A stretch of good Virginia trout stream will be for children only when the state trout fishing season opens at noon Saturday.

Nearly of a mile of the Rose River along Route 670 between Criglersville and Syria in Madison County will be reserved for children 12 and under on opening day only. It is about 70 miles from Washington.

Adults may go along only to assist, and may not handle rods. Big people have other parts of the Rose to fish as well as the Robinson River, which joins the Rose just below the special area.

Children do not need a fishing license and there is no charge. The project is a cooperative effort of the Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries, which stocks the stream, and the Graves Brothers, the landowners.

About 275 youngsters turned out last year, and most caught trout.

Children must bring their own tackle and bait. Almost any freshwater tackle will do, the lighter the better, with size 6 hooks or smaller recommended. Dave Myers, president of the Trout Unlimited chapter, suggests worms, cheese balls or salmon eggs.

This stretch of the Rose River is of easy access along a hard-surface road with plenty of room to park. There will be a lunch stand run by the ladies of a local church.

Members of Trout Unlimited are giving up their own opening-day fishing to help the youngsters. They will be the good guys in the yellow hats.

Myers emphasizes that girls as well as boys are invited, and suggests that youngsters get there well before noon. For more information, call him at 703/948-6744.

Directions: Route 66 to Gainesville, Route 29 south past Culpeper (take the bypass) 6 miles, right on Route 609 (Haywood Road) 8 miles through Banco and left on Route 670.