By Harry Murray
Passage Creek flows through the history-rich Fort Valley just east of Edinburg, Virginia. George Washington surveyed this area when he was young and there are well-documented stories that he considered using this well protected area for his army. Stonewall Jackson’s “foot cavalry” used the valley frequently which would be expected since many of his men were from the “Fort”.
This is such a great trout stream that the State of Virginia has placed one of its best sections in their Delayed Harvest management program. From October 1st through May 31st this section is well stocked and fished as a no kill stream.
Fall is a great time to fly fish Passage Creek, so let’s begin our evaluation of this stream and see the effective tactics and flies to use on through the winter, and then we’ll look at the spring hatches and finally the summer tactics.
In October one of the best tactics is to use the Murray’s Flying Beetle #16 to go one-on-one with feeding trout that you see rising along the shaded banks. If you don’t see many fish rising, use this same fly to fish along the runs below the riffles.
When there is heavily overcast weather for several consecutive days in October there can be excellent hatches of beatis mayflies. These are well matched with the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly size 18 and Beatis Parachute Dry Fly size 18. Fishing this hatch is a great amount of fun because you just might have several large trout rising within casting distance of where you are standing. This hatch can last through November so keep an eye out for rising trout.
Capt. Steve Chaconas
No need to use heavy line since most grass will be going, going, gone very soon. Open the tackle box and use search baits to find fish and finesse techniques to catch more.
Fish are shallow and relating to hard cover. Docks, trees and rock are prime targets as are drops and edges. Marsh clumps are best at higher tides. Fish are a bit more active as the water warms. Slow down early in the day.
Try 4-inch grubs on 1/4-ounce ball head jigs; worked in a lot of ways, a gentle lift and slide or a slow swim. Chartreuse on sunny days and smoke with black flake on cloudy days.
The James, Shenandoah and New rivers seem to take weekly hits of torrential rain. This coming weekend may offer more of the same. It’s been the worst year for smallmouth anglers ever.
Capt. Art Conway reports that Chickahominy Lake mid-day water temps were in the high 50’s in the lower end and the mid 50’s in the upper end of the main lake on Wednesday. The lake level was about even with the top of the dam.
Capt. Conway fished with Abe and John Longmire and together had 38 bluegills, 2 shellcrackers, 16 crappie, and a roach minnow.
A few bass are being caught on blow-downs on the South shoreline of the tidal section. Crappie are also schooled around wood cover. Blue catfish are still taking cut bait and some small stripers are being caught below the Route 301 Bridge.
Huge schools of baitfish are roaming the lake. Schooling bass and Stripers are all over them. Better areas are the mouth of Contrary Creek, Rose Valley and the area around Jetts Island, at the Splits. Bass are orienting to steep dropping banks and points. Crappie are schooled tight, with the larger fish suspending over creek channels in the backs of the creeks. Beaver lodges are holding lots of crappie, as well.