Virginia Fly Fishing Report 5/11/2020
The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The CK Baitfish. One of the most important flies this time of year. If you need a slow sinking attractor baitfish pattern that can hover in the strike zone and dart around and tripper stikes, this is the fly you need. In 3 fish catching sizes! Buy yours HERE.
This cold weather snap and recent high water period slowed down the smallmouth bite and spawn last week. Clarity and levels are getting back to perfect and temps will rebound by the end of this week. Anticipate temps going from winter like to summer like. Temps in the 80s should restart the season and unless we get another big rain event we anticipate the river smallmouth all completing spawn towards the end of the week. Remember males will be guarding nests for up to 2 weeks protecting eggs and fry. We will post updates as we monitor the progression of spawn like we do every year. We have 10’s of thousands of flies loaded up for the warmwater season. See below for the list of the most crucial flies needed 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.
We have boated hundreds of smaller females lately all full of eggs. We have only seen a few active nesting sites from largemouth but expect the smallmouth to be finishing up spawn this week.
The coldest days over the weekend brought slower fishing but we still managed quality every day. Largemouth 19″ and better and a few smallmouth over 20″!
Big water means taking your time and fishing the prime spots very methodically and trusting in your instincts. Don’t waste time fishing unproductive water.
Fingers crossed we can have a safe and productive season floating and fishing for smallmouth!
April was a great month for smallmouth fishing despite only being able to fish a handful of days between high water events.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
Attractor dry flies will take brook trout off the surface the entire month of May. Little yellow stones will make their appearance and stick around through the summer into fall. Load heavy on size 12-14 attractor dry flies HERE. With water levels above average this week enjoy fishing large patterns!
Water levels are hitting PERFECTO up in the mountains. As the weather heats up this week so will the bug activity and fishing quality. We look forward to some of the BEST mountain brook trout fishing of the year over the next 2 weeks.
If you ventured into the mountains last week you probably ran into high water, snow, and wind. It felt more like late February or March than early May. That said the fishing was strong despite the challenging conditions. Our largest mayflies are hatching- March brown swarms were seen last week. Yes, they are called March browns but actually hatch in May here in Blue Ridge. In a few weeks we will see one of the most impressive hatches in our area as the Green Drakes emerge. This hatch occurs around Memorial Day and is very strong on Dry River, North River, Beaver Creek, and Mossy Creek. The big brookies can be seen jumping out of the water for these big bugs. Dry droppers, big attractor nymphs, and bushy mayflies, caddis, and stones will work this week. Water levels are flowing above average right now and water temps will creep up all week hitting the mid 80’s by the weekend! Get ready for EPIC fishing!
The Shenandoah National Park is still closed but we anticipate there will be some openings here in the near future. Fingers crossed we will be able to enjoy those untouched brook trout streams here soon! 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.
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!
The Baby Gonga has been unstoppable on the spring creeks this season. Grab this hot pattern HERE.
The cold fronts last week did slow down the spring creek action. We managed big fish and saw reports of big fish still most every day but we were not posting big number days we typically do in May. Weather patterns felt more like winter last week. The rainfall has kept our spring creeks looking beautiful and running bank full. Temps will increase later this week once we see a return to long sunny days in the 80s! We are highly anticipating the sulphur activity to begin to peak later this week and into next week. The sulphur hatch really kicks off the dry fly season on the spring creeks. Later in May we see our first big clouds of tricos and then the Green Drakes arrive. Terrestrials like ants and beetles will also be in the mix. We have 1000’s of terrestrial patterns landing in the shop this week so keep an eye on the online store and prepare to load up for the hot season.
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. There are some open days left in May as schedules continue to change daily.
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
When the fishing gets tough you bring out the double secret agent flies. Chuck Kraft’s Brer Rabbit flipped the switch for us.
A typical sight last week with rain and cold weather pounding anglers.
We have been loving the volumes of photos from our local anglers this spring. Everyone seems to be enjoying time on the water more than ever.
Fishing the days before big pressure drops can some of the best you can experience on a spring creek. Add some overcast and rain and you have the makings of some of the best streamer days.
Managed Trout Water
Wayne has been beating up on the fish at Spring Run.
Water levels are back down to fishable levels all over the commonwealth but still running at or above average flow. You can fish larger attractor dries, nymphs, and streamers this week with the bigger water flows. Load up on split shot and big indicators as well. 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.
- Tags: fishing report
- Colby Trow