Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The new fly shop is progressing along incredibly fast. The addition to the building is almost complete, then we will be focusing on electrical needs, finishing details, and fixturing the interior. Exciting times in the Shenandoah Valley!
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The weather is still all over the map and ups and downs have us a bit confused on whether to fish for musky, smallmouth, or both! Generally in the winter months we are focused hard on our musky fishing but take the time to fish particular spots for big bass. The weather looks warm later this week again with temps in the 60’s again. Smallmouth fishing was good over the weekend and LE Rhodes had a great day and found some very nice fish. We have just over 1 month of musky fishing left before their spawn occurs in late March and April. Bass fishing will be full force mid April, so it is time to get your last licks of winter musky on the books as well as begin planning for a great season with large bass available in just 60 days!!!
For winter musky fishing the best advice is to prospect the long deep holes and concentrate on the mid river structure as much as you do on the deadfalls and structure along the banks. Typically a big mid river ledge with a big overhang is a prime lie for a big predator. Add some woody stucture and a big deep trench nearby and you have the makings of a great musky hangout. Depending on water depth you fish, be sure to have a full sink(class V) and an intermediate line matched for your favorite 10 or 11 weight rod. These setups will allow you to effectively fish the entire water column around the structure. Big bass and catfish will hang out in similar areas, especially if a musk isn’t present. Have on hand some large, 4/0 sized clawdads with XL heavy lead eyes to get them down on the bottom. Not only do musky like this sort of fly, but big bass and catfish do as well. When you have crystal clear water clarity in the winter months you can see big bass from a long way away. They can be fun to target, so be sure you have a setup in the boat ready for an encounter!
For river smallmouth and largemouth, a 9′ 7 weight is an ideal ‘sweet spot’ fly rod. It is the most versatile rod in most smallmouth anglers opinion. That said, 6 weights are great for smaller topwater bugs and average sized streamers. They are also great for delicate presentations in low clear water and also for casting to big feeding carp. 8 weights are important for throwing big wind resistant flies and also turning over heavy lead eyed flies with ease. They are also useful casting long distances or dealing with windy days. Being properly rigged for different types of water you encounter on the river can make a huge difference in your success.
LE Rhodes did some mid winter scouting and found a pile of nice smallmouth bass!
Virginia’s freshwater bad ass. Pound for pound the hardest fighting fish in freshwater!
Smallmouth bass…one of our favorite fish to target on cold winter days.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Mountain brook trout fishing has been great this past week. We expect the trend to continue as it remains warm!
We have had some 50+ fish days already up in the mountains. Dry River, Skidmore Fork, North River upper, Ramsey’s Draft, St. Mary’s, The Rapidan, Rose, Conway, White Oak Canyon, Madison Run, Paine Run, and Jeremey’s Run all have fair to good water flows and fishing reports have been great. Most fish have been taken on nymphs and small streamers but there has been some dry fly action on the warmer days, especially in the afternoon hours. The best action over the weekend came on psycho prince nymphs in blue and purple in size 14-16. Our favorite flies have been jigged caddis, jigged hare’s ear, ck nymphs, killer bugs, jigged retrievers, and of course size 14 prince and pheasant tail nymphs. Size 10 buggers have been moving and getting the attention of the large brook trout. As water temps continue to rise, the fishing quality should continue to improve. Keep eyes out for good caddis hatches over the next few weeks and we are less than a month away from spotting quill gordons!
A gorgeous Virginia mountain brook trout caught on a Tenkara rod.
Get Geared Up
Reports from all of our local spring creeks have been solid so far for 2017. Traffic has been steady in the shop and on the water as fishing continues to get better and better.
Virginia spring creeks have been fishing well through the winter! Reports have been good from guides and local anglers on Beaver Creek, Mossy Creek, Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, Smith Creek at Susie Q Farm, and the upper South River. Anglers out at Spring Run have been crushing giant fish on midges and small nymphs and scud patterns. Water levels have been up and down on Buffalo Creek and anglers are reporting good numbers of smaller rainbow trout. Susie Q Farm is heavily booked and has been fishing very well. Water levels are near perfect and the fish have been aggressively feeding most days. Beaver Creek permits are still difficult to obtain as competition is fierce every day to fish VA’s most popular spring creek. Mossy Creek has produced some nice browns and we have been speaking with anglers that are moving and seeing some truly monstrous fish. Anglers are taking advantage of the overcast days and fishing big streamers to move some giants. BWO’s have been hatching on the calmer days and we hope to enjoy a bit more dry fly fishing later this week once the wind calms down and the temps warm up a tad. We are prepping for our best season ever! Time to load up on flies and gear for the rapidly approaching spring season!
Cdc olive emergers, rainbow warriors, zebra midges, and peacock soft hackles in size 18 and 20 have been great for picky fish. We have also done well with black caddis in size 16 with tungsten size 18-20 nymphs fished about 20″ off the back of the dry. Streamer fishing has been good with flies like the sparkle minnow, slump buster, clawdad, crittermite, and near nuff sculpin fished deep. Golden retrievers are working well fished with a split shot under an indicator dead drifted and then swung through runs and holes. Target any overcast days as the fishing is much better in low light. Bwo hatches are best on the darker days with no wind. Be on the look out for rainy days in the future as the streamer fishing can turn on immediately. Some of the largest trout have been caught on rainy days when warm fronts have approached.
Crayfish? Yeah, we have some large varieties in the spring creeks. You can throw flies that are ‘too big’!
The spring creeks provide some of the best fishing from fall through winter for Virginia trout fishing.
Streamer fishing heated up in January after we received some quality rainfall!
Mossy Creek guide Jacob Russo about to let a clients rainbow head back home!
Susie Q Farm has been giving up some truly giant fish!
Do big brown trout haunt your dreams? Our guides know where they live and the tricks to get them to eat.
Managed Trout Water
Mossy Creek guide Wayne enjoying the great trout fishing on Elkhorn Lake.
The weather has been great over the past month for fishing your favorite freestone streams and lakes. 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!