Murray's Fly Shop Fly Fishing Podcast with Harry Murray. Learn to fly fish, Share and Enjoy the great outdoors through fly fishing. We discuss useful flyfishing tips, tactics and techniques which we find useful in our fly fishing schools. As well as frequently updated fly fishing reports for the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Murraysflyshop.
Fly Fishing in April
Fly fishing in April is great for anyone that enjoys dry fly fishing. During the early part of the month there are still good Eperous pleuralis mayfly hatches. The Blue Quill is on almost the whole month. The March Brown mayfly is on the last three weeks of the month. I match these two hatches with Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 14 and the Blue Quill Dry size 16. These hatches are so good you normally can fish to rising trout or simply fish the water if you prefer.
There are two situations that occur in April I need to tell you about. Many of the March Brown Nymphs make a mini migration from the center of the streams to the shallows along the banks to hatch. Often you will see the trouts movement along the banks as the they feed on the nymphs. Fishing dry flies to these fish is usually not as effective as fishing a March Brown Nymph size 14 or by fishing a Mr. Rapidan Parachute size 14 with a Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Brown size 14 below it. This is what we call fishing a dry and a dropper.
The Blue Quill duns can be slow to fly from the stream on cold days and are shunted to back eddies where they struggle to dry their wings. The trout move in below them and feed heavily on them in this condition.
Bass Fly Fishing
Every year I see more and more crayfish in our smallmouth rivers. The Murray’s Crayfish in olive or brown is perfect to use. The depth of the water governs the technique I use to fish my crayfish. Where there are cobblestone stream bottoms over water from a foot to three feet deep I like to wade or float down the river 40-50 feet out in the river from the river bank. I cast my crayfish in close to the bank and crawl it out over the stream bottom by stripping it 3 inches every 6 seconds. This makes it look like a real crayfish scurrying from boulder to boulder. Listen to my podcast for more techniques and tips.
March Fly Fishing Podcast
I always look forward to fly fishing in March on the trout streams. Early in the month the Epeorus pleuralis nymphs become very active. A use a Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14 on our Trout Nymph Leader to match this hatch. About two weeks later the flies emerge and the Mr. Rapidan Emerger size 14 is a great match. Simultaneously with the hatching of these emergers there will be many adult Epeorus pleuralis mayflies on the surface of the stream from noon until dusk. To imitate this I switch to a Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 14. The spinners return to the stream about two hours before dark so now the trout are feeding on both duns and spinners. Again I am still using the Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry.
About the middle of the month the Blue Quill mayfly hatch starts. On some streams this is a very heavy hatch and the trout feed heavily on a Blue Quill Dry size 16. It is a very fragile mayfly and on cold days the duns have trouble drying their wings to fly off the stream. When this occurs the duns are shunted to the back eddies where the trout feed heavily upon them. This hatch continues until the end of Mary and beyond.
Granted the water is still cool in March for smallmouth bass fishing, but I still have anglers that enjoy getting out. There are a dozen different locations on the Shenandoah River where the bass will be holding. Let me explain. The bass lie below river crossing ledges in water that may be from 3 to 5 feet deep. The ledge can be from 10 to 50 feet long. It may have 2 or 3 inches of water flowing over it. This ledge breaks the powerful currents so the ideal feeding stations are 1-5 feet downstream of the ledge. Here I use a Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite size 4. Listen to my podcast for more information>>>
Winter Trout Fishing in February
Often in the winter, while trout fishing, you will come across a stream with several inches of snow. Then when you see Little Black Stoneflies sitting on the snow banks along the stream you get excited. This got my attention recently. By closely checking the surface of the stream, I spotted a half dozen riseforms in a slow back eddy. I put a Murray’s Little Dark Stonefly Dry size 16 on Classic 9ft 6X Leader and cast to the closest feeder. The trout took my dry stonefly on the first draft. I caught two other trout on the same fly in that back eddy before the commotion of fighting them spooked the other trout.
After not seeing any other trout rising in that pool, I decided to fish the upper end below the riffle with a size 14 Dark Stonefly Nymph. By using a dead drift method with a Trout Nymph Leader 9ft 5X, I could easily detect the trouts’ strike.
Over the next two hours these two tactics enabled me to catch more trout in the next mile of stream. Trout fishing in the winter can be fun and often you don’t see as many people on the stream. Listen to the rest of my podcast>>>
Smallmouth Bass Fishing in February
I like to fish the Bank Bays on the smallmouth rivers at this time of year. These are areas that previous floods have carved deep cuts from 10 to 20 feet back in the river banks. These cuts may reach 20 to 30 feet down the river bank. The water may be from 3-5 feet deep.
These bank bays form perfect feeding stations because they provide protection from the powerful spring currents. They also hold large populations of minnows. Listen to my podcast for flies and techniques.
What Streams to Fly Fish in January?
“What streams can I fly fish in the winter months?” There are many large trout streams and delayed harvest sections throughout Virginia and West Virginia that are productive in January. The recent rains raised the streams thus flushing many nymphs out from beneath the stones in the riffles.
When fishing below these riffles, use flies that match the natural stonefly and mayfly nymphs and caddis larva. The Murray’s Dark Stonefly Nymph size 12, Caddis Larva size 14, Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 12 and Professor Nymph size 12 are excellent flies to match the naturals.
For streams that are 30ft wide or less, I wade into the stream 40 feet below the riffle and fish upstream dead drift. I typically use a Murray’s Trout Nymphing Leader with the indicators to help detect the strike. Streams which are more than 30ft wide, I enter the stream right below the riffles and fish these same nymph across stream. I wade slowly downstream casting across stream and strip my nymph 6″ every 5 seconds to swim it across the stream bottom. Listen to my podcast for more information on these streams.
Bass Streams for Fly Fishing
I have friends who insist on fishing for smallmouth all winter. The technique they use is to float the river, going from one deep hole to the next. They find that streamers which produce a pulsating action when retrieved very slowly are the most productive. A Murray’s Tungsten Cone Head Marauder (Olive), Magnum Hog Sucker or Magnum Creek Chub in size 4 are excellent in these conditions. Fish these on a sink tip III line in order to slowly swim them along the stream bottom.
Fly Fishing in December
When fly fishing in December, I like to look for the springs along the trout streams. These play an important part at this time of year for the trout and the angler. The water flowing from these springs is considerably warmer in the winter than the stream temperatures. This prompts the trout to feed aggressively below the springs. The alkalinity of the springs prompt heavy growth of cress bugs and shrimp. These are important food sources in the winter.
There are two ways to locate these springs during the winter. If the majority of the stream is covered with ice the spring will melt the ice and there will be open water below them. When the stream is free of ice, you can locate the springs by the rich green aquatic weed growth which grows in and just downstream of the springs.
If the stream is less than 15 feet wide I fish them upstream dead drift right below the springs with a Cress Bug or Murray’s Shrimp size 14. If the stream is more than 15 feet wide I fish across stream with the same two flies casting right below the springs.
Bass Fly Fishing
Bass do feed in December but not as actively as they do in the summer. I find they select feeding stations in protected areas away from the full force of the river current. The back eddies which form below the riffles on the side of river with the slowest current provide excellent feeding stations with a good supply of minnows for the bass to feed upon.
These back eddies may range from 4-6 feet deep. Flies which match the minnows are the Magnum Hog Sucker, Magnum Creek Chub, and Magnum Darter size 4. These back eddies can be fished from a boat in the main part of the river or by wading down the shallow water beside the bank. The goal is to fish the whole back eddy thoroughly with overlapping casts to swim your flies slowly along the stream bottom.
Fly Fishing in November Podcast
What can you expect when fly fishing in November? In todays podcast I will be discussing the trout and bass fishing in the area.
Fly Fishing for Trout
The delayed harvest and larger trout streams in Virginia and surrounding areas provide some excellent fishing during the hatches of midges. These are thickest the last two hours of the day and on heavily overcast days. Since these flies are so small, often I can see trout rising to take the natural midges before I see the flies.
When the trout are rising to feed on the adult midges, they actually suck the midges in so that we see a dimple on the surface. I go one on one with these trout with a Mr. Rapidan Midge size 20.
When the trout are feeding on the emerging nymphs I usually see a splashy riseform as the inertia of their body produces a splash or a swirl right at the surface. I fish for these trout with a Brassie size 16 or a Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph, Olive size 16.
Occassionally you will see different trout in the same pods feeding on emergers as well as adults. An effective technique here is to fish a Mr. Rapidan Midge size 20 with a Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle size 16 on a 24 inch dropper. Listen to my podcast for more information.
Every year in November I have a few favorite spots that I regularly return to because the smallmouth fishing is good. These are pools formed by ledges running all the way across the river in the head and tail of the pool. The water in these pools range from 3 to 6 feet deep. The water flowing over these ledges, going into and out of these pools, is from several inches to a foot deep. Apparently the appeal of these pools to the bass is the protection they gain from the depth of the water and the abundance of minnows they hold.
My favorite way to fish these pools is to wade into the river just downstream of the lower ledge. Wading all the way across the river, I fan my casts up and up and across stream to cover all of the water I can reach. Then if the water is not to deep, I wade up into the pool and continue fishing. If the pool is too deep to wade in the center I move over to the side of the pool and continue wading upstream.
Since I’m casting upstream and swimming my flies back downstream, just slightly faster than the current, I find the fly selection is critical. Ostrich Herl in a fly swims very well when it is stripped back downstream so I use flies tied with this. The Murray’s Strymph and Murray’s Marauder are my most consistent flies for catching large bass in these pools in November.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Recently moved to the area nearby the shop. I find the podcast very informative. Maybe I can go check them out once the world returns to normal.
Great Meat & Potatoes , Boots on the Ground reporting
What a great monthly podcast, and what a great idea to have
This is the best fly fishing podcast series out there.