Fishing: Spring beckons the Mid-Atlantic angler

Reed Hellman

Valley Falls State Park

Throughout the Mid-Atlantic, if you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of dust getting blown off of fishing gear. From the mountains to the seashore, anglers of every description have begun prepping for the spring season.

Starting the season at the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival has become a spring ritual. This year’s festival, on April 9–10, has a new venue, the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, just a few minutes north of Richmond and near Kings Dominion.

Valley Falls State Park Fishing
Valley Falls State Park

“The new location can accommodate our growing event,” said festival director and noted fishing author Beau Beasley.  “It will allow us to bring all of our vendors under roof, no longer subject to the vagaries of the weather.”

The festival has grown to become the largest event of its kind in the country. “We have plenty to entice the veteran angler,” continued Beasley.  “In addition, the festival will continue to reach out to a nontraditional audience — folks who may not be aware of how easy and enjoyable fly fishing really is. We are also committed to welcoming more women into the sport, and especially young families.”

Along with vendors, destinations, and guide services, festival attendees can choose from a roster of classes conducted by experts and practice hands-on skills. Several Old Dominion wineries will provide free wine tastings for adults over 21.

A new fishing event

Also new this spring, the South River Fly Fishing Expo, April 23–24, continues the tradition of celebrating fly fishing on the banks of Waynesboro’s South River. The inaugural event features vendors, fly fishing experts, fly tyers, local wines and brews, and local food trucks, all within casting distance of stocked trout waters and quality urban fly fishing.

The expo will feature noted anglers such as IGFA Hall of Famer Stu Apte; Greg Senyo, author of Fusion Fly Tying; Spey caster Will Turek; Colorado guide Pat Dorsey; and Virginia smallmouth guide Chuck Kraft. Many of the experts will offer lessons. (540-942-5566)

After taking those courses and listening to the experts, take that knowledge to West Virginia’s North Fork River and Harman’s Luxury Log Cabins. Harman’s offers nearly 2 miles of private access trophy trout steam in Hopeville Canyon, within the Monongahela National Forest.

Managed for catch-and-release trophy fish, Harman’s stream holds rainbow, brown, brook, tiger, and golden trout. And, its log cabins add a large measure of comfort to the fishing.

The storied limestone spring creeks of Central Pennsylvania offer a different take on small-water angling. The challenging environment on the LeTort Spring Run and other Pennsylvania creeks motivated a band of pioneering fly casters to develop the modern techniques, methods, and fly patterns generally in use today.

The LeTort posed so many problems that the legendary Charlie Fox, Vince Marinaro, Ed Shenk, and others had to adapt existing techniques and create a whole new way of looking at fly fishing. The LeTort became a living laboratory for reinventing the sport.

If saltwater fishing is more to your taste, Maryland and Delaware together have more than 5,000 miles of tidal shoreline, including the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, and 100 miles of oceanfront. From pan fish in the headwaters of myriad tidal creeks to massive marlin taken from the canyons off of Ocean City, the Mid-Atlantic offers a full gamut of marine species. Charter cruises and head boats enable anglers to enjoy the salt water without needing to own a boat.

As spring advances through the Mid-Atlantic, anglers can enjoy a widening gamut of fishing opportunities that ranges from small water to saltwater and from the Pennsylvania Piedmont south to the mountains and lakes of Virginia and West Virginia.

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