Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The smallmouth action continues to be good on the James and Shenandoah Rivers. Here is a happy angler with another big fish with LE Rhodes. Our entire fleet of boats is ready to fish every day this summer! See you out there.
The Shenandoah River and James Rivers have been fishing very well through the first part of June. We attribute the early awesome action to the hot weather and clear, warm water conditions. The topwater bite is getting better by the day but will continue to improve as more damsels, dragonflies, and dog day cicadas emerge. Look for surface activity in the early morning and evening hours. If the topwater bite is slow, you should have no problem finding fish with crayfish flies on the bottom near the big ledges and bank structure. Fish have been crushing minnows around the emerging grass lines and along shallow shoals as well. Big fish have been staging near the fast riffles around boulders and chunk rock. We are currently fishing floating lines and heavy leaders in 0X or 1X. We fish an 18″ section of fluorocarbon tippet with most of our flies including topwater flies. Search along the surface with deer hair diving frogs to cover water more quickly than fishing regular poppers. The fishing has been incredible before fronts push through. Cold front days will be the big thing that slows down the bite through summer. Primary flies now include Todd’s Wiggle Minnows, Trow Minnows, Umpqua Diving Frogs, Deer Hair Poppers, CLAWDADS, CK BAITFISH, CLOUSERS, and HALF and HALFs! We have thousands of bass flies in stock for the summer. NOTE- Walt Cary has officially stopped making popping bugs for fly shops. We have a few hundred left in stock hand tied by the master himself. Get a few of these incredible bugs while they last!
A nice Shenandoah River smallmouth bass. The numbers in the South Fork are still staggering with 80 fish days common and bites on almost every other cast all day on the best days. Despite fish kill issues last spring the Shenandoah is still cranking out some incredible days!
Another great Virginia musky! The fishing was a bit slow this week for our musky anglers but we did still manage a few nice ones. This fish was boated by Bob Cramer last week on the James River.
With the recent hot weather let’s all be responsible with these big fish. We recommend everyone getting a stream thermometer and keep it in their boats all summer. Please respect all Virginia’s musky fisheries and do not actively fish for musky when water temps spike over 78 degrees please! These fish tolerate warm water fairly well and peak metabolic temps for musky are between 70-72 degrees. They eat often at these temps. But when water temps rise around 78 or above we ask anglers to please leave them along until water temps drop. Even a quickly released fish that swims off well may still be found dead the next morning. Target early morning hours when the light is low and water temps are down. We are currently fishing 10-11 weight rods, full sink and intermediate fly lines, short, stout leaders with wire or 60-80lb fluorocarbon bite tippet, and large flies. We have all the gear you need in the shop to get started musky fishing or we can take you out with one of our experienced guides for a memorable day on the water! Contact the shop for details or to book your next trip!
A nice largemouth from a recent guide trip on Brian’s boat.
The largemouth fishing continues to be great on the Shenandoah. These fish grow very large and we have caught fish over 9 pounds on flies over the years! Many largemouth in the Shenandoah will frequent the same types of water as the smallmouth. The big fish can be found on the large deadfalls and timber along the river banks and mid stream structure in slower moving pools. Big flies fished slowly will move these beast fish. Large topwater deer hair bugs will also generate very aggressive strikes.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
The brook trout fishing is slowing down in this heat wave. There are still some nice fish to be caught in the larger cooler drainages in the mountains.
Water levels are starting to drop and stream temps are on the rise. Many of the smaller streams are already pooling up and brook trout are taking refuge in their sanctuary pools. As fish pool up and water temps rise we ask that you give the brook trout a break until we get some substantial rainfall to bring back up water levels. Small streams like Skidmore Fork, Ramsey’s Draft, North River upper, St. Mary’s and many of the Shenandoah National Park streams are now barely flowing in spots. Fish have been spotted pooled up and fishing is obviously difficult as a result. We had an epic spring season up in the mountains and hopefully this heat wave will end and we get a bit of rain to give these fish a bit of relief so we might enjoy them again before fall. Keep an eye on the local forecasts and radar as heavy rainfall can bring up water levels quickly for a few days and provide for some great fishing. Ants, beetles, small yellow stoneflies, rusty spinners, and other small attractor dry flies are working well on light tippet. Be sure to take long leaders in 6-7X for spooky fish and small dry flies.
A happy angler enjoying a hot day with hot action on Mossy Creek! The dry fly fishing has been great over the past few weeks.
Who is ready for terrestrial season?!?! This clip should satisfy your hunger for the moment. Get the full feature award winning film Blood Knot on our online store, itunes, vimeo on demand, or in the fly shop!
Water levels are dropping in the spring creeks but cold temperatures continue to be pretty strong in the spring creeks. Trico hatches have been thick on Smith Creek and Beaver Creek. The tricos on Mossy have been a bit thinner over the past week but still have a few fish looking up in the early morning hours. Overcast calm mornings have provided the best dry fly fishing. Tricos are emerging around daylight through 6AM and the spinnerfall has been occurring around 7:30-8:30 AM. We have been catching fish on trico patterns, ants, small beetles, and PMX patterns in tan, yellow, orange, and olive in size 10-14. There are grasshoppers and beetles beginning to emerge but we have yet to see any on the water. Nymph droppers have been picking up the weary fish that won’t feed on the surface. Size 14-16 Bloody Mary’s, Pheasant Tails, Nitro Caddis, and Psycho Prince have been working. Zebra midges in black or red in size 18 have also been a popular dropper off of a big bushy dry fly. BIG flies like the PMX, Stimulators, and Para Drakes are great as indicator flies right now as fish are still readily taking nymphs. CLAWDADS, HOME INVADERS, NEAR NUFF SCULPINS, and KREELEX are still hot flies. You can find all of our favorite STREAMERS on our online store. South River upper, Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek continue to produce nice fish. This hot weather can produce severe afternoon thunderstorms. Overcast weather is awesome on the spring creeks and can provide for some of the best fishing. Rainy weather is incredible for streamer fishing but watch out for lightning and other severe weather.
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!
Tons of quality rainbows have been caught on small dry flies on Beaver Creek and on Smith Creek over the past few weeks.
Managed Trout Water
Here is a 26″ brown trout caught by Mossy Creek guide Wayne Paxton on a dry fly on a stretch of public water.
The stocked trout fishing season is officially over in Virginia until fall. Water levels are dropping and stream temps are warming up on many of our favorite waters but there are still some big fish to be caught. Anglers are sight fishing big fish on Back Creek, The Jackson, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, Spring Run, and on South River. Get out and enjoy the fishing while water flows and cool temps last. It won’t be long before the trout fishing comes to an end if this heat wave continues for the next few weeks.
Another shot of the 26″ beast with a size 10 PMX in his lip. Now is the time to find the giants in our public waters while water levels are low and the creeks are running crystal clear!