A beautiful rainbow from a trip this week. The big rainbows in our spring creeks are gorging like crazy and have taken over prime lies while the brown trout spawn.
Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
One of the last big smallmouth of the season was boated by LE Rhodes this week.
We are certain to catch a few more smallmouth this year while in pursuit of musky and carp but our main focus is also now back on our trout fishing. There are a few warm days in the weeks ahead and the smallmouth are always willing to eat a well presented crayfish or baitfish pattern fished slow and deep this time of year. Being successful on smallmouth through late fall and winter depends on your ability to find where the bulk of the fish live during the cold months. Many miles of river are now barren as bass have moved on to their wintering holes. Even in long winter holes, you may at times find bass stacked up in a particular area. We have counted over 100 smallmouth on a single ledge before in the winter months. These fish aren’t overly difficult to catch, but they are spooky when grouped up in large numbers. The amount of water necessary to cover and the technical aspects of fly fishing for winter smallmouth make it less appealing than chasing musky or trout. We will spend the cool months assessing this past season and reloading our boxes in preparation for the 2016 season. With that in mind, we are already booking dozens of trips for the early season. Mid April-May is a prime time for big smallmouth bass in Virginia and this coincides with our peak trout fishing season. March, April, and May have become extremely popular and our guides have been booked up solid 2-3 months in advance. If you have ever wanted to experience our peak season fishing or had a great time on the water with us recently, book your spring season fishing early! We are booking the entire 2016 season now! For those looking for action sooner rather than later, get geared up with your cold weather gear and get ready for musky fishing! Leaf litter on the water right now can be a pain. Fishing on calm days is crucial as rivers can get completely coated in leaves making fly presentation nearly impossible. We recommend 9′ 10 weight rods, intermediate or full sink lines, and heavy bite tippet or wire when pursuing musky. Let our expert guides help you get started if you are curious about musky fishing. It is a demanding sport but extremely exciting and rewarding! See you out there!
Nick Swingle took a day off work to fish with Brian Trow and stuck this handsome fall musky. The Shenandoah and James are fishing great!
Musky grow big in Virginia and are fun hard fighting fish. Here is a shot of a 48″ long musky refusing to come to the net!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Trout Unlimited and Costa are hosting the collegiate program 5 Rivers Initiative Rendezvous at Graves Mountain Lodge this weekend. This is a great program introducing college aged anglers to conservation based programs and Trout Unlimited. The response to this organization has been massive and collegiate fly fishing clubs are growing all over the country. Because there will be so many anglers visiting the eastern side of the Blue Ridge this weekend, it may be best to avoid the larger brook trout drainages around this area as over 250 college anglers will fishing Friday-Sunday. Most of these anglers will be directed towards the lower reaches of these streams fishing the stocked waters outside of the Park and targeting the private waters along the Rose. Anglers fishing the wild trout waters will be educated on best fishing practices to reduce their impact on spawning fish this time of year. Head up and make friends in the mountains or head West of 81 to the Allegheny drainages for the weekend.
The mountain brook trout fishing has been incredible over the past few weeks. The rain in early October turned around the fishing quickly. Enjoy your time in the mountains responsibly. Many brook trout are paired up or have already spawned. This is a controversial topic and we respect informed anglers decisions to fish or give the brook trout a break. Our shop does not guide on brook trout water during this season nor do we actively fish mountain wild waters now through winter. We understand many responsible anglers enjoy this time of year in the mountains. We ask that anyone fishing please do your best to stay out of the creeks as much as possible to avoid stepping on redds or possibly coating fragile eggs with silt stirred up from wading. Return fish quickly to the stream and observe the pools for actively spawning fish and redds. Remember that brook trout eggs will incubate on the streambed for 45-140 days depending on water temps! This means you will need to be careful in these creeks until early March most years! Enjoy the colors in the moutains and the great fishing but please be cautious. We want to ensure a great spawn this season.
It has been a great week on the water. We have had single anglers and groups of 20! Here is one of the larger fish guide Eric Gibson put in the net a few days ago.
The heavy rains earlier this month really helped clear out the spring creeks that began to get choked up with grass and algae. Smith, Mossy, Beaver, South, Buffalo, and Spring Run all look great and refreshed. Water flows are still good but if we don’t begin getting some rain, things will begin to look bleak again very soon. As leaves continue to drop and vegetation dries up, more moisture will return to the ground and our rivers and creeks. A few days of quality rain will ensure weeks of good fishing. It is looking like we may get a bit of precipitation in the next 10 days. Continue your rain dancing if you want to continue fishing this fall! Rainfall is crucial to the vitality of our fall fishing! We have experienced multiple hard frosts already on the spring creeks but we do still have some large grasshoppers and crickets around. Tricos are still hatching in the late morning, early afternoon hours and we have seen some BWO’s on overcast days and some random stoneflies and caddis popping off. Much of our big insect hatches are done for the year. We will be focusing on fishing small crayfish and sculpin patterns on the stream bottoms along with our favorite nymphs. CK nymphs, Jigged prince, Jigged hare’s ear, Bloody Mary’s, Psycho Prince, Killer Bugs, 20 inchers, and Copper Johns high sticked or fished under a strike indicator in the deep pools and channels should work on all of our trout waters into springtime! Give us a call or shoot us an email for fishing updates as we will have all of our guides out daily for the fall and winter season!
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!
We had quite a lot of happy anglers this week that have been landing some remarkable fish! Here is a fat Smith Creek rainbow that crushed a streamer.
This beastly 28″ rainbow was sight fished with an Orange PMX dry fly. This fish was sipping tricos late morning and was sitting about 6 inches below the surface in a deep run.
Managed Trout Water
The DH streams in the mountains have great water flow and are fishing well. Wear some bright orange as there are hunters in the woods!
Fishing nymphs deep along a seam on North River up in the GW Forest.
VDGIF has been out stocking in full force every week. Back Creek, The Jackson, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, North River, South River, Passage, Mint Springs, The Pedlar, Douthat, Sugar Hollow, Rose River, Hughes, and so many more have already been stocked at least once. Water levels are great and fishing reports have been solid. Load heavy on your favorite attractor nymphs and streamers and enjoy the season!