The Moormans River is a classic high gradient native brook trout stream that flows out of the SE corner of Shenandoah National Park. In spring, the tails of nearly every pool hold brookies that average about 7-8″. There’s a North Fork and a South Fork. This entry concerns only the North Fork that goes north from Charlottesville Reservoir. This is a catch and release only fishery. I think there is less crowding and more fish here than the Rapidan. There’s lots of other good places for brookies in SNP, but don’t expect anyone to tell you about them unless 1) you join SVTU and show up regularly to meetings and activities and 2) you are generous with beer, bourbon or picking up the check for lunch.
There’s also a special regulations area below the dam that is stocked by the Thomas Jefferson Chapter of Trout Unlimited. This is a fly fishing only, catch-and-release fishery for trout. Thomas Jefferson Trout Unlimited stocks this section starting in October and ending in May. You will need a yearly pass that can be purchased at The Albemarle Angler.
You’ll have to hike a bit to get to the good water in SNP. There are stocked fish in season for the first mile of water. For the wild natives, go up past all the families and teen lovers swarming over the lower pools. Go on past the SNP sign that tells you there are no more brook trout here since a hurricane washed out all the tree cover that kept the water temperatures down. Trust me. They’re up there. Cross the stream 3 times. You need to go up to about a half mile below the confluence with Big Branch. There’s actually an unmarked side trail at the perfect place (I wonder why?) off a big grey rock that angles into the trail.
Any attractor dry fly will work in the Spring, but I find a light #14 X-caddis works best.
- Take the Crozet exit off I-64 ad follow the signs into downtown Crozet.
- From Crozet take Rt-810 North to the little croosroads of White Hall.
- Turn left onto Rt-614/ Sugar Hollow Rd. Where the road turns sharply right into Rt-674 at the country store, keep going straight on Rt-614/ Sugar Hollow Rd.
- The road winds 4 times over the Moormans and goes around the reservoir until you reach the obvious parking area.