Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
It’s not from the Shenandoah Valley, but it sure was fun! We just got back from East End Lodge with a great group of anglers. It’s not all about the bonefish either, we love catching lemon and blacktip sharks on the flats with poppers and deceivers. Here is Davis with his first ever shark on a fly. Great work Davis!
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
If you fish warm water rivers in Virginia you know how good the fishing was this summer. The smallmouth, largemouth, carp, gar, and musky fishing was great. We had a few bonus big catfish thrown in the mix as well. As the weather continues to cool off and the days get progressively shorter our focus is back on musky on the Shenandoah and James Rivers. Though big smallmouth can be caught in the winter months, the fishing is much more tedious than it is during our peak season. We are currently booking our 2018 trips for peak season mid April through September. Remember weekends book up fast, so if you are interested in a trip next year, contact us to reserve your date today!
The musky fishing has been pretty good through October despite the low clear water conditions we experienced. We are also experiencing a late leaf drop this year. Many of our trees are still loaded and some trees are still green! Windy days can choke the river systems with leaves this time of year but generally by the 3rd week of November we don’t have to worry much about leaves anymore. If you are interested in a musky trip, our peak winter season runs now through February. March fishing will be dependent on water conditions and river levels. We give the musky a break the last part of March and through April to let them spawn. May-June is the next peak season to fish these river giants. If you are interested in getting into musky fishing, our staff has the knowledge and we have all the gear you need to get set up properly. These are some of the most demanding but exciting fish you can pursue in freshwater. Let our experts help you catch your next trophy! Water levels are currently in decent shape on the Shenandoah and James. Keep an eye out for more rain this coming week as higher water and a little turbidity will only help!
You can find big largemouth most of the summer on the Shenandoah River but they will also take big patterns in the winter months. We occasionally catch big largemouth in the 5 pound plus range while fishing with big musky patterns.
A flashback to the end of the 2017 smallmouth season. It was filled with great times, great people, and great fishing!
Carp are always a favorite fish to target while floating our rivers. During the fall months we do find them mudding and tailing while we are fishing for musky. Make sure to keep a 6wt rigged and in the boat every time you head out musky fishing in the Shenandoah in the event you have an opportunity to catch one of these awesome fish!
Mossy Creek guide Bob Cramer with an impressive 45″ musky on the Shenandoah last week. He has a white and red pattern that these fish can’t resist!
Take care of these big fish folks. Large nets built for releasing musky or cradles are great to keep fish from getting injured boat side.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
A big fall brook trout heading home!
The mountain streams are running cold and they finally got a shot of rain to help the brook trout spread out and hopefully ensure a quality spawn this year. The brook trout fishing has been fantastic the past few years all over Virginia’s mountains. Many fish have spawned and there are more fish to spawn in certain streams. We take this time of year to give these fish a break while we focus on trout fishing on the spring creeks and special regulation waters that surround us. There are a lot of opinions on whether or not to fish for brookies this time of year. Many biologists state that you aren’t going to harm future brook trout populations by fishing for fish post spawn. The most damage you can do is tread on redds where the eggs will be incubating for months on the bottom. If you do choose to fish for brook trout this time of year, take care not to target actively paired up and spawning fish and avoid wading in the creeks as much as possible. This dialogue is about being responsible to the resource not to tell anyone how to fish or not to fish. We look forward to being out in the mountains again in a few months!
A classic run on Virginia’s largest and most densely populated brook trout stream, Dry River.
Get Geared Up
Karen always seems to find the largest fish on Mossy Creek. She does have an advantage being married to one of the most innovative fly tiers in Virginia!
Rain…more please…thank you! We had a rough few months of low water in September and October but water levels are slowly staring to come back with recent rainfall. The forecast is looking good with more on the way this week. Hopefully our streams will be back in premo condition here soon to ensure a great season through the winter months. Many of our favorite hatches are done for the year but we do have some blue winged olives, big brown caddis, and the ever present midges to keep us busy on the surface when the opportunity exists. When the bugs aren’t present we will be spending most of our time dredging big crayfish, sculpins, and baitfish patterns along the bottom. Concentrate your efforts on the remaining big weed beds with undercut edges and the deepest holes in the creeks with best sheltering structures. Big fish will stack up in periods of low water in the holes that have the best habitat. Also look for big browns aggressively moving around this time of year. We have been witnessing big browns paired up and spawning throughout most of October and there are always fish spawning into November on the creeks. Concentrate your time and efforts on overcast days when BWO’s will be thickest and when browns are most inclined to feed. Rainy days are the best days to fish with streamers in search of aggressive fish. If you end up fishing on blue bird sky days you may need to fish nymphs around the weed beds and in the deep pools. Jigged hares ears, pheasant tails, and caddis nymphs work great as they get down quickly and don’t hang up vegetation like traditional nymphs.
Beaver Creek is finally flowing again and reports are great. Standard nymphs and streamers will be in play all fall- golden retrievers, buggers, slump busters, zuddlers, kreelex, as well as attractor nymphs like mop flies, bloody mary’s, psycho prince, squirmy worms, and egg patterns. Be sure to have some BWO emergers, haystacks, and parachutes in your box if fish start coming up in the slick water. Zebra midges are always a favorite in the winter months as the big fish become pressured.
Susie Q Farm is currently closed for hunting in November but it will open back up December 1st. We are booking the entire 2018 season right now so call to reserve your dates today!
Our buddy Josh with a massive Mossy Creek brown trout in full color ready for the fall spawn.
Fall fishing can be challenging if water levels are low but the technical aspect makes it very rewarding and fun.
When the browns begin to spawn the rainbows move into all of the prime feeding lies for a short time and feed aggressively.
Mossy Creek guide Wayne Paxton putting his anglers on big fish as usual. The fishing on Beaver Creek is starting to turn back on.
Our buddy Mike with a nice Mossy Creek rainbow on a nasty day. The worst weather can sometimes mean the best fishing on our spring creeks!
Managed Trout Water
Andrij with Jackson River rainbow recently caught on a mini mopsicle fly.
VDGIF has been out stocking our favorite local rivers and lakes. Stony Creek, Cowpasture, South River, South River catch and release, Hawksbill, Back Creek DH, Bullpasture, Jackson River, Passage Creek DH, Elkhorn, Briery Branch, Hone Quarry, Braley Pond, Hardware DH, and many many more. Keep an eye on the daily stocking schedule for updates. Remember that Delayed Harvest streams are only listed once a season on their initial stocking.
Stock up on crystal buggers, golden retrievers, kreelex, slump busters, mopsicles, mini mops, egg patterns, san juan worms, and a variety of attractor nymph patterns in size 10-16 for these VA managed streams. Don’t forget your strike indicators and split shot!