Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
It’s that time of year and the kreelex truly shines!! This is one of the best winter streamers you can fish in VA for big trout!
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
BRRR! Here comes winter! Temps will be in the teens here shortly with highs in the 30’s. True winter fishing will arrive in VA by the weekend. Couple that with low clear water and you have some difficult fishing conditions. The musky are all crowded up in the deep winter holes but the crystal clear conditions and bright sunny days have made the fishing a bit tough. Dozens and dozens of follows and just a few eats each day make for some frustrating work. We are hopeful that once we get some rainfall these fish will really turn on. Until then we will continue to scout water to find the biggest fish in the river and we have found some absolute beast fish!
If you like catching big smallmouth, now is a good time to fish the mid river ledges in the deepest holes. Some of the biggest fish of the year are willing to eat large and slow moving crayfish along the bottom. Our buddy Duncan has been out daily on the New River and has been putting fish in the boat up to 23″ and pushing 7 pounds! This is tedious fishing but it can be very rewarding if you are looking for a true trophy fish. We will update the musky fishing report once we have some significant rainfall to put some flow back in the river.
Our buddy Duncan with a true beast of a smallmouth. Congrats on another monster 23″ fish.
We have so many big fish pegged right now. If only we can get some rain to keep these fish from being so skiddish!
A cold winter morning out on the Shenandoah with the entire river to ourselves.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Virginia native wild brook trout.
Water levels are once again very very low. We are giving 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!
St. Mary’s is gorgeous in November and December!
Get Geared Up
Another big Mossy Creek brown trout caught by our good friend Thom who has spent many many days dropping flies in this water!
We are back to where we were a few months ago and we are in desperate need of some significant rainfall. Mossy, Beaver Creek, and Susie Q Farm are low and clear but they are fishing well. SUSIE Q is back open as of December 1 and fishing has been good. Be sure to have plenty of midges in size 18-22 and 6-7X tippets to fish in these spooky conditions.
Below is a recap of last months report but the hatch and fly information has not changed:
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.
Spring Creek influenced limestoners produce some of the best looking rainbows around.
Fall fishing can be challenging if water levels are low but the technical aspect makes it very rewarding and fun.
The spring creeks look amazing this time of year. The waters are crystal clear making fish weary but it is fun and rewarding to stalk fish in these conditions.
The rainbow trout on Mossy become easy to catch while the browns are in the midst of spawning!
Waiting on the afternoon blue wing olive hatch to begin.
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!