Upper South River Special Regulation Area, Waynesboro

By Frank Meade, Wintergreen Sporting Club

This is one of the most convenient streams from Wintergreen.

The South River is spring fed which keeps temperatures relatively steady and makes for good fishing conditions year round.  Most trout are small (6-9 inches) but stream has potential to be a trophy stream. Just a nice, relaxing, easy place to fly fish, or just practice your casting.

To fish the Upper South River SRA you will need a free permit. Check the Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited website for updates and the locations in Waynesboro you can get a permit. 

Also from the Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited website:

The Upper South River Special Regulations Area opened 2011.  It was created through the collaboration of Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited 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 ft 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 two 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, andbig Hexagenia July-September.


Distance from Wintergreen: 30 minutes

Water Type: River, spring fed, mix of deep slow moving water with soft/silt bottom and riffles with freestone bottom.

Primary Game Fish: Native rainbows and stocked/holdover browns

Recommended Lures/Flies: Discuss with South River Fly Shop.  I caught 6 rainbows in 90 minutes on 1/1/14 dead drifting a “Thin Mint” streamer (brown crayfish imitation).  Had several hits stripping it back upstream.

Directions: From Wintergreen, travel Route 664 up to and across Blue Ridge Parkway towards Waynesboro. See map below.

Amenities: Very accessible from four designated parking areas.  Flat terrain and scenic (tree nursery). This is a stream that can be fished for a couple of hours (just to get your fix).  

Contact for more information: South River Fly Shop

Click map to enlarge