Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report for the North Fork and South Fork of the Shenandoah River Both Forks are high, muddy and un-fishable and will be for the next 2-3 days The North Fork of the Shenandoah upstream from Mt. Jackson, VA will most likely be the first water to clear as the high water runs out of the Shenandoah Valley and will hopefully be fishable by Sunday afternoon. Keep an eye on the Mt. Jackson Streamflow Gauge – 500 cfs is a good but full wade-able level.
As of 12:00pm today (6/23/16) The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is too high and muddy for good fishing. (USGS Streamflow Gauge – Luray, VA) As of 12:00pm today (6/23/16) The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is too high and muddy for good fishing upstream from Edinburg (USGS Streamflow Gauge – Mt. Jackson, VA) .
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The large bass are feeding heavily on shiner minnows along the deep cuts beside the shallow gravel bars where these minnows live. On the North Fork of the Shenandoah River access points 2 (Pugh’s Run) and 3 (Burnshire Bridge) have an abundance of these shiner minnows. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River at access points 10 (Burner’s Bottom) and 11(Seakford) are also excellent. This is where I get many of the students in my schools into their easiest bass, by wading down the gravel bars and casting forty feet out across the drop off and then swim the shiner back across the edge. Great flies are the Murray’s Heavy Shiner size 6, Murray’s Dying Shiner Minnow size 6 and Silver Outcast Streamer size 4.
Mountain Trout Streams: The upper reaches of the streams along the Blue Ridge Parkway, George Washington National Forest and Skyline Drive are fishing well with great hatches of Little Yellow Stoneflies. Since some trout are taking the nymphs while others are taking the drys, a very effective technique is to fish a Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Dry size 16 on a Murray’s Classic 7 1/2 6X Leader and attach a twenty four strand of 6X to the end of the dry with an improved cinch knot. To this attach either a Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Nymph size 16 or a Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle Nymph size 16. About half of the trout take the drys and half take the droppers. Delayed Harvest and Large Stocked Trout Streams: The springs arising in mid-stream on large streams such as the Jackson, Bullpasture and Big Stoney Creek produce many shrimp and cress bugs below them. A very effective way to fish these areas is to use the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Fly Line with a Murray’s Fluorocarbon Knotted 9 foot 5X Leader using either a Murray’s Shrimp size 14, Shenandoah Sowbug size 14 or Shenk’s Cress Bug size 14. Cast across stream and swim them slowly back across the streambottom with a two inch twitching action every five seconds.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: If you would like some great surface fishing for smallmouth bass go to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and put in at access point #18 (Meems Bottom) and fish down to access point #19 (Covered Bridge). Fish your Shenandoah Slider, Shenandoah Chugger and Shenandoah Blue Popper tight against the shaded banks. Wade slowly because the large bass are very wary.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is fishable South of Edinburg.
Mountain Trout Streams: There are still a great many little yellow stoneflies hatching and the trout are feeding heavily upon them. The heaviest populations of the nymphs are in the leaves in the slow section of the pools and in the moss below the water line on the boulders. Fish the Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Dry size 16 and the Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Nymph size 16 and Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle Nymph size 16. The small streams along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are fishing well. Delayed Harvest and Large Stocked Trout Streams: Many large trout are feeding on natural cress bugs and shrimp below the springs on Big Stoney Creek, Back Creek and on the South Fork of Piney River. My favorite tactic is to fish the Shenk’s Cress Bug size 14, Shenandoah Sowbug size 14 and Murray’s Shrimp size 14 upstream dead drift in the fifty foot stretches right below these springs on our Murray’s 9 foot 5X Nymph Leader.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River is to high and discolored for good fishing.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The river crossing ledges are still producing well but some areas are carrying a little higher water than normal and I am doing my best by fishing my Magnum Streamers on a Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Fly Line with a Murray’s Sinking 6 foot 2X Fluorocarbon Leader. Cast these tight against the downstream side of these ledges and after they sink deeply, strip them six inches every ten seconds to swim them along the streambottom. Good flies are the Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Streamer, Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker Stream and Murray’s Magnum Darter Streamer all in size 4. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is excellent at access spots #4 (Near Dr. Truban’s Vet Clinic) and #5 (Chapman’s Landing). The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is too high for good fishing.