In September Harry will be conducting two Fly Casting & Rigging 101 Classes that will help you learn or improve your casting techniques. On our casting lawn, he will teach you how to perform all of the standard casts as well as roll casts, curve casts, and shooting line. After the casting class you will then proceed back to the fly shop where he will show you how to rig your tackle including the knots to use when putting your line and backing on a fly reel. We provide the rod and reel outfits for you to use for the class or if you prefer you can bring your own.
Virginia Fly Fishing Podcast by Harry Murray for March Trout and Smallmouth Bass Fishing
In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses the Epeorus pleuralis mayfly hatch which occurs in March on the trout streams around the mid-Atlantic. He will also discuss the best feeding stations in the pools, the most effective flies and the best tactics and leaders to use.
Flies: Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 14, Blue Quill Dry size 16, and Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14
Each year I get asked, “What kind of fly fishing can I expect for November and December in Virginia?’
November and December provide outstanding fly fishing for large trout and smallmouth bass. However, the cooling streams and the natural foods change the feeding habits of the fish and we get our best results by adjusting our fly selections and angling tactics accordingly.
In order for you to get good fishing I will break down my three favorite forms of angling at this time of the year. First we’ll look at my favorite Pennsylvania fishing, then we’ll discuss Virginia’s Delayed Harvest Streams and large stocked trout streams and finally I’ll cover the smallmouth fishing.
Don’t forget I will be holding fly fishing workshops on Saturdays in my fly shop from 10a.m. to noon. I cover many topics including fly tying, fly casting, trout fishing, bass fishing and selecting the proper fly rods. To see the schedule and to sign up…visit our website.
The second portion of this fly fishing podcast, Harry goes into detail on where to catch large bass in November, the areas the bass are holding in, and the best tactics. He also explains why he uses a Sinking Line with Fluorocarbon 6ft Leaders.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
FlyFishing Report for Virginia including native brook trout and smallmouth bass fishing.
April is the favorite month for trout fishing by many serious mountain trout fishermen. With the ideal stream levels and water temperatures, the trout are feeding and the hatches continue. In this podcast I will be discussing these specific hatches, the order in which to expect them, and what flies to use to match these hatches. The number one selling fly to match these hatches–Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 14. I fish these on our Murray’s Classic 7 1/2ft 5X Leaders. Also, check out our new Foam Leader Keepers. These are very handy for those that hate complicated knots and changing tippet material while on the stream.
The smallmouth bass fishing on the Shenandoah River will start to take off in April as the water warms and the bass start to feed. I like to use streamers which match the natural foods the bass are seeing in the river such as Murray’s Heavy Streamers in Chub, Sunfish or Shiner all in size 6. These are fast sinking streamers which will help get through the spring currents. I use a Sink Tip III Fly Line with a Sinking 6ft. 2X Leader in fast currents and water over 4 feet deep. In moderate currents I use a Scientific Anglers Frequency Boost Fly Line with a Murray’s Bright Butt 9ft 2X Leader. The second part of this podcast includes the areas I like to fish (bank bays) at this time of the year and the productive tactics and gear including rods.
Learn to Fly Fish with our Fly Fishing Workshop–This November we will be starting our fly fishing workshops on Saturdays in the fly shop from 10a.m. to noon. I will be covering various topics throughout the winter into the spring including fly casting, fly tying, trout fishing in the Shenandoah National Park, smallmouth bass fishing in the Shenandoah River and NEW this year Selecting the Proper Fly Rod Outfits.
For more information or to register for a fly fishing workshop …click here or call 540-984-4212
Fly Fishing Stream Report Podcast – Late Summer 2015 with Harry Murray
In this fly fishing stream report Harry Murray discusses the best areas to find the trout in the stocked trout streams and the most productive flies and techniques including Ed Shenk’s Cress Bug. Also with the water levels dropping for the end of the summer he touches on the best flies (Murray’s Moth, Housefly, Oakworm, & Yellow Jacket) to use to catch those brook trout in the mountain trout streams in the Shenandoah National Park using the hands and knees approach.
The last section of this podcast covers the smallmouth bass fishing on the Shenandoah River. He discusses when, where and how to catch the bass feeding on the Hexagenia Mayflies along with a new technique and flies (Mr. Rapidan Skater, Shad Streamer) for catching bass with a riffle hitch.
See our video on the riffle hitch (click here).
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.
Surface Bass Bugs – Murray’s Fly Shop – Poppers and Smallmouth Bass!! Here is the most dependable technique I use in my personal fishing with popping bugs and the method the anglers in my smallmouth schools learn quickly and catch many smallmouth bass with. My reason for developing this technique lies on the fact that many large bass choose feeding stations along the shaded banks where the water is from two to four feet deep flowing over a cobblestone stream bottom. My goal is to fish my Shenandoah Blue Popper size 6 on long drifts as close to these banks as possible with a gentle teasing action. I position myself 40 feet out from the bank and cast my Popper 20 degrees down and across stream so it lands very close to the bank. Since the fast current between the bank and myself could quickly grab the fly line and pull my Popper off the bank it is imperative that I instantly mend the fly line belly back upstream. This should be done with just enough force to cause the Popper to move only several inches. This will assure that the Popper will drift naturally about 5 feet down the river very close to the bank over the bass’ feeding stations. By this time the current will start pulling on my fly line again and I need to mend the belly back upstream. However, I’m careful to use only enough force to cause my Popping Bug to move only several inches. Again I’ll get another 5 foot natural drift along the bank. Repeating this method the third time assures you that you have effectively fished your Popper naturally 15 feet along the bank. By wading slowly downstream and stopping every 15 feet to repeat this technique you will catch many nice bass.
Yesterday provided a beautiful afternoon for fly fishing on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River near Edinburg, Virginia with the Murray’s Fly Shop support staff. Their opinion; it’s still a bit cool to wade wet. Bring your waders!! and a Teeny 200 or SA Streamer Express 175 to get your flies down to the fish.
Shenandoah River Smallmouth Bass Fishing Report Update:
The North and South Fork of the Shenandoah are both in great shape and running in the mid 50’s. Check the Fishing Report for current fishing conditions for both Smallmouth Bass and Trout.
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!
Flyfishing and Catching Large Bass in the Ledge Pockets. Many large bass move into the deep water as the rivers cool. Earlier we discussed how to catch them in the large deep pools while flyfishing. Today we’ll look at a different type water that attracts the bass and how to catch them.
Some large smallmouth rivers have limestone ledges that extend all the way across the river forming small natural dams. They may come within two feet or two inches of the surface of the river and they may be within a hundred to two hundred feet of each other crossing the river. The water between these ledges can range from three to six feet deep. Those with water five to six feet deep hold many large bass as the river cools.
This provides some of my favorite and most productive fishing of the year. First I wade in below the ledge and fish a Murray’s Cream Strymph 4 upstream of the ledge. By fanning my casts upstream and using a line hand retrieve to swim my Strymph back downstream slightly faster than the current I cover all of the reach from my first location. Then I wade across the river below the ledge, pausing at 20 feet intervals to repeat this method all the way across the river. After covering the full width of the river I wade upstream along the side of the river and continue this method all the way upstream to the next ledge.
Catching Smallmouth Bass on Grasshopper Flies provides exciting top water action once mid-summer arrives. Some of the largest smallmouth we catch each year are taken on our Murray’s Bass Hopper.
The ravenous feeding of the smallmouth bass on natural grasshoppers was shown to me one summer evening as I walked down a hayfield beside the river on my way to a favorite riffle on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. I heard many splashes in the river close to my bank as I walked down the field. When I checked the river I saw the bass were rising to feed on the natural grasshoppers I had accidentally chased into the river. In order to add more hoppers to this natural drifting food line I walked up and down the bank two more times. By this time there were dozens of hopper on the water with many rising bass.
I entered the river a hundred feet upstream of my feeding bass and carefully waded down to them. From 40 feet out in the river I cast my Murray’s Bass Hopper 8 in tight against the bank. I let it drift naturally five seconds and then gave it two gentle two inch strips with my line hand in order to make it like the real hoppers kicking along the surface of the river. The first bass took my hopper solidly and in the next 200 feet of the river I took over 20 bass, some of which were dandies.
The greatest numbers of grasshoppers are found in pasture fields and hay fields so when I wade smallmouth rivers along these fields I rely strongly on the Murray’s Bass Hopper 8.
On our guided float trips and our own personal float trips this same fly has become one of our most dependable flies for large smallmouth bass. The technique which works well is to cast the Hopper in close to the bank, let it drift naturally for 5 seconds. Then impart a gentle two inch stripping action to it every 5 seconds to fish it out 10 feet. Successive casts are made every 10 feet down the bank as you drift along.
Unlike much smallmouth fishing, this action gets better the hotter the weather because the natural hoppers become more active. And it stays good well into September.
Smallmouth bass feeding on shiners in the shallows. Shiner minnows inhabit the shallow gravel bars and offer one of the most exciting forms of fly fishing a serious angler can find.
In low light situations such as at dawn, dusk and in slightly discolored water the bass move onto the one to three foot deep gravel bars to feed on the schools of shiner minnows which are always there. However, even in the low light levels the bass apparently are not comfortable in this shallow water for extended time periods. Consequently they feed on the shiner minnows in a hit and run manner. That is, they rush onto the gravel bars and grab as many minnows as they can in 5 to 10 seconds.
This feeding spree is manifested to us in what I call a CHASE. We seldom see the bass as they feed on the shiners but we clearly see the schools of dozens of them as they splash across the shallows to evade the bass. Experience has shown me that it is important to be very cautious when fishing the chase. Here is a tactic which works well for me. When you spot the shiners splashing away from the bass I instantly cast a shiner fly such as a Silver Outcast three feet out in front of the fleeing minnows and strip it rapidly through the minnows. My hope is that the bass will see my fly broadside as an easy target and will take it quickly. Since the chase only last a few seconds I’ve found that I can make two more searching casts in the area of the chase with a good chance of catching him. However, if I continue to make many casts there I scare the bass and he leaves the shallows. A better ploy is to hold my casts, for in many cases he will take up another chase in about five minutes. This time I’m ready for him and I can shoot my cast out in front of minnows with a good chance of taking him.
Not only is fishing the CHASE a great amount of fun but usually these are some of the largest bass.