddles eddying out, a mile above the largest rapid. So he took a tandem through with his wife in the bow with only one paddle. He did it people side up, so it all worked out.

Saturday night was no music, just BS around a campfire. I went to bed early and fell asleep reading with the light on. At some point during the night we had a ferocious rain storm that awakened me. When it had passed, I had to pass something too and went outside. I unzipped the door wrong and tripped over the tent door, wrenching my back.

Sunday was pack up and head home, which I did with a wrenched back. I scalded the coffee and so that was terrible tasting too. So, on the way home I stopped with my friends at a Bob Evans where our grungy selves scared the after church crowd, but I ate enough for three people and coffee to top it off. Two heavy rains and accidents and highway blockages on the way home. I used some of my driving around the hinterlands in search of putins knowledge to use and wound around the heart of Virginia to get home without highways.

It’s Monday morning and the truck is still packed. I better get busy.

  • Big D

nice trip report D …
… glad you made it and had a good time .

Trying to figure out what stretch you all were fishing in . How many miles upstream from 19 are considered the very upmost parts of the gorge ??

Did you basically stay on just a few miles (one stretch) of the river or hit different sections over the 4 days ??

I only know how the New runs , it’s geographic route … have never been on it .

The bite was off some huh ?? Well we hope for a good bite , but settle for what we get … that’s about the way it goes . Summer Smallies can be a bit fickle sometimes but what the heck , got to have a line in the water to find out , at least you working them , that’s more than I’ve been doing lately .

We got plans to hit it some in Sept. , let ya know how it goes … I’m not expecting too much , but I’ll be hoping anyway . A big ol Muskie or two wouldn’t hurt my feelings none either !!

Hinton to Meadow Creek
Both in West Virginia. We took out above Brooks Falls and put back in below Sandstone Falls. A member of our party was under the weather, and though he’d normally be able to run Brooks Falls, we decided not to push it for his safety and our convenience of not having to do a body recovery of a friend. It is illegal to run Sandstone Falls and only one, maybe two, of us had the skills to do it anyway (not me).

It’s class 2 water at most. Nothing intense or overly challenging, but enough squirrelly current to keep me awake, and on one rapid the standing waves were large enough that I got slapped in the chest as my 'yak submarined under the next one. A lot of fun.

  • Big D

ok Hinton to Meadow Creek , thanks …
… wonder what the stretch below Bluestone dam to Green Brier confluence (the bridges) is like for fishing ?? (looks to be a put-in at the Y between bridges)

Sandstone Falls are pretty , lots of pictures of them (blue dots) . Also noticed a cliff falls under rt. 64 . , was it running or dry ?? Didn’t see any pics. for Brook falls , but ariel makes it look to have a drop out of sorts , is it anything like Sandstone ??

The New looks kinda wide , similar to the Susqui. , is it ??

That’s Hinton
The Bluestone Dam and the confluence with the Greenbrier is at Hinton. There is a put-in at the bridge there. We ran from there down about four and a half or five miles (I didn’t jot down the numbers from my GPS).

The river is wide there, but I think not as wide as the Susky at Harrisburg. More like the Potomac at Point of Rocks.

The fishing is usually excellent, but not this trip. I can send you GPS coordinates for put-in and take-out spots. I’ll have to down load them, but I’ll e-mail them to you once I get everything put away.

  • Big D

don’t own a GPS Big D …
… nephew has one on his CC boat for the bay (he also tried a few of the handhelds for the woods) , a friend has one in his auto (and is lost w/o it) , I’ve used airplane versions in the air before … but don’t own a handheld .

I’ve never seemed to need one , mostly know where I’m at and which way to go … a GPS would be a nice thing to have though (as a back-up to use up front, lol) , and it could tell me where a landing is in places I’m unfamiliar with (or if I missed it) . I’ve depended on charts and maps , a compass and basic nav. skills , so far they’ve always worked .

Thanks for the coords. offer , if I ever head out to the New and need them I’ll take you up on the offer then , OK …

You ever seen the bridge over the gorge (rt.19) , the famous one ??

I’ll bet spring time is a good bite where you just were … also think that piece of water can get just as wicked as the rest in spring , if not more so …

they say the New may be one of the oldest on the planet (like the Nile) … don’t know how true that is , but it’s old for sure .

ps., … my family are WV people , almost Heaven !!

Well, I already sent them. I bought a hand-held GPS so that the family could do some geocaching. I’ve found it very handy out on the water. Makes it almost impossible to miss a takeout, but it’s also useful for gauging how fast or slow I can go.

As far as spring, it’s a dam controlled bit of water and it gets very high in spring as they draw down the dam. Perhaps after that it would be good.

I have been both under and across the famous bridge, and I did see it on those occasions. There’s one point on the river where you can see two bridges highlighted. The one that looks closer is actually the enormous one that is a fair bit further off. It’s a neat optical illusion.

  • Big D

The fishing mostly sucked but the trip was great!

I was floating in Dirty Ed’s Oscoda, which I wouldn’t consider a real good canoe for anything tougher than Class 1, but it handled those ledges really well. I simply avoided the big wave trains because I didn’t want to take the chance of swamping or getting my fishing tackle too soaked. There were always chicken routes that avoided the biggest wave trains but were plenty interesting in themselves, with lots of maneuvering required to run cleanly. Since the fishing wasn’t great, I had more fun just running those slalom courses trying not to put too many more scratches in Ed’s canoe. But I thought it was kinda funny that I’d just finished running the last rapid above Brooks Falls when two guys in fully outfitted solo whitewater canoes with floatation bags and helmets came down it. There I was in a more or less flatwater canoe full of not-even-tied-down fishing tackle!

Those guys were headed to Brooks
You may have noticed the guy in the Liquid Logic sit-on-top recreational/whitewater cross-over boat. He had a bunch of folks out for a training run at Brooks. The guys in the canoes were rescue boaters. I had a real nice chat with them while I stretched my legs at their put-in. Nice folks.

  • Big D

Good Time

– Last Updated: Aug-22-10 4:23 AM EST –

Enjoyed the 4 days on the river although the water was low and the fishing pretty poor. Finally got to meet Al A and spend time on the water with him. He really did a great job of maneuvering my Oscoda down the shallow, rocky rapids in the Hinton-Meadow Creek section. Not only is he a great artist but has skills when it comes to paddling, fishing and drinking.

After attending many get-togethers with Big D, I finally got a chance to fish with him. We also managed to do some campfire picking and share some adult beverages.

The last day on the water I had to stop every 1/2 mile or so and dump a couple gallons of water out of my MR12. Checked it when I got home and found a new 3" long crack on the bottom near the scupper under the seat. Patched it yesterday with some G-flex and kevlar cloth so it should be ready to go again.

One of these days I need to paddle the short sections of the New between Glen Lyn and the backwaters of Bluestone Lake and from Brooks falls to Sandstone Falls. Those are the only parts of the New I haven't paddled from the North Carolina border to the Dries.


Great Report
4 days on a river, hanging out woth the boys, catching smallies, drinking beer and whiskey, picking the guitar… Holy Crap- what a perfect trip!!! Thanks for the report.