Potomac River and Occoquan Rez - Getting Away From the Crowd

I love Northern Virginia but traffic can be a bear, both on and off the water.  The Potomac River and the Occoquan Reservoir are both excellent NVA fishing waters.  However, sometimes I want to escape and fish where I don’t have to compete with 3 bass boats on the same hole or an entire crew team practice.  This article is for those looking to getaway, even if it’s just for a day or two. 


The first question you need to ask is how rustic do I want this trip to be?  The next is do I want to pay money for a private location and/or guide.  Sometimes exploring is half the fun.  Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have many rustic fishing locations away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  If a paid guide is in the cards then a local fishing show can be a great place to talk with Mid-Atlantic guides and other sportsman for recommendations.   A google search is also a good method to find rustic fishing locations as well as the local library holdings.  A quick search on “Virginia Fishing” in the Fairfax library shows 15 titles on fishing.  Don’t pass over the fly fishing books as they contain great backwoods locations where you can often use light spinning tackle if you don’t fly fish.


Here are 3 ideas to get you started.  Bring your cell phone for pictures but where you’re going forget good cell service.  Calgon, take me away! 

  • Rustic and free, 1.5 hours from NVA:  The Confluence, where the Rapidan and the Rappahannock rivers meet.  Park here, Confluence trail head.  Proceed from the cul-d-sac onto the trail and when the trail splits, take a right.  After ~1 mile you will see a bench indicating you have arrived at the Confluence; pool after pool of smallmouth heaven.  The Confluence is a great place to explore but be careful. The bottom is rocky and can be difficult to traverse.  A wading stick can really help. The hike and difficult terrain ensures you will have little company.

Confluence 10MAY18

  • Rustic with a canoe rental, 1.5 hours from NVA:  Shenandoah River State Park to Karo Landing.  A great stretch of the South Fork with numerous stretches of deep pools and fantastic smallie fishing.   You can bring your own canoe but I like to take a buddy and split a canoe from the Front Royal Canoe Company.  For $62 total they will drop you off and pick you up.  It really is more of a hassle to bring your own at that cost.  As a bonus call ahead and ask if the fish are biting.  I wrote a report on an epic 2017 trip, http://www.baybass.com/forum/index.php?topic=1175.0.
  • Rustic and private, 1.75 hours from NVA in the Blue Ridge Mountains:  Okay, so Rose River Farm isn’t fair but it sure is fun and beautifuly nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  As a strictly on the fly, catch and release stream Rose River Farm creates the ideal fishing conditions with a limited number of rods per day to assure uncrowded water.  You can also hire a guide but you won’t need one.  What they don’t advertise is there is also a private pond that contains largemouth, trout, and big bluegill.  If you get tired of Rose River go find it.  Hint, it’s behind the barn with the green roof.


Tight Lines,

Peter Arnold