St Mary’s River

Steeles Tavern, Virginia

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For decades, anglers after wary mountain trout have enjoyed the St. Mary’s River in the heart of Augusta County. Embattled by acid rain in the 1990s, the St. Mary’s has made a dramatic turnaround with the help of the U.S. Forest Service, The Fly Fishers of Virginia, and Dominion, a Richmond-based energy company. In 1998 the U.S. Forest Service acted as the lead agency to lime the St. Mary’s—no mean feat in this isolated, protected section of the George Washington National Forest. Officials could have brought limestone in by pack mule, but they determined that this river rescue operation would take too long—about six months—and cost far too much. Instead a helicopter dropped crushed limestone into the river, accomplishing the job in a single day. In 2005 officials added more limestone to the St. Mary’s River, and although this trout water isn’t out of the woods yet, the limestone has certainly improved the current conditions for the fish and thus for anglers and sightseeing hikers. Types of Fish: Mostly brookies, although a few scattered rainbows have been caught here from time to time. This fly-fishing chapter describes the "where, when, and how" for fishing in this area. It includes a full-page map and information on the known hatches, suggested equipment to use, the best flies to use, season, limits, nearby accommodations, and camping.
Fly Fishing Virginia

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Fly Fishing Virginia

by Beau Beasley (No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks)

For decades, anglers after wary mountain trout have enjoyed the St. Mary’s River in the heart of Augusta County. Embattled by acid rain in the 1990s, the St. Mary’s has made a dramatic turnaround with the help of the U.S. Forest Service, The Fly Fishers of Virginia, and Dominion, a Richmond-based energy company. In 1998 the U.S. Forest Service acted as the lead agency to lime the St. Mary’s—no mean feat in this isolated, protected section of the George Washington National Forest. Officials could have brought limestone in by pack mule, but they determined that this river rescue operation would take too long—about six months—and cost far too much. Instead a helicopter dropped crushed limestone into the river, accomplishing the job in a single day.

In 2005 officials added more limestone to the St. Mary’s River, and although this trout water isn’t out of the woods yet, the limestone has certainly improved the current conditions for the fish and thus for anglers and sightseeing hikers. Types of Fish: Mostly brookies, although a few scattered rainbows have been caught here from time to time. This fly-fishing chapter describes the "where, when, and how" for fishing in this area. It includes a full-page map and information on the known hatches, suggested equipment to use, the best flies to use, season, limits, nearby accommodations, and camping.

©  Beau Beasley/No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Steeles Tavern
Trail Type: Several options
Season & Limits: Best early spring and late fall
Local Contacts: George Washington National Forest
Driving Directions: Directions to St. Mary’s River

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Apr 2018