Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
You all may know Melissa from the fly shop and just so you know, she can fish! It was a great day losing count of fish on the Shenandoah on Friday!
The Shenandoah and James Rivers are fished very well this past week. We are finally seeing water levels closer to average and water clarity has finally improved. We have been starting our days like normal, fishing subsurface with crayfish and hellgrammite patterns until the damselflies and dragonflies begin to swarm over the water. Around 11:30 each day the topwater action really picks up. The shadelines are holding a lot of fish, especially along the deeper undercut banks. Fishing cork bugs like Boogle Bugs is very productive once the bugs are flying around. If insect activity is slow and you don’t see a lot of jumping fish, fishing a swimming baitfish or swimming frog on the surface can allow you to cover a lot of water and seek out the aggressive fish. Murdich minnows, Ck baitfish, Todd’s Wiggle Minnows, and your standard Clouser minnows are all also working well. You can fish these flies anywhere in the river right now. Along mid river ledges, at the tails of riffles and runs, and along the banks. All of the fish- smallmouth, largemouth, channel catfish, and carp were hungry this week. We hope the weather stays stable for the coming weeks so everyone can enjoy just how good our local rivers are currently fishing. We know a great majority of our customers love to trout fish. But there really is something special about floating the Shenandoah or James River in near seclusion with the possibility of literally putting hundreds of fish in the boat. Pound for pound, smallmouth bass are one of the strongest freshwater fish and can double over a 6 weight or 8 weight rod unlike anything else. If you haven’t experienced a float trip on Virginia’s warmwater rivers, you really need to consider it. You will be glad you did! We still have some limited days to book in our peak smallmouth season. Our best fishing will run through September and possibly into October if temps don’t drop dramatically. Get out as soon as you can to enjoy some of Virginia’s best fly fishing!
Float trips for smallmouth bass and other warmwater fish can be the best way to introduce your son or daughter to conventional spin fishing or fly fishing! The constant action will keep them engaged!
The Umpqua swimming baitfish and swimming frog have been incredibly effective this summer. You just can’t beat these flies for exciting topwater action!
“If it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use!” Famous words from Lefty Kreh that loves chartreuse colored flies for a lot of fish, but smallmouth in particular. A clawdad in chartreuse is sometimes the most deadly fly you can toss for bass.
Vince with a nice Shenandoah River largemouth bass. Did you know that we have Florida strain largemouth bass in the Shenandoah? We do and there are some MONSTER fish waiting for you!
Another chunky channel catfish that took a fly bounced on the bottom. This fish was actually spotted and sight fished. It is important to get the fly down on the bottom 2-3 feet out in front of catfish and carp so they can see it. Talk about a strong fight on a fly rod.
Carp can be found feeding along the edges of water willow and weed beds browsing for damselfly, dragonfly, and big mayfly nymphs along with hellgrammites and crayfish. A stealthy approach and dead on presentation is essential for catching carp.
Who doesn’t like catching fish averaging 10 pounds on 6 weight rods. We have put carp in the boat on fly up to 27 pounds!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Taking advantage of high water after a huge rainstorm. High water flows during summer often bring about some of the best fishing of the year.
Afternoon thunderstorms can really boost water flows in mountain streams. They can go from barely any flow to raging overnight. These periods of high water allow fish to spread out and feed. Brook trout really do not like competition and only crowd into community pools when water levels get low. High water events spread brook trout out almost immediately. Water temps are in the upper 60’s and these trout are pretty ravenous on anything that hits the water. Big ants, beetles, and little yellow stonefly patterns are your best patterns for the summer season. We are continuing to give the brook trout a break most days during this heat wave. There will be plenty of time in September and October to fish before the spawn.
Get Geared Up
Big flies mean big fish this time of year on the spring creeks. Large browns will take big grasshopper patterns off the surface but will also eat large floating minnow and mouse patterns. Big profile flies will get the attention of large fish and can get them to move out from under the banks.
The spring creeks fishing best in August are Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, Spring Run, Smith Creek, and Buffalo Creek. If water levels hold, fishing should continue to be great into the fall season. Peak terrestrial season continues at the moment. Grasshoppers are getting larger by the day and Japanese beetles are still hanging around. Crickets and ants are also working well. You need to be prepared for multiple situations on the spring creeks every day. Fishing trout in clear, slow moving water requires a stealthy approach. When fish are eating small flies like size 22 tricos, you will be using long leaders between 9-12 feet in 7X. Large grasshopper patterns can spin and twist up long light leaders. We like to use a stout leader with a thick butt section and short front taper like a Rio Powerflex leader in 3X for the large grasshopper flies. 5X is a good size leader in 9′ for standard size 10-12 beetle patterns. If you hit a dark overcast day with intense rainstorms, be sure to have a 0-1X leader and large streamer patterns! Big fish will aggressively chase down large profile baitfish flies on rainy days. Big streamers in low clear water make such a splashy presentation, you risk spooking fish when the water is calm. Rainfall breaks up the surface and fish also feel more comfortable under these conditions. Take advantage of those windows of primo fishing conditions when they arise!
Tenkara style fishing is an excellent way to present flies with an incredibly delicate presentation. From size 22 tricos to size 1/0 mouse patterns, you can get some of the most natural presentations imaginable with a tenkara rod and the proper line setup.
Parachute fur ants are moving and taking a few large spring creek browns right now! Make sure you are loaded up on the right terrestrial insect patterns!
Managed Trout Water
It has been hot for the last 3 weeks and the trout fishing reports have really slowed down. The warmwater fishing has been so good many anglers have given the trout a break until the fall. It will only be a little over 1 month before VDGIF begins stocking your favorite trout streams. It is time to clean your gear and get it organized for the cold season ahead!