The smallmouth are making us work for it. In the last week, we have had a few days that were good and a few days that were just lousy. The streams are getting cooler (54 - 58 degrees) and the bass are going deeper. Therefore, I have had to resort to either using split shot or switching to my sinking tip fly line and fluorocarbon sinking leader to get my flies down. Another tip for this week--have every color of fly in your box. Some days I have done well with the Murray's Olive Crayfish and the next day the bass wouldn't even take it. Therefore, I tried a Murray's Tungsten Conehead Marauder (Black) size 4. This time I had success. Within the next hour the bass refused the black. Then I switched to a Tungsten Conehead Marauder (Pearl) size 4 and had more success. The fishing has been the best in the afternoons when the streams have warmed just a little from the sun.
Within the next few weeks the bass fishing will continue to slow down as the streams get colder so try to take advantage of the few weeks we have left. I always keep trying until I get skunked three times in a row which is normally by the end of October or early November. Be sure to bring your chest high waders!
Both the North Fork and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River are clear and fishable. If you need help on access, stop by the fly shop or see my book Virginia Blue Ribbon Streams.