Virginia fly fishing at its finest! April brings peak trout and prespawn smallmouth fishing.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
A nice big Shenandoah River smallmouth bass on a great April day!
Who is ready to hit Virginia’s best smallmouth rivers and make friends with a few new big smallmouth? We know we are! The boats are being cleaned and prepped for the season and we will be on the water starting next week! Rain is on the way Tuesday and water levels may spike but those that know how to catch big fish will also know that high water will concentrate these fish in specific slow water spots in the river. Get ready with some big flies for the next 2 weeks as water levels will be up and clarity will be poor. This can make for some excellent fishing for the biggest fish in the river! Big Clawdads, Ck Baitfish, Trow Tubes, and large Half and Half streamers are great flies for this time period. Despite river depth or flow, be prepared to fish the current seams and the slow backwater areas. The musky are still biting a bit before they make their big push to their spawn as well. They are difficult to catch during April during high water periods mixed with their small appetites. We will be back out fishing for musky full force in early May! We still have some availability for peak musky season in May and June but we are booking 12-15 trips daily right now. Contact us soon for a fun day on the water!
Want the best info on how to catch bass during April and May in VA? Check out my podcast with the MAN Tom Rosenbauer.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Brian fishing Dry River. Photo Credit Brian O’Keefe (yes, that Brian O’Keefe!)
Water levels have been suitable but actually quite low for the past week. Most of the Shenandoah Valley is over 2 inches behind on rainfall. Precipitation Tuesday over an inch will be well received! We will need continued rainfall over the next 2 months to ensure quality water flow in the mountains. As the leaves pop moisture will begin to get sucked out of the watersheds. Did you know that a fully mature sycamore tree can suck upwards of 300 gallons of water in 1 day?!? Yes, every piece of green in the woods is a little water pump. The more green there is the less water in the ground and ultimately the streams. We require a lot of rain in the spring and hopefully we continue to receive it as we are poised to have an amazing season on our smaller mountain fisheries. Ramsey’s Draft, St. Mary’s, Madison Run, Paine Run, Big Run, Rip Rap, North Fork of the Mormon’s, Conway, Rapidan, Rose, Hughes, Robinson, White Oak, Jeremey’s, are all fishing well. Grab some 5x leaders and head out with your favorite dries, nymphs, and small streamers and enjoy an incredible season of brook trout fishing ahead! These all currently have great water flow. We hope you are excited by the forecast as the fishing conditions are looking incredible for the next week. Watch the wind and falling branches though. The wind has been nasty the past few days. With temps hitting 70 here soon you better have plenty of your favorite dry flies and floatant!!
Austin with a nice spring creek brown trout from April 10th.
We hosted dozens of trips last week and there were local anglers fishing the spring creeks daily. Fishing reports were great every day with the exception of a slow day on Thursday after the big front pushed through on Wednesday evening. Some anglers did manage a handful of great big fish last Thursday despite the slower conditions. 2 fish over 23″ were landed on the public stretch of Mossy Creek and multiple rainbows in Beaver Creek and Smith Creek were caught over 4 pounds! Tricos have started popping on all of our local spring creeks and the sulphurs are starting to get thicker and thicker! Dry fly season is just around the corner. Be certain that rainfall will likely pump up water flow. Expect high dirty water for the next few days and be prepared with 6 weight rods, sink tip lines, and big flies! Slump busters and near nuff sculpins were the flies of the week. They produced the biggest numbers and size fish. They were fished slow, near the bottom, and around the weed beds and undercut banks. CK nymphs and Killer Bugs are working very well at Beaver Creek and Smith Creek. Jigged Hare’s Ear and Jigged Prince nymphs are working in the deeper fast water. Big black Trow Minnows, Kreelex, Zoo Cougars, Woolhead Sculpins are the favorites in overcast conditions with high muddy water. We should start seeing a few big sulphurs at Mossy Creek here in about 10 days. We will be out daily and will post when the bugs start popping. Enjoy the wonderful weather and we hope to see you on the water!
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
Mike with a BEAST rainbow from a local public big fish factory!
Our state managed waters have been fishing well pretty much across the board. Spring Run gave up some nice fish recently on scud patterns and midges. South River although a bit crowded is giving up some nice sized stocked fish. North River upper has been on fire with wild brook trout and the stocked stretches have been fishing well. Elkhorn has been producing fish over 5 pounds. We have seen rainbows with GIRTH measurements over 20 inches! Keep your eyes on the VDGIF website for daily updates on what waters have been stocked. Stocked fish love egg patterns, san juan worms, crystal buggers, retrievers, kreelex, clawdads, zuddlers, conehead buggers, and big attractor nymphs. Be sure to have plenty of strike indicators and split shot while water levels are still up. Enjoy the warm weather on the way!!