The James and Shenandoah Rivers
The Shenandoah was at a good level and clarity to float and fish on June 10, but over an inch of rain mixed with strong storms caused localized flooding. It has been a rough season for smallmouth fisheries and we are hopeful that populations are in tact despite potentially losing the entire spawn this year. Hopefully we will have an extended season into October this year to make up for some lost time.
Mountain Brook Trout Streams
It has been a great season for brook trout fishing! The non-stop rainfall is keeping streams full of water and the fish happy. The dry fly fishing has been excellent. In high water flows we like fishing size 12-14 Humpies, Stimulators, Adams, Rapidans, and Elk Hair Caddis. In softer water, we have been doing well with Parachute Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Adams, Rapidans, and Purple Haze. Mini Hot Garcia flies in green, yellow, and tan have been some of our most popular flies. Ants and beetles will continue to become more and more effective as the summer progresses.
High water flows also allow us to use big nymphs and small streamers to target larger brook trout. Jigged Prince, Hares Ears, and Pheasant Tails have been excellent to get presentations deep quickly in high water flows. Psycho Prince and Copper Johns in size 12 and 14 in various colors have also been effective patterns. Golden Retrievers, Crystal Buggers, and Thin Mints in size 10 are great for swinging downstream for large brook trout.
Mossy fished very well last Sunday morning before the thunderstorms rolled in. Streamer and nymph fishing continue to dominate our approach as water levels continue to be high. Kreelex, Near Nuff Sculpins, Slump Busters, Woolhead Sculpins, Crystal Buggers, and other large profile streamers have been the best producers. Jigged nymphs, big Pheasant Tails, Mop flies, Squirmies, and Pat’s Rubberlegs have been the best producing nymphs. Tricos continue to hatch and we are anxiously awaiting clear water for some quality dry fly fishing.
Managed Trout Water
VDGIF has been busy this spring stocking freestone streams and lakes. Sugar Hollow Reservoir, Mint Springs, Pedlar River, Elkhorn Lake, Braley Pond, Sherando Lake, North River DH, South River DH, Spring Run, South River SRA, Douthat, Jackson River at Hidden Valley and Poor Farm, Back Creek DH, Bullpasture, Cowpasture, Hardware River DH, Rose River, Hughes River, Robinson River, Tye River, Hawksbill Creek, Maury River, Silver Lake, Hone Quarry, Briery Branch, Stony Creek, Mill Creek, and Passage Creek DH should keep you busy if you are in our area! Stock up on Crystal Buggers, Golden Retrievers, Kreelex, Slump Busters, and other attractor nymph patterns in size 12-16 for these Virginia managed streams. Don’t forget your strike indicators and split shot!