Virginia Fly Fishing Report 5/19/2020

Virginia Fly Fishing Report 5/19/2020

Shenandoah Valley Virginia Fly Fishing Report and News From Mossy Creek Fly Shop.

The James and Shenandoah Rivers

Mother Nature gave us a break last week and we were able to get out and enjoy some excellent fishing. Here is Andy with a picture perfect James River specimen.

We enjoyed a few great days on the Shenandoah and James last week and over the weekend. Fishing is really starting to crank and that said so is the spawn. We were pretty spot on as nests are coating the Shenandoah and James Rivers. Eggs have been dropped by the larger mature females. We only caught a few smaller females still holding eggs. We expect to start seeing fry in the nests over the next few days and into the weekend. Avoid fishing the major backwater areas and do not target males guarding nests. All of our rivers could really benefit from a good spawn this year. Target the seams and transitional waters where spent females and immature fish are feeding on baitfish and crayfish right now. Keep an eye on weather and rain this week as we have a 60-70% chance daily into next week. Temperatures will also drop and might slow the bite a bit mid week. We are updating our guide trip policies to be able to safely and responsibly float clients through the summer. Stay safe and enjoy the peak season fishing!

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- ! 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 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.

The river is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get! 9 pound channel cat from the James.

Take your kids to the nearest riffle and swing some small minnow patterns or baitfish and hold on tight!

Doubles all day long.

The Shenandoah produced dozens of fish an hour over the weekend. We lost count of fish Sunday evening.

Thumbs up and high fives for spring smallmouth season in Virginia!!!

Mountain Brook Trout Streams

Canopies are getting thick, insect hatches are in full effect, and we have plenty of rain the forecast to keep the party going! It is peak brook trout season in VA!

We have never seen more anglers fly fishing in the 17 years in business. So many anglers are discovering Dry River, Skidmore Fork, North River, and Ramsey’s Draft. These creeks have been extremely productive lately. We can’t wait for the drakes to start hatching in the next few weeks!

Reports have been excellent from all of the GW Forest streams lately. We are in the midst of peak spring fishing right now and have great water flow. The forecast for the next 10 days shows mild to below average temperatures again along with overcast rainy conditions every day. These conditions are just perfect for our mountain trout streams this time of year. It doesn’t look like we will get too much rain but may be just enough to keep things flowing. There is a threat of thunderstorms so watch the radar as some storms will be capable of increased rainfall. Forecasts are changing throughout the day so make sure to stay informed if you plan on heading out over the next few days.

News of the Shenandoah National Park opening up is looking more promising by the day! This will take a lot of much needed pressure off the GW Forest streams. We can only imagine how great the fishing will be on many of these streams as pressure has been very limited or non-existent for over a month! Keep an eye on the SNP website or right here for opening information!

Humpies, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, Cahills, Headlight Sally, Clown Shoe Sally, Elk Hair Caddis, 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.

Watch your step out in the woods!

Patiently awaiting risers.

Spring Creeks

Susie Q Farm is open for bookings and has been fishing well. We expect tricos and drakes to show up in a few weeks!

We had a few slow days and some really hot days on the spring creeks over the past week. Some cold front windy days put off the bite but the prefrontal days and the calmer overcast days made for some excellent fishing. The sulphurs haven’t really taken off quite yet but we expect them to show up thick very soon. Tricos and drakes usually make an appearance in late May around Memorial Day. Ants, beetles, and hoppers are also starting to emerge and will come into play here as things continue to warm up. Rainy overcast days bring the best streamer fishing and the warm sunny days are getting better and better for dry fly fishing. Beaver Creek is in high demand as usual and those lucky enough to obtain a permit are enjoying some excellent fishing. Spring Run, Buffalo Creek, and Mossy are all in great shape and fishing well. The vegetation at Mossy is full, lush, and looking better than it has in years. Giant browns are being spotted everywhere up and down the creek. Those fishing the largest flies and fishing aggressively covering water are finding them! We can’t even imagine how good the terrestrial season will be this year! It is shaping up to be one of the best ever!

The hot flies have been- Complex Twist Buggers, Bunny Muddlers, Sculpinators, Conehead sculpins, Crystal Buggers, Kreelex, Baby Gongas, 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

World Series MVP Stasburg enjoying time on the local spring creeks!

It’s rodent season!

Baby Gonga has been slamming fish big and small!

Beaver Creek gem.

Hard to beat peak season days.

Managed Trout Water

VDGIF will finish up the stocking season here soon!

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.

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  • Colby Trow