Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
60 days…..It will be here soon! Our favorite time of the year when the big smallmouth emerge from their long winters nap.
Peak trophy bass season starts mid April. It is time to prep gear and to clear the calendar!
The Shenandoah and James are about to touch average flow again after the last big rain event. With warmer weather ahead we plan on getting out and chasing some musky around and searching for a few big bass this week. More rain is in the forecast mid week. Rainfall totals are not yet known but overcast rainy weather with mild temps could turn on the predator bite. Keep an eye on this weather system and the USGS gauges and watch for spikes in water flow. With all local creeks and streams running full right now it will not take much rain to blow out these rivers again.
This warm weather has us thinking about the coming smallmouth season. We are getting out 6, 7, and 8 weights prepped with new lines and organizing our boat boxes. Check you old tippet spools, hook sharpeners, and all of you accessories. Dress and polish lines or grab a new one for the season. The Rio Big Nasty, Rio Smallmouth Line, SA Titan Long, and the SA Bass Bug lines have been extremely popular. The shop is loaded with gear bags, fly boxes of all shapes and sizes, and one of the best warmwater fly selections you can find in the region. Our guides have added a few new Maravia rafts to our fleet so anyone fishing with us can float in extreme comfort this year. If you have not fished for river smallmouth and largemouth make this year the year you give it a try!
The booking calendar for 2020 is already filling up for prime bass fishing. Prespawn fishing really turns early to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to book your float trip!
Make sure you have your big heavy flies for BIG water this spring. You will need to get flies down and on the bottom to find the big fish.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Dry River looks great and has been fishing well and conditions this week look premo!
Temperatures will be in the upper 60’s early this week in the valley. Expect temps in the mid to upper 50’s in the mountains. Water temps will hopefully warm up a bit and fishing should improve as a result. Fishing was good last week but fish were a bit sluggish with water temps between 35-38 degrees. Lows in the 40’s and highs in the 50’s will hopefully bring water temps into the low to mid 40’s. Nymph fishing size 12-14 attractor nymphs will continue to prove most effective through the winter months but we have enjoyed fishing streamers downstream lately. This approach allows you to see water in a completely new perspective and also gives you the opportunity to find some large brook trout. 9′ leaders in 4x and size 8-10 kreelex, crystal buggers, golden retrievers, and thin mints round out our favorite choices. Dry River, North River, Ramsey’s Draft, Skidmore Fork, Fridley’s Gap, St. Mary’s, and the Shenandoah National Park Streams are in picture perfect shape right now. Keep an eye on the weather mid week as localized heavy rain could blow out some creeks.
For those venturing into the woods to fish for brook trout it is recommended to avoid wading through the gravel areas where brook trout eggs are waiting to hatch over the next month or two. Wading over large rocks, boulders, bedrock, along areas of the creek that are dry most of the winter, and fishing from the bank will ensure you aren’t disturbing the next generation of brook trout.
Brook trout have been reluctant to eat dries throughout this extreme cold snap but could not resist a kreelex fished downstream and dangled right in their face.
Choosing runs and pockets to fish!
Mini golden retrievers are perfect for big pools with calm water when a stealthy presentation is key.
2″ of snow last week and temps near 70 this week! Fortunately the spring creek water temps are fairly stable year round.
Not much has changed on the spring creeks in the past 2 weeks other than it is much warmer now and more anglers are out enjoying the fishing. We did skate some caddis around Mossy Creek with great success one afternoon. Fish also reacted well to swung wet flies. We are excited for the dark, overcast, rainy days this week as the streamer fishing should be epic!
December was technical at times but fishing was fairly consistent. Bright sunny days when the water was low made for tough conditions but gave us opportunities to target fish on small dry flies. BWO’s and midges continue to produce fish that are looking up. Recent spikes in water volume and decrease in clarity should provide for some excellent streamer fishing this week especially on the overcast and rainy days. Dirty water conditions allow for heavy leaders and big profile flies. Size 16-18 BWO comparaduns, parachutes, griffiths gnats, adams parachutes, and other small midge patterns have been taking fish that are sipping dries off the surface. 3 or 4 weights with long 5-6x leaders will work with any of those dries. Utilize these tactics on Mossy Creek, Beaver Creek, Spring Run, Susie Q Farm, and Buffalo Creek through the winter months. Susie Q Farm has recently been stocked again and and has excellent water flow. Management of this water is changing for 2020. Fees have gone up slightly but it is being stocked a lot more than in the past. Call or email to book your guided trip or private water experience today!
Most productive streamers- Complex Twist Buggers, Bunny Muddlers, Sculpinators, Conehead sculpins, Crystal Buggers, Tequeely’s, Kreelex, Triple Doubles, and Lead Eye Buggers.
A stick of Mossy gold.
Big streamers are paying huge dividends while water levels are flowing bank full.
Wayne with a stunner.
Calm, peaceful winter afternoons are disrupted by moments of chaos when a brown slams into your streamer.
Managed Trout Water
Fish rarely refuse a big slow moving meal in the winter! Don’t forget your clawdads and crittermite flies!
Water levels are running very high right now. There is no significant rainfall in the forecast this week so we anticipate water levels to drop on the larger streams to be fishable later this week. Many of the small streams are fishable today. North River just dropped below 90CFS. This means the river below Elkhorn is still VERY large but you can cross it in the slower water areas. Be careful anywhere you fish this week as there will be ice covering many rocks with temps in the 20’s at night. High water, ice, and cold conditions will require extra care. Back Creek, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, Spring Run, S Branch Potomac, Hawksbill Creek, and the Maury were all stocked last week. The Jackson, upper Passage, Hone Quarry Run, Tye River, and Irish Creek were stocked over the past 2 weeks. We have plenty of attractor patterns in nymphs and streamers that will work during the winter season and periods of high and low water. Stop in or give us a call for updates on our local streams.