Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The smallmouth bass fishing all over Virginia was pretty phenomenal through April. Water levels were low, temperatures were warm, and the fishing was about as good as it could get. Anglers enjoyed fly fishing for some really large fish in crystal clear waters. Rainfall in late April and through most of May blew up our rivers and made many unfishable for the past 20 days. We are finally approaching average water flow again but we are keeping our eyes on the radar for the potential of more rain this week. Once the water levels drop again we expect to see some pretty hot action. Some fish will still be in spawn mode as many were unable to spawn in the flood waters. Likely it will be the 13-15 inch fish that are generally late bloomers each season that will be aggressive through the last part of May this year. Be sure to have plenty of large size 2 clawdads, CK baitfish in size 1, crittermites, diving frogs and minnows, and big baitfish streamers like half and half flies, deceivers, and clouser minnows. The Shenandoah and James Rivers are prime May-September so load heavy and get ready to float during the warm season! We have hundreds of trips booked each month and are looking forward to a record breaking summer if the weather cooperates. Give us a call to reserve your float trips while we still have summer openings!
Carl with an awesome fat smallmouth from a trip in mid April.
The big largemouth were aggressive through April. We had multiple fish over 6 pounds on flies. Big olive clawdads fished on the bottom took many of these bad boys. Large murdich minnows and baitfish patterns also moved these bigger largemouth. We expect a few more of these big green bass while throwing big flies for musky once water levels drop again. May and June are peak months for big largemouth!
Musky are sometimes a great bonus fish while fishing for big smallmouth bass.
The river musky should be done spawning for the 2016 season. We do at times see signs of spawning in late May and June if water has been overly high and dirty early in the season. We did see plenty of spawning sign in March and April on a few fish we caught while bass fishing. Once water levels drop we will be back out full force trying to put a few musky in the boat. Late May and early June have been extremely good periods for the past 3 years. Big fish up to 48″ have been landed on flies through this period. Grab the meat and the big rods and get ready for the late spring action!!
Gar are a great sportfish we target regularly on the James River while fishing for smallmouth.
A surprise walleye said hello on a recent trip down the James River in search of a big smallmouth!
Jim with a HUGE grass carp taken on a 5wt and 3x tippet. White Amur are great gamefish to target when river levels are too high for good fishing. You can find these fish in many of our public lakes and ponds!
Mossy Creek guide Bob Cramer takes on a massive grass carp in April. Water levels were too high on the James and Shenandoah so we opted for a few big ‘pond sharks’ to tug on!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
The brook trout fishing was pretty incredible through April. Water levels were perfect most of the month and then started to get a bit low with virtually no rainfall last month. Fortunately we have replenished all of our water with nearly 23 days of straight rain. Water temps are lower than average, bugs are hatching, and water flow is above average. You can expect the brook trout fishing to be great for at least another month with all the water we have. Plan on 1-3 more inches of rain this Friday into Sunday as another large system approaches. Sulphurs, green drakes, little yellow stoneflies, and ants are available to the mountain trout right now and these patterns are working great. Plan on high water after this weekends rain. Small kreelex, golden retrievers, buggers, and large nymphs should take plenty of fish until water levels drop back to normal flows. If you get out before the rain you should experience some pretty incredible dry fly action. Enjoy the extended mountain trout fishing thanks to all of this rain!
Tricos, sulphurs, and drakes are now hatching on the spring creeks!
Wow, we couldn’t possibly have more water in the spring creeks right now. Rainfall has all of our local creeks running at bank level. The creeks are currently clear but that may change with the rain in the forecast Friday night through the weekend. South River, Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, Spring Run, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek are all currently fishing well. Be prepared to fish streamers this weekend with big rods and heavy leaders. Water levels are expected to rise and we should be fishing in very dirty conditions until probably early next week. Once the creeks clear up, streamers will still be hot on everyone’s list but the dry fly fishing should pick right back up. Everyone should have plenty of tricos, sulphurs, drakes, ant, and beetle patterns in their boxes. These flies will be important for the next 3-4 weeks until the terrestrial insects really start to get thick. Beaver Creek permits have been in very high demand lately because the dry fly fishing has been so good. The streamer fishing on Mossy Creek has produced some large browns. Buffalo Creek has also been fishing very well especially with dry dropper rigs. Enjoy the mild weather, the overcast rainy conditions, and the exciting fishing on the spring creeks!
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 nice big brown trout from the public stretch of Mossy Creek last week.
Alex with a brown trout from the public stretch of Mossy this week.
Tenkara, the perfect way to fish while your infant learns the joys of fly fishing!
Managed Trout Water
Releasing a 10 pound monster from a public spring creek.
Keep a close eye on the USGS realtime streamflow gauges as we are expecting a lot of rain this weekend. Many of these creeks and rivers are already running above average. 1-3 inches of rain will create very high water and unfishable conditions for a few days. The USGS gauges will help you see what local streams are spiking with high water. VDGIF has been stocking all of the local streams since October. With only a few weeks left in the trout stocking season, get out and enjoy your favorite rivers before many of them warm up too much for good fishing. North River DH, South River DH, South River Special Reg, Back Creek DH, Passage Creek DH, The Bullpasture, and the Jackson Special Reg. have been stocked multiple times and fishing reports have been good. Anglers are having success with Kreelex, Golden Retrievers, Near Nuff Sculpins, Slump Busters, Madonna streamers, Crystal Buggers, Jigged nymphs, Ck nymphs, Copper Johns, Guides Choice Hare’s Ears, and Bloody Mary Nymphs. Have plenty of split shot, strike indicators, and tippet rings to be prepared to create any rig necessary. Keep an eye on the USGS gauges for updated water flows and VDGIF for updated stocking info!