We can’t catch a break this winter. The Gunpowder hasn’t reached 40 degrees all week, and now that flows are coming down to fishable levels, the high today is supposed to be around 25. We need a few good days in the 50’s for things to really pick up.
Sometimes bad weather can lead to good things, though. Check out this video from Orvis. It might just possibly be the coolest trout video ever.
Get out there! This is the best 3 day stretch we’ve had since December, and it looks like it will continue into the weekend. I will be on the Gunpowder all day tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/19) and Thursday. Water temps right now are warmer than they have been since January, and despite the cooling effect of snowmelt will likely continue to rise as we see a few days with air temps in the 50’s. Flows are about perfect in the 130 cfs range.
I am betting that warmer water will energize the fish, and if we are lucky we might see some winter stonefly activity. Barring that, I will try a zebra midge first, as usual this time of year.
Good luck! I hope to see you out there. If not this week, then the weekend looks like it could be pretty stellar as well.
UPDATE: It’s officially rock snot (didymo) season.
Additionally, the trout weren’t fighting each other to eat my flies, either. Despite water temps reaching 40 degrees for the first time in weeks, I was skunked for the first time in a long while. And that despite a full day of fishing. On the plus side, I did see a couple stoneflies. Also,there is still a great deal of snow on the ground:
So if you do go out, be careful. All that said, I still expect today to be a solid fishing day, and the weekend looks like its going to be great.
Flyfishing on the Gunpowder has been slow to non-existent due to very cold air and water temps, so I decided to head south and explore another kind of year-round trout fishery, the spring creek. After perusing my well worn copy of David Hart’s Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia I settled on Rawley Springs in the Shenandoah Valley. The tiny community is bounded by mountain streams of the George Washington National Forest and convenient to two well known Virginia spring creeks: Mossy Creek and Beaver Creek.
Spring creeks (also known as limestone creeks) maintain relatively constant temperatures year round because they spring from subterranean sources, which are not much affected by air temperatures. Mossy Creek, however, was affected by runoff from a major storm just prior to my trip, and was turbid and muddy. I tried tossing streamers in the extremely low visibility water to very little effect. I will have to come back and try this popular public spring creek again some other time, perhaps around the time of the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival.
Beaver Creek, on the other hand, was in prime fishing condition by the time I reached it. The creek flows through a pastoral setting near Ottobine, Virginia, a few miles southwest of Harrisonburg (about 3 hours from my home in Baltimore).
Beaver Creek holds both stocked and wild fish, although I seemed to catch only the stocked variety. The local Trout Unlimited chapter has a hand in stocking the Creek, and they do a great job. I hooked in to several fish in the 15″+ range, and landed a couple. The trout, like many stocked trout, seemed to concentrate in slow pools. Midge patterns and scud patterns were both quite effective, fished in a traditional weighted nymph rig.
One unique and pretty cool feature of Beaver Creek is the permit system. A maximum of 4 anglers are allowed to fish the creek in a given day, and to do so they must go in person to 257 Grocery in Dayton to pick up the daily permit. The reasonable fee of $10 goes to TU for management and stocking of the creek. I had the creek to myself for the entire day, although I doubt that would be the case on a Saturday (and as far as I can tell you can’t get a permit on Sundays).
As a bonus, after fishing the spring creeks, I had the opportunity to tromp around in a gorgeous mountain stream. If you are ever in the area and tire of the spring creek scene, there are gorgeous native brook trout streams very close by. Black Run is less than 20 minutes from Beaver Creek, and reportedly provides excellent brook trout fishing, although February doesn’t seem to be a prime month.
All in all, I was very favorably impressed with the flyfishing opportunities in this section of the Shenandoah Valley, and I’ll definitely be back. If you choose to visit the area, I’d contact Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg. I found them to be well stocked, friendly and informative.