Tag Archives: sculpins

Fly Fishing Podcast–November 2017

Fly Fishing Podcast for November 2017 by Harry Murray

In my fly fishing podcast for November I discuss the trout fishing you can expect for this month in our large trout streams with sculpin imitations.  The natural sculpin minnows are bottom hugging minnows living under cobblestones in and immediately downstream of heavy riffles. This is where I like to fish my Spuddler.  Many of the tails of the pools give me some large trout by fanning the Murray’s Black Marauder size 8 over the last 100 feet. The gentle riffles along the far banks often attract large trout that feed on the slim silver minnows that live here. By casting a Murray’s Silver Ghost Streamer size 6 in tight against these undercut banks you can catch many large trout.  For more details on the areas and techniques to use listen to my entire Fly Fishing Podcast for November.

Fly Fishing Podcast November
Fly Fishing Podcast for November. Jeff Murray catches many large bass at this time of the year by fishing streamers deeply with a fast sinking head fly line.

The smallmouth bass rivers are cold but we can still catch some large bass by choosing the correct flies and fishing the correct feeding stations which the bass choose at this time of the year. They want to choose foods that give them the greatest food value for the least effort to capture it. Large minnows are a prime target. Therefore I like to fish the Murray’s Tungsten Cone Head Marauders in black, pearl or olive.  In my personal fishing at this time of the year the back eddies that form below the riffles on the side of the river with the slow current are some of their favorite feeding stations. These provide an abundance of minnow life and protection from the powerful currents of the river.


Fly Fishing: Sweep A Streamer

Earlier we covered how to catch large brown trout in the riffles at this time of the year (late fall/ winter). Today let’s look at a very effective method for flyfishing to trout in the deepest parts of the large pools when using a floating fly line when the basic across stream tactic will not get our flies deep enough. Many of these deep pools can be flyfished effectively with a floating fly line using a technique I call “Sweeping a Streamer” with sculpin minnow imitations such as Shenk’s Sculpin and Murray’s Black Madtom/Sculpin. In fact, this technique will enable you to get your streamers deeper than any method you can use with a floating fly line. Set yourself up right beside the deep water you plan to fish. Your first cast is made 20 feet long up and across stream at a 45 degree angle. The streamer is allowed to sink deeply on a slack line. Once it is close to the bottom and at a 45 degree angle take up the slack line with your line hand. Now you swing the rod downstream and by staying tight on the streamer with your line hand you will quickly feel the strike as you sweep the streamer along the stream bottom and it is easy to hook the fish. Successive casts are made two feet longer at this 45 degree angle upstream and the streamer is swept along the stream bottom in the same manner. By gradually lengthening your casts in this way each drift will swim your flies along the stream bottom a little further out in the pool. Once you feel you have covered this water just wade downstream pausing at ten foot intervals to repeat this technique. You may not catch every big trout in front of you but you know they have seen your streamers.

Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing

North Fork Smallmouth Bass on 4/9/2010 on an Olive Madtom #4.

The North and South Fork of the Shenandoah are both in great shape for floating.  The temperatures are in the upper 50’s to lower 60’s.  We have done well with streamers fished slow and deep with sink tip fly lines.  Olive Marauders and Black Madtom/ Sculpin in Size 4 or 6 have been working well.
Use caution if you are wading since there is still a lot of water in the river.
I have watched several anglers wading without a wader belt…. please do not do this!  A wader belt is designed to keep your waders from filling up with water should you accidentally take a swim. Waders which are full of water make it very difficult to move/ swim which can lead to dire consequences in fast or deep water.