Mountain Trout Streams: Throughout the day I am catching many trout on the Mr. Rapidan Ant in sizes 16 and 18. At dusk the Murray’s Moth Dry size 16 is very effective. Most of the mountain streams are still holding good water levels but you will catch your largest trout by using a stealthy approach, going to 7X Leaders and presenting your flies very delicately. The Dan River and Stewarts Creek are fishing well. Large Trout Streams: Many large trout are selecting feeding stations in the deep pockets below the mid-stream springs on streams such as the Jackson and Bullpasture. Fishing small streamers such as the Shenandoah Nine Three Simple Streamer, Shenandoah Silver Ghost Simple Streamer and Shenandoah Skunk Simple Streamer all in size 10 deeply will catch many of these trout.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: Many of the large bass become wary as our rivers drop at this time of the year. In order to give myself a slight edge I now wade slowly upstream and fish deer hair surface bugs with long casts. My most productive deer hair bass bugs are the Shenandoah Yellow Deer Hair Popper size 6, Tapply Bug Black Yellow size 6 and Murray’s Deer Hair Blue Dragon size 4. I catch many large bass along the shaded banks and beside the grassbeds with these.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is muddy and unfishable. Some areas of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River are discolored and some areas are clear.
Mountain Trout Streams: There is good dry fly action on Whitetop Laurel and on North Creek using Murray’s Yellow Jacket Dry size 16 and Murray’s Wasp Dry in size 14 and 16. Watch for rising trout along the banks but if you do not see many just cover the water with these flies using a 6X Leader. Large Trout Streams: There are presently excellent caddis hatches on Big Cedar Creek below the falls and on Back Creek. Since the emerging caddis pupa often drift several feet just below the surface before becoming an adult a good ploy is to fish a Mr. Rapidan Brown Soft Hackle Nymph size 16 on a 24 inch 6X mono dropper below a Mr. Rapidan Tan Delta Wing Caddis Dry size 16 or an Elk Hair Olive Caddis size 16.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: We are presently catching many smallmouth bass on the Murray’s Crayfish size 6, Singer’s Crayfish size 6 and Whitlock Near Nuff Orange Crayfish size 8 on the North Fork of the Shenandoah at the upper stretch of Route 661 off Route 11 (Access Point #1). The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is fishing good at Seakford Landing (Access Point #11). A Sinking Tip III Fly Line has helped me to get my Crayfish to the streambottom in these fast runs.
Mountain Trout Streams: The mountain trout streams are holding up well for this time of the year. Even though the major aquatic insect hatches are sparse now the trout are feeding heavily on the natural yellow jackets and mountain wasp which fall into the streams especially on streams such as Little Stoney West of Edinburg and on Little Stoney Creek West of Blacksburg. I catch many of these trout on Murray’s Yellow Jacket Dry size 16 and Murray’s Wasp Dry in sizes 14 and 16. These flies are fished on 6X by going one on one with rising trout as well as just covering the water. Large Trout Streams: The carry-over trout are feeding well on the caddis on our large streams such as the Jackson, Bullpasture and Big Stoney Creek West of Edinburg. The last two hours of the day you can see trout rising in the runs below the riffles to emerging caddis as well as the females coming back to deposit their eggs. The Mr. Rapidan Tan Delta Wing Caddis size 16, Elk Hair Olive Caddis size 16 and Mr. Rapidan Brown Soft Hackle Nymph size 16 are all very effective.
I have never been aware of the great growth of the smallmouth bass I saw last fall on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. I firmly believe this was the direct result of the huge number of crayfish in the river on which they feed. At dawn, dusk and on heavily overcast days the natural crayfish come out of under the boulders and the smallmouth bass feed heavily upon them. The Murray’s Crayfish size 6, Singer’s Crayfish size 6 and Near Nuff Orange Crayfish size 8 fished deeply around the boulders with a slow stripping action will give you great action below Burnshire Bridge (Access Spot #3) on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is fishing good downstream from Bealers Ferry (Access Spot #14).
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The Murray’ Floating Minnows (Dace and Chub) which I discussed last week are giving us great action. After fishing the lower tails of the pools as I discussed, I am doing well wading upstream along the shallow side of the pools and fishing and fanning my casts upstream in a thirty degree arch ahead of me. A slow strip-pause-strip retrieve which swims the floating minnows just slightly faster than the current is very effective for large smallmouth. This is great on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River by fishing upstream from access point #19 (Covered Bridge). The South Fork of the Shenandoah River will give you good fishing upstream along the West bank of Foster’s Landing, which is access point #13.