The smallmouth bass fishing has been slow this week. I suspect the colder nights earlier in the week played a part in the slow action. The next couple of days are to be warmer so I would encourage you to take advantage of it. At this time of year plan on fishing in the afternoon near the deep cuts at the end of the riffles. Swim a Spuddler size 6, Murray's Heavy Hellgrammite size 6 or Murray's Madtom size 6 slowly along the stream bottom very close to these riffles and you just might land one. Keep in mind we are still very early in the season, so you are not going to land what you would in late spring/summer. Simply because the water temperature has to be around 50-55 degrees before the smallmouth will start feeding.
Both the North Fork and the South Fork of the Shenandoah are clear and fishable. I think you will do better by floating so that you can get to the deepest water in the river. There are three dams on the North Fork that you cannot get around so plan according on put in/take out spots. If you put in at Chapman's Landing two miles north of Edinburg, you can float down to the dam, fish the deeper water but you will have to paddle back upstream to take out at the same spot you put in. The South Fork holds 3 times more water than the North Fork so there is some deeper water for you to explore and many more access spots to put in/take out. If you only have a few hours and want to wade, then make sure to bring your chest high waders!
Want to learn more about the smallmouth bass fishing?
- On April 22, 2023 at Murray's Fly Shop at 10a.m. I will be conducting a classroom discussion on smallmouth fishing on the Shenandoah River. This is a basic discussion on access, flies we use along with an overview of appropriate tackle.
- Register for an ON THE STREAM Fly Fishing School for Summer 2023. These include a classroom and on the stream instruction for a full day of learning.