Upper South SRA Trail Marker
The Upper South River Special Regulations Area is a brand new fishery that opened January 1, 2011. It was created through the collaboration of SVTU and Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries and the support of Dominion Resources, Dupont, and many landowners who generously granted access to their property. Please respect their land and privacy by staying within 30' of the river and respecting all signage. When in doubt, wade in the river. No camping, fires, pets, or swimming. As a Special Regulations Area, only 2 fish over 16" may be kept per day. Anglers may only use single-hook artificial lures. (This means no treble hooks, live bait or powerbait).
The Upper South River is a spring creek, fed by numerous cold springs that keep the water below 70 degrees all year long, just the temperature required for trout to survive and grow to large size. The Upper South has tremendous hatches year-round, including BWOs Fall-Spring, Sulphers April-May, heavy Tricos June-August, and big Hexagenia July-September.
See the South River Hatch Chart (developed by Tom Benzing) at the bottom of the page.
VDGIF stocked the fishery in October with a good number of 8" rainbows to join the browns. I caught 7 rainbows in an hour last week, mostly on a small olive soft hackle dropped below a wooly bugger.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: THE NORTH BANK OF THE UPPER SOUTH RIVER, FROM 100 YARDS DOWNSTREAM OF THE CONFLUENCE WITH BACK CREEK TO THE OAK LANE BRIDGE, IS NOW CLOSED TO ANGLER ACCESS. PLEASE DO NOT FISH AT ALL IN THE AREA AROUND THE CONFLUENCE WITH BACK CREEK. THIS IS NOW A NO TRESPASSING AREA! ANGLERS MAY ACCESS THE RIVER FROM THE SOUTH OR EAST BANK FROM THE OAK LANE PARKING AREA UPSTREAM TO 25 YARDS DOWNSTREAM OF THE BACK CREEK CONFLUENCE.
A nice 16" fish caught on a golden retriever streamer on 2/21/11. Fish
have also recently been stocked between the Oak Lane parking area and
the confluence with Back Creek. They are taking small streamers, nymphs,
and soft hackles.
The Upper South just above Shalom Bridge. Note the spring creek vegetation.
To fish the Upper South River SRA you will need a free permit from one of our partners. You can get one online at https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/troutpermits/. Or you can just stop by these stores to get your permit, or Dominion Outdoors will send your permit by mail if you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope. Please address it to the Upper South River Permit c/o Dominion Outdoors, 15 Angela Court, Fishersville, VA 22939. You will receive a map with your permit, but you can also download the map from the bottom of this page.
15 Angela Court
Fishersville, VA 22939
(540) 337-9218 Ext. 6
Guiding servives for the Upper South SRA is offerred by South River Fly Shop.
If you've coming from out of town to fish the Upper South, consider staying at The Speckled Trout B&B.
It's a lot of work to issue these permits, so please support these businesses with your patronage!
Stone Soup Books has fly fishing books and a special Upper South SRA Box Lunch.
Dominion Outdoors has flies and fishing equipment, as well as extensive hunting supplies. It's
best described as a small BPS Outdoor World.
You will receive a map with your permit, but you can also use this map in your smartphone.
Note that there are 5 separate parking areas.
Brown trout have been stocked by VDGIF for 2 years. And rainbows for less than a year. Some of these fish have grown to significant size (see below).
But most of the trout in the river are smaller 8"-10" fish. In short, you may find a big trout, but expect to catch small fish in the next year or so, while the trout grow up. To help them along, please store the VDGIF poaching hotline number in your cell phone (800-237-5712) and report any poaching. Now, I know you can keep 2 16"+ fish a day, but consider debarbing your hook and puttin' 'em back. We want the Upper South to develop into a trophy fishery that will make Waynesboro a regional fly fishing destination. To do that, we need 16" fish to have the time to grow into 22" monsters. So, fill your coolers at South River Ridgeview Park, Back Creek, Sherando Lake, Elkhorn Lake, or Natural Chimneys and leave our Upper South trout be.
A 13" Upper South Brown.