Every fisherman knows that as the weather (and the water) warms up, fish become more active . . . and easier to catch! As spring arrives, the sight of anglers becomes much more common on the many waterways of the Front Royal area.
Today we’re gearing up for the fishing season by shining the spotlight on fly fishing in the Front Royal area. Fly fishing is a specific fishing technique. Instead of using live bait or weighted lures, the fly fisherman uses light weight lures, known as “flies” to attract fish. Some flies are designed to sink below the surface of the water, mimicking small fish or insect larvae, but many float on the surface. The goal? To fool a hungry fish into mistaking them for one of the many flies that enjoy the river’s surface in the warmer months. Because the fly fishing “flies” are so light, the casting technique in fly fishing differs significantly from that used in spin cast fishing.
If this special form of fishing has piqued your interest, Front Royal is a great place to give it a try. Whether you’re a beginning fly-fisher, or an old hand, the Front Royal area has fishing opportunities for all skill levels. Read on for some suggestions of where to go fly fishing in the Front Royal area.
Why Fly Fish?
In certain situations, fly fishing can be more effective than using a spin cast technique. It’s also exciting; if you’re using a surface fly, you’ll often get the thrill of watching the fish come up to tand take it. Many practitioners of fly fishing would also argue that their techniques are more refined and sophisticated than those used in spin casting. But we’ll leave that question for the fishing enthusiasts to debate . . . (preferably in the bar after a day on the river).
Fly Fishing the Shenandoah River in the Front Royal Area
The Shenandoah River is an obvious place to start if you’re looking for a place to fish in the Front Royal area. This scenic river is rightly sought after as a destination for all kinds of water sports, and fishing is no exception. If small mouth bass are your prey of choice, you can’t go wrong planning a day of fly fishing on the Shenandoah.
The Front Royal area has multiple access points to the river. Fishermen can fish from the banks, or plan a river trip from one landing to the next. See here for a map of river access points in Warren County. Looking for a watercraft rental? Peruse our list of local river outfitters here.
Stocked Trout Streams around Front Royal
Smallmouth bass are fun to catch, but the classic target of the fly fisherman is the trout. Finding a stocked trout stream is a great way to “get your feet wet” trout fishing. If you’re lucky enough to time your outing soon after a visit from the stocking truck, you’ll have a high chance of success.
For a family-friendly, easily accessible option, try the Gertrude E. Miller Community Park in Front Royal. A stocked section of Happy Creek runs through the park. There’s also a playground and picnic shelter close by. So the non-fishers, or “short-attention-span-fishers” can have a great time too. This park is a popular location for Front Royal fishing, so expect to see other anglers here.
A more secluded option for stocked trout fishing is Passage Creek in the George Washington National Forest. Here, you’ll find beautiful scenery, peace and quiet, and a classic fly fishing stream experience. To access Passage Creek, head out of Front Royal on VA-55 towards Strasburg, and after 5 miles, take a left onto State Route 678/Fort Valley Road. Passage Creek runs beside this road for a significant distance, and you’ll find several parking spots where you can pull off and access the creek.
(Note that due to construction at the Front Royal fish hatchery, Passage Creek will not be stocked in spring 202.1)
Native Trout Fishing in the Front Royal Area
But while stocked trout fishing is a great way to get started, many experts agree that catching native (not stocked) brook trout in a mountain stream is one of the best ways to experience fly fishing. If you’re in search of a fly fishing adventure along these lines, Front Royal can be your destination too.
The Shenandoah National Park, with its northern entrance located in Front Royal is a great place to fly fish. It’s one of the few coveted spots in the D.C. area where you can find native brook trout. The Rapidan River is one of the most famous native trout habitats in the park. It’s off the beaten track, though, so if you’re planning a fishing trip there, a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. For the adventurous, there are also several native trout streams in the park that are accessible from hiking trails.
Enjoy your fly fishing adventure in the Front Royal area! Before you head out, don’t forget to purchase all appropriate fishing licenses. And if you’re hoping to bring your catch home, be sure to read up on all the harvesting regulations wherever you plan to fish.
There's Peace and Quiet in Those Hills ...
While options may be different than those found in larger cities, there are plenty of unique activities and entertainment to be found in smaller communities such as Front Royal, VA. This small town comes with a rich history and direct access to the Shenandoah Valley and Skyline Drive.
There is so much to do and enjoy that we wanted to provide a day guide for your next visit here!
Stroll Around Town
Small towns in the more rural regions of America are known for their downtown areas with “heritage” buildings, quaint streets, and charming local shops. Front Royal is no exception. Don’t be afraid to venture beyond Main St.! Our town offers many shops, antique stores, outdoors parks and award winning restaurants.
Check out other businesses our town has available to you!
Explore a Museum
Front Royal and Warren County have a unique history. Though the museums may not have a well-known reputation, they are nonetheless a treasure trove of our culture, background, and insights.
Check out our other historic places of interest around town!
Go Out for Coffee
It is common to find groups of friends sitting at local coffee shops for hours on weekday and Saturday mornings. Coffee shops are also popular hangouts for the older, retired crowd. You can experience several hours of relaxation for the cost of one cup of coffee.
Skyline Drive Sightseeing
Skyline Drive is a National Scenic Byway. Though autumn is the most popular time to travel along Skyline Drive, with its breathtaking foliage, spring offers the pale green of trees waking up from a long winter, colorful wildflowers, as well as blooming azaleas and mountain laurel.
How long does it take to get through the park? With over 75 scenic overlooks along the way, most people allow three to four hours to drive the 105-mile length of Skyline Drive.
You’ll find some of the most scenic golf courses within the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. The views here are amazing!
For Disc Golf lovers we have Rockland Park Disc Golf Course
Here you’ll find a complete list of area golf courses.
Go Fishing or Hunting
The Shenandoah River has been regarded as one of the best smallmouth rivers in the world. Pair that with the Blue Ridge Mountains to explore the best fishing and hunting in Virginia!
To learn more about the best places to dock, check out our recent blog!
One of the benefits of a small town is that there can be a lot of open space not too far away. Sometimes, it can be a ton of fun to pack a bag and head outside of town. If you have kids, hiking can be a chance to spend some time together, while you teach them how much fun it can be to explore!
Check out some of our best trails!
Everyone has a different reason to go camping. Many want to disconnect from high tech and reconnect with the outdoors. Families go camping to get away from distractions at home and to rejuvenate relationships. Camping means different things to different people.
Not sure where to stay? Here are some great choices!
Go Canoeing or Kayaking
The Shenandoah Valley offers numerous rivers ideal for canoeing and kayaking for all experience levels. The most famous is the Shenandoah River, which runs parallel to Front Royal.
Don’t feel like toting your own vessel, or maybe you don’t own one? Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Check out the following business to rent your own:
Support the Community by staying at a local B&B
Staying at a bed and breakfast is the perfect choice of lodging when you need a relaxing escape. You can find B&Bs almost anywhere you go, and they provide much better value than hotels. From personalized attention to delicious food, there are many reasons to choose a bed and breakfast over a hotel - especially in Front Royal.
When you are on the road, away from home, travelers seek to experience a deeper connection with the places they visit. The bed and breakfast industry, is known for its hospitality, which is why you see many B&B’s and Inns receive great ratings for this very quality.
Each bed and breakfast has its own history and its own style of accommodation. A B&B gives you the sense of being home because the rooms are both comfortable and elegant.
B&B’s are small businesses. Innkeepers take tremendous pride in their work. Not only that, they feel a responsibility to make sure their guests are comfortable and cared for.
And then there is the food! Home-cooked meals, with locally sourced ingredients, make the start of the day an enjoyable one. A freshly-prepared, delicious breakfast means the world to travelers who are far from home.
Front Royal and Warren County have a bevy of choices:
When was the last time you truly saw the stars in a night’s sky? A distinct advantage of a small-town visit is having the chance to see the stars! Stick around for an evening so you can see for yourself.
Public Parks & Gardens
From botanical gardens and arboretums to fun playgrounds and community parks, there’s something to please everyone!
Here are additional parks and places of interest to visit!
A Final Thought!
There are many ways to enjoy small towns and their surrounding areas. These economical and creative solutions can be a great way for visitors to enjoy just as much as you would in the big city. They may not seem as grand, but they can be just as educational, entertaining, and fun!
Fun, relaxation, and the outdoors await in Front Royal. It’s in our nature!
Now that the imposed limitations from COVID-19 are almost behind us and summer is on its way, having fun outdoors can mean being on or in the water. Canoeing and kayaking are not only great for seeing picturesque views, but a wonderful way to relax and destress from the hectic pace of day-to-day life. Finding peace and quiet on the water is all part of the overall experience.
With one of the most beautiful and iconic parts of America’s landscape, the Blue Ridge Mountains, for its backdrop, the Shenandoah River is undoubtedly what so many residents and nature-loving people enjoy most about Front Royal. In 1999, Front Royal received the honor of being named the “Canoe Capital of Virginia”. The river is controllable for beginners but includes expanses of thrills as well. The canoe has been used for trade and transportation along the river since the earliest recorded history in the Valley, so enjoy the history, beauty, and tradition that canoeing entails in the Shenandoah Valley.
Front Royal is fortunate to have two forks of the river running through our land:
The South Fork Shenandoah is a popular destination for canoeists and kayakers. The nearness of the river to the more urban areas of Virginia and the bucolic beauty of the valley attracts thousands each year. Several canoe outfitters operate on the South Fork and traffic can be heavy on certain sections of the river during the summer months. Twenty (20) public access points along the entire length of the river creates the opportunity to plan many different float trips of varying distances.
The North Fork is a relatively small, shallow river and is very accessible to wade angling. This part of the river is ideal to float, canoe or kayak. Clear water, pleasant scenery, abundant wildlife, and mild whitewater make the North Fork a paddler’s dream.
Fishing opportunities on the North Fork:
Consider these other benefits of canoeing and kayaking in the Front Royal’s portion of the Shenandoah River:
Prior to jumping into your canoe, don’t forget these necessary and practical health and safety tips for canoeing and kayaking:
Canoe outfitters along the Shenandoah River normally provide a shuttle service, drop you off and let you float back a chosen distance to the outfitter headquarters. Looking for a local Front Royal shop to help?
Some combination of canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, rafts and paddleboards, may be rented from Front Royal Outdoors, Downriver Canoe Company or Shenandoah River Outfitters.
Launching your own vessel is popular, too, and many access points/boat ramps are found in or near Front Royal.
One of Virginia’s many state parks is nearby as well—the 1600-acre Shenandoah River State Park. It is located eight miles south of town on Route 340, offering miles of riverfront and mountain trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as cabin rentals, a new zipline and tent camping.
From beautiful mountains, lush pastoral farmland and glistening river waters, Front Royal’s nature will astonish both young and old. Mark your calendar, Friday, June 26th is National Canoe Day! Make it a weekend getaway by renting a cabin, staying in a nearby Bed & Breakfast, and or local hotel. Now is the time to plan your trip to enjoy a river experience in the Canoe Capital of Virginia!
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