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.


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.


The mountain trout streams are excellent this time of year in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to have your map with you when you leave the trail head to go into the stream.
The mountain trout streams are excellent this time of year in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to have your map with you when you leave the trail head to go into the stream.

Last summer a friend took two of his fishing buddies into a small remote mountain trout stream.  He had fished the stream before and felt confident in taking them to the best part of the stream. Unfortunately, he forgot to take his map with him. There were many small trails leading off the main trail that he had forgotten.  They hiked for three hours and never did find the stream and finally climbed back up to the top of the mountain and came home.
I have been lost twice in the mountains when I was trying to take shortcuts to the streams.  Once you are on the stream you should be okay in finding your way.  However, some find mountain trout streams have no trails in or out and there may be private land at the lower end of the stream where trespassing is not allowed.
I always have the map in my vest for the stream I am fishing in the back country.

Fly Fishing Podcast July 2016 Report

July 2016 Podcast-- Crayfish
To imitate the natural crayfish found in the rivers, use our Murray’s Crayfish pattern

As I am doing this fly fishing podcast I am realizing that many of you are going to be enjoying the outdoors this July 4th weekend by the phone calls, emails, and orders the fly shop has been receiving.  Please be safe and considerate of the land owners and others as you take in natures beauty.   I plan to enjoy it myself!

Trout Fishing
In this podcast I want to discuss the how, when, and where to fish my new “change of pace” dry flies for trout that feed selectively.  I thought that if I could develop a different fly which showed the trout a new silhouette and light pattern  that matched a natural food they feed upon, I might be able to catch these trout. By experimenting I developed the  Murray’s Housefly Dry, Oakworm Dry, Yellow Jacket Dry, Moth Dry,  Wasp Dry, and Horsefly Dry.  I fish all of these with a Classic 9ft 6X Leader.

Bass Fishing
The smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent due to the great food load and the  rains keeping the water levels up.  Hence, in a recent school one of our instructors stuck a smallmouth bass that was over 5 pounds on our Murray’s Crayfish pattern while showing the class the swing nymph technique.  Our topwater action is picking up and we have been doing very well with our famous Shenandoah Blue Popper. I fish these on a Bright Butt 9ft. 2X Leader.



Stream Thermometer
Stream Thermometer
I rely strongly on my stream thermometer to help me select proper flies to fish.
I rely strongly on my stream thermometer to help me select proper flies to fish.

My Stream Thermometer is a very important part of my trout and smallmouth bass angling.  For example, on mountain trout streams the first thing I do is take the stream temperature. In early March if it is much below 40 degrees I know I will catch more trout on nymphs than I will on drys. In August a mountain trout stream temperature of 68 degrees in the afternoon means the trout are not going to feed heavily. The next trip I should get there about dawn when the stream may be several degrees cooler.
A smallmouth bass trip early in the spring with a river temperature of 52 degrees tells me to fish my flies slowly along the streambottom.
These stream temperatures go on my calendar at home along with readings over the last twelve years. Checking these helps me plan future trips on where to go and what to use.

Ruffled Grouse

Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers
Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers

Ruffled Grouse Body Feathers are some of my favorite materials for hackling nymphs and soft hackle flies. These feathers are easy to use and produce a very realistic pulsating fly action in the stream.

Learn to catch Smallmouth Bass on Popping Bugs

Smallmouth Bass on Popping Bugs Fly Fishing LessonIt’s prime time for catching Smallmouth Bass on Poppers!  Learn the three most productive tactics for catching Bass on Popping Bugs in our Half Day On-the-Stream Class – July 1, 2016 from 4-6pm.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers June 2016

As we are doing our guided float trips on the Shenandoah River, we have been seeing many of these. Do you know what they are? Find out by listening to this podcast.

This months fly fishing questions and answers podcast includes techniques to use for the trico hatch that is coming very soon, a simple and easy method to untwist those bass lines and leaders, a technique to fish the hellgrammites and the best way to handle thunderstorms during a float trip on the river.

Hen Hackle

Grizzly Hen Hackle Tips
Grizzly Hen Hackle Tips

The Grizzly Hen Hackle tips you see here is one of my favorite dry fly winging material when I want to show distinct wing outline.  Using this in a spent wing position is what I believe makes the Murray’s Housefly such an effective fly, prompting strikes from trout which pass up regular flies.  Adams Dry flies tied with these wings are preferred by many anglers. The webby texture of these feathers enable us to tie very attractive and effective nymph with them.

The Blackfoot River

The Blackfoot River Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
The Blackfoot River

Every time I watch the movie The River Runs Through It my memory brings up the wonderful fishing I have had on the Blackfoot River. The abundance of trout and few anglers makes this a wonderful stream to fish.

Murray’s Pop Strike

Wild Brook Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
This wild brook trout was just released with a pop strike ad he is headed back home.

When the dry fly fishing is fast and I am catching many cutthroats in the mountain trout streams in the Rockies or brook trout in the Eastern mountain streams, my goal is to raise and hook many trout and then release them as quickly as I can so I do not stress them. My Pop Strike consists of setting the hook on the strike so I know I have fooled him, then two or three seconds later I release all of the tension on the fly line.  This enables more than half of my trout to swim freely away.

High and Muddy Shenandoah River

High and muddy Shenandoah RiverRecent rains have left the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River high and muddy  (6/5/16).  We’re hopeful the upper North Fork of the Shenandoah will be fishable by mid-week.


Bonefish Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Sunscreen is as important when fishing for trout and smallmouth bass as it is on a bonefish trip.

Some of the studies are now suggesting we reapply a broad spectrum water proof 50 sun blocking lotion every eighty minutes while we are on the stream. I personally use the little lip coating sticks about every hour also.

Fly Fishing Podcast–June 2016

There are presently very heavy hatches of sulphur mayflies and the trout are taking the Murray's Sulphur Dry quite well.
There are presently very heavy hatches of sulphur mayflies and the trout are taking the Murray’s Sulphur Dry quite well.

In this fly fishing podcast Harry Murray discusses the outstanding trout fishing that is available now and what we can expect throughout the month of June.  He covers the insect hatches, the best flies to match them and the effective tactics.
Effective flies include: Murray’s Little Yellow Dry Stonefly size 16, Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry Fly size 16, Murray’s Sulphur Dry Fly size 16, Shenk’s Sulphur Dry Fly size 16 and 18, Murray’s Inchworm size 14, Mr. Rapidan Olive Delta Wing Caddis size 14 and 16, Murray’s Olive Caddis Pupa size 14.

The natural hellgrammites are reaching their full size now and the smallmouth bass are feeding heavily upon them. The Murray's Heavy Black Hellgrammite will catch many of these large bass.
The natural hellgrammites are reaching their full size now and the smallmouth bass are feeding heavily upon them. The Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite will catch many of these large bass.

The second portion of the podcast is dedicated to the smallmouth fishing we are getting now and what we can expect throughout June. He covers the natural hellgrammite’s actions and the best flies and tactics to catch the bass which are feeding upon them.  He also discusses the great fishing we are getting the Shenandoah Blue Popper by fishing these along the shaded banks.
Effective flies include: Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite size 4 and 6, Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4 and 6

Interested in Learning to Fly Fish?  Check out our On The Stream 1-Day Smallmouth Bass Schools and our Half Day Fly Fishing Lessons

Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day

Thank you and God Bless.
Thank you. God Bless.

Today, and every day, take a moment to remember all of those who made the sacrifice to make our country great.  We wish everyone a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Take a Youngster Fishing

Jeff Murray Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
When Jeff Murray was younger, he loved going fly fishing with his father, Harry Murray. Kids love to catch fish!

I started my son, Jeff, fly fishing when he was five years old. He enjoyed it tremendously. He learned fly fishing very quickly and it gave us many wonderful trips and memories together.
As I have helped many youngsters over the years, I have discovered that the main goal they have is to catch fish. It does not matter if they are trout, smallmouth bass or panfish, they just want to catch fish, the more the better!
I always try to find places for them to fish where the water is not over knee-deep on them and where the weeds along the stream are not over knee-deep. My goal is for them to have a great time and a memorable trip.
We are now offering special “Fly Fishing Schools” for kids from 8 years old to 16 years old. We provide the rod, reel, stream access and instruction. See our website for dates and information.

Proper Ferrule Care

Jeff Murray Western Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Keep your ferrules dressed for good fit and longevity.

I was fishing with a good friend on the Madison River when he called from two hundred feet downstream that he needed help. When I got to him he pointed his fly rod at me and exclaimed, “Look”! I could easily see that the top section of his four piece fly rod was missing. He said that when he made his regular forward cast the tip section of his fly rod slipped off, tore the fly off and shot out into the river and he could not catch it.  When I asked him if he ever put ferrule dressing on his ferrules he looked at me with an embarrassed look and answered, “well…no”.
This spring I had a beginning anglers break a new rod in a similar situation.  A good friend of mine recently broke his favorite rod when he jammed its dry ferrule together and broke the rod trying to get it apart. All of these problems could have been prevented if the anglers had regularly applied Murray’s Ferrule Dressing to their ferrules.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Part III

May 2016 Fly Fishing Questions

This segment of our fly fishing questions and answers podcast includes Harry Murray discussing  1) the importance of recording stream notes on a calendar to help plan future trips, 2) mentally marking previous hot spots on the streams in order to return to fish these areas later, 3) the pros and cons of attaching the leader to the fly line with loops vs. needle knots, and 4) camping at the upper forks on mountain trout streams to get great fishing.

Floating a New Section of a River

Jeff Murray Boat Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
A little higher water level could have caused Jeff Murray a serious problem. To prevent these and other problems talk to someone who has floated the river recently.

The most dependable way to get good information on what you might encounter on a new float trip is to talk to someone who has floated that area recently, then follow their advice. Two years ago a friend in Montana did not follow this advice and he flipped his boat and drowned. Recently two friends did not ask me about floating a smallmouth bass river and I believe they relied only on a guide book.  The float trip they had planned should have taken six hours. As it turned out it took them seventeen hours. They had to cross three large dams and they finally got out of the river at three in the morning, naturally in the dark. The next time they asked me where to float!

Twisted Line

Jeff Murray Smallmouth Bass Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
A good straight fly line cast better and handles better than a twisted fly line.

You become aware that your fly line is twisted when you are standing in the river casting.  This is easy to fix. Remove the fly from the leader and cast straight downstream forty feet, as the current pulls out all of the slack line strip forty feet more line from the reel and feed it downstream. Allow this to hang tight in the current for ten minutes then crank it back in and the twist will be removed.

Fly Fishing Stream Report May 2016

Taking a guided trip in the Shenandoah National Park and fishing for native brook trout can be very gratifying.
Taking a guided trip in the Shenandoah National Park and fishing for native brook trout can be very gratifying.

Fly Fishing Stream Report for May.  In the first part of this podcast Harry Murray discusses the wonderful dry fly fishing that you can find in May by covering the aquatic insect hatch throughout May, the best fly patterns to match each one and the effective tactics. In the second part Harry discusses the specific sections of the rivers which gives us good smallmouth action in May. He discusses the flies, leaders, and fly lines that help us in the different feeding stations as well as the most effective tactics in the different sections of the river.

Trout Flies discussed:  Professor Dry, Light Cahill, Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Dry, Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry Fly, Murray’s Sulphur Dry, Shenk’s Sulphur

Bass Flies discussed: Murray’s Marauder, Shenk’s White Streamer, Murray’s Magnum HogSucker, Magnum Creek Chub, and Magnum Darter

Gear Bag

Dogs Jeff Murray Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop
I forgot to tell you, always count your dogs after each trip in order to make sure they are all with you!

When I float a river to get out a downstream spot, I carry a dry bag with what I may need along the way.  This contains a rain coat, change of clothes, basic tools, extra reel with line and leader, a few flies and a five piece Scott Fly Rod. If I am using an inflatable boat I carry a pump and patch kit. On two occasions I have had a friend who needed my Scott five piece rod because they broke their fly rod. This really saved the day and they were able to get good fishing when otherwise it would have been a lost day.

Keep Your Car Ready

Jeff Murray Harry Murray Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Keeping your Jeep loaded with a variety of emergency equipment can enable fishing to be a wonderful experience in place of a disaster.

I keep a variety of tools in the back of my Jeep to help when unexpected events occur. It is amazing how often I need some of this for myself or angling friends. Here are some of the items I carry with me: a thirty foot long heavy tow cable, a ten foot wire cable with a winch, an ax, a timber saw, jumper cables, folding shovel, a variety of sizes of screwdrivers and wrenches, rope, large and small flashlights, change of clothes, extra fly rod and reel, extra flies, first aid kit, emergency food, a tire pump that runs off the cigarette lighter, fire extinguisher and a heavy duty battery to jump car battery.