Archive for tag: Virginia Fly Fishing

Mossy Creek

There have been a lot of great stream restoration jobs going on around the Valley the past couple of years.  Many of theses projects are due to the efforts of Trout Unlimited.

A few years ago the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited hired a full time Home Waters initiative coordinator for the northwestern part of the state, Seth Coffman. His main job has been to organize TU chapters, prioritize projects, apply for funding, and see these projects through.  In my opinion he has done an amazing job.

That is the reason I contacted Seth about Mossy Creek.  I live on Mossy, and have seen first hand the problems with siltation, erosion, and loss of habitat on the creek. Seth agreed that Mossy was long over due for some repairs.

The location of my house today was under water for over 200 years.  The Mossy Creek dam still stands just a few hundred yards downstream.  One reason that the banks are in such bad shape here is because there was so much silt that backed up behind the dam.  When the lake was drained more than 80 years ago, the creek cut down through the silt. Agricultural use and floods have also contributed to bank problems all along the creek.

Seth applied for money to remove the dam, and restore about a third of a mile of Mossy. We were delighted to hear about a year ago that we received the money that we needed. The project is set to start this spring.

The stretch being restored is at the lower parking area on Mossy near route 42.  This stretch of water has been open to the public for over 30 years and will affect 3 properties.

I encourage anyone who has never seen a job like this done to check it out when it gets started over the next few weeks.  The creek will be narrowed, deepened, banks sloped back, habitat added and vegetation planted.  This job will benefit the trout, the creek, and you.

As soon as we know the date that they are too break ground I will post it on the blog and website.

If you happen to see Seth on the creek, make sure you tell him what a great job he is doing.

Happy Fishing,

A Guide's Spring Checklist

It seems as though the last few winters have been shorter and milder, but that hasn't changed the fact that anglers are off the water for extended periods of time. It is easy to lose touch with your gear through the holidays and the cold season.

Maybe you weren't willing to give up on your fall season, and thought you had a few more trips left.  Maybe you have to pack the vest and waders into the attic to make room for the skis and winter clothes.  Regardless of the condition in which you left your gear in the fall, now is the time to get it into working order.  It is mid February, and although it is hard to believe, we are only a few weeks away from the first major hatches of the year.

I have been guiding now for over ten years, and know the importance of organization and preparedness, for successful fishing.  Here are a few things on my checklist that may help you be ready to hit the water even earlier this year.

Let's start with waders, because it is still cold out there, and we don't want to start the season with hypothermia.  A great way to check for leaks in your waders, besides getting wet, is to go into a completely dark room and work a flashlight all through your waders.  If light makes it through so will water. Then it will be time to break out the aqua seal.

Next let's check our rods.  Rods are fairly maintenance free.  Once a year I will apply ferrel wax to all of the male ferrules.  This will allow you to put the rod together and take them apart easier, and reduce breakage.

Reels are fairly maintenance free as well.  Remove your spool and clean out any sand or dirt, and then lubricate your reel if needed.  Most reels benefit from lubricating at least once a year depending on usage.

Fly line is probably the most neglected piece of equipment.  There are many great products from Rio as well as Loon that will help you clean, and slicken your line.  A clean slick line can completely change your cast.  It is also important to recognize when your line is dead. Some anglers just don't know when to say goodbye, but these lines do have a shelf life.

Now it's time to dive into the vest.  Leaders and tippets sometimes have expiration dates, but if they don't do some inspecting.  If they are frayed, turned yellow, are cracked, or can be broken by hand much easier than they should, then dump them.  Guide pet peeve number one is losing the biggest fish of your life over shoddy tippet.

Guide pet peeve number two is losing the biggest fish of your life over dull hooks.  Inspect your flies.  Ditch rusty, unravelling, or chewed up flies.  Grab your hook hone and go to work on those dull hooks. There are still a number of great tying days left so make a list of what your box is missing and get to work.

Some of the must haves in my vest are floatant, desiccant, split shot, and strike indicators.  Checking these now, and not after you have driven two hours, and hiked in an hour is a pretty simple idea.  However we all get excited enough to fly to the stream on that first 75 degree day without thinking.

One last thing, don't forget to pay the man.  Fishing licenses in Virginia are good for one year from the date of purchase.  That means everyone has a different date to remember. There are trout stamps, national forest stamps, and other add ons that you may need, like your Mossy Creek permit.

Head to the stream organized, safe, dry, and legal in 2013, and I hope to see you out there.

Happy fishing!

Gone Fishin'


Matt Estreich from TV3 Winchester brought a camera crew for his beginner class with Brian.

You can watch it on YouTube here.

Matt did a great job, picked up casting very quickly and enjoyed success on Suzy Q.

If you are interested in learning to fly fish this video gives you a great overview of the classes here at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.

Fishing in Hunting Season

Hunters all over the Commonwealth are headed into the woods for the fall hunting season and many fisherman and fly fisherman love to hunt.  That is one reason why I love fishing during the hunting season.  The streams are far less crowded this time of year and as we head into rifle season there will be even less pressure on the trout streams.

It is important if you fish this time of year to be aware of hunters.  Many fly fisherman are aware that wearing bright colors can spook fish, especially on small clear mountain streams.

This is the one time of year that you should break those rules and put on the orange hats. This is even more important if you have a long hike to the stream through the woods.  I always say if the trout can tell you what color hat you are wearing you are too close to begin with.

Fishing in the National Forest is where you will encounter the most hunters. Streams like the Jackson, the Bullpasture, and North River delayed harvest section are places where you will want to wear a lot of orange.  If you fish on private land then contact the owner and ask if there is any hunting allowed where you will be fishing.

If you would like to avoid hunters all together then look to fish in protected areas like the National Park.  If you are unfamiliar with Virginia's hunting season, check it out on the VDGIFs website.

Happy fishing,
Brian Trow

Fly Fishing Gear Stolen!!!

We need your help!

Our good friend L.E. Rhodes, reported that some scumbag broke into his truck yesterday and stole a 8 wt. Orvis Zero Gravity fly rod in its case along with a Simms reel case with a Orvis Mirage reel and spare spool and a number of Rio leaders. The also a stole a pair of the Orvis Tri-Spectrum sunglasses and a 5" NRS Barrel hand pump.

If you see or hear anything that can help put the long arm of the law on this low-life please let us know and we will pass it along to L.E.


Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign

Mossy Creek's guide Tom Sadler took part in a conference call for fly fishing bloggers yesterday to learn more about the Orvis / Trout Unlimited 1,000 Miles Campaign. Here is the scoop.

The 1,000 Miles Campaign will help fund culvert removal projects on trout streams all over the country. The campaign's goals include improving trout habitat and fishing opportunity with these stream improvements. Poorly designed culverts and other man-made barriers block areas of streams that provide spawning and rearing water and fishing opportunities. Coyner Springs here in the Valley is one of the initial projects.

Trout Unlimited and Orvis are important partners both at the shop and in the Valley and we are delighted to learn about this new initiative to improve cold water habitat. We do a lot of work with TU and as an Orvis dealer are delighted to see them match customer's donations for this effort.

Below is the official announcement from Orvis and TU. You can donate to this great conservation initiative by clicking on this Orvis/TU 1,000 Miles Campaign link.

Orvis, TU begin project to open 1,000 miles of water over next decade

MANCHESTER, Vt.-Orvis and Trout Unlimited this week announced the first two streams that will be improved to allow better passage for wild and native trout as part of the new Orvis / Trout Unlimited  "1,000 Miles Campaign.

Murphy Brook in Vermont and Tabor Brook in New Hampshire-both tributaries of the Connecticut River system-will be the first beneficiaries of funding raised by Orvis and its customers, and TU will oversee construction and reconnection projects on both streams.  Migration-halting culverts will be replaced, and dozens of new miles of habitat will be available to brook trout and brown trout that need intact coldwater habitat to spawn and to escape the worst of summer's heat.

Thanks in part to an Orvis grant and matching funds from the company's customers, the two entities hope to open up 1,000 miles of new coldwater habitat to trout and salmon all over America. Many streams with spawning and rearing potential-and fishing potential-are now blocked by faulty culverts and other man-made barriers. The campaign's goals include not only increasing overall trout habitat from coast to coast, but improving fishing opportunity resulting from stream improvements.

"Opening up 1,000 miles of new habitat for trout and salmon over the next 10 years is an ambitious goal, but we think we can do it," said Elizabeth Maclin, TU's vice president for eastern conservation. "We're lucky to have dedicated partners like the people at Orvis-they've always been very supportive of the work we do, and their commitment to this project means the world to us."

By opening up habitat in Murphy Brook and Tabor Brook to migrating fish, anglers will likely see improved fish numbers in downstream stretches of water, and enjoy more fishable water in the coming years. Two culverts will be replaced on Tabor Brook this fall, and work to remove a culvert that blocks upstream migration on Murphy Brook will begin later in the year.

The 1,000 Miles Campaign will help fund culvert removal projects on several other trout streams located all over America. These streams are:

  • Kinne Brook, a tributary to the Westfield River in Massachusetts
  • Coyner Springs, a tributary to the South River near Waynesboro, Va.
  • Crazy Creek, a tributary to the Crooked River in the Upper Deschutes River drainage in Oregon
  • Aldrich Brook, a tributary to Azizschos Lake and the Magalloway River in Maine
  • Yellow Creek, a tributary to the Bear River in southwest Wyoming
  • Big Slough Creek, a Driftless Areas stream in Jackson County, Wisc.
  • Mabel Creek, a coastal cutthroat trout stream in Oregon.

"Culverts are significant impediments to fish passage and survival - just as significant as a major dam - but the solution is dramatically simpler, costs less, and the overall benefits to many watersheds is profound," said Dave Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. "By removing these impediments, we not only add vital habitat for fish, but we also open many miles of fishable waters for anglers.  We're proud to partner with TU in this effort to engage the fly-fishing community in support of this often overlooked opportunity to dramatically improve fish habitat across the country."


Where did all of the water come from?

If you are like the guides here at Mossy Creek you are always watching the weather and the stream levels.  A big part of our success guiding and leisure fishing revolves around stream flow.  The early fall is typically one of the driest times of the year here in the Shenandoah Valley.  Unless we get a tropical system, or have an unusually wet summer, water levels usually bottom out in September.  Not to worry, the water will return.

It has been said that the average deciduous tree drinks 3 to 4 hundred gallons of water a day.  The forested mountains that flank the valley act like a giant sponge, sucking up the ground water.  By mid-October the leaves are changing color and by late October they are falling.  All of the seasonal vegetation dries up and dies back.  This means less transpiration, and more water left in the ground. The October sun is lower in the sky, the nights are longer, and the days are shorter.   This means less direct evaporation of water.  Additionally, human activity changes and less water is used for gardens and yards, and farmers are done pumping and irrigating.

Fishing with leaves on the water can be a pain, but all of those leaves jam between the rocks and really help to dam up those nice trout pools we love to fish.  An added 2 to 3 inches of depth can make all the difference for a feeding, or more importantly spawning Brook Trout. All of these factors lead to the ground water level rising, and streams flowing better.  Even without rain, water levels always rebound in late October and early November.

Fortunately this year we have had above average rainfall.  Let's put that water in the bank and save some for next summer.

Here is a quick link to watch the seasonal change of groundwater in the Valley.


Happy Fishing!

Brian Trow

Fan Mail: Thanks for Guiding Us!

Last week we received a very special thank you note from a client.

"Just wanted to write to say thank you to Jess and the fine folk at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for such an incredible day of fishing. My brother and I were both celebrating our birthdays which are close, and we won't soon forget the dozens of big 'bows we caught on [withheld by request] and our very first trip to Mossy.

I put up a couple blog posts on our trip on my blog, deadbait, along with pictures. We decided not to name [withheld by request] and just refer to it as Farm Creek out of respect for [withheld by request] privacy. We're looking forward to fishing with you all again this winter.

All the best,


Read Joel's post's Birthday on the Fly Part 1 and Birthday on the Fly Part 2. We think they are excellent!

If you want a chance to fish the "Farm Creek," give the shop a call, 540-434-2444!

Fall Open House

Join us again this fall Saturday, November 3rd for the Mossy Creek Fall Hook Up!

Tim Borski will be our special guest! 

Flip Pallot says: "Tim Borski is without question the most innovative tyer of fish food on planet Earth."

In addition, we will be showcasing new product for 2013, our new fly tying den, hosting a group of world class fly tiers, and having presentations, food, prizes, and more!

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more updates! You don't want to miss this one!

Store Expansion

Fly tying enthusiasts, are you looking for one of the biggest fly tying selections available in the Mid Atlantic? Are you sick and tired of only finding pieces and parts of your fly tying list? We have the solution to your fly tying needs!

We are building out an additional 300 square feet of pure fly tying heaven in our shop. Not only will this allow for a ridiculous amount of new fly tying product, but it will also allow for more gear and tackle in our main storefront!

We hope to have the new fly tying room completed in the next few weeks and will have new products coming in October.

We want your input!!! Feel free to email the shop with requests on items that have been difficult to find, as we would like to accommodate all the hardcore fly tiers in our region!