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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report North Fork of the Shenandoah River and South Fork of the Shenandoah River in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report July 28, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: At dusk you can catch many large bass in the water two to three feet deep right beside the aquatic grassbeds along the banks. These bass are very wary so I wade upstream to fish them. A very effective tactic is to attach a Shenandoah Damsel Black Scaled Popper to a 9 foot 2X leader. Come off the bend of the popper hook with three feet of 2X tippet material. To this attach a Damselfly Nymph Olive size 10 or an Olive Strymph size 10. As this rig drifts back downstream to you impart a slow twitching action with your line hand. There is excellent water for this type of fishing on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River at access spots #1 (Near taxidermy shop) and #2 (Pugh’s Run). The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is good at access points #10 (Burner’s Bottom) and #11 (Seakford).

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report July 21, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: The Damselflies are hatching in large numbers in our smallmouth rivers now and the bass are feeding heavily on both the nymphs and the adults. If you see bass jumping to feed on the adults in the middle of the river go one on one with these fish. A good tactic is to fish the Shenandoah Damsel Black Scaled Popper size 6 on a 9 foot 2X Bright Butt Leader and an Olive Damselfly Nymph size 10 or an Olive Strymph size 10 on a 3 foot 2X dropper below it. If there are no risers, fish this same fly rig beside the aquatic grassbeds. Good areas are access points #3 (Burnshire Bridge) and #4 (Near Dr. Truban’s Clinic) on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and access points #11 (Seakford) and #12 (Good’s Landing) on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report July 14, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: Recent rains have raised the lower sections of both the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River but you can get good fishing by going upstream beyond many of the feeder streams. Be sure to fish the aquatic grassbeds with the following shiner minnow streamers: Murray’s Dying Minnow Shiner size 6, Shenandoah Simple Streamer Silver Ghost size 6, and Silver Outcast Streamer size 4. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is good at access point 18 and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River is good at access point 15.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report July 6, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: The bass are presently feeding heavily on the natural silver minnows who make their homes on the shallow gravel bars on the sides of the rivers. A very productive tactic is to wade down into the deep water in the main part of the river and cast a shiner streamer forty to fifty feet out across the drop off. Strip it slowly back. Expect the strike at the edge of the drop off. My favorite flies are the Shenandoah Simple Streamer Silver Ghost size 6, Murray’s Dying Shiner Minnow size 6, and Silver Outcast Streamer size 4. These are on many of these areas on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River around Woodstock, Virginia and on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River above Seekford.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report June 30, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: In addition to the Hellgrammite tactics I covered last week I often fish the Murray’s Heavy Hellgrammite upstream dead drift when there are pockets three to four feet deep in the riffles. Using twenty foot casts straight upstream I use long line hand strips at the rate the Hellgrammite drifts back downstream. Using my Bright Butt Leader with two Scientific Angler Indicators I can quickly see these strikes. I use all colors of the Hellgrammites, black, olive, and brown. The riffles just downstream from Chapman’s Landing on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and upstream from Foster’s Landing on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River have this type water. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is in excellent condition. The South Fork is too high for good fishing now but it should be good by July 3rd.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report June 16, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: One of my smallmouth bass school students, who later became a very good friend, said “harry, in this school I want you to teach me every possible way to fish surface bugs.” I started by showing him how to fish the Shenandoah Gray Chugger below the riffles like a struggling minnow. Next we went to the shallow river banks where he took many bass by teasing with a Shenandoah Chartreuse Slider by  teasing it along the banks. We ended by fishing the Shenandoah Chartreuse Poppers beside some downfalls and grassbeds. These are many areas on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River from Edinburg to Toms Brook and on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River from Luray to Foster’s where you can get wonderful surface fishing.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report June 9, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: Many large bass are taking surface bugs well now. I carefully choose my bugs to produce the type action I need in each type of water. In deep or fast water I choose the Shenandoah Chugger to produce racket to bring the bass up. In shallow slow water I use the Shenandoah Slider to produce a teasing action. Along grassbeds and along the banks I use the Shenandoah Popper.  The new Murray’s Bass Bug Knotted Looped 2X 9 foot leaders are ideal for casting these large bugs. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River upstream from Foster’s is fishing great.

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Trout Fly Fishing Report June 1, 2015

Mountain Trout: The sulphur hatch this year is one of the best I have ever seen. Even though the duns and spinners are heaviest late in the day, I am catching many trout on the Murray’s Sulphur Dry size 16, Shenk’s Sulphur Dry size 16 and Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry size 16 throughout the day. The streams are dropping so go to a 6X Murray’s Classic 9 foot leader and do not false cast over the pools. There is still plenty of water in the mountains to fish the remote feeders. Delayed Harvest and Stocked Streams: There are many large rainbows that are feeding on the Sulphur Mayflies below the riffles at dusk on these large streams. Watch for rising trout but if you do not see any, go with a two fly rig with a Murray’s Sulphur Dry size 16 or a Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry size 16 on top with a Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Brown Nymph size 16 on a 3 foot 5X dropper below it. The Smith River at Bassett and the Hidden Valley of the Jackson are excellent.

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Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Report, May 26, 2015

Smallmouth Bass: You owe it to yourself to be on a smallmouth river at dusk this time of year when the Brown Drake Mayfly spinner fall is taking place. Recently on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River just downstream from Edinburg I had over a dozen bass rising to feed on the naturals within casting distance. The new Murray’s Brown Brown Dry Fly size 14 and Murray’s Purple Dun Dry Fly size 14 will catch these bass. Prior to the hatch, fishing the Murray’s Road Kill Olive Nymph size 8 will give you many bass along the sides of the riffles. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River downstream from Edinburg and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River upstream of Fosters Landing are great.

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