Tag Archives: fly fishing smallmouth bass

On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Schools
We have taught many students how to fly fish for smallmouth bass in our on the stream schools.

This month we are starting our on the stream smallmouth bass schools on various dates throughout the summer.  For 55 years we have been teaching these schools and feel they are the most informative schools around.  Each day begins at 9a.m. with a classroom presentation at our fly shop in Edinburg, VA  then you will proceed to the Shenandoah River for the “on the stream” instruction.

We customize these fly fishing schools to meet your specific needs.  These schools provide you with the most comprehensive experience by preparing you to fish smallmouth bass rivers and large trout streams. You will learn or brush up on casting, fly fishing equipment selection, knot tying, reading the water, entomology and all aspects of fishing for smallmouth bass.

We keep our class sizes small so each student has plenty of time with the instructor.  1 instructor per 5 to 6 students.  Don’t have a fly rod?  No worries–we supply the fly rod and reel outfits for the day.  Are you a total beginner?  No problem,  that is what we are here for.  Have you been fly fishing before but just need a little extra help?   We can help no matter your level of experience.

So, come by yourself, bring a friend, relative or that special someone and enjoy a day learning to fly fish.

2017 Dates

June 2, 8, 10, 12, 17, 26, 30
June 23 (Advanced Class)
July 8, 22, 28
August 5, 18, 26

$196 per student for the day

So check your schedule and register today!
You can register online or phone 540-984-4212

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

Hot Spots

I find it rewarding and exciting to mentally mark the hot spots of each days fishing and then take advantage of this on my future fishing trips. Knowing where that exceptionally large smallmouth bass lived on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River close to Edinburg, Virginia enabled me to catch the large smallmouth bass several times over the years. The upper section of Lemar with the big boulders below the last bridge always produce several large cutthroats. And the most productive area on the Outer Banks for sea trout was twenty four power poles North of Buxton in the Sound.

Calendar

Yellowstone National Park Murray's Fly Shop VA
My notes on our pack trip into the Bechler River in the Yellowstone National Park reminded me to do this again… soon!

On a very large yearly calendar on my kitchen wall for the past thirty years I have recorded my daily fishing information as soon as I get back home. Information which I find useful in planning future trips, which include: water temperature, water level, water clarity, hatches, where I fished that day, general success and most effective flies. On my two week fishing trip to distant locations I record where I got the best fishing, where I got the worst fishing, hatches and any unusual information which will help me plan my next trip to that area, such as take warmer clothing.
Perusing these calendars in the off-season brings back many great memories. I also find them invaluable in planning my daily trips and long trips in season.

Bass Streamers

Murray's Pearl Marauder Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
A streamer, such as the Murray’s Pearl Marauder, below the Shenandoah Blue Popper is very productive.

There are times when fishing streamers along the banks when floating smallmouth bass rivers can be very effective.  However, some anglers on our guided float trips believe they are slow in detecting these strikes. We solve this problem by attaching a Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4 to our Bright Butt 9 foot 2X Compound Knotted Leader and attach twenty four inches of 2X tippet material to the bend of the popper hook with an improved clinch knot.  I attach a Murray’s Pearl Marauder size 10 to this as a dropper. When floating the river this combination popper and dropper is cast down and across stream at a twenty degree angle so it lands close to the river bank. A slow strip-pause-strip retrieve will bring many strikes from bass along these banks. When the bass takes the popper the strike is easy to see and the bass can be quickly hooked. If he takes the streamer it will cause a quick movement of the popper which is the signal to set the hook and you hook the bass solidly.

Simple Flies

Murray's Olive, Cream and Black Strymph.
The Murray’s Strymph is an outstanding fly for both smallmouth bass and trout.

Several years ago I stopped in a fly shop in Montana which was owned by a good friend. One of his employees was an excellent fly tyer and the gentleman, who had never fished for smallmouth bass but knowing I fished for them often, pulled out several beautiful, well tied flies he called smallmouth streamers for me to see. I complimented him on the great appearance of his smallmouth streamers, some of which he had skillfully incorporated more than twenty different body parts.  When we were outside in our car I turned to my son, Jeff, and said, “Those were some of the most beautiful smallmouth streamers I have ever seen, but I do not believe they will catch many fish because with all that material on them it will be next to impossible to sink them.”
Several years before this we had done extensive testing on new fly designs and found that in many cases the most sparsely tied nymphs and streamers caught the most bass and trout. I believe much of this success came from the facts that these flies sank well, were strongly suggestive of the natural nymphs and minnows I was striving to mimic and could easily be made to duplicate the swimming action of these naturals.
Some of our flies which fall into this classification are groups of flies in our Shenandoah Simple Streamer series for both bass and trout, the Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle series  for both bass and trout, many of flies (although they are drys) in my “Change of Pace” trout series, the Murray’s Marauders, the Murray’s Floating Minnows and the Murray’s Strymphs.
The outstanding book, Simple Flies by Morgan Lyle shows how to tie and fish fifty two flies for trout, bass and in saltwater. If you are considering tying some new flies for your personal use I believe using the simple approach I have used in many of my flies and those Morgan Lyle discusses in his great book will help you catch many fish.

Smallmouth Bass Feed Heavily on Brown Drake Mayflies

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
Bill Burslem hooks a large smallmouth that was feeding heavily on Brown Drake Mayflies.

Some of the most exciting smallmouth fly fishing takes place when they feed on natural Brown Drake mayflies. There are actually three different species that fall into the group which smallmouth anglers call Brown Drakes but since they act much alike in the stream and the fish feed the same way upon them we fish them all the same ways.
When the duns come off in the afternoon fish to the rising bass one on one with a Irresistible Dry Fly size 12 or fish beside the boulders in the riffles if there are no rising bass.
When the spinners fall at dusk use the same fly and fish these bass one on one by casting three feet ahead of a cruiser or by casting it quickly right at the riseform.

Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub

Murray's Magnum Creek Chub Fly Tying Kit.
Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Fly Tying Kit
Murray's Magnum Creek Chub Streamer
Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Streamer

There are probably more creek chub minnows in most smallmouth rivers than any other single minnows.  These are readily available to the bass from March until November and they feed very heavily upon them. A very effective technique is to fish the Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Streamer size 4 across stream below the riffles, in the deep pools and in the tails of the pools. After the stream sinks deeply, strip it six inches every twenty seconds to swim it slowly across the stream bottom.
I use a floating line for this fishing unless the river is over four feet deep or the current is very fast; in which case I use aScientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Sinking Tip Fly Linewith a Murray’s Sinking 6 foot 2X Fluorocarbon Leader.
In 2016 we started a new item,  Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Fly Tying Kit. This kit contains a photo of the Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Streamer, the complete tying instructions, and enough materials and hooks to tie 24 of these flies. This fly tying kit is $35.95.

Cold Hands?

Simms Freestone Half Finger Fishing Gloves Murray's Fly Shop VA
Simms Freestone Half Finger Fishing Gloves

During the winter and spring I always carry Simms Freestone Half Finger Fishing Gloves in my vest. Experience has shown me that if I put these on before I start fishing I have excellent control of tying my flies onto the leader and carefully releasing the fish. These gloves come in size Medium, Large and X-Large.

Hot Spots

Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
This is the hot spot on Soda Butte in the Yellowstone National Park that always held a very large cutthroat trout.

I always mentally mark a spot where I have caught or moved some large fish…any kind fish. This was the spot on the Madison River just below the park line that always held a large brown trout. It was also the spot across from Horse Brook Run on the Beaverkill that gave me a large brown every time I fished it. The shaded pool just below the feeder spring on the mountain brook trout stream in the Blue Ridge Mountains almost always held the largest trout in the stream.  The deep cut on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River just upstream of the big island below Edinburg was always my most dependable feeding station to catch a large smallmouth.  On the Outer Banks the sound 26 power poles North of Buxton was one of the my most dependable area for fast action. Many of these hot spots have been very dependable feedings stations year after year and have constantly given my great fishing.

Popper Casting

Popper Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Picking a bug up quietly off the river can assure a nice fish on the next cast.

When we make a back cast to pick a popping bug up off the stream to make another cast we may cause that popper to make a loud splashing noise that will scare many close by bass, this robbing us of a chance to catch a bass on our next presentation.
A tactic that can prevent this racket on the pick up is to point the fly rod straight at the popper when you are ready to make your back cast and use your line hand to strip in several feet of line that causes the popper to slide gently across the surface of the river. Now, make your back cast and the popper will jump quietly into the air and you will catch the next bass.

Quick Water

Quick Water Smallmouth Bass Murray's Fly Shop VA
When the high water drops back to where you can see your feet in knee deep water, the fishing is often outstanding.

Heavy rains that last less than a day but deposit two or three inches of rain definitely cause our rivers to become too muddy to fish. However, I call this “quick water” because the rivers come up quickly but then they drop back quickly.  The smallmouth fishing can be outstanding when the rivers drop back to where you can see your feet when you are standing in knee deep water. Under these conditions the bass are not as wary as they are in clear water. I have often fished sections of rivers when they are still carrying some extra color and had outstanding success, where a week before in clear water the action was very slow. Good flies in this falling water are the Murray’s Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer size 4 and Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker Streamer size 4.

Cooling Bass Rivers

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Many large bass move into the deep cuts now and hit streamers stripped along the streambottom.

The smallmouth rivers are cooling and although I am catching nice bass throughout the rivers, I am aware that some of the largest bass are moving into the deep pools. I carry both a floating line and a 200 grain fast sinking head line and use the one which helps me fish my flies deeply. Swimming them deeply and slowly is the best way to catch these large bass. Dependable flies now are the Murray’s Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer size 4, Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker Streamer size 4 and Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub Streamer size 4. These bass often strike these streamers very gently so if you feel the slightest bump set the hook quickly with both your line hand and the rod.

Bass Rod

Jeff Murray and Harry Murray rely on 7 weight rods for our smallmouth bass fishing. The new Scott 9 foot 7 weight 4 piece Radian is our favorite.
Jeff Murray and Harry Murray rely on 7 weight rods for our smallmouth bass fishing. The new Scott 9 foot 7 weight 4 piece Radian is our favorite.

Sure you can land a nice size smallmouth bass on your five weight rod.  However, you are limiting the size of the flies you can cast. I believe a number five line is much too light to cast a size four smallmouth fly smoothly: it becomes work rather than pleasure. I prefer a seven weight 9 foot rod for my smallmouth bass fishing. With this I can easily cast size four flies comfortably and accurately while having the smooth feel to cast the smallest flies.
I especially like the new Scott Radian 9 foot 7 weight 4 piece for its ease in casting and for making long cast when needed. The wonderful damping action of the Radian rods make them the most pleasant rods I have ever used.
The new Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Siege lines are the finest line I have ever used. The ease with which I can pick the bugs up off the stream and the extra distance I can shoot my flies is astounding.

Night Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Fishing for smallmouth bass at night may help you catch the largest bass of the year.

You just might catch your largest smallmouth bass of the year by fishing at night. They feed heavily in the low light levels and they are less wary than they are in the bright time of the day.
For safety and to get good fishing, I fish sections of the river at night that I know well and plan the spots I will enter and especially leave the river to avoid old fences and poison ivy.  A small waterproof flashlight is a must.
Strike detection is dependent upon us feeling it so fishing down and across stream at a 45 degree angle is a great help. This angle enables us to instantly feel the strike and we can quickly hook the bass. A good ploy is to quickly recover all of the slack line and put the bass on the reel so you are in complete control of the runs of a big fish.
Good flies are the Murray’s Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer size 4, Murray’s Magnum Bluegill size 4 and Murray’s Chartreuse Chugger size 4. Impart a firm six inch stripping action to these flies every ten seconds to get the basses attention.

Keep Dry

Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
A good raincoat is a must for a serious angler.

During the summer I do not use waders when floating or wading smallmouth rivers. However I always carry a raincoat in the back of my vest. If a heavy rain settles in all day and you become soaked for several hours you can get the chills. For example, recently five of us were floating seven miles on a smallmouth river in personal kick boats. Shortly into our float a heavy rain settled in on us. Only three of us has raincoats so for the next four hours the two who had no raincoats suffered badly.  Although the rest of us offered to share ours they would not take them. After this we made sure everyone had raincoats.

Streamer Success

Jeff Murray hooks a high percentage of his streamer strikes by following the sweep of his streamer with the rod tip and setting the hook with his line hand as well as the fly rod.
Jeff Murray hooks a high percentage of his streamer strikes by following the sweep of his streamer with the rod tip and setting the hook with his line hand as well as the fly rod.

Here are two simple steps that can easily double the number of successfully hooked fish on your streamer fishing. (1) Always follow the sweep of your streamer with your fly rod so the rod tip is pointed in the same upstream-downstream plan where the line leaves the river. This enables you to quickly feel the strike. (2) The instant you feel the strikes set the hook quickly with a quick line hand strike and a firm rod lifting motion.

The Best Action with Surface Bugs

Surface Bug Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
The best smallmouth bass surface bug action comes from fishing the pattern that gives the action needed.

In order to catch large bass consistently on hard surface bugs it is very important to be able to adjust the bug action to the type of water we are fishing. I have designed the Shenandoah Surface Bugs with this goal in mind.  (1) For example, we often find bass feeding in water two feet deep along the shaded banks and a gentle teasing bug-action is very effective. The Shenandoah Slider with its long slim pointed nose is very productive here.  (2) Four feet deep banks with fast currents produce large bass to a bug that can create a loud water-throwing action. The Shenandoah Chugger with its fat body and deeply cut face quickly brings these bass to the surface with a firm stripping action.  (3) Grass beds and gentle current areas hold many bass that will take bug-action between these two extremes. The Shenandoah Popper with its long tapered body and up-sloping face will take many of these bass.

Reading a Smallmouth River

Smallmouth Bass School Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
My goal in all of my schools is to teach all of the students to read the water.

The most valuable skill a smallmouth angler can develop is learning to read the water accurately. The few minutes spent analyzing a section of a river in this way will give you more bass on the spot and a better understanding of all sections of the rivers in the future.
I see this as a three step process. First I strive to determine where the bass will be holding. The best of these areas  are a combination of a feeding station and a holding area. The second step is determining where to present my fly so I can fish it effectively through the basses feeding station. The third step is positioning myself at the precise spot which will enable me to make my presentation accurately and swim my fly convincingly through the basses feeding station.

My Helpful Angler’s Calendar

Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
I rely strongly on my calendar to find good fishing for both trout and smallmouths throughout the season.

My angler’s calendar is very large, having about two inch square spaces for each date. This allows plenty of space for me to write in where I fished that day, the water temperature, the hatches, water level, my catch and any other important information. Each January when I get a new calendar I write in the above information from previous years.  This brings back wonderful memories as I record these previous trips. It also helps me plan future fishing trips as I correlate the present stream conditions and hatches with what I did on past trips under similar conditions. Great fun!

Switch-Hand Casting

Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
By knowing the basics of good fly casting one can easily cast with either hand.

I have a good friend who injured his right shoulder badly.  Since he cast with his right hand he was very disappointed that he would loose a season’s fishing while he recovered from surgery. I encouraged him to just switch over and cast with his left hand which he did and he was able to fish the whole season.
In my fly fishing schools I have always had to cast with both hands to help all of my students. If you have not tried this give it a go. You will be pleased how well you do. After all you already know the proper casting technique.

Refine Your Smallmouth Fishing

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Many of the tactics we learn on large Western trout rivers work very well for smallmouth bass.

When I wrote my first book Fly Fishing Techniques for Smallmouth Bass an editor with Field and Stream Magazine was very impressed with it. In his review of it he wrote… “Harry is trout fishing for smallmouth bass.”
Actually this is a good approach to improving your smallmouth fishing. If you have fished the large trout streams in the Rockies many of these techniques are very effective for smallmouth bass.  For example, the same nymphing technique  Charlie Brooks taught me on the Madison is the same method I teach anglers in my smallmouth bass schools. The same streamer tactics I learned on the Yellowstone River works very well on all smallmouth rivers. The same hopper methods I use on the upper Madison River are great on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River for smallmouths.

Fly Fishing Tip: Buck the Wind

Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
A good way to prevent the wind from giving you problems is to use a tight loop on your presentation cast and keep it down close to the water.

Casting directly into a strong wind or with a strong wind coming in on your casting arm can present problems. One way I try to combat a wind blowing straight at me is to cast a tight loop on my forward cast and keep it down close to the water.  Another method is to use a side arm cast to keep the line flowing down close to the stream so the wind does not catch it.  In a severe wind, especially when I am wading at the Outer Banks I turn around and shoot my back cast. You can always switch hands and cast with your other hand if the wind is on your normal casting arm. Since you already know what is needed to cast properly this last ploy is much easier than you might expect.

Smallmouth Bass and Trout Fly Fishing Report Podcast

August-Podcast

Smallmouth Bass and Trout Fly Fishing Report Podcast – Stream Report for Smallmouth Bass and Trout Fly Fishing in the Shenandoah Valley -August 2014
Harry Murray discusses the river conditions for the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River along with the best smallmouth flies to use and how to fish them.  We have been fishing well the last two hours of daylight with the Shenandoah Blue Popper size 6.   In the second part of this podcast he discusses the trout fishing in the mountain trout streams in the Shenandoah National Park along with the best flies to use, including the Mr. Rapidan Ant size 16.

If you are interested in learning to fly fish, we are currently conducting our half day fly fishing lessons in August and September.  These are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9a.m. to 1p.m. These are great for those just starting, those that want to brush up on their skills, or for those that just want to enjoy a few hours on the river.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@murraysflyshop.com or (540) 984-4212.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast 5-22-12

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast with Harry Murray Listen to Harry Murray’s Podcast discussion on Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass from late May through early summer.  Harry discusses stream conditions, smallmouth bass feeding areas, effective flyfishing tactics and productive flies to use while fly fishing this time of the year.

Smallmouth Bass in the Bank Bays

We are coming into the stream conditions when you can catch some large smallmouth bass in the “bank bays”. These are those 2 to 3 foot deep indentations that high waters cut back into the river banks. They range from 10 to 20 feet long and are usually cut 5 to 6 feet back into the bank. Start at the upper end of these “bank bays” by wading and floating 40 feet off the bank and cover each with about 20 casts.

North and South Fork Shenandoah River Fly Fishing Report

North Fork Shenandoah River Muddy and High

The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is currently in great shape at Strasburg, VA but upstream from Edinburg, VA to Fulks Run, VA there is a lot of water. The USGS Streamflow Gauges show that the river has reached it’s crest on both the Mt. Jackson Streamflow Gauge and the Cootes Store Streamflow Gauge. This is what we call “quick water”. Quick water leaves the area quickly because it fell in a short time frame and was not able to soak in. This doesn’t help the water table, it is mostly just a speed bump in the Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing. Fortunately you can usually get ahead of or behind the extra water as it moves through the Shenandoah Valley.

The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is currently in great shape from Luray, VA downstream to the Potomac River. The USGS Streamflow Gauges show the river has reached it’s crest on the Lynnwood, VA Streamflow Gauge. This water will move through quickly as well but there is a lot of it.

The North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the South Fork of the Shenandoah River will both have “fishable” areas through the weekend. Give us a call if you need help determining where the extra water is or track it on the USGS Streamflow Gauges.

Large Bass

Large smallmouth bass frequently do not feed heavily in the bright sunny conditions we have now. However, you can get good action by fishing the heavily shaded banks where the water is 3 to 4 feet deep over cobblestone stream bottoms during the middle of the day. At dawn and dusk you can catch many large bass in the tails of the pools and below the riffles.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Outlook for Late Spring 2011

A 3.5lb Bass caught while fly fishing with a #4 Magnum Darter 5/5/11

How to Beat High Smallmouth Rivers

1. I head upstream to get above as many feeder streams as possible. For example, from where my fly shop is in Edinburg by driving upstream 10 miles I can fish the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in a manageable water level because I have gotten upstream above 3 of the main feeder streams.
2. The second tactic I use is to go to sections of the river where I know there are islands which split the flow of the stream. Frequently I’ll get great fishing on the small side of the island when the large side still has too much water.

Fly Fishing to Selective Smallmouth Bass

I was floating the North Fork of the Shenandoah River on a beautiful evening in late May when there was a very heavy caddis hatch on the river. Fishing a Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Olive Dry Caddis I caught many nice bass. As I drifted into a long deep pool I decided to experiment. Fishing my favorite nymphs and streamers in every part of the pool produced only a few small bass. I put my dry caddis back on and caught a bass every second or third cast.

Review of Angling in 2010, Part 2

Smallmouth Bass

The smallmouth fishing was great in Virginia in 2010. Although we fished many streams the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River produced such great action we spent most of our time here, within 20 minutes of our fly shop. For example, I had a friend visiting in June and in one afternoon he caught well over 50 smallmouth bass, some of which were quite large.

The action stated earlier (March) and lasting longer (November) than we usually have, and we normally fished 4-5 days each week. This gave us time to experiment with our New Scott Switch Rods (which are great for bass) and the new bass flies we were designing. I’m very excited about the 5 new flies I’ve added to our Magnum Series designed to catch large bass. By fall the new Floating Chub Minnows and Floating Dace Minnows had become our favorites because of the large numbers of bass these caught. Seeing the wale of a bass coming from 10 feet away to take a Floating Chub Minnow is a very exciting game. The hexagenia hatch was so heavy and the fishing was so fast that I fished the river almost every evening in September by dancing the Mr. Rapidan Skaters over rising bass.

Many of the students in our “Smallmouth On The Stream Schools” caught so many bass in 2 days that they were ready to fish for smallmouth anywhere, even on their own.
We caught more large Carp this year than we ever have prompting us to put our 2 new carp flies into our line. Be sure to have plenty of backing on your reel because a 20lb. carp can make powerfully long runs.

New Flies for 2011 at Murray’s Fly Shop – Micro Poppers

NEW for 2011
Micro Poppers (size 10) Black, Chartreuse, Frog & Yellow $3.05

These are extremely effective for sunfish and also smallmouth bass in some situations. Some anglers like to fish the rivers with 3, 4, or 5 weight rods and these Micro Poppers are ideal for these outfits. Also late in the season when the rivers get low you can taper down to a 3X Leader and fish these upstream in the flat pools with great success.

Smallmouth Bass and a Switch Rod January 2, 1011

Winter Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing with a Switch Rod from JW Murray on Vimeo.

We didn’t get skunked but the river is still too cold for even fair Smallmouth Bass fishing.  It was however a great way to welcome in 2011!

Smallmouth Action

Great smallmouth action can now be had by dressing Shenk’s White Streamer #6 with Gink Floatant and fishing it upstream in the tails of the pools.

Harry’s Article “Fishing Critters for Smallmouth Bass”

Harry just added a new article to our website (www.murraysflyshop.com/articles).  In his article “Fishing Critters for Smallmouth Bass” Harry discusses fishing mouse patterns and frogs for wary late summer Smallmouth Bass.  The full article is available under the “Articles” section of our website.

Popping bugs for Smallmouth Bass…. Fantastic!


Fly Fishing with popping bugs for Smallmouth Bass just might be at it’s peak right now on the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah. There is a lot of food for the smallmouth to feed on, from damselflies to frogs, throughout the day. Early and late fishing continues to be most productive but if mid-day is the time you can go, GO! Concentrate on the shaded banks and along the grassbeds in the river. This Smallmouth Bass took a #4 Chartreuse Chuggar on 3x tippet on an 8wt. fly rod.

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass Podcast Part XV

This podcast with Harry Murray covers Late Season Smallmouth Bass fly fishing techniques and tactics.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast Part XIV

Harry’s discussion on Fishing the Chase for Smallmouth Bass from July to October

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast Part XIII

Harrys view on fishing the tails of the pools for smallmouth bass from mid July to mid October
Harry’s view on fishing the tails of the pools for smallmouth bass from mid July to mid October

Harry’s view on fishing the tails of the pools for smallmouth bass from mid July to mid October

Bass Podcast XIII–Fishing the Tails of the Pools for Smallmouth Bass from mid July to mid October

podcast-XIII

Harry’s view on fishing the tails of the pools for smallmouth bass from mid July to mid October

Early Morning Fishing

Dogs don’t seem to mind the early morning wake up call when there is something fun involved. I try to take a note from their book… This mornings trip down the South Fork was great. Long casts are becoming more of a necessity than during the first part of the summer. Make sure you keep your hook SHARP! Large Smallmouth Bass have a very hard lip and a dull hook will only result in “the one that got away” stories.

Gracie closely watching a popper around 5:30 am 7/20/09
Gracie closely watching a popper around 5:30 am 7/20/09

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast Part IX

Harry’s view on Smallmouth Streamer Tactics from mid June to mid July

Smallmouth Bass Podcast Part VII

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Streamer Tactics from mid May through June.

Bass Podcast VII–Smallmouth Streamer Tactics from mid May to mid June.

podcast6
Harry’s discussion on Smallmouth Streamer Tactics from mid May to mid June.

Fly Fishing Smallmouth Bass Podcast Part VI

Early Season Fly Fishing Techniques for Smallmouth Bass on Nymphs
Early Season Fly Fishing Techniques for Smallmouth Bass on Nymphs

Smallmouth Nymph Tactics from early April to mid May

Bass Podcast VI–Smallmouth Nymph Tactics from early April to mid May

Fly Fishing Smallmouth Bass Podcast Part VI

Smallmouth Nymph Tactics from early April to mid May

Floating the North or South Fork

Look to the shade with your poppers
Look to the shade with your poppers

The water levels are great right now for floating just about anywhere on the North or South Fork of the Shenandoah. Fly fishing with poppers was great yesterday and the fishing should only improve with the forecast. Remember early mornings and late evenings will be your best bet on days with bright sunlight. If you must fish in the middle of the day, look for shade or deep water.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast Part V

Listen to Harry Murray’s discussion on fly fishing for smallmouth bass with streamers from early April to late May.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Podcast Part IV

Reading a Smallmouth Bass River
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