There have been a lot of great stream restoration jobs
going on around the Valley the past couple of years. Many of
theses projects are due to the efforts of Trout
A few years ago the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited
hired a full time Home Waters initiative coordinator for the
northwestern part of the state, Seth Coffman. His main job has been
to organize TU chapters, prioritize projects, apply for funding,
and see these projects through. In my opinion he has done an
That is the reason I contacted Seth about Mossy Creek.
I live on Mossy, and have seen first hand the problems with
siltation, erosion, and loss of habitat on the creek. Seth agreed
that Mossy was long over due for some repairs.
The location of my house today was under water for over
200 years. The Mossy Creek dam still stands just a few
hundred yards downstream. One reason that the banks are in
such bad shape here is because there was so much silt that backed
up behind the dam. When the lake was drained more than 80
years ago, the creek cut down through the silt. Agricultural use
and floods have also contributed to bank problems all along the
Seth applied for money to remove the dam, and restore
about a third of a mile of Mossy. We were delighted to hear about a
year ago that we received the money that we needed. The
project is set to start this spring.
The stretch being restored is at the lower parking area on Mossy
near route 42. This stretch of water has been open to the
public for over 30 years and will affect 3 properties.
I encourage anyone who has never seen a job like this done to
check it out when it gets started over the next few weeks.
The creek will be narrowed, deepened, banks sloped back,
habitat added and vegetation planted. This job will benefit
the trout, the creek, and you.
As soon as we know the date that they are too break ground
I will post it on the blog and website.
If you happen to see Seth on the creek, make sure you tell
him what a great job he is doing.
It seems as though the last few winters have been shorter
and milder, but that hasn't changed the fact that anglers are off
the water for extended periods of time. It is easy to lose
touch with your gear through the holidays and the cold season.
Maybe you weren't willing to give up on your fall season, and
thought you had a few more trips left. Maybe you have to pack
the vest and waders into the attic to make room for the skis and
winter clothes. Regardless of the condition in which you left
your gear in the fall, now is the time to get it into working
order. It is mid February, and although it is hard to
believe, we are only a few weeks away from the first major hatches
of the year.
I have been guiding now for over ten years, and know the
importance of organization and preparedness, for successful
fishing. Here are a few things on my checklist that may help
you be ready to hit the water even earlier this year.
Let's start with waders, because it is still cold out
there, and we don't want to start the season with hypothermia.
A great way to check for leaks in your waders, besides
getting wet, is to go into a completely dark room and work a
flashlight all through your waders. If light makes it through
so will water. Then it will be time to break out the aqua
Next let's check our rods. Rods are fairly
maintenance free. Once a year I will apply ferrel wax to all
of the male ferrules. This will allow you to put the rod
together and take them apart easier, and reduce
Reels are fairly maintenance free as well. Remove
your spool and clean out any sand or dirt, and then lubricate your
reel if needed. Most reels benefit from lubricating at least
once a year depending on usage.
Fly line is probably the most neglected piece of
equipment. There are many great products from Rio as well as
Loon that will help you clean, and slicken your line. A clean
slick line can completely change your cast. It is also
important to recognize when your line is dead. Some anglers just
don't know when to say goodbye, but these lines do have a shelf
Now it's time to dive into the vest. Leaders and
tippets sometimes have expiration dates, but if they don't do some
inspecting. If they are frayed, turned yellow, are cracked,
or can be broken by hand much easier than they should, then dump
them. Guide pet peeve number one is losing the biggest fish
of your life over shoddy tippet.
Guide pet peeve number two is losing the biggest fish of
your life over dull hooks. Inspect your flies. Ditch
rusty, unravelling, or chewed up flies. Grab your hook hone
and go to work on those dull hooks. There are still a number
of great tying days left so make a list of what your box is missing
and get to work.
Some of the must haves in my vest are floatant, desiccant, split
shot, and strike indicators. Checking these now, and not
after you have driven two hours, and hiked in an hour is a pretty
simple idea. However we all get excited enough to fly to the
stream on that first 75 degree day without thinking.
One last thing, don't forget to pay the man. Fishing
licenses in Virginia are good for one year from the date of
purchase. That means everyone has a different date to
remember. There are trout stamps, national forest stamps, and other
add ons that you may need, like your Mossy Creek permit.
Head to the stream organized, safe, dry, and legal in
2013, and I hope to see you out there.
Matt Estreich from TV3 Winchester brought a camera crew for his
beginner class with Brian.
You can watch it on YouTube here.
Matt did a great job, picked up casting very quickly and enjoyed
success on Suzy Q.
If you are interested in learning to fly fish this video gives
you a great overview of the classes here at Mossy Creek Fly
Hunters all over the Commonwealth are headed into the
woods for the fall hunting season and many fisherman and fly
fisherman love to hunt. That is one reason why I love fishing
during the hunting season. The streams are far less crowded
this time of year and as we head into rifle season there will be
even less pressure on the trout streams.
It is important if you fish this time of year to be aware
of hunters. Many fly fisherman are aware that wearing bright
colors can spook fish, especially on small clear mountain
This is the one time of year that you should break those
rules and put on the orange hats. This is even more important if
you have a long hike to the stream through the woods. I
always say if the trout can tell you what color hat you are wearing
you are too close to begin with.
Fishing in the National Forest is where you will encounter
the most hunters. Streams like the Jackson, the Bullpasture, and
North River delayed harvest section are places where you will want
to wear a lot of orange. If you fish on private land then
contact the owner and ask if there is any hunting allowed where you
will be fishing.
If you would like to avoid hunters all together then look
to fish in protected areas like the National Park. If you are
unfamiliar with Virginia's hunting season, check it out on the
VDGIFs website. www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/
We need your help!
Our good friend L.E. Rhodes, reported that some scumbag broke
into his truck yesterday and stole a 8 wt. Orvis Zero Gravity fly
rod in its case along with a Simms reel case with a Orvis Mirage
reel and spare spool and a number of Rio leaders. The also a stole
a pair of the Orvis Tri-Spectrum sunglasses and a 5" NRS Barrel
If you see or hear anything that can help put the long arm of
the law on this low-life please let us know and we will pass it
along to L.E.
Mossy Creek's guide Tom Sadler took part in a conference call
for fly fishing bloggers yesterday to learn more about the Orvis /
Trout Unlimited 1,000 Miles Campaign. Here is the scoop.
The 1,000 Miles Campaign will help fund culvert removal projects
on trout streams all over the country. The campaign's goals include
improving trout habitat and fishing opportunity with these stream
improvements. Poorly designed culverts and other man-made barriers
block areas of streams that provide spawning and rearing water and
fishing opportunities. Coyner Springs here in the Valley is one of
the initial projects.
Trout Unlimited and Orvis are important partners both at the
shop and in the Valley and we are delighted to learn about this new
initiative to improve cold water habitat. We do a lot of work with
TU and as an Orvis dealer are delighted to see them match
customer's donations for this effort.
Below is the official announcement from Orvis and TU. You can
donate to this great conservation initiative by clicking on
this Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign link.
Orvis, TU begin project to open 1,000 miles of water over next
MANCHESTER, Vt.-Orvis and Trout Unlimited this week announced
the first two streams that will be improved to allow better passage
for wild and native trout as part of the new Orvis / Trout
Unlimited "1,000 Miles Campaign.
Murphy Brook in Vermont and Tabor Brook in New Hampshire-both
tributaries of the Connecticut River system-will be the first
beneficiaries of funding raised by Orvis and its customers, and TU
will oversee construction and reconnection projects on both
streams. Migration-halting culverts will be replaced, and
dozens of new miles of habitat will be available to brook trout and
brown trout that need intact coldwater habitat to spawn and to
escape the worst of summer's heat.
Thanks in part to an Orvis grant and matching funds from the
company's customers, the two entities hope to open up 1,000 miles
of new coldwater habitat to trout and salmon all over America. Many
streams with spawning and rearing potential-and fishing
potential-are now blocked by faulty culverts and other man-made
barriers. The campaign's goals include not only increasing overall
trout habitat from coast to coast, but improving fishing
opportunity resulting from stream improvements.
"Opening up 1,000 miles of new habitat for trout and salmon over
the next 10 years is an ambitious goal, but we think we can do it,"
said Elizabeth Maclin, TU's vice president for eastern
conservation. "We're lucky to have dedicated partners like the
people at Orvis-they've always been very supportive of the work we
do, and their commitment to this project means the world to
By opening up habitat in Murphy Brook and Tabor Brook to
migrating fish, anglers will likely see improved fish numbers in
downstream stretches of water, and enjoy more fishable water in the
coming years. Two culverts will be replaced on Tabor Brook this
fall, and work to remove a culvert that blocks upstream migration
on Murphy Brook will begin later in the year.
The 1,000 Miles Campaign will help fund culvert removal projects
on several other trout streams located all over America. These
"Culverts are significant impediments to fish passage and
survival - just as significant as a major dam - but the solution is
dramatically simpler, costs less, and the overall benefits to many
watersheds is profound," said Dave Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis.
"By removing these impediments, we not only add vital habitat for
fish, but we also open many miles of fishable waters for
anglers. We're proud to partner with TU in this effort to
engage the fly-fishing community in support of this often
overlooked opportunity to dramatically improve fish habitat across
If you are like the guides here at Mossy Creek you are always
watching the weather and the stream levels. A big part of our
success guiding and leisure fishing revolves around stream
flow. The early fall is typically one of the driest times of
the year here in the Shenandoah Valley. Unless we get a
tropical system, or have an unusually wet summer, water levels
usually bottom out in September. Not to worry, the water will
It has been said that the average deciduous tree drinks 3 to 4
hundred gallons of water a day. The forested mountains that
flank the valley act like a giant sponge, sucking up the ground
water. By mid-October the leaves are changing color and by
late October they are falling. All of the seasonal vegetation
dries up and dies back. This means less transpiration, and
more water left in the ground. The October sun is lower in the
sky, the nights are longer, and the days are shorter.
This means less direct evaporation of water. Additionally,
human activity changes and less water is used for gardens and
yards, and farmers are done pumping and irrigating.
Fishing with leaves on the water can be a pain, but all of those
leaves jam between the rocks and really help to dam up those nice
trout pools we love to fish. An added 2 to 3 inches of depth
can make all the difference for a feeding, or more importantly
spawning Brook Trout. All of these factors lead to the ground water
level rising, and streams flowing better. Even without rain,
water levels always rebound in late October and early November.
Fortunately this year we have had above average rainfall.
Let's put that water in the bank and save some for next summer.
Here is a quick link to watch the seasonal change of groundwater
in the Valley.
Last week we received a very special thank you note from a
"Just wanted to write to say thank you to Jess and the fine folk
at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for such an incredible day of fishing.
My brother and I were both celebrating our birthdays which are
close, and we won't soon forget the dozens of big 'bows we caught
on [withheld by request] and our very first trip to Mossy.
I put up a couple blog posts on our trip on my blog, deadbait, along with
pictures. We decided not to name [withheld by request] and just
refer to it as Farm Creek out of respect for [withheld by request]
privacy. We're looking forward to fishing with you all again this
All the best,
Read Joel's post's Birthday on the Fly Part 1 and Birthday on the Fly Part 2. We think they
If you want a chance to fish the "Farm Creek," give the shop a
Join us again this fall Saturday, November 3rd for the Mossy
Creek Fall Hook Up!
Tim Borski will be our special guest!
Flip Pallot says: "Tim Borski is without question the most
innovative tyer of fish food on planet Earth."
In addition, we will be showcasing new product for 2013, our new
fly tying den, hosting a group of world class fly tiers, and having
presentations, food, prizes, and more!
Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more updates! You don't
want to miss this one!
Fly tying enthusiasts, are you looking for one of the biggest
fly tying selections available in the Mid Atlantic? Are you sick
and tired of only finding pieces and parts of your fly tying list?
We have the solution to your fly tying needs!
We are building out an additional 300 square feet of
pure fly tying heaven in our shop. Not only will this
allow for a ridiculous amount of new fly tying product, but it will
also allow for more gear and tackle in our main storefront!
We hope to have the new fly tying room completed in the next few
weeks and will have new products coming in October.
We want your input!!! Feel free to email the shop
with requests on items that have been difficult to find, as we
would like to accommodate all the hardcore fly tiers in our