Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Rapidan River - Culpeper - Virginia

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Winter Stoneflies Midday 16-20 Black Stonefly Nymph, Olive Scud
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 Dun Variant, RS2
February Winter Stoneflies Midday 16-20 Black Stonefly Nymph, Olive Scud
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 Dun Variant, RS2
March Little Black Stoneflies Midday-Evening 16-18 Little Black Stone Nymph, Dead Chicken
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 Dun Variant
April Hendrickson Midday-Evening 12-14 Hendrickson Dry, Pheasant Tail Nymph
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 RS2
May Sulphurs Evening 14-18 Sulphur Dry, Pheasant Tail Nymph
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 Dun Variant
June Sulphurs Evening 14-18 Sulphur Dry, Pheasant Tail Nymph
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 RS2
July Little Yellow Stoneflies Evening 14-18 Yellow Sally Dry, Bird's Stonefly Nymph
Blue Wing Olive Afternoon 18-22 RS2
August Little Yellow Stoneflies Evening 14-18 Yellow Sally Dry, Bird's Stonefly Nymph
Tricos Morning-Afternoon 20-24 Trico Spinner
September Blue Wing Olive Afternoon-Evening 18-22 Dun Variant
Little Yellow Stoneflies Evening 14-18 Yellow Sally Dry
October Blue Wing Olive Afternoon-Evening 18-22 RS2
Little Yellow Stoneflies Evening 14-18 Yellow Sally Dry, Bird's Stonefly Nymph
November Blue Wing Olive Afternoon-Evening 18-22 Dun Variant, RS2
Midges Midday 22-26 Zebra Midge, Mirage Midge
December Blue Wing Olive Afternoon-Evening 18-22 RS2
Midges Midday 22-26 Zebra Midge, Mirage Midge

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Rapidan River in Culpeper offers a selection of prime spots for fly fishing. Noted for its abundance of brook trout, the waterway provides a sublime backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Graves Mill: This section of the river is renowned for its large population of wild brook trout. The waters are clear and moving fast, making it an excellent spot for fly fishing.
  • The Shenandoah National Park boundary: Fly fishing is particularly advantageous here due to the special regulations of the park. The use of single hook artificial lures is required, reducing the number of natural predators and increasing the trout’s population.
  • Confluence with the Robinson River: This location is known for its incredible biodiversity. Here, one can aim for both brook trout and rainbow trout.
  • Fishing Access Point off Route 29: A great spot offering accessibility and variety. The variety of fishing targets is increased by the occasional presence of smallmouth bass.

Best Access Points

Rapidan River, situated in Culpeper County, Virginia, is a favorite spot among fly fishermen. Some of the most favored access points to the river include:

  • Shenandoah National Park: The upper Rapidan River is located in the Shenandoah National Park. it is easy to access and is ideal for those seeking brook trout.
  • Graves Mill: Another access point, Graves Mill, is a bit downstream and is renowned for its clear stream, perfect for spotting fish.
  • Ely’s Ford: Further downstream is Ely’s Ford, which provides plenty of space for casting.
  • Mitchell’s Mill: For those looking for variety, Mitchell’s Mill offers a mix of wild and stocked fish.
  • Rapidan Wildlife Management Area: This vast area provides ample access to the river, with plenty of spaces for angling.

Local Fish

  • Brook Trout – The Brook Trout is native to the Rapidan River and is one of the most pursued species by fly fishing enthusiasts.
  • Rainbow Trout – Introduced to the Rapidan River, the Rainbow Trout provides a challenging yet rewarding fishing experience.
  • Brown Trout – The Brown Trout is a popular target for experienced fly fishermen due to its wily nature and beautiful colors.
  • Smallmouth Bass – Found in the slower waters of the Rapidan River, the Smallmouth Bass is a favorite for those seeking a larger catch.
  • Largemouth Bass – The Largemouth Bass, while less common, can still be caught in the deeper pools of the Rapidan River.
  • Redeye Bass – Known for their beautiful color and feisty nature, the Redeye Bass is a favorite catch on the Rapidan River.
  • Sunfish – Available in a variety of species, Sunfish provide a fun and easy catch for beginners new to fly fishing.
  • Channel Catfish – The Channel Catfish can provide a challenge for those looking to catch something a bit different on the fly.

About The River

The Rapidan River runs through the heart of Culpeper, Virginia, a region rich with history and beauty. Originally named Rapid Ann River, after Queen Anne of England, the Rapidan served as a vital transportation route during the Colonial era. During the American Civil War, this river turned battlefield, seeing numerous skirmishes and battles along its banks.

Defining features of the river that make it such a treasured landmark today are:

  • Its positioning as the largest tributary of the Rappahannock River.
  • The unspoiled scenic beauty and opportunities for canoeing, fishing, and wildlife spotting.
  • The diverse ecosystems it supports, including species of river herring and American shad.

So next time you find yourself in Culpeper, don’t miss a chance to visit this remarkable piece of history and nature, the Rapidan River.

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