Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The contractors are finishing up the 2nd floor! It is looking like we will be moving into our new offices, kitchen, and building out our new classroom over the next week! They will be finishing up the details downstairs shortly!
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
It’s here folks! April river smallmouth fishing has arrived! We are also in our peak spring trout season as well. Those who aren’t enjoying time up in the mountains chasing brook trout or fishing the spring creeks are out enjoying some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year. The weather forecast is showing rain almost every day so keep an eye on the forecast and the USGS gauges to ensure quality water flows before you head out.
High water this time of year can make fly fishing difficult but can consolidate large bass to calm spots behind boulders, islands, and ledges. Conventional anglers have an advantage with heavy jigs, tubes, and soft plastics fished with lead weights to penetrate current quickly and get their baits on the bottom. Heavy spinnerbaits are used to fish transition water and seams to seek out big female bass waiting to move into spawning areas males have swept. So to be successful in periods of high water be sure to have large heavy flies, like a size 1/0 or 2 clawdads or crittermite flies. These flies will get down quickly in the still spots between current and should hold before being dragged out of the strike zone by the current. To seek out fish in diamond chop current and current seams near protected shoals where bass might spawn a large baitfish fly like a half and half or murdich minnow are good options. These may need to be fished on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line on a short leader to get to the fish. Have plenty of 16lb and 12lb fluorocarbon tippet as this is what you should be using for these big fish.
We will be out on the Shenandoah and James Rivers as much as we can between our trout fishing trips. All of our guides are fully booked now into mid June. We are now booking our summer smallmouth trips June into October. Give us a call and get your trips on the books and enjoy some of the best smallmouth bass fishing you can find in the mid atlantic.
LE Rhodes put anglers on some big bass last week during our spring opener! We expect to see quite a few more big fish like this in the coming weeks!
Smallmouth bass are arguably the best freshwater gamefish- selective and incredibly strong! Come see why they are also our favorite!
6,7,8 weight rods- break them out and join the fun on the warmwater rivers!
The James is producing its usual large fish and the Shenandoah could possibly have the best spring season we have seen in years!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Mossy Creek guide Wayne Paxton got out to Ramsey’s Draft recently and found brook trout all over the place and near perfect water levels.
We will dispense with the small talk and get straight to business. It is time to get off the couch and hit the mountain streams. Water levels are near perfect, bugs are hatching, and the brookies are hungry. Most days you can be productive fishing just about any attractor dry you enjoy fishing. Royal Wulff, red, green, yellow humpies, stimulators, elk hair caddis, mini hot garcia’s, purple haze, and various colored parachute flies all in size 12-16. As we mentioned in our previous fishing report, fish your traditional catskill style patterns in the turbulent rough water and your parachute patterns on the slicker and more calm water for the best presentation and drift. Subsurface we have been having great success on jigged prince, hare’s ear, and pheasant tails, psycho prince in blue, purple, and pink, green weenies, ck nymphs in yellow, olive, and black, bloody mary’s, guide’s choice hare’s ears, copper johns, and nitro caddis in size 14 and 16. Split shot, strike indicators, tippet, floatant, forceps….check these essential items before you head into the hills! Enjoy the great weather and fishing. We will be out everyday as long as the weather allows!
Saying goodbye and see you later to a beastly brook trout.
Get Geared Up
Sulphurs are here but pick your poison! Are you a dry fly or a streamer junkie?
The spring creeks are in picture perfect shape. The grass is green but not yet waist deep, the wildflowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and the last bit of winter is now a memory. We enjoyed fishing the caddis hatches all through March and we are now in the early days of the sulphur hatch. Bwo’s and sulphurs are making their evening appearance between 6pm and dark. Some days the bugs only give you about 30-45 minutes of daylight but you can really capitalize on that bite window! At times over the past 10 days we have seen dozens of fish rising within just a hundred feet. Steadily rising fish haven’t been too picky on size 14 sulphur parachutes or size 18 bwo comparaduns or cripples. 5x and size 14 black caddis are still working well especially skating them across the channels before the hatch begins. Fishing 6x 18 inches off the back of a caddis with a size 14-16 wet fly has also been working to get fish to move earlier in the evening before a bunch of naturals hit the water. Get ready to start seeing tricos on calm warm mornings in just a few weeks!
For those that like to fish streamers, near nuff sculpins are one of the best flies we fish in the month of April. Size 4-8 tan and olive near nuff sculpins bounced along the bottom slowly and methodically is one of our most productive methods. Black, black and blue, brown, and olive clawdads, conehead sculpins, and slump busters will also get deep enough to get weary fish to come out from the weed beds and undercuts to eat. Jigged nymphs, mop flies, psycho prince, nitro caddis, CK’s, san juan’s, zebra midges, darth beatis, and buckskin caddis have all been producing some big fish at Mossy, Beaver, Spring Run, and Susie Q Farm. Although our guide service is fully booked now into June, Susie Q Farm does still have a few days open in May. Give us a call if you would like to reserve your day on this great 1 mile stretch of spring creek.
Mossy Creek guide Wayne getting it done!
Mossy Creek team member Nick Secrist out sniping rising brown trout.
Snout soup out on the spring creeks. The much anticipated sulphur hatch has begun!
Nick teaching his dad how to fish the long rod! Nice work gentlemen!
Dr. Horodysky with a FAT spring run rainbow that had been gorging on sow bugs!
Managed Trout Water
A GIANT rainbow heading back into the weeds to sulk after being tricked by a small nymph.
We are in the peak of spring trout fishing. VDGIF will continue stocking local waterways for just over 1 month until the end of May. Water levels on a majority of your favorite streams and lakes are perfect right now for good fishing and safe wading. We do have some rain in the forecast almost every day so water levels need to be monitored on the USGS realtime streamflow data sites to ensure water levels don’t get too high during upcoming rain events. Target the following VA managed waters for the best action. 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!