Fool the Trico Feeder

Fool the Trico Feeder- Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop- Virginia
The Trico hatch brings up many large trout. I like to get to the stream early and stay late to catch the early and late feeders.

Today’s blog I will be discussing how to fool the Trico feeder.

I really enjoy fishing the Trico mayfly hatch all across the country. This hatch can be very heavy on some streams.

For example, one morning as I was fishing upstream, I came to a low-hanging limb of an oak tree. This limb had a fresh spider web that trapped many tricos. Holding my hand up beside the spider web and counting by tens I estimated that under the span of my hand there were two hundred trapped tricos.

At the peak of this hatch the trout are often very selective in requiring a drag-free drift and the pattern they will take. I have found an easy way to fool some of these tough trout. The best way is get to the stream an hour before the hatch starts. I also stay an hour after it is over.

The trout are much easier to catch when the Tricos are sparse at the beginning and end of the hatch.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email Address: info@murraysflyshop.com

Splash

Splash- Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia
The natural cricket often falls onto the stream with a splash so presenting Shenk’s Cricket with a splash often brings solid strikes.

Today’s blog I will talk about how to present a fly so it lands on the stream with a slight splash.

From the middle of the summer until fall many trout feed heavily on terrestrial insects.  I experiment with various methods of fishing these from natural drifts to a twitching action to dapping. However, there is one type of presentation which often brings solid strikes from large trout when all other methods fail. This is presenting the fly so it lands on the stream with a slight splash. I assume the trout are attracted to an artificial fly which lands on the stream in this way because the trout are accustomed to feeding on natural beetles, wasp, hornets, grasshoppers and crickets which land on the stream with a splash.

This type delivery is easy to achieve by imparting a firm snap at the last moment when using a regular cast or a roll cast.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email Address: info@murraysflyshop.com

Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams

Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams
Many large trout feed heavily during the winter in the large streams.
Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams
Murray’s Black Marauder, Murray’s Pearl Marauder, Mr. Rapidan Dry, Murray’s Dark Miracle Stonefly Nymph and Mr. Rapidan Brown Soft Hackle Nymph.

Last year from January until March these were our five best winter trout flies for large streams.

Fishing these nymphs and streamers deeply in the pockets below the riffles and in the deep pools produce many large trout. I do well with the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly by fishing it along the edges of the riffles where the trout enter the pools.

I fish the nymphs and streamers on a Murray’s Trout Nymph 9 foot 4X  Leader with the built in Scientific Anglers Indicators. I fish the dry fly on a Murray’s Classic 9 foot 4X Leader.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing in January Podcast

Midge Fly Fishing in January 2017

Jeff on the Firehole Fly Fishing
There is outstanding midge fishing on the Firehole.

Midge Fly Fishing–Many trout feed heavily on chironomid midges in our large trout streams throughout the winter. This month Harry Murray discusses the tactics and flies that are effective in fly fishing for trout with Chironomid midge flies both on the surface and underwater.  These tactics and midge fly patterns will work well for you whether you are fishing on the Firehole in the Yellowstone National Park or on Big Stoney Creek in Edinburg, Virginia.

Fishing a Midge Hatch
Jeff Murray enjoys fishing the midge hatches all across the country because of the great challenge these trout provide.

My favorite adult midge patterns include the Mr. Rapidan Midge size 18, 20; Murray’s Dark Stonefly Dry size 18; Murray’s Bronze Stonefly Dry size 18.   For trout feeding on natural emerging midges I like to use a Copper Brassie size 18 or 20 or a Copper John Zebra Nymph size 18.

In the last part of my January Podcast I will cover how to clean your gear including your rods, reels, flies, fly lines, vests/raincoats, and waders.  I have made several videos on caring for you gear–check them out.    Rods Video     Fly Lines 

How to Clean a Reel
A clean reel will run smoothly and last longer.

Fly Fishing Workshops
January 14, 2017  Fly Tying Class from 10 a.m. to noon
January 21, 2017  Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park Workshop from 10a.m. to noon
January 28, 2017 Mastering Trout Fishing Workshop from 10a.m. to noon

All winter workshops are held at my fly shop at

Murray’s Fly Shop
P.O. Box 156 (121 S. Main St.)
Edinburg VA 22824
PH 540-984-4212
www.murraysflyshop.com

Caddisflies

Caddisflies Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop Edinburg, Virginia
One can often catch many trout with a Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa as a dropper below a Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis when a caddis hatch is on.

There is a good hatch of caddisflies and you see several trout feeding in each pool. However, even though you try several dry caddisflies in different colors and sizes, you can’t seem to catch many trout.

What is the problem?

Many natural caddis pupa drift several feet just below the surface of the stream before breaking through to fly away as adults. Frequently it is difficult to discern if the trout are taking the emerging pupa or the adult. A good tactic to solve this problem is to fish a Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis on a Murray’s Classic 7.5 foot 5X Leader with a Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa on a twenty four 6X mono dropper coming off the bend of the dry fly hook with an improved clinch knot. This way you will catch the pupa feeders and dry fly feeders.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing Tackle Questions

Fly Fishing Taackle Questions
Here on Bis Spring Creek my 6X Classic Leader was perfect for fishing my Mr. Rapidan Ant size 18.

There are two  fly fishing tackle questions that anglers have been asking Murray’s Fly Shop so Mr. Harry Murray has answered those questions below.

  1. Why can’t you present a size 6 Popper smoothly on a 6X Leader?
  2. Why can’t you catch a rising trout on a size 18 dry fly fished on an 0X Leader?

The answer is simple: The leader tippet has to be chosen correctly to match the fly size. The formula below helps.

Fly Size ÷ 3 = Tippet in X

An example is size 18 Fly ÷ 3 = 6X Tippet

So remember this formula next time you are fishing!

Also check out Fly Fishing Questions and Answers Blog.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com

Slack Line Casts

Ever since Vince Marinaro showed me his puddle cast here on the Letort, I have relied on it daily to achieve drag-free fly drifts.

I have come to rely strongly on Marinaro’s  “Puddle Cast” in order to achieve drag free dry fly drifts to fool the trout.
Even though I have been using this cast successfully for many years, ever since Vince showed me how to present it, just this year I have found many special situations in which it has helped me catch many trout that I would not have caught otherwise.
Basically the forward presentation is stopped about thirty degrees above the stream with extra line in the air than is needed to reach the target. The cast is stopped suddenly and the extra line is allowed to fall on the stream in a puddle.
I have been able to extrapolate the refinements of the puddle casts by altering the elevation and angle of the rod and the speed of the line on the presentation.

Fly Fishing Questions Podcast

Fly Fishing Questions and Answers Podcast
Skating dry flies for smallmouth bass that are jumping to feed on adult damselflies is one of the most exciting forms of smallmouth fishing. It is so easy to master that many beginning anglers in our smallmouth bass schools catch many bass this way with the Mr. Rapidan Skater Dry Fly (pictured).

My fly fishing questions and answers podcast for December will cover several topics that I have been asked over the last several months.   I will cover the benefits of designing and tying your own flies, especially since the weather will be so cold in the next few days and the streams will be to cold for good fishing.

Also covered in this fly fishing podcast is a technique I use  for small streamers with the bounce retrieve.  I will be covering my three favorite types of popper (hard head bugs) and the best types of fishing each style covers.  Lastly, I will be discussing the smallmouth skaters.

Primary Feeding Stations for Trout

Primary Feeding Stations Jeff Murray Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
Learning to identify the primary feeding stations in the streams is one of the most valuable things you can master.

Learning to find the primary feeding stations for trout is the most valuable thing an angler can learn.
The largest trout in the pool selects what I call the Primary Feeding Station. This location enables the trout to capture the maximum amount of food while expending the least amount of energy.
Experience on the stream will teach you to identify these with great accuracy. I saw my fishing partner prove this. He allowed himself only one cast into each pool on ten consecutive pools… He caught ten trout.

Harry Murray
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing Podcast for December 2016

Charlie Brooks with Harry Murray
Charlie Brooks taught Harry Murray a great deal about trout fishing on the big western rivers.

In m December Fly Fishing Podcast I am going to discuss the trout fishing and the bass fishing that we can expect to see over the next month and the best tactics to use.

December can provide some excellent fly fishing for large browns and rainbows in large trout streams all across the country.  In order to take advantage of this great action my friend Charlie encouraged using a two or three nymph rig fished along the stream bottom in the areas where the stream bottom was covered with many basketball size stones.  I still use this method today along with my Swing Nymphing Method when fishing in smaller trout streams.  The most effective flies that I discuss in the fly fishing podcast for trout include: Murray’s Roadkill Nymph, Black size 6 & 8, Casual Dress Nymph size 6 & 8, Murray’s Strymph, Olive size 4 & 8, Bitch Creek Nymph size 6 & 8, Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14, Murray’s Dark Stonefly Nymph size 12, Murray’s Caddis Larva size 14, and Murray’s Yellow Stonefly Nymph size 14

Since the bass fishing has slowed down I want to discuss an effective approach for developing and tying your own bass flies that will help you catch more bass in your own waters. A logical starting point is to consider the areas you fish and look at the specific flies you fish in each situation and are these flies productive or not.  I will be discussing my Murray’s Hellgrammite, Strymph, Magnum Streamer Series, and Floating Minnows.

Workshop on Fly Tying
If you are interested in tying your own flies, then consider taking one of my fly fishing workshops.

My next fly tying class will be on Saturday, January 14 from 10a.m. to noon at Murray’s Fly Shop.
For more information visit our website or stop by my fly shop at
121 S. Main St, Edinburg VA 22824    Ph 540-984-4212

Fly Fishing Essentials- Must Haves

Fly Fishing Essentials- Must Haves Extra Fly Boxx Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop
I always carry an extra fly box in my vest or chest pack just in case I loose my main fly box.

Fly fishing essentials- must haves include a variety of gear, an extra fly box is an easy one.
For my trout fishing I carry the flies I need for each trip in one small fly box in my chest pack. When doing this on the Armstrong last year I lost my main fly box and had to fish with those flies that were on my dry fly patch. Ever since that day I have carry a second small fly box with a dozen emergency flies in my chest pack.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 South Main Street
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Safe Wading Techniques

Safe Wading Techniques Fly Fishing Outer Banks Murray's Fly Shop
Fishing the Outer Banks is great from a guide boat but be careful if you are wading alone.

Safe wading techniques are paramount to your enjoyment while on the water.  Several years ago I almost drowned at the Outer Banks when I foolishly waded into water that was too deep while wearing chest high waders. I now do two things differently.  Since I now fish there after May, I always wade wet figuring I can swim better with no waders. I also wear a inflatable life belt.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 South Main Street
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Chest High Waders or Hippers?

I find hippers ideal for fishing small mountain trout streams and go to chest high waters on large streams.
I find hippers ideal for fishing small mountain trout streams and go to chest high waters on large streams.

I use Chest High Waders when I am fishing large trout streams and smallmouth bass rivers.  I wear hippers when I am fishing mountain trout streams. If I walk into a mountain trout streams for two miles or less I wear my hippers to walk in. If I plan to walk in more than two miles, I hang my hippers over my shoulder and wear hiking shoes to walk in, then stick my shoes up on the bank and put my hippers on to fish.  After I finish fishing, I put my hiking shoes back on and carry my hippers to walk back out of the mountain.

The Angler’s Friend – Folstaf Wading Staff

Harry Murray Folstaf Wading Staff Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Virginia
My Folstaf Wading Staff is neatly folded only inches away from my right hand where I can quickly grab it when I need it.

I never head into any stream without my Folstaf Wading Staff.  Many anglers readily see the safety advantages of using a Wading Staff when fishing deep water.  However, if you do slip and fall into water which is waist deep you get wet. But remember if you fall down in water which is ankle deep, you can easily break bones. I have tested many different styles of wading staffs, but I like my Folstaff Wading Staff best of all because it is very durable and dependable.

Watch out video on our Folstaff Wading Staff, https://vine.co/v/MOQHwvt0gAg

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 South Main Street
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
540-984-4212
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing in Virginia in November & December

Fly Fishing November December
You can still get some good fishing throughout November and December if you know where to go and what to use.

Each year I get asked, “What kind of fly fishing can I expect for November and December in Virginia?’

November and December provide outstanding  fly fishing for large trout and smallmouth bass. However, the cooling streams and the natural foods change the feeding habits of the fish and we get our best results by adjusting our fly selections and angling tactics accordingly.

In order for you to get good fishing I will break down my three favorite forms of angling at this time of the year. First we’ll look at my favorite Pennsylvania fishing, then we’ll discuss Virginia’s Delayed Harvest Streams and large stocked trout streams and finally I’ll cover the smallmouth fishing.

Click here to read more of my fly fishing guide where I cover the stocked trout streams, delayed harvest areas,  and smallmouth rivers.  I go into detail about the techniques to use, what flies to use, fly lines, and fly rods that will help you get the best fishing.

Don’t forget I will be holding fly fishing workshops on Saturdays in my fly shop from 10a.m. to noon.  I cover many topics including fly tying, fly casting, trout fishing, bass fishing and selecting the proper fly rods.  To see the schedule and to sign up…visit our website.

Harry Murray’s Fly Shop
121 S. Main St.
Edinburg VA 22824
info@murraysflyshop.com
www.murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing Podcast Report–November 2016

Olive Mayfly Hatch in this Fly Fishing Podcast
The wild browns and rainbows feed heavily on the olive mayflies when they are this thick on the stream.

This Fly Fishing Podcast Report will cover the trout and bass fishing that we can expect in Virginia  for the month of November.

In the trout portion of this podcast Harry Murray discusses the wonderful dry fly that can be found during the Olive Mayfly hatches and the great Pennsylvania streams where you can catch wild natural reproducing browns and rainbows and the most productive flies.  Need flies to match this hatch?  The Beatis Parachute size 18, CDC Blue Wing Olive size 18 and Mr. Rapidan Parachute size 18 are wonderful to match this hatch.

The second portion of this fly fishing podcast, Harry goes into detail on where to catch large bass in November, the areas the bass are holding in, and the best tactics.  He also explains why he uses a Sinking Line with Fluorocarbon 6ft Leaders.

Magnum Bass Streamer Fly Special with 2 free leaders for $26.00

Spring Creek Fishing on the Letort Fly Fishing Podcast
The Letort is Harry Murray’s favorite stream on the east coast and he gets great dry fly fishing on the Blue Wing Olive mayfly hatch here.

Fly Fishing Workshops from 10a.m. to noon

November 5, 2016–Learning to Fly Fish
November 12, 2016–Fly Casting and Rigging
November 19, 2016–Basic Fly Tying
To see all of our winter workshop or to Register, click here!

Harry Murray’s Fly Shop
121 S. Main St., Edinburg VA 22824
info@murraysflyshop.com
www.murraysflyshop.com

Fly Fishing Newsletter

November 2016 Fly Fishing Newsletter
When the olives are this thick the trout feed heavily on them.

In this fly fishing newsletter I want to discuss the little olives and the best techniques to catch the large bass.

Trout Fishing–  Vince Marinaro looked me straight in the eyes and exclaimed, “Don’t overlook the little olives, just never overlook the little olives”. He was referring to the multi-brooded beatis and pseudocleon mayfly hatches that can be outstanding in November.

Bass Fishing–For the last several years I’ve been able to fish for smallmouth bass well into November with good success.  My success comes by fishing the deepest pools with a fast sinking head fly line which enables me to swim large streamers slowly along the stream bottom.

To read my entire fly fishing newsletter for November, click here.

You can also register to have this FREE Fly Fishing Newsletter sent to your email every month.

Visit our website at www.murraysflyshop.com or call us at 540-984-4212 for more information.

Murray’s Fly Shop (Harry Murray)
121 S. Main St., Edinburg VA 22824

Fly Casting Classes

Jeff Murray On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools Murray's Fly Shop Virignia
We teach the students in our schools all types of casts and how to use each cast in different situations.

In my Fly Casting and Rigging Tackle Classes and in my “On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools”, I find that most beginning anglers are more interested in learning to cast far than they are to cast well.
Long casts are great when you need them, but for most trout anglers accuracy and delicacy in fly placement are the main goals which spell success on the stream. When I show my students my “flip cast” and my “pendulum cast”, they are astounded with the accuracy in fly placement they can achieve. The ultimate reward which thrills them is the great number of wary trout they catch in this way.

Harry Murray
Murray’s Fly Shop
121 South Main Street
PO Box 156
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
540-984-4212
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com
Email: info@murraysflyshop.com

Sink Tip Mini Lead Head

Instant Sink Tip Class III (4 feet)
Instant Sink Tip Class III

I used to make these out of lead core trolling line in many lengths from four inches to ten feet long. I whipped a loop on both ends.  Today I have settled for a four foot model. By inserting these into a regular leader with a loop-to-loop connection, you can fish streamers and nymphs to extra depths. These do not work as well nor cast as well as the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Fly Lines but they are an inexpensive substitute.

Scientific Anglers Indicators

Scientific Anglers Indicators
Scientific Anglers Indicators

Many years ago when I showed Howard West, an executive with Scientific Anglers, how I made these with old fly lines. He was very excited and offered to build a hollow version and put them on the market as Scientific Anglers Indicators.  Today it is my favorite indicator because it preforms many invaluable angling functions in addition to detecting strikes.  Some of these include being  a depth gauge when swing nymphing, tippet locator when using a back up drift streamer technique, fly-locator when fishing midges on long leaders, depth gauge when using the escape streamer technique and strike detector when using a dead drifting nymph technique.  Many of you who have taken my “On the Stream Schools” will be familiar with these ways of using the Scientific Anglers Indicators.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers October 2016

Harry Murray's Question and Answer Podcast
The Murray’s Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly from size 14 to size 20 is my favorite dry fly because it seldom lets me down.

Each month Harry Murray discusses some fly fishing questions that he is asked through emails and phone calls.  This month he discusses the advantages to using a wading staff and snake bite kits, how to clean and waterproof your dry flies with Murray’s Dry Fly Floatant, and dressing your leaders.   Also, how was the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly and Murray’s Hellgrammite pattern developed?

You can tie your own Murray’s Hellgrammites by using our fly tying kit. Interested in learning fly tying–consider our fly tying workshop on Saturday, November 19 from 10a.m. to noon.

Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant

Murray's 4 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant.
Murray’s 4 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant.
Murray's 1 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant
Murray’s 1 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant
Murray's Dry Fly Floatant with Holder.
Murray’s Dry Fly Floatant with Holder.

I make this in my fly shop with special ingredients in order to achieve the three most important functions I believe we need in a dry fly floatant. This cleans, drys and waterproofs a dry fly all in one step.
Some anglers soak the dry flies they plan to use in this solution for ten minutes a day or two before they are going fishing in order to build a semi-waterproof coating on each fly.

Bargain Hunting

Murray's Fly Shop Fly Tying Wokrshop
Murray’s Fly Shop Fly Tying Workshop

Stop by a yard sale or garage sale and purchase a used food blender for several dollars. These are wonderful for blending your dubbing materials. Just wipe it down regularly with a Bounce Fabric Softener Sheet to hold down the static electricity.

Fly Fishing Report for October 2016

Trout Fishing in October
The Blackfoot River downstream from Lincoln, Montana is one of the most beautiful rivers in the country. I get great streamer fishing here in October for browns, rainbows and cutthroats.

For my  Fly Fishing Report for October I want to discuss the techniques which are effective in fishing streamers for large trout all across the country.  I use these techniques in some of my favorite trout streams including the South Branch of the Smoke Hole in West Virginia, Hidden Valley of the Jackson in Virginia, the Beaver Kill in the Catskills and the Blackfoot River in Montana.  What flies do I use?  My top 6 flies:  Spuddler size 6, Murray’s Black Madtom/Sculpin size 8, Mr. Rapidan Streamer size 8, Murray’s Olive Marauder size 6, Murray’s Black Marauder size 6 and Shenandoah Silver Ghost Streamer size 10

Bass Fishing in October
Jeff Murray catches some of his largest bass by fishing the Murray’s Floating Chub Minnows in the tails of the river pools in October.

For the bass fishing in October I like to use my Floating Minnows. These are effective in catching large bass in the tails of the river pools during early October.  Toward the end of October the bass will move to deeper water then I switch to using the Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub size 4, Murray’s Magnum Darter size 4, and Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker size 4.

Fly Fishing Workshops on Fly Casting, Fly Tying, Trout Fishing, Bass Fishing, Selecting Fly Rod Outfits, and More… starting in November on Saturdays at Murray’s Fly Shop from 10 a.m. to noon

Small Flies

Trico Female Spinner size 22
Trico Female Spinner size 22

In order to tie small delicate trout flies I hold the number of thread wraps to a minimum. The firmness of the wraps and not the number of wraps is what makes a fly durable. Also, experience has shown me our most effective small flies are tied very sparsely so I keep the number of components to a minimum. I also like to use out 8/0 thread or 6/0 thread.

Tailing Dry Flies

Murray's Sulphur Dry
Murray’s Sulphur Dry

Many years ago I used to tie my dry flies with thick clumps of spade hackle and could not explain why I got many refusals from rising trout. It finally dawned on me that I was using way too many hackle fibers in the tail.  I had been using so many that it possibly looked like part of the fly’s body to the trout. Even though I may have been tying a dry fly on a size 14 hook which matched the natural insects, by the time I tied in a very thick clump of tail hackle fibers, my fly looked like a size 10 to the trout.
I now use only enough spade hackle or straight moose body hair for my dry fly tails to help float my flies and my catch is greatly improved.

Fly Fishing Questions Podcast

Fly Fishing Questions and Answers Podcast
“Swing Nymphing” will enable you to fish your nymph deeper than any method you can use with a floating line. Even beginning angles in our schools quickly master this technique.

This months fly fishing question and answers podcast includes Harry Murray discussing the swing nymphing technique used with Scientific Angler Indicators, hook sharpening files, barbless vs. barbed hooks, landing nets, and what insect repellent can do to your favorite fly rod.

Looking for that perfect gift for your family member, friend, or best fishing buddy….get a Murray’s Fly Shop Gift Certificate!

Gift Certificate from MFS

Durable Flies

Fly Tying with Murray's Head Cement.
Fly Tying with Murray’s Head Cement.

In order to improve the durability of my flies when I tie them, I like to place a mini-drop of head cement at each tie-in and tie-off spot as I add a new material. I find that a easy way to do this is to keep some head cement in a hypodermic needle and just place a mini-drop where I need it. In order to keep the cement from drying in the syringe and plugging the needle shut, I stick it in a cork between steps.

Penetrating Cement

Murray's Head Cement
Murray’s Head Cement

For me fly tying cement has two main purposes. One is to hold the fly together and the second is to coat a pretty head on the flies.  I make my own head cement so since I want the flies I tie to be durable I use a vehicle which enhances its ability to penetrate deeply into the materials and thread. This produces a fly which is almost indestructible. In order to coat a pretty head on my streamers I use my thicker head cement.

Why the Mr. Rapidan?

Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly
Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly

Many years ago two elderly gentlemen in my advanced fly tying college class made a simple request: Teach us to tie a dry fly that floats like a cork, that we can easily see on the water and that matches many of the early season natural insects. I thought this was a reasonable request and the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly was born. Today this is my favorite dry fly on the Epeorus pleuralis hatch in size 14, for the Stenomena vicarium hatch in size 14, for the Stenomena fuscum hatch in size 16 and for the Beatis hatch in sizes 18 and 20.
I have now expanded the Mr. Rapidan series to match three different adult caddisflies, two different caddis pupa, two mayfly nymphs, two mayfly emergers, midges, two different soft hackles, terrestrials, streamers and even smallmouth dry flies.
Those two gentlemen had an outstanding idea which has helped hundreds of anglers catch thousands of fish all across the country.

Streamer Flash

Accent Flash, Rainbow
Accent Flash, Rainbow

I often add a few strands of rainbow color accent flash in the wings and tails of streamers. These strands in with marabou, buck tail, calf tail or saddle hackle helps it look like a real minnow in the stream. This is easy to use and inexpensive.

Check out our fly tying workshops this winter!

Natural Animal Fur Dubbing Materials

Natural Beaver Dubbing Fur and Natural Mink Dubbing Fur.
Natural Beaver Dubbing Fur and Natural Mink Dubbing Fur.

For very small nymphs I often use natural furs right off the skin after removing the guard hairs. These furs produce flies with a very effective sheen which mimics the subdued luster of the natural nymphs. These are very easy to dub and are inexpensive.

If you are interested in fly tying, check out our Fly Tying Workshops we offer this winter.

September Fly Fishing Podcast

Trout Fishing September
In September we get excellent trout fishing during the caddis hatch by fishing the Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis, Tan size 16 with a Murray’s Tan Caddis Pupa size 14 as a dropper below it.

In today’s fly fishing podcast Harry Murray discusses the tactics and fly patterns which are effective for fishing for trout during the Brown Sedge Caddisfly hatch which is on during September. His discussion of fishing the emerging pupa as a dropper below the Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Dry Fly will help you catch many large trout. Harry also discusses the special feeding stations in the pools where he is catching many trout on the Mr. Rapidan Ants and the special casts which help him.

Over the last three years Harry and his son, Jeff have been developing special Riffle Hitch Techniques and flies which are effective for smallmouth bass. Today Harry describes how to fish this riffle hitch and the new flies which are effective.

Bass Flies:  Bass Skater Shad Streamer #6, Bass Skater Flash Streamer #6, Bass Skater Gold Streamer #6, Shenandoah Blue Popper #4 & #6, Shenandoah Chartreuse Chugger #4 & #6

September Bass Fly Fishing
The clients in our smallmouth bass guide trips quickly master the technique of fishing the riffle cast and catch many large bass with this tactic.

Fly Fishing Workshops on trout fishing, bass fishing, fly casting, fly tying, and more from Murray’s Fly Shop.

Dubbing for Fly Bodies

Fly Rite is on the left and Hare's Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
Fly Rite is on the left and Hare’s Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
  • For dry flies I like to use a very fine poly blend of dubbing material such as Fly Rite 34 on the left which I use on my Mr. Rapidan Dry Flies. This material is very fine, making it easy to dub flies as small as a size 24 with a smoothly tapered body. It is lighter than water and is does not adsorb water thus producing a high floating dry fly. This comes in many colors and is inexpensive.
  • For nymphs and pupa I like to dub blends of natural furs because these produce buggy looking insect bodies. Counter wrapping these bodies with gold, silver, copper or olive wire produces a neatly segmented tapered fly body. However, if you wind the same ribbing materials with a forward motion you can produce an insect body with translucent living appearance.

Hen Saddles

Speckled Indian Hen Saddle
Speckled Indian Hen Saddle

Speckled Indian Hen Saddles are great for hackleing nymphs and soft hackles. They are dyed in many different colors, are inexpensive and you can tie hundreds of great flies with each saddle.
I like to keep this hackle sparse on my Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph flies, Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymphs flies and all of my Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa flies because I believe this conveys a realistic fly-action to the trout.

If you are interested in fly tying check out our fly tying classes we are offering in the winter.

Effective Streamers

Murray's Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer
Murray’s Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer

When you are designing a new streamer to match a specific minnow it is great to tie one that looks so much like the real minnow that it impresses your friends. However, when you are on the river fishing the fish appear to take the streamers which ACT like the real minnow they are accustomed to feeding on in that area. It is great when your new streamer looks like that specific minnow but for consistent success it is a must that your new fly ACT like the real minnow in the way it swims through the currents and darts for cover when it is chased by a fish. After a great deal of experimenting with materials and tying techniques, the Murray’s Madtom Sculpin Streamer evolved into a streamer which acts like a real minnow and the fish take quickly.  Check the prevalent minnows in your streams and see if you can developed an effective streamer.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Podcast August 2016

Jeff Fly Fishing Out West
“Reading the Water” for Jeff Murray is a 3 step process. 1) Where do I suspect the trout will hold? 2)Where do I present my fly? 3) Where do I position myself?

In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses a broad variety of questions ranging from fishing small mountain trout streams to large western trout streams to river fishing for smallmouth bass.  Some of the topics covered include:

  • The value of satellite beacons.
  • Tying Streamers that sink properly
  • Good rod length for small mountain trout streams
  • Choosing the best leader
  • Catching a trout that refuses your first draft
  • Hiking into remote sections of the streams
  • Reading the water
  • Delicate fly presentations

Also be sure to check out our Fall Fly Fishing Guide before heading out on your next fishing trip.

2 hour Fly Fishing Workshops including fly casting, fly tying, etc. at Murray’s Fly Shop

Jeff fly fishing on the Armstrong
Only a delicate fly presentation on the Armstrong will fool the trout.

Hackle Cape and Saddle

Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle and Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape.
Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle and Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape.

This photo shows the difference between a Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape and a Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle.
I like to use the Grade 1 Rooster Neck Capes for my trout dry flies because they help the flies float well, are easy to use and the Grade 1 has a great number of excellent quality small hackle for the smallest flies.
I use the saddles for streamers, large nymphs, a broad variety of smallmouth bass bugs and even the head hackle on my Mr. Rapidan Bass Skater Dry size 6. The best Saddles will have a fair number of hackle feathers along their sides for trout dry flies in sizes 12, 14 and a few as small as size 16. If you need to hackle flies smaller than size 16 a good Rooster Neck Cape will help you.

Match the ???

Adult Mayfly Dun Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
By matching the color and size of the natural insects you will do well.

Personally I enjoy entomology. I found that working with Art Flick in the sixties in order to identify the aquatic insects in Virginia very rewarding and it was the beginning of a very special friendship.
We now have many excellent books on aquatic entomology so if you enjoy this I believe you will find it very rewarding.
However, one of the greatest trout anglers and finest gentleman I have ever known used a different approach.  He was not into technical entomology, but he did not seem to need it. When he saw large tan natural aquatic insects on the stream he would take an artificial fly from his box which matched it and catch many trout. If he saw small yellow natural insects on the stream he would go to his fly box and match it with great success.  His name was Jack Sperry and he was a true master angler.

Fly Fishing Podcast August 2016

Fly Fishing on Spring Creeks
From now until fall many large trout feed heavily on natural grasshoppers. I do extremely well on the Firehole, Henry’s Fork and Big Spring.

In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses the tactics which are effective for large trout using Shenk’s Letort Hoppers and Shenk’s Crickets in some of our best streams all across the country.  He also covers the methods for fishing his “change of pace” flies for trout.

In the second portion of this fly fishing podcast Harry discusses the methods he is using in August for smallmouth bass with great success using his Floating Chub Minnow and Floating Dace Minnow in specific sections of the rivers. He also covers the areas and tactics which are effective with the Murray’s Crayfish.

The Murray’s Crayfish has been a very productive fly in our smallmouth bass schools.  Next School…August 12.  Sign up today!

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass
Many students in our smallmouth schools catch some of their largest bass in the tails of the pools on the Murray’s Floating Minnows

Ideal Flies

Yellowstone River Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA

Ideal Flies. Select the flies you carry to the stream carefully so you can meet the demands at that specific time.  One day on the Yellowstone River at Livingston, Montana I handed my wife a small fly box containing a dozen flies and showed her where to fish a beautiful riffle as we entered the stream. My guide of seventeen years, Ray Hurley, and I headed upstream to fish some heavy water. Ray paused and said, “Just what twelve flies did you give your wife?” When I told him he smiled and said, “She is better equipped than ninety percent of the fishermen on the Yellowstone River.”
In order to help you have the right flies at the right time I have put hatch charts in my three trout books and two smallmouth bass books. I also present a podcast at the beginning of each month where I discuss the fly needs and the hatches for the coming month. My weekly “Anglers Club Newsletter” provides great timely information on the fishing and current fly needs as does my free Monthly Newsletter.

Good Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Harry Murray Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
I often catch many large bass just upstream of the public landings I suspect these areas get light pressure.

Great sections of smallmouth bass rivers to fish are the areas just upstream of the public access areas. These receive much less serious fishing pressure than you would expect, even though many boats take out here everyday. I suspect that this is because by the time most anglers get to the take-out-spot they are either running late, or they are tired or they are drunk! Often I wade into these areas and fish surface bugs such as the Shenandoah Blue Popper right against the bank as I wade upstream for several hundred yards then wade further out into the river or even to the far bank then fish streamers back downstream to the access point.

Murray’s Hellgrammite

Murray's Heavy Black Hellgrammite
Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite

It is hard to fix it if you do not know what is broken. That is where I was when I started fly fishing for smallmouth bass in the sixties. As a youngster growing up in Edinburg, Virginia on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in the fifties we all caught many smallmouth bass on real hellgrammites as live bait. However, for my fly fishing after college none of the existing Hellgrammite patterns worked for me. The beautifully tired patterns I got from Abercrombie and Fitch in New York which they called Hellgrammites just did not work. When I started fishing the Yellowstone River in Montana I had Dan Bailey’s girls tie a dozen two inch long versions of his beautiful woven body Mossback Nymphs because these looked to me like my hellgrammites back in Virginia. These we also failures for the smallmouth bass.
Finally Ron Kommer came up with the idea of using Ostrich Herl (or plume) for very large flies.  Simultaneously, I was experimenting with real hellgrammites by tossing them into the river to see how they acted. When I dropped the real hellgrammites into the river one by one, I saw that they swam downstream with an exaggerated undulating action as they headed for the streambottom. Finally I saw what was broken: All of these beautiful earlier hellgrammite patterns lacked the capacity to move in an undulating manner like the natural hellgrammites.
By incorporating the ostrich herl as an extended body in this new fly and tying it “in the round” as Charlies Brookes recommended to me, the final Murray’s Heavy Hellgrammite was developed. This is so effective that today it is my favorite smallmouth bass fly.

Also check out: Murray’s Heavy Hellgrammite Assortment, Murray’s Black Hellgrammite  and Murray’s Heavy Hellgrammite Tying Kit.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers July 2016

Bass Fly Fishing on the Shenandoah River

In this Fly Fishing Question and Answer Podcast, Harry Murray discusses questions that he has been asked over the last month through phone calls and emails at his fly shop in Edinburg, Virginia.
What type of fly rod should I be using when nymph fishing? How can I enjoy fly fishing when I have hurt my casting arm?  How can I improve my fishing in low, clear water when the fish are easily spooked?  How many reels should I carry with me when on a fishing trip?

Flex Fly Rods from Scott

NEW Scott Flex Series Fly Rods will be arriving soon.  Rated at the latest dealer show to be the finest new rods in the market. Preorder Yours Today!

We will be posting another question and answer podcast in the middle of August.

Match the Minnows

Silver Outcast Streamer
Silver Outcast Streamer

About two hours before dark on a beautiful August evening I waded across the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, intending to fish one of my favorite riffles fifty yards downstream.  The water along the bank right in front of me was only two feet deep and the aquatic grassbed reached twenty feet out into the river. A large smallmouth bass crashed into the grass to catch a shiner minnow just upstream of me.  A few seconds later he captured another shiner minnow as he swam upstream along the edge of the grassbed. I felt this was too good for me to pass up! I cast a Silver Outcast Streamer upstream ahead of his path and he took it solidly. As I landed the large bass I noticed more bass chasing shiner minnows upstream through the grassbeds. By wading slowly upstream I caught many more large bass by going one on one with them as I spotted them chasing shiner minnows.
When you are on the water at dusk keep an eye out for this type action because it is very exciting.

Hot Fence

Harry Murray Night Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Hot electric fences present special problems, especially if you fish at night. Locate the electric fences with your flashlight then carefully crawl under them.

Many farmers along the Shenandoah River are wisely using electric fences to keep their cattle out of the river except at special locations. These can really ZAP you. My favorite way to cope with these is to remove my vest and other items and place that and the rod on the far side of the fence well out of the way and then crawl under the fence.

Deer Hair Bass Bugs

Murray's Frisky Frog Deer Hair Bass Bug
Murray’s Frisky Frog Deer Hair Bass Bug

Deer Hair Bass Surface Bugs are easy to tie and are very effective to fish. Here are some tips which help beginning fly tyers in the winter classes I teach in my fly shop tie great deer hair bass bugs. The most important step is to remove all of the fuzz and short hair from each bunch of deer hair as you trim it from the skin. To do this I hold the trimmed bunch of hair by the tips and brush it vigorously with a stiff toothbrush. Next I like to keep the hook shank free of thread wraps except right where I tie the tail in. I also like to use Kevlar tying thread to reduce thread-breakage. Trim the finished bug very closely on the stomach in order to hook the bass securely. Paint the stomach of the bug right along the hook shank with spar varnish cut 50-50 with paint thinner to make the bug very durable. Keep the bug’s appendages on the sides (such as wings and legs) to a minimum so the bug does not twist the leader when casting.
The Tapply Hair Bug and the Murray’s Deer Hair Bass Bug Series are good examples of smooth, very effective Deer Hair Bass Bugs.

Raincoat

Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket
Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket

When I am fishing the back country for trout or more than a mile away from my Jeep on a smallmouth bass river, I always carry a breathable-waterproof raincoat in the back of my fishing vest.  This has to pack down small enough to easily fit into my vest. The Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket is perfect. Staying dry is important even in the summer months. Once on a five mile smallmouth river summer float trip two of the five anglers in our group had no raincoats. Three hours up the river from our take-out the rain started and continued heavily all day. Even though we all offered to share our raincoats, the two wet anglers refused. By the time we got to the take out spot our friends were shivering badly. Imagine how cold these two anglers would have been if our float trip had been in March or October.