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Aldo

Potomac Near Harper's Ferry?

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Hi all, new here, so forgive me if I unintentionally step on any toes.  I'm going to be in Knoxville, WV (a few minutes from Harper's Ferry) for a couple of days between the 15th and 20th of April.  Hailing from Maine, I will be at the tail end of a (very) long off-season and itching to get some river time.

 

I'm a two handed (aka "Spey") fly rod junkie with three decades' worth of experience wading and swinging flies at moving-water smallmouths and other fishies in Maine.  Wondering if the upper Potomac would be wade-able / worthwhile to fish at that time of year.  If so, should I be prepared to fish deep, or will there be an opportunity for surface action?  Bigger (3" + / sz. 1-0) flies, or smaller?  Any particular colors that I should be sure to have?  Lastly, I hope nobody minds if I ask about good public access spots for wading.  All fishing will be done with single, barbless hook flies, and all fish will be played quickly, handled gently and as little as possible, and then released to fight another day.

 

If I can ever return the favor with intel on Maine smallmouths, stripers, salmon, or trout, feel free to drop a line.  Many thanks for reading and any advice you can offer.

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I'm sure there are some spots on the upper Potomac but be sure to look at the New River and the North Fork of the Shenandoah river.  On the Doah, the best (and only unless you know someone) access is at the state park locations or public ramps.  Once you get access, as long as you stay in the river you can wade.  As far as flys, beaded nymphs and hellgramite imitators will get it done.  Some streamers are also a good choice.  Good luck.  

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Harpers Ferry is a very popular wading spot.  There used to be a USGS gauge right there, but it seems to be offline at the moment;

 

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/inventory/?site_no=01620000

 

There is one a few miles upriver at Shepherdstown WV;

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?01618000

 

It looks like the National Weather Service has a gauge there, but I am less familiar with their site;

 

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lwx&gage=HFEW2

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The parking area I use is on the Maryland side, but it is extremely limited and has a very narrow pull off on the side of a very narrow road that goes along the canal.  I have read that one can park along Keep Tryst Road  access the river from there, but I have never personally done it.  

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Google is telling me that Knoxville, WV is near Wheeling, WV in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.  That puts it about 4 hours away from Harpers Ferry, WV which is located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

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5 hours ago, Steveo-1969 said:

Google is telling me that Knoxville, WV is near Wheeling, WV in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.  That puts it about 4 hours away from Harpers Ferry, WV which is located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

My error...the Knoxville where I'm staying is actually on the other bank of the river in MD - 6 miles east/downstream of Harper's Ferry.

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Well, then you are set, assuming the river level plays nice.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, fishwizzard said:

Well, then you are set, assuming the river level plays nice.  

 

 

What is a decent flow range for that stretch?

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I believe it is around 2.5', but I have not looked at those gauges in some time.  

 

I seem to recall that 3.5 allowed some rock-hopping, but was too fast for real wading.   But my last trip there was last spring so my memory isnt fresh.  

 

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