Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Five Great Virginia Stream for Tenkara (part 2)

In part 1, I wrote that I would be sharing some notes on five of my favorite tenkara streams. All are public water, three in the George Washington National Forest, and two in the Shenandoah National Park. This is the second stream in the series, Skidmore Fork

Skidmore Fork

Pool and run


Skidmore Fork is a tributary of Dry River that flows into and out of Switzer Lake. The section below the lake is the easiest to get to and fish so that is what I will focus on.

Skidmore Fork is easy to reach. From Harrisonburg, Va. take 33 west about 18 miles to a moderate sized parking area on your left. If you start-up the hill you went to far. Just as you enter the parking area you will see a gated road on your right. Park your car and follow that gated road around to the first ford on Skidmore Fork.

Brian Trow in stealth mode

Brian Trow in stealth mode

Skidmore is a soft gradient stream with the typical pools, riffles and runs. You can fish up from this first ford all the way to the base of Switzer Lake or down to where Skidmore meets Dry River. If you fish up, a logging road runs along the stream and makes access and egress very easy. The logging road crosses the stream four times before it gets to Switzer Lake.

Skidmore does not offer the wide open casting that you will find on Ramsey’s Draft or the Dry River but is still easily fished with an 11’ Iwana.

A long run

A long run

Here, like Ramsey’s draft, a dry or dry-dropper rig works well; either Adams or BWO parachutes. For nymphs try a Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare’s ear or Copper John. A few Quill Gordons, March Browns and Sulfurs for mayfly imitations; little black stoneflies, yellow sallies and some tan and olive caddis round out the assortment. Of course if you want to go the full tenkara route then try an Oki or Ishigaki. Check with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing to get the latest on what’s working.

Daniel lands a brookie on an Ito

Daniel gets his tamo wet!

Skidmore can easily occupy a full day of fishing, offering plenty of variety to keep you entertained the entire time. By the way, on your way to Skidmore you will be driving along the Dry River, which is also an excellent brook trout stream. No one would blame you if you yielded to temptation and stopped at the many pull-offs along the way to give the Dry a try.

If you go let me know what you think.

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