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 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 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.
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.
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.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: Some of the most exciting fishing for smallmouth bass is found at this time of the year by fishing the tails of the pools the last two hours of the day with Murray’s Floating Chub Minnow in size 4 and 6 and Murray’s Floating Dace Minnow in size 6. This is outstanding on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River at access spot #19 (Covered Bridge) and on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at access spot #13 (Foster’s Landing). Be sure to fish the one to two feet deep water just above the lip of the riffle because many large bass feed here in the low light.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: Put your canoe or kayak in at Chapman’s Landing on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and drift slowly downstream fishing a Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4 on a Murray’s Bright Butt 9 foot 2X Leader with a Murray’s Pearl Marauder size 10 or a Murray’s Black Marauder size 10 on a twenty four 2X dropper below it. Cast this tight to the left bank going downstream to about a mile below the over head bridge. Here turn upstream and fish the East bank carefully on your way back up to Chapman’s Landing. This same tactic is very effective on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River by putting in at access spot #14 (Bealer’s Ferry).
Smallmouth Bass Streams: The North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River are both in excellent condition and are fishing well.
Smallmouth Bass Streams: As the aquatic grassbeds form throughout our smallmouth rivers many shiner minnows make their homes in them and the bass feed heavily upon them, especially where the grassbeds meet the main currents in the rivers. I like to wade or float down the rivers parallel to the grassbeds and cast my streamers close to them and strip them slowly out twenty feet into the main current, then I pick the fly up and cast it down the grassbed at ten foot intervals as I move downstream. My favorite shiner imitations are the Murray’s Dying Shiner Minnow size 6, Murray’s Heavy Shiner Streamer size 6 and Silver Outcast Streamer size 4. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is fishing well at access points #4 (Near Dr. Truban’s Vet Clinic) and #5 (Chapman’s Landing). The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is too high and discolored.
!!!! The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is full but fishable upstream from Toms Brook, VA. Currently the North Fork has 20 inches of visibility and a full level (770cfs at Strasburg and 440cfs at Mt. Jackson). Sink Tip Fly Lines (6′ 2x leader) with large streamers such as the Magnum Chub #4, Magnum Chartreuse #4, Magnum Dace #4 if you’re looking for big bass. Floating Fly Lines and Popping Bugs like a #4 Chartreuse Chugger or #4 Blue Shenandoah Popper along the ledges, banks and grass beds if you feel like top water and summertime are supposed to go together (9′ 2x Bright Butt Leader). Nymphing the cuts between ledges and along gravel bars is a great option of you don’t feel like casting a Sink Tip Fly Line. Go with #4 Black or Olive Hellgrammites or a #6 Murray’s Crayfish Stock up with our 54th Anniversary Crayfish Assortment and save $20. Use caution wading, the river is full. The water temperatures are in the mid 70’s. The South Fork of the Shenandoah is high, muddy and not good for fishing. Hopefully the South Fork will drop back and be fishable by next Wednesday. Give us a call if you have any questions or need help making sense of all of this.