Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
Successful guide operations understand that happy guides mean happy clients! This is a shot from our fall guide meeting after a long hard spring and summer season. We troubleshoot, adapt, and execute to always return the next season bigger and better!
Whew! What a year it has been. Reflecting back 2016 has been a wild ride. We started off with super low water in early April and then come April 27th the flooding begins. The Shenandoah Valley generally receives around 37 inches of rain annually. May and June brought over 40 inches of rain making it one of the wettest late spring/early summer seasons we have ever experienced. Cancellations and rescheduling of hundreds of trips in spring turned into non-stop action right into October! The spring creek fishing in the summer was solid but the smallmouth action was insane. Hundred fish days were common and the average size of the smallmouth in the Shenandoah and James kept even the most discriminating anglers happy. Barring any issues this winter or early spring, we are looking forward to a season in 2017 that might be for the record books!
Currently we are dealing with leaf litter in the river systems and very low clear water. Our smallmouth bass season is officially over for the year and we are booking our peak season now for 2017. We have been successful in our musky fishing over the past few weeks. We have had a few completely new anglers to musky that have been successful. Recent rainfall will hopefully improve water flow, add a touch of color to the water, and increase the musky action a bit. Generally we see an increase in action when temps begin to take a monster dip in late November and early December. Look to fish around the full moon periods later this month and in December when the big females will be packing on the calories to supplement their growing egg mass! Our guides are great at introducing anglers to musky fishing as well as putting the most experienced anglers on our local fish. Book your winter musky trip today!
One of LE Rhodes’ last days on the James River produced a few big boys over 20″. We definitely ended the 2016 season on a high note!
Colby and Brian enjoyed one last day targeting smallmouth bass in October with Potomac Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble, Shenandoah Riverkeeper Mark Frondorff, and Potomac River guides Mark Kovach and John Hayes.
The year of the catfish. We averaged more channel catfish this season than ever. We had plenty of blind caught cats and carp this year. Epic fun on light gear!
Monster season is coming! Who is ready for some scary big winter fish?
Congrats to Massanutten Trout Unlimited president Bill Conlin on his first Shenandoah River musky with Shane Maybush in late October.
Another big congrats to Al Janousek from the Fly Fisher’s of Virginia Club on his first Virginia musky with Shane Maybush.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
This is a very large brook trout caught in one of the Shenandoah Valley spring creeks. Quickly caught and released to get back to the spawning season.
Leaves are falling and winter is coming. This means that the brook trout are in spawning mode and eggs are being deposited in small redds up and down the creeks of the SNP and GW Forest. We are currently giving the brook trout a break for the cold season and we will plan on seeing you up in the mountains in 2017!
Get Geared Up
While the browns are away, the rainbows will play! As the brown trout spawn this fall many aren’t interested in our flies. The rainbow trout have been ravenous and enjoying this mild weather!
We had an excellent spring and summer fishing season on the local streams and spring creeks. Water levels were well above average May-August. Rainfall has been slim through fall and we are left with low clear conditions. Anglers should be using a cautious approach to make presentations on the spring creeks. We are downsizing streamers to keep fish from spooking from big splashes from heavy flies. 5 weight rods, 3x fluorocarbon tippet and size 4-6 streamers are still taking large aggressive fish right now. We are seeing some BWO’s and spotty trico hatches still bringing fish to the surface. Without any major frosts yet this fall we still have plenty of crickets and mature grasshoppers available to our spring creek fish. In the past week hopper dropper rigs are still working well to catch big fish in these spooky conditions. Overcast days are best for the larger BWO hatches and streamer fishing. Rainy days have produced some large fish on bigger streamer and baitfish patterns. Rain is our friend this time of year. Increased water flow in the spring creeks will dramatically improve the quality of the fishing conditions. Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, Spring Run, and Buffalo Creek have all produced some nice fish in the past few weeks! Get out and enjoy the incredible weather!
Tom left the shop on a Sunday afternoon after gearing up for an upcoming bonefish trip to hit Mossy Creek. Within 10 minutes he had this 23″ brown trout in the net!
Patagonia Ambassador and Mossy Creek guide Tom Sadler hoists a nice spring creek rainbow for a client.
Another big rainbow! Anglers have had some great days on the water with shots at fish over 20″.
Managed Trout Water
VDGIF has been busy over the past month stocking your favorite freestone streams and lakes. Sugar Hollow Reservoir, Mint Springs, Pedlar River, Elkhorn Lake, Braley Pond, Sherando Lake, North River DH, South River DH, Spring Run, South River SRA, Douthat, Jackson River at Hidden Valley and Poor Farm, Back Creek DH, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, Hardware River DH, Rose River, Hughes River, Robinson River, Tye River, Hawksbill Creek, Maury River, Silver Lake, Hone Quarry, Briery Branch, Stony Creek, Mill Creek, and Passage Creek DH should keep you busy if you are in our area! Stock up on crystal buggers, golden retrievers, kreelex, slump busters, and a variety of attractor nymph patterns in size 12-16 for these VA managed streams. Don’t forget your strike indicators and split shot! Enjoy the fall fishing season!!!