Category Archives: Educational

Musky Fly Fishing

Many of the rivers in Virginia hold very large musky that offer exciting musky fishing with fly rods. For example, both the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River hold good numbers of musky that can be reached by either wading and floating. Just stop in and I’ll be glad to show you these areas.
A great deal of the success one can experience in musky fishing relies on selecting the proper rods, reels, lines, leaders and flies before heading to the rivers.
I like a powerful 10-weight 9ft rod, a reel with a strong drag and enough capacity to hold 100 yards of 20lb backing.  I like a 45 inch leader with a 30 inch 50lb test butt section which has a 15 inch 55lb test wire tippet with a quick change fly snap on the end. There are two fly lines I like for musky fishing.  The Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink 30 Clear 350 grain line has a 30 foot head that sinks at 1.25 ips with an intermediate sinking running line. This line is ideal for fishing where there are medium currents in water up to 4 feet deep. However, where there are fast currents or the water is over 4 feet deep I like the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink 30 Warm 350 grain line which has a 30 foot head which sinks at 4 to 8 ips with an intermediate sinking running line.  This line sinks quickly enabling us to swim our flies deeply.
We carry many excellent musky flies, some of which are 8 inches long. However, our fisheries biologist tell us that suckers are a very important bait-fish in the diet of the musky. The Wee Broonie Musky Fly at 5 inches long is an excellent match for the yellow sucker and the Joe’s Flathead Shad Musky Fly at 8 inches long is a good match for the hog suckers.
Here are a few angling tactics which I believe are important when fishing for musky. When you get a strike set the hook solidly by using a powerful line-hand strike simultaneously with strong rod-lifting motion. For good insurance, hit him a second time in the same way.—Once you have him hooked recover all of the slack line below the stripping guide and crank all of this onto the reel quickly. Otherwise he may make a powerful run and break you off as the line becomes wrapped around something in the boat or the rod butt extension.—When landing your musky use strong, long forceps such as Dr. Slick Bullet Head Pliers to remove the fly from his jaw. I well remember shredding by fingers and thumb on my first trip to Canada when I tried this bare-handed.

Check out our Musky Fly Selection!

Visit our fly shop at:

121 S. Main St, Edinburg VA 22824
Ph 540-984-4212

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

Learn to catch Smallmouth Bass on Popping Bugs

Smallmouth Bass on Popping Bugs Fly Fishing Lesson It’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 Nuts & Bolts Video – Fly Rod Repair

Fly Fishing Rod Repair Tip-Top from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.

Have questions? Give us a call (540-984-4212) or drop us an email info@  We are here to help.
Contents of my “Rod Repair Kit“: Ferrule Cement,  Emory Board or 320+ grit sandpaper, Lighter or Matches, Variety of sizes of Tip Top Guides and a Razor Blade.


Shenandoah National Park North District Map 9 Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Shenandoah National Park North District Map 9


Shenandoah National Park Central District Map 10 Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Shenandoah National Park Central District Map 10

Maps – When hiking into remote mountain trout streams it is wise to have the topographic map for that area in your vest, pack or pouch. There are many trails throughout the mountains and it is easy to get lost. A friend tried to fine one recently without the map. It should have taken him forty five minutes to get to the trout stream, however he hiked three hours and never did find the trout stream.

Choosing a Fly Rod – Fly Fishing Article

Choosing a Fly Rod

Drain, Clean, Dry – Your Gear! Prevent AIS Spread

Preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species is everyone’s responsibility… It’s easy for each of us to be part of the solution.

Drain Clean Dry Video on Vimeo.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers

Tippet Formula
What size tippet should I be using? Harry’s formula makes it easy!

Harry Murray’s discussion includes  fly fishing questions he has been asked recently.  He will be presenting these discussions periodically to help you find good fishing.   This podcast includes the topic “How to Choose the Proper Tippet Size” for the specific fly you will be fishing along with other fly fishing terms that we have all heard but didn’t know what they meant.

Reference books:  Virginia Blue Ribbon Streams book and Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park book

Fly Tying Video – Tying the Shenk’s White Streamer

Fly Tying Video – Tying the Shenk’s White Streamer

In this Fly Tying Video Jordan demonstrates how to tie the Shenk’s White Streamer.

Materials used to tie the Shenk’s White Streamer:
White Marabou
White Rabbit Fur (dubbed on with dubbing loop)
Mustad 9672 #6 (also great in sizes 2, 4, 8, 10)
Lead Wire or non-Toxic Wire (Medium or Large depending on weight needed)
3/0 Thread

Having trouble with your dubbing loop?  The Dubbing Twister Set used in this video is the easiest way to master dubbing loops for any of your fly tying needs.  It works great for natural and synthetic materials.  You will find it works well with standard thread from 3/0 – 6/0 or kevlar.
Do you have questions or comments? Need help with tying this fly? Give us a call (540-984-4212) or drop us an email.

MFS Foam Leader Keeper – Make changing flies on the water easy!

MFS Foam Leader Keeper
Make organizing dropper rigs easy!
Make organizing flies and pre-tied tippet easy!

Murray's Fly Shop Leader Board

Organize your dropper rigs, tandem nymph rigs or your pre-tied fly/tippet rigs with this lightweight foam leader keeper.
Dimensions: 2.5″ X 5.5″ with pre-cut grooves to securely hold your leader material.
This will easily fit into the pocket of a vest or a pouch to keep your flies organized and readily accessible.  All while keeping your tippet and flies from creating one of those all too familiar bird nests that create those wonderful cuss-able moments!
Check out our video on how to make changing flies easier on the stream with the loop to loop system.

Fly Tying – Deluxe Dubbing Twister Set Review

Fly Tying – Deluxe Dubbing Twister Set Review

Terra Fly Tying Deluxe Dubbing Twister Tool Set Murray's Fly Shop
Both beginner and advanced fly tiers in our classes often have difficulty with the “spinning” or “dubbing loop”.  There are many tools available to fly tiers to assist with tying a functional and effective dubbing loop.  This dubbing twister set is easy to use, functional and with about 15 minutes of practice, easy to master.
The Deluxe Dubbing Twister Set comes with three interchangeable heads to meet your fly tying needs and personal tying style.  In addition, it has a built in hair packing tool in the lightweight handle  (perfect for tightly packing deer or elk hair for bass bugs).
Dubbing Twister Handle -Hair Packer - Murray's Fly Shop
We use this in our personal fly tying anytime a dubbing loop is preferred.  The Shenk’s White Streamer or the Murray’s Madtom Sculpin Streamer are two great examples where a dubbing loop works very well.

Dubbing Twister – Deluxe Dubbing Set – Murrays Fly Shop Fly Tying from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.

Terra Dubbing Twister - Dubbing Loop Tool - Murrays Fly Shop Edinburg Virginia

Fly Fishing Tip – Loop to Loop Tippet and Fly

Fly Fishing Tip – Loop to Loop Tippet/ Fly

An easy method of changing out tippet/ flies is by switching to a loop to loop system at your leader/tippet connection.

Loop to Loop Connection for Tippet and Fly – Fly Fishing Tips from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.

1. The tippet is part of the leader. Leaders are manufactured with the tippet attached.  Often marked at 2x, 3x, 4x, etc – this is the size of the tippet (not the entire leader).
2. The tippet (end of leader which attaches to the fly): 24 inches long on a new leader.  For knotless leader you will need to measure and place a mark at 24 inches to keep track of where the tippet ends and the mid-sections start (or you can use a micrometer for an exact measurement).
3. I place a Double Surgeon Loop in the end of my tippet and the end of the mid-sections of my leader (section of leader which attaches to tippet).
4. I like to go a step further and pre-attach several flies to individual pieces of tippet which I have already tied a loop into the end of while I am at home.
I find this especially helpful when it’s cold out or I plan to fish into the late evening.  We also teach this technique in our schools to aid anyone who is having difficulty tying knots.

FREE Casting Analysis

Are you working on your casting and need a few pointers? Email us ( your short casting video and we will give you a Free Casting Analysis through 1/1/2016.

Spring Brook Trout Fly Fishing in the mid-Atlantic

Check out our flip book “Spring Brook Trout Fly Fishing in the mid-Atlantic“.  Brook Trout Fly Fishing from March to May; We cover the anticipated fishing conditions, aquatic insect hatches, flies and gear to use and effective techniques for catching native Brook Trout in the mountain streams. Springtime on the mountain trout streams can be extremely rewarding as we watch the changing seasons while trying our best to out-think these native Brookies.
The mid-Atlantic area is comprised of several states; this flip book focuses particularly on the conditions found in the Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and George Washington/ Jefferson National Forests of Virginia.
(The areas to the North of Virginia will find the dates in this handbook to be early. Those fishing areas to the South of Virginia will find the dates in this handbook to be late.)

Are you interested in learning to catch native Brook Trout? Check out our On-the-Stream Fly Fishing Schools or book one of our avid fly fishing guides for a day of Guided Fly Fishing in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Ready to go on your own? Give us a call (540-984-4212) or check the Mountain Trout Fly Fishing Report.

The Correct Way To Mend Fly Line

Fly Fishing Tips: Mending Fly Line
Correct mending will increase the number of fish you catch…just remember to pick up the slack

The correct way to mend fly line:
I mend my fly line frequently when I’m fly fishing for trout, salmon, smallmouth bass and steelhead. If you think of the word correcting rather then mending you’ll have a better understanding of your goal.

Let’s assume you are fishing a streamer across stream and you would like to have it maintain a broadside appearance to the fish as you strip it across stream. However, the current where your line enters the stream is moving much faster than the line 40 feet out where the streamer is swimming. This produces an unnatural fast action on the fly so you lift your rod high in the air and lay the line well upstream with an exaggerated sweeping motion. However, you must pick up the extra line that occurs with this mend because if the strike comes with all this slack line on the water you probably will not be aware of it and you’ll miss the fish. By picking up the excess line with your line hand you will have a tight line on the fly you can quickly feel the strike and set the hook. The correct mend will help you fish drys, nymphs and streamers more effective.

Listen to my fly fishing podcast “Smallmouth Bass Podcast Part IX on Smallmouth Fly Fishing Streamer Tactics” for more information on mending fly line.

Fly Fishing Podcasts on Stitcher – Murray’s Fly Shop

Fly Fishing Podcasts on - Murray's Fly Shop - Harry Murray Podcast

Murray’s Fly Shop Fly Fishing Podcasts with Harry Murray and staff are now available on Stitcher.

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting too much?

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much??

Fly Fishing: Line Flash Fly Rod Casting
Line Flash – A great way to tell the fish somethings wrong!

Fly Fishing Tip: Are you casting your fly rod/ fly line too much?
“Don’t cast too much, you’re going to spook the fish!”  These words often heard from fly fishing guides around the world.  The basis for this statement can be readily seen in the picture above.  What you see is “Line Flash”.  We see it in the picture as a reflection of light, much the way a fish sees it.  When a fish sees this through his window to the outside world he doesn’t recognize it as line flash but he does recognize it as something “abnormal”.  Those “abnormal” happenings are what spook fish be it a Heron, Eagle, Angler, Snake, Line Flash or your casts smacking the surface of the water repeatedly.  These all spook fish, especially the older, often bigger fish.
Unfortunately, we make many casts while practicing our casting on a lawn, pond or slow section of water.  We here at Murray’s Fly Shop are guilty of promoting this style of casting because when we teach casting in our classes, we make lots of repetitive casts.
This practicing often involves “false casts” or casts which don’t actually let the fly land on the water (or leader land on the grass) where the fish are.  The more you take this practice to the fishing arena, the more opportunity you have to spook fish due to “Line Flash”.
So, the next time you are on the water do your best to:
1. Keep False Casting to a minimum.
2. Get rid of the feeling that you have to make the perfect cast to present your fly to the fish.
3. If you must False Cast, do it off to the side of where you think the fish is to prevent the line flash from occurring immediately over its head.
4. While practicing: Practice making one cast, let the cast land on the water (or grass), then make another cast.
5. Should you feel the need to make multiple false casts to lengthen your cast, try adding a single or double haul.  If that doesn’t do it, you may need a different fly line (one with a different distribution of weight throughout the head).

Dry Fly Floatant: Which one works the best? A side by side comparison.

Dry Fly Floatant: Which one is the most effective? A side by side comparison.

Fly Fishing Dry Fly Floatant: Which one is the most effective?

Dry Fly Floatant: Which one works the best on the stream?
Below are the results of our “semi-scientific” test.  Decide for yourself after you look at our results.
The test consisted of six popular dry fly floatants found on the market today.  All six of these dry fly float ants are are designed to be applied stream side.
No desiccant style floatants were used.  No products designed to “pre-treat” flies were used.
* The brands we selected: Umpqua Bug Float, Gherke’s Gink, Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant, Loon Lochsa, Loon Aquel and Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant.
* We chose seven Mr. Rapidan Parachute Flies and seven Royal Coachman Trudes all size #16 and of similar tie to each other as far as the naked eye can discern.

Dry Fly Floatant: Which one works the best? A side by side comparison.
Preparing to apply the dry fly floatant to the flies.

An equal amount (a drop about the size of 1/4 of a #2 pencil eraser) of each respective gel style dry fly floatant was applied to our fingers and worked into an untreated dry fly (with hand washing between brands).  The flies which used Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant was dipped into the liquid floatant per Harry’s recommendation and allowed to dry for 30 seconds to simulate the time to put the floatant away and cast the dry fly onto the water in a real fishing situation.
One Mr. Rapidan Parachute and one Coachman Trude were left untreated.
We filled a dish with tap water.
The treated and untreated dry flies were placed on the water and the timer was started.

Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly Fishing Floatant Test
Mr. Rapidan Parachute #16 treated with Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant – floating in our test dish.

On undisturbed water (no surface disturbance – still water):
The Coachman Trude which was untreated began to sink at nine minutes and the untreated Mr. Rapidan Parachute began to sink at 16 minutes.  All of the treated flies floated on the undisturbed water for 30 minutes.
*After 30 minutes we used a plastic spoon to push each fly underwater for two seconds.
The untreated flies along with the flies treated with Umpqua Bug Float and the Coachman Trude treated with Gherke’s Gink sank.  The remaining nine flies rose back to the surface within three seconds.
*Next, we applied turbulence to the water (wire whisk) for 15 seconds.
The Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Gherke’s Gink sank with the turbulence.  The Mr. Rapidan Parachute and Coachman Trude treated with Loon Lochsa both sank with the turbulence.
* Another round of 15 seconds of turbulence was applied.
The Mr. Rapidan Parachutes and Coachman Trudes treated with Loon Aquel sank.  The Coachman Trude and Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant sank.
* Another round of 15 seconds of turbulence was applied.
The Coachman Trude treated with Scientific Angler Fly Floatant sank.

Fly Fishing Dry Fly Floatant side by side comparison for the fly fisherman.
Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant after the test.

*This concluded our test.  The Mr. Rapidan Parachute treated with Scientific Anglers Fly Floatant emerged as the most effective fly floatant in our short and simple test.
A few things come to mind that happen on the stream we did not test are the effects of fish slobber on the various floatants, the effects of water temperature on the various floatants and the application method/ amount used by various anglers.
The obvious result is some type of floatant is much better than no floatant at all.  Have you conducted a similar experiment? Send us the results, we would love to see them and maybe we will even put them here on the blog.

Fly Tying Tip: Finishing your Flies with a Whip Finish – Murray’s Fly Shop

Fly Tying Tip: Finishing your Flies with a Whip Finish – Murray’s Fly Shop
Learn to tie flies, give us a call to sign up for a fly tying class today!

Fly Tying Quick Tip: Tying the Whip Finish from Murray's Fly Shop on Vimeo.

Hexagenia Mayflies and Smallmouth Bass

Hexagenia Mayfly Spinner FlyFishing Scott Radian Fly Rod

Hexagenia Mayfly spinner and the Scott Radian 9’6″ 7wt on a recent evening on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River near Edinburg, Virginia.  The Hexagenia Mayflies are coming off the river in good numbers right now between 6:45pm and 8:45pm and the Smallmouth Bass are eagerly feeding on them.  Go with a 3x Bass Bug Leader, #8 Mr. Rapidan Skater (dressed frequently with SA Dry Fly Floatant or Gink to keep it floating), wade cautiously and be patient.  The tail of the pool has been most productive for me over the years.  Flyfish your Mr. Rapidan Skater upstream, downstream, down and across, dead drift as well as with a slow stripping motion all the while paying attention to which of these techniques produces the best results.

MFS Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Tying the Blood Knot

MFS Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Tying the Blood Knot – Learning to tie the Blood Knot takes practice.  However, the Blood Knot provides one of the smoothest transitions between sections of leader material of any of the knot available.  The Murray’s Fly Shop Hand Tied Leaders, including the Bright Butt Leaders, Classic Leaders, Nymphing Leaders, Spey Leaders, Fluorocarbon Leaders, Big Game Leaders and Bass Bug Leaders are all tied with Blood Knots.  Are you still having trouble tying this knot after watching all the videos you can find? Stop by the Fly Shop in downtown Edinburg, Virginia for free one on one instruction about how to tie the Blood Knot.

Murray’s Fly Shop Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Loop to Loop Connections

Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Loop to Loop Connections from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.

Murray’s Fly Shop Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Loop to Loop Connections – Loop to loop connections are a standard affair in today’s fly fishing arena.  Many fly lines come with loops pre made in the end to ease attaching your fly fishing leader.  Love loop to loop connections or hate loop to loop connections, there is a time and place for just about everything.  When that time arises in your fly fishing, you need to make sure you connect your loop to loop correctly.  Learn to tie the Double Surgeons Loop in this Quick Tip Video.

Caring for your Fly Fishing Reels – Murray’s Fly Shop Blog

Fly Fishing Reel Care - Winterize your fly fishing reels
Many of my reels are over 40 years old and they work as well as the day they were made

The fly fishing reels we have today will last a lifetime and give wonderful service if you take good care of them.  I’m now fishing with a Hardy Pre-Reissue Perfect Reel that has been in heavy use for over 30 years and it has never let me down.  Be sure to follow the manufactures direction on the cleaning and care of your reels.

Here is the way I clean my fly fishing reel.  I remove all of the fly line and backing.  I remove the spool and scrub the whole fly reel (back, front, inside and out and the spool) with warm water and soap using an old soft toothbrush.  I dry it with a soft cloth and set it aside for several days to dry completely.  I then apply a thin coat of reel oil to the center pillar, drag, drag screw and all moveable parts inside the back of the fly reel being very careful no to get oil inside the spool where it might contact the line or backing.  Next I put on new backing and replace the fly line.

Next week I’ll discuss how to take care of a fly line so it will perform well and last many years.

Invasive Species Cleaning Procedures for Fishing – Murray’s Fly Shop

Aquatic Invasive Species, Learn how to prevent the spread of invasive species
Do you want this in your favorite river or stream? Educate yourself and prevent it!

Invasive Species Cleaning Procedures for Fishing

Spring is here and with it we are all eager to hit our favorite stream or river.  As you venture out be safe and most importantly have fun!
Please take a minute to educate yourself on the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species / Aquatic Nuisance Species to our streams and rivers.  This threat continues to persist and likely will Ad infinitum.  Please educate yourself about how to prevent their spread then take action to ensure you and your friends aren’t part of the problem.
Some great resources are found throughout the web and here are a few of our favorites:
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force
Didymo in Virginia
Clean Angling Coalition – Take the Clean Angling Pledge while you’re there
Trout Unlimited
FWS- Aquatic Invasive Species
USDA – Invasive Species
If you are reading this and are registered for one of our On-the-Stream Schools please take steps to ensure your gear is clean prior to arriving at the school.  As of today, 3-28-2014, felt soles are legal in Virginia.  They are illegal in Maryland (Potomac River).
How do you clean your gear?  Read Harry’s article on Cleaning and Disinfecting your Fly Fishing Gear or listen to his Podcast on Aquatic Invasive Species.

Streamside Etiquette – Spring Fly Fishing – Be Nice!

Fly Fishing Streamside Etiquette for the fly fisher – Spring Fly Fishing in the Shenandoah Valley means Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout!!!  Hopefully you can find time to chase one of these species in the very near future.  If not, at least go outside and feel the sun and breeze on your face.
A quick note on stream side fishing etiquette: As you venture out, please remember you probably will not be alone.  Be Nice!! Courtesy on a mountain trout streams means starting upstream from someone who is fishing by at least 150 yards in the Spring (200 yards or more in the Summer and Fall).  Courtesy on a stocked trout streams means take time to figure out which direction the other angler is headed and leave 200 feet for them to fish.  Courtesy on the Shenandoah River if you are floating means avoiding wading anglers – move to the other side of the river or at least stop prior to an angler and wait until they are finished fishing a run you need to float through.  On the Shenandoah River, wading or floating, give each other several hundred feet to fish unspoiled water.  Kids love to throw rocks and splash and carry on so give them room if you can and hopefully they return the favor.  Remember, everyone wants to have fun out there.
Don’t hesitate to say hello to fellow anglers and river users, you might make a new friend or learn something or be able to offer a friendly suggestion to improve their fishing.

Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Learn to tie the Improved Clinch Knot

This Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Learn to tie the Improved Clinch Knot and you will have mastered one of the strongest and most reliable knots to attach a fly to your tippet.  From heavy 50lb. fluorocarbon to 8x tippet material, the Improved Clinch Knot will provide a secure connection between your leader and your fly.

Quick Fly Fishing Tip: De-barbing your Fly

Quick Tip: De-barbing a Fly from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.
Quick Fly Fishing Tip: De-barbing your Fly – Learn to De-barb your flies.  Many streams and regions throughout fishing country require the use of Barbless Flies.  This is a simple process and when done correctly will aid in reducing the mortality of released fish.  Barbless flies decrease the amount of time a fish needs to be handled before being returned to the water.  Along with shorter return to water times, the amount of trauma caused by properly or foul hooked fish is greatly diminished with Barbless Flies.  And alas, when you accidentally drop your backcast in the wind, that impaled object (aka. “your fly”) comes out of your fishing buddy, or you, much easier.  An often asked question: Why don’t we just tie flies on barbless hooks?  Many of the barbless hooks available on the market today are a bit on the weak side.  We, along with much of the industry, tie our flies on strong hooks which tend to come barbed.

MFS Fly Fishing Podcast on iTunes

Murray's Fly Shop Fly Fishing Podcast on iTunes
Murray’s Fly Shop Fly Fishing Podcast on iTunes
– Learn to fly fish or brush up on your tactics by listening to our Fly Fishing Podcast on iTunes.  These Fly Fishing Podcasts cover many topics related to the fly fishing world.
We have over 25 episodes on a variety of fly fishing topics. Smallmouth Bass fly fishing? We have a dozen episodes on it.  Trout fly fishing? We have 15 episodes on it.  Scott Radian Fly Rod review?  We have an episode on it.  Carp fishing? We have an episode or two on carping with a fly rod.  Gear Reviews? We beat up gear and give it a review afterwards.
Is there a topic we haven’t covered that you would like to hear? Drop us an email or give us a call and we will see what we can come up with.  We will reward original ideas!
Listen to the MFS Fly Fishing Podcasts at or Subscribe and Listen to our Fly Fishing Podcast on iTunes

Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Tying the Double Surgeon’s Loop

Quick Tip: Tying a Double Surgeon Loop Fly Fishing Knot from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.
Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Learn how to tie the Double Surgeon Loop to connect your leader to your fly line loop.  The Double Surgeon’s Loop is also great for loop to loop connections in other parts of your leader.  Many fly fishermen and women prefer to attach the tippet with a loop to loop connection, an application in which this knot excels.  Stronger than a Perfection Loop, this is an important knot in the fly fisherman’s tool box.

Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Tying the Double Surgeon’s Knot

Quick Flyfishing Tip: Double Surgeon Knot from Murray’s Fly Shop on Vimeo.
Quick Fly Fishing Tip: Tying the Double Surgeon’s Knot – Learn how to tie the Double Surgeon’s Knot with the first video in our series “Learn to Fly Fish – Quick Tips”.  Tying the Double Surgeon’s Knot involves five steps and creates a consistent and strong connection between pieces of monofilament.  In a day of fly fishing you will likely change your tippet once, twice or maybe more depending on conditions, this knot will make that change easier.

2014 – Learn to Fly Fish

Murray's Fly Shop 2014 Catalog - Learn to FlyFish in 2014! 2014!! – Make it the year you Learn to Fly Fish!!

Our 2014 Catalogs just arrived at the Fly Shop and if you’re on the mailing list you should be receiving yours in the next week.
Our theme this year is “Learn to Fly Fish!!”  The great outdoors is full of opportunities that don’t include the – “enter your chosen obsession with the techno world”.  The fishing world is a great way to experience the great outdoors; alone or with companions.  Have you already mastered flyfishing?  Teach someone to fly fish!  Need equipment? Give us a call and we probably have some loaner gear you can use to teach a friend or child or spouse or parent.
Fishable water can be found within 10 minutes of 90% of the population of the U.S.A.  –  To help you Learn to Fly Fish we have many opportunities from fly fishing articles to fly fishing classes which are available throughout the year.
Bring your Student ID or Military ID to any of our Winter Workshops and it’s FREE!  Don’t have one of these ID’s?  Bring a friend and it’s FREE for one of you!

Pseudocloeon – Blue Wing Olives

Pseudocloeon Dun Mayfly Blue Wing Olive
Pseudocloeon Duns crawled up my waders in their attempt to dry their wings on their way to becoming spinners.

Selecting a Fly Line

Fly fishing fly line selection Selecting a Fly Line.  Do you know the difference between the hundreds of different fly lines on the market? Why are there so many choices? Do I really need to have dozens of fly lines at my disposal to take up fly fishing?  Does the flyfishing world try to make it difficult to understand fly lines?  No, I don’t know, No and yes (it’s confusing to me as well!!!!).
Every day I have folks asking for help in selecting the right fly line for their flyfishing.  The decisions are mind boggling!  It confuses the majority of us and I have even upon asking the manufacturers, had some long moments of silence and blank stares.  The choices don’t have to be confusing.  In this article I have tried to simplify the selection process, regardless of the manufacturer, for the beginner or the advanced fly fishing angler.  I have compiled a list of the fly lines typically used and summarized them by the tapers (shape and weight) which I use for the various types of fly fishing conditions. Check it out….

Wading Boot Sole Repair Part 2

Wading Boot Sole Repair Part 2 Wading Boot Sole Repair

Wading Boot Sole Repair Part 2 – This is the boot I was repairing in our post “Wading Boot Sole Repair – Goop or Barge Cement?”.  I now have the boot sitting on the workbench in the garage where it will air dry for 48 hours.

Wading Boot Sole Repair – Goop or Barge Cement?

Repairing Wading Boots with Goop or Barge Cement

Wading boot sole repair – Goop or Barge Cement?

Wading boot sole repair – Goop or Barge Cement? Worn out wading boots are hopefully the sign of good things.  The best “good thing” of course is that you wore out your boots with lots of fishing!  If your boots failed shortly after purchasing them, that’s not such a good thing (and you should contact your local fly shop regarding repair under warranty).  In this day and age many of us like the idea or repairing, reusing and recycling our gear.  This falls in the repairing category.  Repairing a loose, floppy sole on your well worn (or not) wading boots is a relatively easy repair with either of these two products.  Barge Cement – Felt Sole Replacement Kit works very well on felt soles while both Barge Cement and Aquaseal products work on rubber soled wading boots.
I typically stretch somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 days of fishing out of a pair of mid to top end wading boots with several “maintenance” repairs along the way.  This picture is of one of those repairs (the second for this boot) after the sole pulled loose on the South Fork of the Shenandoah last week.  These repairs usually run something less than $12.00 – This repair: One tube of Barge Cement $7.00, six days of drying the boot, 15 minutes smearing Barge Cement on the sole and clamping it all together.
Here’s the process I typically use to repair a loose sole on my wading boots.
Step 1 – Clean & Dry the wading boot to be repaired. I let this wading boot dry inside the house for almost a week.
Step 2 – Following the manufacturers recommendations, gather up the supplies needed to apply either Aquaseal or Barge Cement – Felt Sole Replacement Kit. This usually includes some type of applicator like a popsicle stick or disposable brush and clamps, ropes, boards or whatever you plan to use to maintain constant even pressure while the glue dries (up to 72 hours).
Step 3 – Apply a liberal amount of glue to your loose wading boot sole.
Step 4 – Place a clamp (or whatever you plan to use) on the boot to maintain constant, even pressure on the repair. Place the boot where it can dry with adequate ventilation.
Step 5 – Go Fishing and try out your repair!
If you are reading this and you find that you have wading boots or wading gear that is in usable condition and you are no longer using, please give us a call.  We regularly take in unused/ unwanted wading gear and give it to local school kids or charities who typically put it to prompt use and use it until it literally falls apart.  (540-984-4212)

Which Dry Fly to Use??

Mr Rapidan Parachute Dry Fly Fishing

Which dry fly to use?  It’s a question often asked by many even experienced anglers.  Many mountain trout streams have good hatches of stenonema vicarium mayflies at this time and the trout feed heavily on both the duns and the spinners. Fish a Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry 14 both to the rising trout and as a searching pattern and you’ll get great action.

Learn to fly fish – Fly Fishing 101 – FREE!!!

Learn to fly fish Learn to fly fish – Fly Fishing 101 – FREE!!!
Spring is here! Are you anyone you know interested in learning about Fly Fishing?
Do you or someone you know want to learn about fly fishing? Do you already fish and just  want to know more about fly fishing? Are you just curious about fly fishing?

     Murray’s Fly Shop in conjunction with the Orvis Company will offer five separate free classes on basic Fly Fishing.  These classes are designed to help anyone with little or no experience in fly fishing learn how to enjoy this great sport and the great outdoors.
We will cover the following in these classes:

  • How to cast a fly rod
  • Basic Trout, Bass and Saltwater fly fishing techniques and equipment
  • Hands on demonstration of fly fishing tackle including; fly rods, fly reels, fly lines, vests, waders, tools and flies
  • Where and when to fish the local fisheries both warmwater and coldwater

You will receive a free Federation of Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited one year membership when you attend one of these classes.
These classes will meet at Murray’s Fly Shop, 121 South Main Street, Edinburg, VA 22824 at 10:00am on the following dates:

  • April 20
  • April 27
  • May 4
  • May 18
  • May 25

Give us a call to sign up for any of these classes (540-984-4212).
These classes are conducted in the fly shop and on our casting lawn.  We will not go to the river or stream to fish.  If you are ready for more than this overview of the great sport of fly fishing, check out our On-the-Stream Fly Fishing Schools which are available for both Smallmouth Bass and Trout.

Brook Trout Fly Fishing Season IS HERE!

Brook Trout March 29 2013 Fly Fishing for Brook Trout in the Shenandoah National Park today found plenty of 39 degree water in the streams.  There is still plenty of snow to melt off of the North facing slopes.  Neither the cool temperatures or extra water deterred the Brook Trout from jumping on a Mr. Rapidan Parachute #14!
We still have a few spots open in our Mountain Trout Fly Fishing Schools if you are interested in learning to catch these guys in their native habitat!

Do you want to learn to fly fish Spring Creeks?

Learn to Fly Fish Spring Creeks You can learn the ins and outs of Spring Creek Fly Fishing with Harry on Saturday March 30, 2013 during our Winter Workshop at the fly shop from 10:00-Noon.

Trout Fishing!!!? Do you want to brush up on your technique?

Shenandoah National Park Fly Fishing Learn Check out our Trout Fly Fishing Refresher Workshop, March 23, 2013 from 10:00am – Noon at the fly shop in Edinburg, VA.  Discuss nymph fishing tactics, reading the water, productive flies and what equipment works or doesn’t work.  Bring your fishing gear or rent an outfit for an afternoon chasing native Brook Trout or stocked Browns and Rainbows.

Do you want to catch native Brook Trout?

Quill Gordon Nymph The brookies will be waking up from their long winter nap shortly.  Get ready to catch them  in one of our two day On-the-Stream Fly Fishing Schools this Spring in the Shenandoah National Park.  Sign up and we will give you a $50 gift certificate as our way of saying thank you.

Line Hand Retrieve

A line hand retrieve is a valuable skill to master. From ponds and lakes to heavy river streamer runs there are times when a slow fly action is preferred. With the cold water temperatures found many places in the winter months, this is how I start off streamer fishing.

Trout on Nymphs anyone?

Nymph Fishing for Trout

How much weight is enough? How much weight is too much?  Nymphs or Streamers in that run on the other side of this channel?  The way in which the most effective anglers look at water makes all the difference, not the magic fly pattern or the magic fly rod, because they understand a natural drift is paramount in the successful Nymph Fishing world.
Saturday January 5, 2012 from 10:00am – Noon at the fly shop in Edinburg, VA Harry will cover the Dynamics of Nymphing for Trout in our Winter Workshop Series. Call to reserve your spot (540-984-4212) or sign up here.

Winter Workshop: Exploring the Fine Points of Dry Fly Fishing for Trout

Baetis - Pseudo's - BWO's
Dry Fly Fishing Nirvana!

Do you like catching Trout on #22 Midges or #16 Dry Flies?  Join us December 29, 2012 from 10:00am – Noon at the fly shop for our Winter Workshop: “Exploring the Fine Points of Dry Fly Fishing”.  Harry will discuss topics like: How does treating your tippet with Dry Fly Floatant affect the drift of your fly?  Are their differences between fishing dry flies and fishing dry midges?(Yes)  How do I catch more trout on dry flies?  “Drag Free Drift” – What it means on a large trout stream vs. a small trout stream vs. a spring creek.  Bring your questions, this is sure to improve your dry fly success.
Give us a call 540-984-4212 to sign up or sign up online.

Gear Repair: Broken Snake Guide on your Fly Rod


By an unexplained accident I broke a snake guide off my fly rod on a 3 week trip into the Rockies. Fortunately, I had several extra guides in my emergency bag so that evening I wrapped on a new guide with 5X tippet material and coated it with aquaseal. It worked fine.

Fly Tying Tip: Strong Thread


Murray’s Red Head

If you have trouble breaking your tying thread when you are spinning the hair on you deer hair bass bugs try using Kevlar Thread. It is very strong.

Fly Fishing Chironomid Midges

The Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle is a great fly to use when the trout are taking emerging midges.

Many trout feed actively on the great number of chironomid midges which hatch at this time of the year. If you see a dimple rise they are taking the adults so show them a Mr. Raidan Dry Midge size 20. While you are fly fishing if you see splashy rises they are taking the emerging midges so fish for them with a Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle size 16 or a Brassie size 18.

Three Bass Fly Lines

Fly fishing at the water temperature we have in October (50’s) using the correct fly line wil help you catch the largest bass.

At this time of the year I make sure I carry three different style fly lines in order to fish my flies at the depth required to catch bass at all depths in which they might feed.

1. I use a floating fly line in order to catch them in shallow water and when they feed on the surface.
2. I use a Scientific Anglers Mastery Sink Tip III Fly Line to fish the fast runs and moderately deep water.
3. I use a Teeny 200 Sinking Head Fly Line in order to fish the deepest pools.

Stop and Impart Action

When you are fishing streamers across stream for trout or bass as you wade downstream stop and stand still before stripping your fly back. This enables you to quickly detect the strike and set the hook.

Smallmouth Bass on Hoppers and a Fly Rod

By this time of the summer the natural grasshoppers, crickets, and cicadas are large enough to attract the large smallmouth bass. In fact, recently my son Jeff caught one of the largest smallmouth bass of his life on the Murray’s Bass Hopper 8.
These big Murray’s Bass Hoppers are often most productive when fished tight to the banks along hay fields and pasture fields where the natural hoppers live. I do very well by fishing the Murray’s Bass Crickets tight along the heavily timbered banks especially early in the mornings. Cicadas are poor swimmers and I see many of them swept into the large back eddies below the riffles where the bass cruise along feeding on them.
My most dependable tactics with these three bugs is a two inch kicking action every five seconds.