The Shenandoah Valley has had a taste of spring. Are you ready for the season?
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The James River and Shenandoah River are running high, dirty, and cold right now. Rains last week and snow melt are creating some nasty conditions. Rain is also in the forecast tonight into Wednesday and again this coming weekend. It is looking like our river fishing will continue to be on hold for another 10 days or so. Now is a great time to tie up some big heavy clawdads for the prespawn fishing in late March and early April. Size 2 clawdads in black, black and blue, brown or olive are favorites especially in high dirty water. Fly tying materials are available HERE for the clawdad. All you need is a streamer hook, eyes, crayfish claws, chenille, and rubber legs. CK baitfish are great for moderate depths when the fish move into their spawning areas. Chartreuse or white CK baitfish in size 2/0 or 1 are great patterns for searching these large bass. Check your fly rods and reels and think about putting on a new fly line if your is looking old and crusty! The Rio smallmouth bass line is a favorite. It is 2 tone and has a large handling section for mending when fishing deep. It will turn over bugs in the summer heat at long distances as well as chunk out 1/4 oz jig flies to the ledges with the big boys. You can use short leaders in the 7-8 foot range with 0-1X fluorocarbon. Just a few more weeks folks! See you on the river!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Ramsey’s Draft in the Snow
Water levels are a bit high on the mountain streams but most are running clear! The rain tonight may spike levels a bit as the ground is very moist everywhere. A few days after the rain the waters should clear up with many streams fishable at higher altitudes. The weather is looking nice for the 10 day forecast besides the rain that may wash us out a day or 2. Be sure to have plenty of big nymphs and small streamers and plenty of slit shot and strike indicators. As water levels warm up the fish should become increasingly more active. Get ready for some epic brook trout fishing very soon! Stimulators, humpies, wulffs, and big bushy caddis flies are great in the early season. These flies are heavily hackled and ride high through turbulent waters. They are also great indicator flies as they stay afloat while holding up weighted nymph patterns. Big pink san juan worms, killer bugs, ck nymphs, prince, and jigged series nymphs will get you covered. Try larger size 12 and 14 flies when water levels are high. Larger bead head flies will sink more rapidly and have a bigger profile to ensure they are seen. 9′ 4X leaders should be fine for your bigger flies until water levels drop. Rig up your favorite light rod and get ready for the warm weather!
BEFORE THE MELT
AFTER THE MELT
Rain and snow melt have brought up water levels in most of our spring creeks. Water temperatures are also below normal as the snow melts. We expect water temps to rise rapidly during any rain events tonight into Wednesday, but we can expect some soggy terrain and dirty water for a few more days. Big black crayfish bounced on the bottom, large profile kreelex in copper and blue or gold and copper, big dark wool sculpin patterns and large articulated streamers will be in play while the water clarity is poor. Take your 6 weight rods, big flies, and stout leaders. We plan on fishing 0x fluorocarbon until water levels drop and we can continue using our more traditional style flies. Mossy Creek and Smith Creek will likely be stained longer than Beaver Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Spring Run. Mossy and Smith are much more silty in nature than the others. Beaver Creek in mostly limestone and typically clears up quickly. Be prepared to have some large nymphs on hand as soon as the water clears! The spring creeks have been fishing very well and nymphs like the psycho prince, nitro caddis, Ck nymph, killer bug, and bloody mary have been working well through the winter and are some of the most productive spring time patterns. Try dead drifting a large crystal bugger, retriever, and sculpin patterns under a strike indicator. This is a very effective way to cover water with a large profile pattern without much movement on the fly. This is one of our favorite ways to stick big fish in high cold water!
Josh Lee with a big Mossy brown in the winter slop!
Help us spread the word folks!!!! – GET YOUR MOSSY CREEK, BUFFALO CREEK, and SOUTH RIVER PERMITS ONLINE 24/7 FREE!!! CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK!!! BEAVER CREEK PERMITS HAVE CHANGED LOCATION! Store name: 257 Grocery Store location: 6939 Briery Branch Road, Dayton, VA. This store is located 2 miles from the Ottobine Country Store. If on 257 at the intersection at Ottobine, take a left and remain on Rt 257. Cross Beaver Creek and follow for just over 1 mile. 257 Grocery will be on your left. This store opens at 5AM on weekdays and 6AM on Saturdays. They have the 4 permits for $10 like before. They are a great family owned store. Buy breakfast or lunch and we can be sure the permits will have a permanent home! Thanks for everyone’s patience through this short transition. And thanks to 257 Grocery for taking management of the permits!
Managed Trout Water
Here is last weeks stocking list. Virginia Department of Game missed a few days last week from the foul weather. They should be out this week where water levels aren’t too high. Egg patterns, san juan worms, crystal buggers, golden retrievers, jigged series nymphs, psycho prince, and kreelex should be in everyones boxes for the stocked fish. Enjoy the next few months of peak trout season folks!