It's been awhile since I posted a report on the smallmouth bass fishing. I have had some customers that have been going out on the smallmouth rivers over the winter on warm days just to get out and explore the river. While the water temperature is still cold, these warmer days could prompt some smallmouth to feed after the winter months. The bank bays cut into the river banks often carry extra water from the extra run-off we have at this time. A very effective tactic for this time of year is to use a sinking tip III fly line to help swim the flies deeply where the bass are holding. I like to use a Murray's Magnum Bluegill, Shenk's White Streamer, or Murray's Strymph (black or olive) all in size 4 on a Murray's Fluorocarbon Sinking leader 6ft 2X. Are you going to set the world on fire and catch big quantities?--no, not at this time of year, but who cannot resist a day on the river. You will do better fishing in the afternoons after the water temperature has had time to rise.
The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is clear and fishable. There are several areas you can wade but be sure to bring your chest high waders. A short float for a kayak or canoe would be to put in at the upper access of the Seven Bends State Park (Hollingsworth) and take out at the lower access (Lupton).
The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is clear but carrying some extra water so I would recommend floating this Fork. If you need help on finding the access spots, see my book Virginia Blue Ribbon Streams or stop by the fly shop and I'll be glad to help.
Want to learn more about the smallmouth bass fishing?
- Attend my workshop Bass Fishing on the Shenandoah River 101 on April 1 at 10a.m. at my fly shop in Edinburg. In this classroom setting, I will be discussing the different access on both Forks of the Shenandoah River along with time frames and a review on flies.
- Register for an On The Stream Full Day Fly Fishing School Summer 2023