Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The sad story of the 2018 season is visible on this graph.
If you take a look at the graph above you will understand the frustration we share with anglers across the mid Atlantic. The rain has been relentless and the fishing has been difficult or impossible as a result since last April. Rain, flooding, and high water events are now being accepted as a common weekly occurrence.
What we have witnessed over the past 9 months is a mass purge of siltation and debris in many of our rivers and streams. Mossy Creek has been flushed and has rock and gravel exposed over much of its bottom. The Shenandoah backwater areas and spots behind islands are completely clean and clear of leaf litter, silt, and debris. In some cases islands have been completely scoured leaving nothing but tree roots, boulders, and bedrock exposed. Hopefully this ‘cleaning’ will mean more and better spawning habitat as well as better benthic habitat for insects and macro invertebrates. We do know that fishing pressure for 2018 was at an all time low. The days we did get out to fish were great. Fish were not weary or spooky and readily ate flies. It is our hope that when water levels drop to safe and normal flows fishing will be off the charts!
Stay tuned for warm weather next week. We are looking forward to chasing musky and smallmouth bass again here really soon!
One of a few clear water days in early August provided some excellent topwater fishing.
The Umpqua Swimming Frog continues to be one of the best topwater producers of the season!
Classic Shenandoah River smallmouth bass.
Our buddy Ira Strouse the project leader of the Charlottesville chapter of Project Healing Waters with a smallmouth on his first float down the Shenandoah.
Gar on the James River are aggressive on baitfish patterns and are a ton of fun to pursue on flies!
Bill from the Project Healing Waters all the way in New York City with his first channel catfish on a fly rod!
Mary Margaret with a channel catfish on a clawdad. These catfish have been ravenous on our flies this summer!
We have been avoiding musky in the summer heat but have still hooked a few while bass fishing. Some musky have been coming up and attacking large frog and baitfish patterns fished on the surface. It is always exciting to see these fish but we won’t be targeting them until water temps are safely back in the low 70’s. Book your fall and winter musky trips now, peak musky season will be here before you know it!
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Looking forward to the cooler weather in September and October to get some fishing in before the brook trout spawn.
We are really giving the brook trout a break now with temps in the 90’s. Water levels are a bit low on some streams and it is just uncomfortable out fishing in this hot weather for trout. It looks like temps will drop later this week back into the low 80’s providing for much cooler fishing up in the mountains. Mountain top highs were around 77-78 this week. We look forward to more mountain fishing once the conditions improve a bit.
Andrij Horodysky with an awesome spring creek brook trout in early August. Big brookies seek out these cold water springs in the heat of summer and you can sometimes find some incredible fish!
Trico action continues most days and fish have been sipping these small mayflies when they aren’t full from a night of gorging on hex mayflies. The Hex hatch started early this season and they have been hatching on most of our major spring creeks. The PMX dry fly in size 8-10 has been working well in all colors. Big grasshoppers are gaining more attention as well. Japanese beetles are still out in great numbers. We expect the terrestrial fishing to continue to be great through September if we continue to have such great water flow. Afternoon thunderstorms have been keeping our big rivers muddy but have kept our spring creeks water flow at near spring time levels. We could be set up for a better fall fishing we have seen in a while if this weather pattern holds.
Joe with an awesome brown trout that sipped an ant pattern on the public stretch of Mossy Creek.
John all the way from Ohio with a nice rainbow that he sight fished. This fish sipped a large hex dry fly pattern.
Meghan with an awesome rainbow trout from an early morning on one of our spring creeks.
Thom fishes our spring creeks regularly and was once again rewarded with this nice rainbow trout.
Managed Trout Water
An epic trico hatch, one of the most reliable hatches during the summer months.
With temperatures soaring the past few weeks, many anglers are either targeting smallmouth and largemouth bass or fishing the spring creeks. Focus on Mossy Creek, Buffalo Creek, Spring Run, Beaver Creek, or fish the Jackson tailwater until water temps drop on the VA state stocked waters. You will definitely find better action on the spring creeks during this heatwave. Fall is around the corner so get geared up and ready for the fall trout season.