South River Regulation Change Proposal

Many of you have seen the pictures we have been posting here of big, beautiful, and healthy trout that have been caught in the Delayed Harvest area of South River. We have put together a proposal to change the regulations on this section of the river to Catch and Release Fly Fishing Only to give Virginia fly fishers a true destination fishery. A fishery that can carry fish like this one all year and provide a convenient and accessible place for beginners to experts.

South River Recreational Fishery Proposal

Create a unique destination trout fishery on the South River that will showcase the stream and the surrounding community. The South River has a combination of freestone and limestone spring sources that provide cold water and viable habitat. Unlike many trout streams that are remote or have existing public access problems, the South River is located in the center of the state with easy access from I64 and I81 making it accessible to the larger population centers of the state and there are agreements in place with landowners to provide public access. This stream has the potential to be the premier trout destination in Virginia.
Provide a convenient location for the growing number of fly fishers in Virginia to experience exceptional fly fishing without traveling out of state, keeping recreational spending in Virginia.
Enhance the existing recreational fishery to promote the South River, the Waynesboro area, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries trout program.
Promote tourism for the town of Waynesboro and the central Shenandoah Valley.
Proposed Plan of Action for South River Delayed Harvest Area
Change regulations on the section of South River in Waynesboro, VA from Delayed Harvest to Catch and Release Fly Fishing Only from Wayne Ave Bridge Downstream to Second Street Bridge.
Regulation changes to go into effect on January 1st 2015 or the next cycle of regulation changes
Day use fee of $5 per angler/day or $50 for a one year permit could be implemented to cover cost of additional stocking (OPTIONAL)
Change stocking plan to one stocking per month of 1000lbs of Rainbow and Brown trout from October to May (total of 8 stockings)
80% of trout stocked in the 14”to 16” size range and 20% of trout stocked over 20”
Funds from day use permit used to cover cost of additional trout stocking
Funds in excess of what is necessary for trout production and stocking will be earmarked for improved habitat and access on the South River
Proposed Plan of Action for the South River Special Regulations Area
Change regulations on the section of the South River near Lyndhurst, VA from 2 fish over 16” creel limit, artificial lures only to 1 fish over 20” creel limit and Fly Fishing Only or Artificial Single Hook Only
Regulation change to go into effect January 1, 2015 or the next cycle of regulation changes
New regulation would be Fly Fishing Only or Artificial Only and a creel limit of one trout over 20”
Change stocking plan to 15,000 advanced fingerling Rainbow and Brown trout in early fall and 3000-5000 additional Rainbow and Brown trout 12” to 14”in March
Change Brown trout genetic stock to Gilchrist Creek stock from Michigan (see attached report)
“Fly fishing is the fastest growing segment of the fishing industry” AFFTA
Publicly available premier fly fishing destination will give Virginia fly anglers an option over the numerous privately managed fee based waters or out of state fisheries
Proven regulations have been successful and financially justified in many states including West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. These regulated streams in West Virginia and Pennsylvania draw from 20-40 anglers per day
Provide a unique Fly Fishing centerpiece for fisheries management in the state of Virginia
Increased tourism to Waynesboro and surrounding area
Centrally located with easy access from metro areas of Virginia
Increase revenue to local lodging, dining, and retail establishments
Increased revenue to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Fly Fishing only regulations will make it easier for the Waynesboro Police Department to help with enforcement
Many areas of the existing Delayed Harvest Area are accessible to handicapped individuals

Concerns and Solutions
Mercury contamination of South River
• Has little if any effect on trout survival
• Catch and release regulations eliminate any consumption of possibly contaminated fish
• Premier recreational fishery lessens the stigma of a mercury contaminated stream
Fly Fishing only Catch and Release will eliminate access for other types of anglers
• There is existing Put and Take stocked trout water available for all types of angling in Ridgeview Park, Back Creek, Mill Creek, Sherando Lakes, and Grand Caverns/Grottoes Town Park
• The above listed options are all within a 20 minute drive of Waynesboro
• Basic City Park in Waynesboro could be added to the Put and Take stocked trout program (additional 1.3 miles of water available)
• Within a 1 hour drive of Waynesboro there are 6 additional lakes and 6 additional streams that are stocked with trout and have Put and Take general regulations.
• Changing from Delayed Harvest to annual Catch and Release only affects 4 months of the year (June – Sept)
Cost of additional stocking and manpower for stocking
• Day use permit $5/angler or $50/year for the two mile section from Wayne Ave downstream to Second Street if necessary to cover cost of additional stocking
• Average usage of only 10 anglers per day will more than cover the cost of additional trout
• Local volunteers groups including Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited will assist VDGIF personnel with stocking

Please stop by at 317 W. Main St. in Waynesboro or email us at for copies of the Letter of Support.