Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
While we aren’t out targeting smallmouth on a daily basis like we are in spring and summer, BIG fish like this are available all winter long.
Winter bass fishing can be tedious but the payoff can be huge, literally! River smallmouth bass are known to leave summer haunts for slow deep water where there is protection from big ledges and congregated food sources. Anyone who floats our big rivers in winter will tell you much of the water they fish through the warm months will look like a ghost town. Miles and miles of water will be completely devoid of fish. As water temps drop metabolism of these fish drop as well. They do not need to feed as often through the winter months. The large fish, especially the females that are generating egg mass for spring spawning, will continue to forage for big meals. These fish congregate on big river ledges or in deeper water with plenty of protective cover. If you are lucky enough to find some of these spots you will likely run into some of the biggest fish that live in the river. Most fish caught in the winter months will be large mature fish, usually over 16 inches. Fishing tactics require patience and discipline. Fish deep and slow with large heavy flies and prepare for a tap, or thump of a bite. Go out and scout sections of river, find some big boys, and give them some long casts and slow presentations. You may just hook into the biggest smallmouth you have ever seen!
Largemouth are still being caught on flies. This big boy was caught by Josh Lee on a very large musky fly while in pursuit of a winter musky.
As you target musky in the Shenandoah River, be prepared to get a strike from a big largemouth. These winter fish average 5-7 pounds and fish to 9 pounds have been caught on flies from the South Fork. Big largemouth typically winter in the same areas as musky, so be prepared to find a few bass stacked up on the ledges or on big woody structure in the deep water.
Mossy Creek’s musky madman Shane Maybush has been out on the prowl and putting a few fish in the boat.
The river musky are a bit off their typical winter program as water temps are still unseasonably warm. We are usually experiencing a big temperature drop in December and the big fish are packing on calories for the winter. These fish don’t need to eat a lot in the winter but they do tend to favor bigger meals. Large suckers are a favorite food source, especially in the cold months. Big rods are necessary to cast the large flies required to get attention. Our guides have all the gear and flies necessary to get you started with musky fishing and the shop is outfitted with all the gear you need to put your next trophy in the boat.
Shane sending another river wolf back home!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
We are giving the brook trout a break for about another month and a half. These warm temperatures may shorten incubation periods by a few weeks if this trend continues. Even if it stays warm, eggs won’t likely hatch until sometime in February. We will be back out enjoying brook trout fishing in early March.
Blue wing olives are hatching on many of the spring creeks bringing many trout to the surface.
The spring creeks are fishing well right now and all have quality water flow. South River, Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, Spring Run, Beaver Creek, and Smith Creek are all fishing well. Some BIG fish have been caught out of most of these creeks. Beaver Creek has been very popular and fishing permits difficult to obtain. It is still worth trying to fish Beaver Creek if you are in the area as it is one of the better rainbow trout fisheries Virginia has to offer. Take your long, soft fly rods for small bwo’s and midges hatching throughout the winter months and for fishing small nymphs on light lines. It is a good idea to have a big rod and heavy tippet as well for big sculpin and crayfish patterns to fish deep for the big boys.
Help us spread the word folks!!!! – GET YOUR MOSSY CREEK, BUFFALO CREEK, and SOUTH RIVER PERMITS ONLINE 24/7 FREE!!! CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK!!! BEAVER CREEK PERMITS HAVE CHANGED LOCATION! Store name: 257 Grocery Store location: 6939 Briery Branch Road, Dayton, VA. This store is located 2 miles from the Ottobine Country Store. If on 257 at the intersection at Ottobine, take a left and remain on Rt 257. Cross Beaver Creek and follow for just over 1 mile. 257 Grocery will be on your left. This store opens at 5AM on weekdays and 6AM on Saturdays. They have the 4 permits for $10 like before. They are a great family owned store. Buy breakfast or lunch and we can be sure the permits will have a permanent home! Thanks for everyone’s patience through this short transition. And thanks to 257 Grocery for taking management of the permits!
An absolute giant rainbow caught on a recent guide trip with Tom Sadler.
Another great fish caught on a tan near nuff sculpin bounced along the bottom of the creek.
Justin stuck this big rainbow on his tenkara rod on Beaver Creek.
Managed Trout Water
Our good friend Andrij with a monster 25″ brown trout from the Jackson tailwater.
VDGIF has been out stocking all of your favorite trout streams. North River DH, South River DH, South River Special Reg, Back Creek DH, Passage Creek DH, The Bullpasture, and the Jackson Special Reg. have been stocked multiple times and fishing reports have been good. Anglers are having success with Kreelex, Golden Retrievers, Near Nuff Sculpins, Slump Busters, Madonna streamers, Crystal Buggers, Jigged nymphs, Ck nymphs, Copper Johns, Guides Choice Hare’s Ears, and Bloody Mary Nymphs. Have plenty of split shot, strike indicators, and tippet rings to be prepared to create any rig necessary. Keep an eye on the USGS gauges for updated water flows and VDGIF for updated stocking info!