Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
Shane double fisting a few big Shenandoah River smallmouth from the end of March.
It is TIME! Yes, that is right, our smallmouth bass season is back! We have boats going out Friday with clients and we will be on the water daily until fall if the weather plays nice. The Shenandoah and James Rivers are running below average right now and clear. Bass might be seen moving into shallow areas around ledges, behind islands, and backwater areas prepping for spawn. Care should be taken to return fish very quickly to the same area where they were caught, especially later this month when males are guarding eggs and fry. Please also not this is the time of year when we could potentially experience fish kills and sick fish. Please, report any signs of sick fish to Shenandoah Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, VDGIF, and VA DEQ. If you are not reporting sick or dead fish, you are not helping us solve the problem.
Fly selection is pretty basic for April-May on the Shenandoah. We choose flies for different types of water where big bass are staging. Big heavy clawdads and crittermites are perfect for still spots behind rocks and ledges with heavy over-current or current around the edges of the ‘bucket’. Ck Baitfish and suspending flies are great for large ledge areas with shallower water 1-2 feet. These flies can sink slowly, suspend, or twitch around these popular spawning sites. Big half and half style flies are great for fish along current seams preparing to move into stillwater spots. If rain avoids us over the next month and water levels continue to drop you could encounter some explosive topwater action during the post spawn period. This rarely happens as water levels are usually high in the spring time with off color conditions. We look forward to an awesome season ahead and hope everyone gets out to enjoy the wonderful smallmouth bass fishing Virginia has to offer!
Jacob with a 21″ 5 pound smallmouth bass from the Shenandoah River in late March.
Virginia musky are still spawning and will be through April. As seen in this photo we see battle scars from spawning musky into May. We will likely catch a few big ‘skis through the smallmouth spawn period but we won’t be out targeting them until mid May.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
It has been such an incredible year so far brook trout fishing. March was cool and windy but the fishing was solid and water levels were great. We are in the 2nd week of April now and water levels are actually running quite low and the 10 day forecast doesn’t show much relief. Take advantage of what water levels are left while it lasts. Little yellow stoneflies, sulphurs, march browns, hendricksons, and big black ants are working well up in the mountain streams right now. Our favorite flies include Mr. Rapidans, adams parachutes, sulphur parachutes, march brown parachutes, large hare’s ear parachutes, humpies, stimulators, and mini hot garcias on top. Nymphs include ck nymphs, nitro caddis, jigged hare’s ear, jigged prince, psycho prince, and standard hare’s ears and pheasant tails. Stay low, be stealthy with your approach, use light leaders in 5-6X as the fish will become steadily more weary as water levels drop. Great reports have been coming in from the Rapidan, Conway, Rose, White oak, Moormon’s, Madison Run, Ramsey’s Draft, Dry River, Skidmore Fork, and St. Mary’s. Hit the largest drainages as the smaller creeks are becoming very low. Enjoy the great weather ahead!
Wayne with a double digit spring creek monster that took a small jigged caddis nymph!
The spring creeks are fishing well and we are anticipating the sulphur hatch to begin here any day and tricos next month. Water levels are continually dropping and most are running crystal clear. Beaver Creek is running a bit more chalky than normal right now but isn’t affecting the fishing too much. Mossy is crystal clear and you have to be especially careful in your approach as fish are very spooky right now. We are fishing dry droppers with big caddis patterns on top and size 16 psycho prince, nitro caddis, pheasant tails, killer bugs, and ck’s deep. We have downsized our streamers to size 4-8 sculpin patterns, slump busters, clawdads, crittermites, and a variety of buggers and minnow patterns. We will be out this weekend and early next week when temps will be significantly warmer and we are hoping to start seeing some bigger insect hatches. Reports have been solid from Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, Susie Q Farm. Susie Q still has a few weekdays open in May so give us a call if you want to reserve your own private stretch of spring creek!
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!
Wayne with a picture perfect rainbow trout from one of his favorite spring creeks.
30″ brown trout for our buddy Josh. He has been after a brown trout over 24″ for a LONG time and he finally crushed his goal.
Hefty hefty and beautiful rainbow trout. Spring creek trout are hard to beat!
Managed Trout Water
Keegan with a new personal best brook trout from a great local public stretch of spring creek.
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!