The smallmouth fishing has been pretty good for this time of year. A few customers are still catching a few on poppers while others are having success on underwater flies. The bass are holding in water 3 to 5 feet deep and will start moving to deeper water over the next month. The conditions are still low so wade as carefully as you can. Fish the deeper pockets around ledges, downed trees, or undercut banks. I prefer to wade but my son prefers to float. A kayak will get you to many areas of the river but it can also spook every fish before you have a chance. A good plan would be to kayak to the area you want then plan to wade other areas. You can spend a full day fishing this way. The Shenandoah Blue Popper and Shenandoah Chartreuse Chugger are working well on topwater. For underwater flies, the Bass Stonefly Nymph, Tungsten Cone Head Marauder size 4, Magnum Darter and Magnum Hog Sucker size 4 are working well. If you want to fish a dropper below one of the poppers mentioned above, put on a Murray's Heavy Hellgrammite (black) size 6. I am using a Bright Butt 9ft 2X leader. I have not felt the need to switch to a sinking tip line yet.
Both the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River are clear and fishable. The North Fork near Chapman's Landing provides some excellent water. The further downstream you go, the deeper the water will get. This is one of the areas that a kayak would be great if you don't mind paddling back upstream to get out of the river. There is a dam further downstream that is not legal or safe to go around so plan to paddle back upstream. On the South Fork from Bixler Bridge downstream to Fosters Landing provides several public access and some nice water. If you need help on access, stop by the fly shop or contact us.