Trip report

This trip belongs more in a paddling section than a fishing section, because there were only two fish caught among four people. And both went to the same guy!

ShenandoahRiverRat, two fellows not on this board, and I paddled an eight mile section of the upper Potomac not terribly far below it’s confluence with the Shenandoah.

The weather was beautiful, if a tad windy. The water had maxed out from rain at 3’ and had been dropping slowly for three days. It was about 1.5’ when we fished (that’s roughly 10k CFS to 3k CFS if you prefer). This section generally fishes best at 1.5 to 2. The fall bite is on, so I figured we’d be in good stead.

Nope. I did hook into the largest fish I’ve ever hooked into on this section, but I never saw it. I did a poor hookset and then tried to horse it. Not the best calibre of fishing skill display ever. It peeled line like I didn’t have a drag. My guess is either a musky or a large catfish, both of which reside in this section.

Two others were skunked as well. One fellow caught two nice smallmouth bass (one 14" and one 18" - good fish for this piece of water).

I paddled a OK Malibu II. ShenandoahRR paddled his Loon 111. The guy who caught fish paddled a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 (which I later broke for him). The other fellow paddled my Perception America (the original 13’6" model).

I took my Wave Sport Diesel along for ShenandoahRR to try. Not only did he feel uncomfortable in it, he looked funny too.

Vegetation was breaking loose, and on every cast, the lure came back covered in snot grass. The water temperature was (I’m guessing here) 62 degrees. Water was clear. Visibility of about 5 feet.

ShenandoahRR, as always, your company was a pleasure. I’m glad you could join us.

  • Big D

Paddling The Shenandoah / Potomac
Great to hear you guys made it out.

I love to paddle the Shenandoah and since the recent fish kill, have avoided it to give it at least two or three last paddlers NOT putting pressure on it.

In your opinion, how much of a difference have you seen in both rivers since the fish “kill” on the South Fork of the Shenandhoah?

I have been paddling the Rappahannock a lot lately and there is some fantastic “smallie” fishing there.


Haven’t been on Shen. this year
Sorry, I can’t say.

From the reports I’ve seen, Shenandoah fishing has been off from the fish kill. 100 fish days used to be possible (some say common - but I guess I have a different definition of common). Not now. Mostly dinks, too. Again, not personal experience but going by reports.

Potomac fished real hard on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever been skunked in October. Gusting wind made lure placement difficult at best. Not strong enough to cause trouble with boat control, but lure placement was real tough. Plus there was a LOT of loose grass. Even snag free lures were covered in grass on every retrieve. Really slowed down casting.

Still, great to be out on the river. It’s a real nice bedrock stretch with good ledges and lots of boulders and islands. Enough riffles to oxegenate the water, but not so strong as to even call a rapid, which makes it great for a relaxing float or as a stretch to introduce a novice.

Next time out, it’ll just be big tubes and pig ‘n’ jig. Maybe the Rat will guide me on another winter float this year and I’ll get more Shenandoah information. (hint, hint)

  • Big D

Excuse me?!?!?!
“I took my Wave Sport Diesel along for ShenandoahRR to try. Not only did he feel uncomfortable in it, he looked funny too.”

How dare YOU!!! I did NOT look funny. Cramped maybe, a tad confined with ciculation slowly draining out of my legs…certianly…but I did NOT “look funny”. :wink:

Okay…maybe I did. Thats a nice lookin boat, but it’s obviously ment for someone not quite as ‘hip-y’ as I am. I cofess to being a member of the “Big Boys Club” at 220 and 6 ft. It was definately a tight fit for me and with no room to move about, I would need to exit that thing about every 30 minutes or so to restore circulation. As Rodney Dangerfield said in Caddy Shack: “Oh but it looks good on YOU though!”

Had a great time on Sat D…lets not wait a year until the next time okay?

Folks, if you ever get the chance…go with this guy. You will not find a better paddling partner anywhere.

The fishing in the Doah is picking up on the Fall bite. I have had reports over the weekend from folks who had 30+ fish days Sat and Sunday. That’s a tad shy of 60-80 fish days just a couple of years ago…but it’s still not bad. I’ve done spot-floats and caught 12-15 fish in about 3 hours myself. Now the size isn’t there…12-14max seems to be the smallie size being brought in. Still, it’s a far cry from this summer when you felt good about breaking into double digits on the numbers after a dawn to dusk float.

Maybe we can do a section on the south fork before the winter weather sets in ‘D’. Keep it in mind.

Full disclosure
"How dare YOU!!! I did NOT look funny. Cramped maybe, a tad confined with ciculation slowly draining out of my legs…certianly…but I did NOT “look funny”. ;-)"

I never said it had anything to do with the boat.

I’d love to get on the Shenandoah SF some time with you Br’er Rat. Maybe we can get some of these other folks along. Noticed on B&B that GaryR floats these waters…

I may even borrow a canoe from our diminutive friend, just for old time’s sake.

  • Big D

ah yes…our
"vertically challenged" mutual buddy I assume.

:wink: Sounds like a plan to me. Maybe we could intrest some of the folks here to do a fishing/paddling excursion with us on the Daughter of the Stars…they wouldn’t forget it anytime soon.