Spring is finally here! We were teased in February with beautiful weather, then March arrived and brought the cold back. Extended forecast for central Virginia looks like Spring is here to stay awhile. Spring brings a lot of options to the fly fisherman in Virginia. One of the most exciting fisheries getting ready to start soon is the annual striped bass run on the Staunton River. Stripers run up the river from Buggs Island Lake to there spawning grounds near Brookneal, VA. The fish are coming up to spawn but burning all that energy they tend to eat anything in their path. Last year the run got going the first week of April with the majority of the striped bass in the river by the third week. The run typically ends around the second week of May. After the fish are done spawning they head back to the lake. This run is a great time to get your first striper on the fly rod or your 100th. Last year fish ranged from 22″-28″ and the largest fish my clients landed were in the 10 pound range. My calendar is getting full but here are my remaining dates if interested in getting out after the hard pulling striped bass. April 6, 7, 10-13, and 30th. May 1-3, and 5-10.
The trout fishing has been fantastic this month. The fish are coming out of their winter funk. Hatches are starting to happen and on warm days I have seen caddis on some streams. As it warms we will see more and more bugs on the water. Nymphing has been working the best lately, which isn’t that always the case? With water levels likely to rise as Spring progresses we will have more opportunity to catch the bigger brown trout on streamers.
Shad fishing is always a sign that Spring has arrived. The Roanoke River in Weldon, NC is one of my favorite places to target Hickory Shad and the occasional American Shad. The fish have arrived but if you go be careful the water is low and many rocks are showing. I always enjoy shad fishing at least once a year. Its a nice to go catching on a occasion.
Congrats to my good buddy Eric. It has been a interesting journey with him when it comes to musky fishing. He has lost everyone he has hooked over the past year, 8 to be exact but who’s counting? The moon and stars aligned for him last week and he landed one. I’m glad he got the monkey or musky off his back. The first one is always the hardest so hopefully the fish will be a little easier on him from now on.
A lot is going on this time of year and many different species can be caught on the fly. I’m looking forward to a great Spring and hope to see you out there on the river.