Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The water is LOW and very CLEAR right now. This can make musky fishing challenging but also exciting when you can sight fish to them with smaller more subtle flies.
There is nothing like a musky to get the blood pumping on a cold winter day.
A quick update from our last report- leaf litter continues to thin and fishing is becoming much easier, especially on the calm days. While a majority of folks continue to complain a bit about low water we are actually hovering around average flow for this time of year on the Shenandoah. There is hope for a little wet weather in the 10 day forecast. For those looking to improve their cold weather game on the big rivers it is a great time to go out and learn some things about these rivers. If you have never floated in the winter months you will find the water to generally be very clear. This will allow you to find the dominant structure in the river systems and also locate many of the fish you are targeting. Big musky can be easily seen hanging out on the bottom or around structure. Big schools of smallmouth and largemouth can also be found this time of year. Take your time and scout large sections of the rivers this time of year and you can then maximize your fishing in those specific areas. It is also fun to locate big fish and if you haven’t blown your cover and spooked them, you can target them with a good presentation and watch the action unfold! We tend to downsize our flies and leader sizes when water levels get very low and clear. 30lb wire, 40lb leader material, and 6-9″ flies that are sparse can trigger a strike in ‘spooky’ conditions.
The booking calendar for 2020 is already filling up for prime bass fishing. Prespawn fishing really turns on around April 5-10. Anytime before then we can catch fish but historically productivity gets better mid April. Peak spawn generally occurs late April through mid May. Spawn can be delayed by cool water temps or flooding. We have seen black fry and males guarding nests in early June many times. Peak fishing runs May-September. Weekends are already filling up as are prime fishing windows. Reserve your trip today!
Give us a call 540-434-2444 or email email@example.com if you would like to book your float trip!
You can still catch some big smallmouth in the wintertime but it is very helpful to know exactly where they hang out. Hint- scout the deepest holes adjacent to the dominant ledges and you will likely find some big critters!
The dreaded leaf hatch! It can be difficult to make a clean presentation when leaves are choking up your favorite winter hole.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Reports are that redds are visible everywhere on local brook trout streams and fish are being seen actively spawning.
Now is a great time to go and hike and find a few big brook trout to observe and learn where they might be hanging out later in the season. Many of the fish were spawning last week on our local streams. Water levels are now back to very low so many of the fish are crowded in their sanctuary pools again. It is not a bad time to go and assess your favorite streams and the population density as many of the fish are easy to see right now. It can be very fun to just sit and watch fish interact in your favorite holes and runs this time of year. Hopefully these fish will get a shot of rain sometime this week to get streams up and flowing again!
Remember eggs will incubate on the stream bed for months after spawn. If you do plan to fish through the winter please take care where you walk and wade!
Wayne enjoying a hike up Ramsey’s Draft and scouting big brookies along the way.
Frosty mornings on the spring creeks. The trout don’t mind if it is cold out!
The spring creeks are now back to running at average flow or below average flow. Conditions are clear with low flows and fish in certain areas will be spooky and will require very precise presentations. Spring Run has been stocked and reports have been mixed. Some anglers are catching good sized fish in the Cowpasture below Spring Run as some fish have retreated to the larger pools. Small nymphs and scuds in the upper reaches can take most of the fish up in the catch and release area. Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek are fishing well. Reports would be a lot better if we were getting more consistent rain but we aren’t complaining about the average water flows for now. BWO’s are coming off on calm cloudy afternoons for those looking for some fun on dry flies. Small streamers like near nuff sculpins fished slowly near the bottom have been very effective lately. On rainy overcast days the Kreelex is still dominating along with Complex Twist Buggers, rascals, and bunny muddlers. Beaver Creek was recently loaded with fish and permits are still in high demand. You can’t go wrong with egg patterns, worms, crystal buggers, kreelex, and just about any attractor nymph in size 14-16. Susie Q Farm has also been stocked for the fall and has been fishing well most days. Flows are low so anglers fishing long leaders and small nymphs are doing very well out there. Susie Q is fully booked through November but we have openings the 1st week of December.
Most productive streamers- Complex Twist Buggers, Bunny Muddlers, Sculpinators, Conehead sculpins, Crystal Buggers, Tequeely’s, Kreelex, Triple Doubles, and Lead Eye Buggers.
Spring Creek brute from the past week.
Want to up your streamer game? Kelly Galloup will be holding court at the fly shop Saturday, Dec 7 at our winter open house. Come by and see us at this free event!
Contact nymphing? What is that? The master, George Daniel will also be at our Dec 7 Open house helping everyone understand the intricacies of this popular way to fish.
Managed Trout Water
Many of the local trout streams are low and clear right now.
Water levels are low right now all over VA. The Jackson tailwater has been steady flowing at base flow for over a month but fishing well. Your favorite western VA streams are full of fish- Back Creek, Jackson, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, and Spring Run have been fishing well. We anticipate North River DH and the gorge to be stocked this week once water bumps up. Check the VDGIF website for updates and load up on split shot, indicators, and attractor nymphs and streamers for the fall season!