October Trout Fishing on Big Stoney Creek
Big Stoney Creek west of Edinburg on the western edge of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is one of the finest large trout streams in the The Old Dominion. It's cool headwaters in the rugged Great North Mountain along the West Virginia state line and the numerous springs entering it cool and enrich its flow as it heads east to join the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.
Many Civil War battles were fought along this beautiful trout stream as Stonewall Jackson's "foot cavalry" sparred with Union General Nathaniel Banks for control of the rich Shenandoah Valley. However, the battles we are looking for today are with the powerful brown trout and acrobatic rainbow trout that live in Big Stoney Creek.
There are 6 miles of good fishing starting at the lower end of Camp Strawderman along Route 717 and reaching downstream to below Wakeman's Grove Road just west of Route 675. There is good access to this stream from Route 717 which parallels it in the upper reaches and Route 675 which parallels it in the lower area. This is all open to public fishing unless someone has a short stretch close to their home posted.
Starting in October you can catch trout in the deep pools with streamers such as Murray's Black Marauder size 10 and Murray's Pearl Marauder size 10. Fish these slowly by stripping them six inches every ten seconds to crawl them across the stream bottom. In normal water levels a floating fly line with a 9 foot 4X leader will enable you to fish these streamers deeply, however if the stream is high you may want to use a sinking tip fly line. One which has a ten to twelve foot sinking tip which sinks at two to four inches per second with a 6 ft. 2X leader really help you fish your flies deeply.
In early October the little dark stoneflies begin hatching and you can spot trout rising to them in the flat pools. Once you see this go one on one with the rising trout showing them a Murray's Little Dark Stonefly Dry size 16 using a 9ft 6X leader. About the second week of October the Beatis mayflies start hatching and you can get some great action with the Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 18. The last two hours of the day in October you will have midges hatching and the Mr. Rapidan Midge size 20 will catch many trout.
At dusk in late October you will find midges emerging all along this stream. I've had very exciting action just upstream of the bridge at Columbia Furnace as the sun drops behind the ridge to the west. This is flat water so wade carefully and fish a Mr. Rapidan Midge size 20 here at dusk.
Throughout October you can take trout on Shenk's Cress Bug size 14 and Murray's Shrimp size 14 if you fish below the springs and use a cautious approach. Two of the largest springs on this stream straddle it at the Wakeman's Grove Bridge on Wakeman's Grove Road just west of Route 675. One spring enters the stream from the west just upstream of the bridge and the second one enters from the east one hundred yards downstream of the bridge. Trout move into the areas below the springs to take advantage of the natural cress bugs and shrimp.
Yes, Big Stoney Creek in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley is an exciting stream in a beautiful part of the country.
The easiest way to reach Big Stoney Creek is to drive west on Route 675 from Edinburg, Virginia. The trout fishing begins at Wakeman's Grove Road and continues upstream about 6 miles. The lower area is paralleled by Route 675 and the upper area is paralleled by Route 717.
This stream (and many more) are covered in my book Virginia Blue Ribbon Streams and is featured on our master map in the fly shop. If you have questions just stop the fly shop in Edinburg, Virginia or call (540) 984-4212.