Just a couple miles outside the town of Grottoes, lies one of our favorite Shenandoah National Park brook trout fisheries. The bottom access to this stream offers a remote fishery that is easy to access and follows a low gradient trail. During adequate water flows, this stream offers excellent dry fly fishing throughout its plentiful riffles and plunge pools. Paine Run offers native brookies averaging 6-8 inches throughout, with plenty of chances for bigger fish.
Local guide tip: This section of creek narrows quickly as you approach its headwaters. A short, lightweight rod will offer the ability to present a fly within its tight canopy.
Typical freestone hatches like the Quill Gordon, caddis, PMD’s, and yellow stoneflies occur here, but usually a stealthy approach and an accurate cast with your favorite attractor dry in the appropriate size will get you into fish. In early spring’s colder water, nymphs will get you more hookups, but don’t be afraid to throw dry flies even in winter; we have taken good numbers of brookies in the middle of sunny days in December, January, and February. Later in April the dry fly action gets hot; you can catch a lot of fish in a short section of creek during the prime season. Dry dropper rigs are excellent for prospecting brook trout in the waters of Paine Run. Some of our favorite dry flies include: The Humpy, Stimulators, Mr. Rapidans, and Elk Hair Caddis. Pair these dries with nymphs such as the Psycho Prince, Pheasant Tail nymph, and Copper John for a combo that brookies simply can’t resist!
Paine Run offers a trail that is extremely accessible for all ages and mobilities. It is common for anglers to share the mountain with groups on horse back and families out enjoying the park. If you are looking for a quick place to fish after work or new brook trout waters to explore, Paine Run is well worth the trip.
Directions from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing
- 33 East to I81 South.
- Take first exit onto Port Republic Road. Turn left onto Port Republic Road and follow out of town. You will cross the North and South Rivers in the town of Port Republic.
- Shortly after Port Republic you will intersect rte 340. Turn right onto 340 South. This will take you to the town of Grottoes.
- After the flashing stop light there will be a BB&T Bank on the left. Hang a left just after the bank on rte 661(Black Rock Road) This road will become gravel for a while, then go back to paved.
- Follow all of the way until the road dead ends. Park in cul-de-sac, and walk down the path to Paine Run. Approximate driving time 35 minutes.
You will need to walk approximately 100 yards down the trail before you enter the park and see a sign that states where you are allowed to start fishing.