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
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.