Virginia Fly Fishing Report 9/12/2020

Virginia Fly Fishing Report 9/12/2020

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

The James and Shenandoah Rivers

Alright! We got a week of floating in and we have been enjoying pulling on the oars after almost a month off the water. The rain in the forecast missed us and the Shenandoah is continuing to drop. The extended forecast isn’t showing much measurable rain and we should have much better fishing conditions this coming week. As the days continue to get shorter and the temperatures cooler, the bass fishing will begin to slow down. Last year fishing remained solid into the 1st week of October but the bite dramatically slowed after that. Big cold fronts will effect smallmouth bass the most this time of year and spark their migration to their winter lies. Our 100+ fish days will wane to 50 fish days and down to a dozen fish a day and we will call it quits until springtime next year! In the meantime you should try fishing crayfish slowly along the bottom in the morning hours and then as the water warms up try some topwater bugs. If the fish are reluctant to sip bugs off the surface, try a baitfish pattern. White baitfish flies crushed fish last week. CKs, Swinging Ds, Bunny Muddlers, big Pearl Kreelex, Mini Drunk and Disorderly’s, and Murdich Minnows took the most fish, especially in the afternoon and early evening hours. If you fish until dusk keep an eye out for bass taking hex off the surface! Enjoy the next few weeks as the season comes to an end.

For those looking to float with us, please check your calendars for the 2021 season. Our guides are fully booked for smallmouth and trout trips into November and those dates are filling rapidly. We are receiving an overwhelming number of booking requests right now but we have a waitlist for anyone that would like to be on call for a last minute cancellation.

Check Out Our Bass Selections HERE! Hand Picked By Our Expert Staff –

Want to take your smallmouth game to the next level? Colby has 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- 

We are blessed to have a strong population density on the South Fork!

5 boats out this day and a few put over 100 fish in the boat!

Steve couldn’t keep fish off his fly. The biggest in the net was only 16.5″ but it sure was nice watching him get a strike EVERY cast for hours.

The rivers continue to drop and the action continues to heat up!

We love our channel cats!

Mountain Brook Trout Streams

This week brought more good news from the mountains! The brook trout anglers have been very pleased for about 5 weeks now. That said water levels are starting to get thin in spots, especially on the smaller drainages like Ramsey’s Draft and North River above Elkhorn. Dry River is still holding water pretty well and Skidmore Fork continues to dish out some large fish. All we can say is get out and enjoy this great opportunity while it lasts. Water or not the brook trout will begin their spawning rituals in a month or more. Dry fly action is still good but some anglers are experiencing better success fishing nymphs. Reports are little yellow stones are still the predominant hatching insect on most streams right now with ants and beetles still in play. Most reports have shown that the fish still aren’t overly picky with some anglers catching fish on parachute adams or little yellow stimulators all day long. Let’s hope this trend continues!

DRY FLIES and NYMPHS. Most attractor dry flies and nymphs will work this time of year. Little yellow stoneflies are the predominant aquatic insect right now. Ants and beetles will also be a favorite of the small mountain brook trout. Small streamers will also produce large fish during these summer rain events. Small buggers, crystal buggers, and kreelex in size 6-10 fished on 4x will help you cover water and seek out the big fish you are looking for. Grab A Trout Selection Hand Picked By Our Staff –


The upper reaches of some streams are actually getting low again. North River for example is back to low flow with spooky fish.

Spring Creeks

The hex hatch continues and it seems to only get thicker! We thought this hatch was peaking a few weeks ago but it is getting stronger! This has been making for some good action in the evenings. Strong evening hatches can also lead to slow mornings on the water. We have found that when the fish feed heavily all night on a hex hatch there isn’t much you can do to get them to eat 1st thing in the morning. Action seems to get better as the day progresses. Blanket overcast days are still great for streamer fishing and the sunny days best for dry dropper rigs. Para hoppers, morrish hoppers, sweetgrass hoppers, rubberlegged stimulators, and PMX are still the hot flies on top. Black woolhead sculpins, black or olive bunny muddlers, hat tricks, and rascals have been our top producing streamers. Once the hex hatch slows down generally the fish will begin to target the tricos again in the morning hours. Until then enjoy throwing big bugs and anticipating a rise from a large fish.

Want to catch big fish right now on the spring creeks? Try fishing our ZIRDLE BUGS. These can be fished under an indicator, tight lined, or as a dropper under a big foam bug. Massive fish are being fooled by this pattern on a regular basis.

SUSIE Q is open for bookings now until October 19. The creek will be CLOSED for hunting Oct 19-November. Bookings are being taken December 1- 2021.

Dusk on the valley spring creeks is a magical time.


Managed Trout Water

The larger drainages like the Jackson, Back Creek, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, and North River will continue to fish well for another few weeks. These streams will likely start to become marginal by mid July through August. West VA has some great streams that are fishing well right now like the South Branch and North Branch of the Potomac and the Elk. Give those a try for some early summer action or hit the warmwater streams for peak summer fishing!

VDGIF will be out in a few weeks!

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  • Colby Trow