Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
When the first fish of the day is right where you expect him to be you know it is going to be a memorable one.
River levels are up and down just like a typical spring season. If you know where to fish, you can find big ones even when the rivers are running high. The James and Shenandoah are still running high at the moment. Be careful when fishing high water and do not venture out if flows are outside of your comfort zone. We have been very successful fishing when water visibility is about 1 foot or better. The days we were able to get out in April were epic. Last week we had 60-70 fish days along with good size to many of the fish. The Shenandoah is beginning to produce more and more big largemouth as well. The big females are full of eggs right now but will likely wait out this high water and cold snap period before spawning. We did see a few largemouth bass in nesting sites last week but only saw a few swept spots. Next week we will likely see a bunch of spawning activitiy as temps return to normal. Peak river season is here! Load heavy on big flies- ck baitfish in 4/0 are now available along with size 2 clawdads and crittermites! See below for more detailed info on how to fish this time of year.
The big fish season is here! Colby just completed a facebook live session with Tom Rosenbauer discussing smallmouth bass fishing and focused on fishing this time of year and the appropriate flies to have in your stash. See the entire interview by clicking this link- https://www.facebook.com/orvisflyfishing/videos/252577742558343/ ! The most crucial flies for this time of year are the Clawdad, CK Baitfish, Crittermite, Clouser, Half and Half, Dragon Tail, Wiggler, Nutcracker, and Swinging D. Here is the ideal setup for any water condition this time of year. Have a size 2 Clawdad or crittermite rigged on 12lb flurorocarbon to fish the heaviest current seams. These heavy flies will allow you to get down to the bottom quickly and search out big females laying in wait to spawn. CK baitfish, Dragon Tails, and Wigglers are great for the slow water eddies and spots behind the rocks, boulders, and ledges where the males are picking the perfect spot to spawn. Male smallmouth love rocky areas with stones the size of chicken eggs. These specific flies can be fished much slower in these slack water areas. Males will NOT sweep a spot that has any current at all. Clousers and half and halfs are the perfect searching flies to fish ‘diamond chop’ transitional areas. These are areas near seams and eddies that sometimes hold the largest females. You can fish these large searching patterns quickly and cover a LOT of water in the process. Takes are generally aggressive on flies in these areas. Having these 3 types of flies rigged and ready will allow you to efficiently and effectively cover all types of water you encounter on a float down your favorite smallmouth river. We hope these tips help you to be successful on the water this year!
An update on our float trips- We have cancelled or rescheduled 100’s of trips lately as a result of necessary social distancing. We ARE booking and reserving float trips for the peak summer season. Please clal 540-434-2444 or email email@example.com to reserve your day. We apologize if it has been difficult to get through on the phone during normal store hours. Our phone has been ringing non-stop lately with the surge of anglers, orders, and deliveries.
Calm before the storm! Catching a few 20″ fish before the 40mph wind gusts and driving rains!
April and May are our most memorable months to fish for smallmouth most years. Big fish all day long!
Nick had a day with 4 personal best fish!
0x-2x Clawdads, Ck Baitfish, Murdich Minnows, Wigglers, Todd’s Wiggle Minnows, Clousers, Half and Halfs… It sounds like a lot of patterns but these are all you need to be successful.
Aaron needed some river therapy…caught his personal best fish to start the day! 7lb river largemouth.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Big water is flowing down the mountain sides right now. North River is usually just fishable around 90CFS. Anything over that and you will need to really find the soft spots to find good fishing.
It is the season for big brook trout and we are enjoying seeing some monster fish!
Rain has kept water pumping up in the mountains for the past week. Water levels are above average or high right now. Dry River and Skidmore Fork are rolling but you can find some soft water to fish along the longer pools. North River is back online and fishing well. Watch out for frost and possible ice/snow on the mountain tops through Saturday. We are expecting a few nights in the 30s here in the valley. Ramsey’s and St. Mary’s are also running full right now. Fishing will get better each day as water levels drop. Try streamer fishing kreelex, near nuffs, thin mints, and crystal buggers in size 8-10 downstream during periods of high water. You will be surprised at the size of the fish you will find!
The Shenandoah National Park is still closed but there are hundreds of miles of quality water open and fishing great. Dry River, Skidmore Fork, North River, Ramsey’s Draft, and St. Mary’s have all be so much fun to fish. Water levels are bank full and running above average. Be careful and choose safe spots to cross and wade as water levels will remain up for the next few days. With above average water flow right now try some big bushy attractors that will float and ride high in turbulent water. Humpies, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, Blue Duns, and Mr. Rapidans are great choices. These are easy for you to see and will also float a nymph fished as a dropper. Jig nymphs in size 12-14 like Jigged Hare’s Ears, Prince, and Pheasant Tails are great choices to get your fly deep without snagging bottom. Attractor nymphs like Nitro’s, Psycho Prince, Copper Johns, and CK nymphs are a must in everyones boxes right now. We have 10’s of thousands of flies showing up now every 2 weeks to meet demand of peak season. We are delivering and arranging pickup all day every day. We are happy to create assortments as well. Just give us a budget and we will shop our favorites for you. Enjoy the peak season up in the mountains! It doesn’t get much better than it has been.
Modelo’s and Cahills oh my!
Dry River has been busy but pumping out awesome fish.
Historically our peak brook trout fishing slows down mid June. Enjoy peace, solitude, beauty, and some great fishing action right now while the action is hot!
Susie Q Farm has been fishing very well. Water flows are high at the moment but the creek has been clearing up quickly.
Sulphurs are starting to fire up! It will still be 1-2 weeks before this hatch really gets cranking but we anticipate a stellar dry fly year on most of the spring creeks. Water levels are high and full but these creeks have been clearing up in record time. 1-2 days and you will have 4-5 feet of visibility. Get ready to load up on 5x and size 12-14 dry fly patterns. May is a great month with sulphurs kicking things off along with our first trico hatched followed by our green drake explosion around Memorial Day! The hot flies have been- Complex Twist Buggers, Bunny Muddlers, Sculpinators, Conehead sculpins, Crystal Buggers, Tequeely’s, Kreelex, Triple Doubles, and Lead Eye Buggers. Traffic has been busy at Mossy Creek lately. Please respect the landowners and parking areas. If the lots are full, please find another area to fish. We would hate for these areas to close down from overcrowding. Beaver Creek is still open to fishing. Susie Q is fishing amazingly well. It is mostly booked up for April but schedules are still changing almost daily. Give us a call to reserve your spot on Smith Creek. Enjoy the spring season and all of these great photos from our favorite local anglers!
We are still guiding wade trips on our local spring creeks. We are meeting clients at the water and maintaining a ‘rods length’ distance minimum all day. If you have questions on how we are hosting our guided trips we would be happy to discuss. Reserve your time on the spring creeks by giving us a call 540-434-2444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of our buddies Jason has been out catching monsters on Mossy just about every evening!
Black and blue clawdads aren’t just for smallmouth! These flies are deadly on big trout!
Courtney learning the finer points of swinging and stripping flies on this 1st day of May.
It has been hard for Wayne to keep his distance and not high ‘5’ after fish like this.
A few of the big fish are starting to key in on sulphurs! This was one of our first trophy fish on a sulphur pattern this spring.
It is peak season and you may need some bugs- Take advantage of our huge fly sale going on now! Use code flysale at checkout and save 20%!!!
Managed Trout Water
Wayne has been beating up on the fish at Spring Run.
Water levels are BLOWN OUT on many of our favorite stocked streams right now. Rivers like the Jackson will need 4-5 days to reach a safe levels to fish. Keep an eye on the USGS gauges through the weekend. VDGIF is no longer posting stocking reports. We can tell you that North River, South River, Bullpasture, Jackson Tailwater, and Back Creek DH are all fishing well right now. Many reservoirs are also loaded and fishing well. Take your favorite nymphs and streamers and load up on strike indicators and split shot. Water levels are running above average right now but should normalize early next week. Temperatures will be on the rise next week and the fishing should pick up as well.