Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing South Branch Potomac River
West Virginia
The actual name of this river is a mouth full of words -the
North Fork of the South Branch Potomac River. That's the  
name of the section of the South Branch Potomac River in
West Virginia with trout and the subject of this article. This
is just a small section of a big river that flows all the way to
Chesapeake Bay.

Its water has one hybrid trout that's rather unusual, or
maybe I should say, different trout - the Palomino rainbow
trout. They call it the Golden trout in West Virginia.
There's also plenty of rainbows, browns and some brook
trout in the waters of the North Fork of the South Branch
of the Potomac River. This stream has some excellent
wading water but it can also be fished from a small boat or

The South Branch Potomac has some large pools, plenty
of riffles and a few fast runs. Some sections offer some
good pocket water.

Access is plentiful along highway #28/55. There are plenty
of pullouts along the road. The river along the route #28
section is a smaller size stream. This section of the stream
consist mostly of pocket water. Access is also available
from River Road near the Ranger Station.

The river can also be floated in a small pontoon type
vessel, canoe or kayak. You can launch at Weldon Park.
There are several other launches.

There are some private  sections of water on the South
Branch Potomac River. Harman's North Fork Cottages is
one located in Cabins. This area is heavily stocked.

There's also a mile of "catch and release" water in the
Seneca Rocks area. It is open to the public and thanks to
some rather good fishing opportunities it stays quite busy
with anglers during the prime season.

The only downfall to the fishing in the South Branch
Potomac River is the water can get too warm during the
hottest days of Summer.

You can fish the river year-round.
Spring provides the best fishing provided the water levels
are not too high.
The stream can get too warm during the hot days of
Fall is a great time for fly fishing the South Branch
Potomac River.
Fly fishing the stream during the winter can be okay on
warm days but it's not usually not very productive.
Type of Stream

Brook Trout (stocked and wild)
Rainbow Trout (stocked with some
Golden Trout (stocked)
Brown Trout (few wild, mostly
stocked with holdovers)

Small to Medium

Northeastern West Virginia

Nearest Towns
Seneca Rocks


Good, some private property

USGS Stream Flow Data:
At Cabins

Non-Resident License
State of West Virginia

National Weather Service Link

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South Branch Potomac River Fishing Report - Archive:
11/24/13 Stream levels very high. Anglers will have to wait two to three day or maybe even
more to fish. Flowing at 2100 cfs at 6.7 ft near Cabins. Normal flow is about 256 cfs at this time
of the year.
01/11/14 The stream is currently flowing near normal at 374 cfs at 4.92 ft. The water remains
warm enough to provide excellent fly fishing opportunities.
04/07/14 We have received two good reports within the last few days on the South Branch. One
guy ordering flies reported he caught several nice trout on our
Brown Sculpin and BWO nymphs.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
12/25/14 Sorry for the lack of reports. It isn't because the fishing hasn't been excellent. We
have several customers ordering flies and catching trout on midges. Fish the larva and pupa in
tandem, red or cream.
02/12/15 We have had several good reports during the last month. Customers have been
catching trout on our Brown Sculpin streamers and Cream Midge pupa and larva.
03/0815 Two customers caught several nice size brown trout this past week on our Brown
Sculpin streamer. Watch the stream levels. There is a lot of rain forecast this week.
06/07/15 Sorry for the lack of reports. It wasn't due to lousy fishing. It has been very good. We
have run short of help keeping the site updated. It is currently blown out but will be back in
good shape soon.
08/10/15 It has been a little slow on the catching end but cooler weather should help. The
stream levels are good.
South Branch Potomac River Fishing Report:
08/15/16 The weather will be cooling down soon, and so will the water temperature. Fall is
the best time to fish the river.
02/07/16 We have just got a local report to help keep us up with conditions on the river again,
and we will be posting reports. Right now, the river is too high to fish or wade but it i dropping
fast and should be back in good shape soon.
11/14/16 Good conditions exist with trout being caught in good numbers. Some large browns
are being caught a well. The Brown Sculpin streamer is working for the large trout.
Blue-winged olives nymphs are getting the most numbers.
11/28/16 The stream levels are running low but otherwise in good shape. Midges and
Blue-winged olives are hatching. Sculpin streamers continue to catch the larger fish.
South Branch Potomac River Fishing
Report - 10/
(See at bottom of page)
12/26/16 The stream levels are running just a little high but the water is clear. It is also cold,
averaging about 38 degrees. Midges, creams and reds, and Winter stoneflies are the only
insects hatching. Fish the larva and pupa midges in tandem for the best results.
01/30/17 We are getting lots of email and calls from anglers planning a trip for this spring
season. Send us an email and we will be happy to help you. Water levels are a little high but
falling and should get back to normal in two or three days.
02/27/17 The recent warm weather really turned the trout on and the few anglers fishing did
well. There are some little Blue-winged olives but mostly midges, Creams and Reds. The
stream levels are fine right now, running a little low but in good shape.
03/13/17 The stream levels are a little low but the river is in good shape otherwise. The water
is colder than last week, but midges, Creams and Reds, will catch trout.
05/01/17 There are Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, little Brown stones, little Black Caddis,
Hendricksons/Red Quills, Amer. March browns and Cinnamon caddis hatching. Lots of
trout are being caught. Check the stream levels but conditions are good right now.
06/12/17 The conditions are very good at this time. Stream levels are down and there lots of
insects hatching. Our customers are sending in good report. Sulphurs, little Yellow stones, LIght
Cahills, Cinnamon caddis, Green Sedge caddis and other insects are hatching. .
07/10/17 Conditions are back good, with good levels and clear water. There are lots of hatches
taking place and trout being caught. Terrestrials are also working.
10/16/17 The river is in very good shape. Our customers sent in some good reports from this
past week. Some very large brown trout are being caught. Good hatches are taking place.
10/31/17 The stream levels are very high but falling. There is rain forecast everyday for the
coming week, so make sure you check with us and check the stream flows.
11/15/17 Good stream levels, and clear water with lots of trout being caught. Big fish are
coming on our Sculpin streamers, with numbers on midge larva/pupa rigged in tandem. Good
hatches of BWOs and Cream and Red or blood midges.
11/29/17 Two good reports came in from customers fishing this past week. There are good
BWO and cream and red midge hatches. The Brown sculpin caught larger trout.
01/09/18 The river is currently a little low but coming up. Cream and Red midges and Winter
stoneflies are hatching good. Fish the midge pupa and larva rigged in tandem. Fish the Winter
stonefly nymphs near the backs. They crawl out of the water to hatch.
01/22/18 The stream levels are just a little below normal levels. Sculpin streamers are catching
the larger trout. Midges and Winter stoneflies are still the only insects hatching. Conditions are
good and good numbers of trout are being caught.
01/30/18 We are still getting good reports from customer catching good numbers of trout.
02/06/18 Stream levels have been up but back down near normal levels now. Lots of midges nd
Winter stoneflies are hatching. Sculpin streamers are catching the larger trout.
02/13/18 Stream levels are very high but it is falling back down fast and should be fine soon.
Check the levels prior to going.
03/06/18 The stream levels are down near normal levels. Midges, winter stoneflies, little
Blue-winged olives and Sculpin are the foods you need to imitate.
03/20/18 Stream levels are a little low but the river is in good shape otherwise. Midges,creams
and light greens are hatching good. There are some little Blue-winged olives hatches as well.
04/03/18 The river is flowing at 1100 cfs at 5.91 ft.. This level can be wading in place with
caution but is a little high. Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, BWOs, little black caddis, and little Brown
stoneflies should be hatching soon if not already.
05/02/18 Stream levels are down to a normal level and lots of insects are hatching. Conditions
are very good. Lots of trout are being caught.
05/16/18 The river is flowing at 677 cfs at 5.73 ft., a little high but okay. There are lots of
insects hatching. Dry fly fishing is good.
06/27/18 Stream levels are in good shape and the water clear. There are multiple hatches
and lots of trout being caught. This is a good time to fish the river.
09/05/18 Sorry for the missed reports. We will be posting on a regular basis now. Stream
levels are a little high but there are good hatches.
09/19/18 The river is running high right now but falling. Hopefully, it will be down soon. There is
some more rain but we don't think enough to keep the levels up.
09/29/18 The stream levels are still very high, too high to wade. Keep checking back with us.
We will keep you informed.
10/16/18 The river is at 496 cfs, which is very high, too high to wade most anywhere. It should
be falling back down fast. Good numbers of trout were being caught before the rain.
10/23/18 The river is down a lot and continuing to fall. It should be in good shape very soon.
BWOs, Mahogany duns, Slate Drakes, Midges and other insects are hatching.