Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
Not bad landing 2 fish on your first musky trip ever! The Shenandoah was on fire the last 2 weeks of June.
The weather and water flows have been up and down over the past few weeks. Fishing has been good and consistent except for the cold front days. The Army Corps also sent a scheduled pulse of water down the James River a couple days ago that bumped up flows and brought visibility down to about 2 feet. Afternoon thunderstorms are staining some tributary streams to the Shenandoah creating rise in flows or staining the water some days. Keep a close eye on the USGS gauges and on the local radar before heading out. Conditions have been changing fairly rapidly overnight. Water temps are still warm and the fishing will continue to be good into September if we continue to have quality weather and water flow. While water levels have been dropping, we have been crushing fish on black, black and blue, olive, and gold colored clawdads. The CK baitfish has been great in the riffles and along weedbeds and fished slow in the deep ledges. Topwater frog patterns are great for prospecting along shady banks. 6-8 weight rods with floating lines and 8-16 pound test is being used for various sized flies. 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.
A big James River smallmouth bass. Photo courtesy of LE Rhodes.
Mossy Creek guides Jacob Russo and Shane Maybush got a day off and had a great day on the water. Here is a 19″ Shenandoah River fish with a clawdad Jacob caught. Big Smallmouth, largemouth, and channel catfish were all over the big crayfish flies!
The musky fishing was great at the end of June before water temps rose above 78 degrees. We had great days with up to 4 fish landed a day with a lot of activity, eats, and follows. Water temps breached 78 degrees around the first of July and we let up on the musky fishing until temps dropped back down into the low 70’s again during a mild spell last week. It is likely water temps will continue to rise again if we get a lull in the rainfall and mild weather. For those looking to catch musky as long as water temps are below 78 degrees, 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!
Winn has fished with us for the past 5 years and has seen 3-6 fish in the boat on every trip to the Shenandoah Valley!
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.
Karen with an awesome 23″ Mossy Creek brown trout that took a beetle pattern off the surface last Saturday.
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!
South River upper, Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek continue to produce nice fish. Trico hatches are getting thick most days and the spinner fall is occurring around 8:30AM. Water flow is good on most creeks right now and consistent rainfall is helping maintain flow through the summer heat. Fishing will continue to be great as long as we have water! This is the time of year to stock up on your beetle patterns! Japanese beetles are coating stream side vegetation and fish are tuning into them. Take your favorite 9′ 4 weight with a soft tip and light tippet and have fun! We are fishing 5-6X tippet on 9-11′ leaders when the water is crystal clear and the fish are spooky. Beetles are great prospecting flies because you can blind fish them by plopping them down with a great deal of noise. The fish recognize the sound of a hard shelled insect hitting the water and usually rush out to eat. Here is a silly little video we did on a local spring creek during the peak of beetle season a few years ago. WATCH SPRING CREEK TERRESTRIAL FISHING. Ants, hoppers, crickets, and other attractor flies will work this time of year. Your favorite nymphs dropped under your favorite dry fly will allow you to cover fish not willing to rise to the surface. Note- When you fish a dropper fly it can be difficult to get your terrestrial to the opposite bank grass line. Fish will readily take your fly along the grass but may not be willing to swim a foot away from the bank. Dropper flies can get hung in the overhanging grass, so choose your method of presentation for varying areas along the creek. For those looking for some seriously old and archaic video- Check out BEETLEMANIA or 22″ Morning! These videos are from over 10 years ago on the public stretch of Mossy Creek in the heat of summer. Enjoy and try not to laugh too hard and the horrendous video quality!
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!
A beastly beast of an awesome brown trout that ate a wad of streamer on the public stretch of Mossy Creek.
Giant rainbows are still being caught on Smith Creek, Beaver Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Mossy Creek!
Managed Trout Water
Big rainbows like this are still being caught right now on big streamers, nymphs, and terrestrial patterns.
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.