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flydoc
02-06-2008, 08:12 PM
Thinking about heading up to the Shenandoah area. Anyone got any advice on the spring creeks/mountain streams(brookies!)/guides/flyshops/accomodations?

Thanks!

ijsouth
02-07-2008, 03:04 PM
There are two books, both by Harry Murray, that will help you for that area:

"Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park" and "Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams"

Both books cover accomodations, etc. I've only fished in SNP, so I can't vouch for the spring creeks or streams in the National Forest. I've fished the Rapidan, on the east slope a fair bit; in fact, it was up on the headwaters of that stream that I caught my first brook trout, and that got me hooked on this whole fly fishing "thing", which in turn led me to a location a bit closer to home than Virginia (the Smokies), which led me to LRO, and then ultimately to my purchasing land in the area - all from a couple of small, wild brookies....but I digress. I've also fished a few other streams, all on the east slope. Because SNP is configured quite differently from GSMNP - it is basically one narrow ridgeline - the streams are pretty similar to one another, and they tend to flow pretty quickly. The park is pretty much a brookie fishery exclusively; brown trout have invaded some streams, and in fact you are not allowed to return a brown to the water (check the park website for details). Also, some streams (like the Rapidan) are strictly catch and release - those streams that allow harvesting have a 9-inch size limit...again, check the website for the most up-to-date details.

I've done fairly well up there - the brookies are, for the most part, northern strain, and they tend to be a bit bigger than the ones in the Smokies. Also, keep in mind that they suffered from the drought too...in fact, from what I saw online, it might have been worse up there. I think they're getting some water now, so I would think things would be fine. The last time I fished up there, it was the third week of April, and while the dogwoods were blooming in the lower elevations, the trees were still bare up high, and the water temps were in the upper 40s. The brookies were smashing dries quite agressively, however.

flydoc
02-07-2008, 06:58 PM
Thanks! I'll definitely check out the books. I wonder if he's associated with Murray's fly shop up there? We're heading up mid-May. I'll send a report.

ijsouth
02-07-2008, 08:36 PM
I wonder if he's associated with Murray's fly shop up there?

One and the same...he is most noted for developing the Mr Rapidan dry fly, which I have found works in the Smokies as well as it does on its namesake river. He knows his stuff, although he is a bit pricey, IMO. I went to one of their on-the-stream schools last Spring (I signed up before I discovered LRO, or I probably would have gone that direction...a little less money, etc). Anyway, his son Jeff conducted the class, and I got a lot out of it - if nothing else, I learned how to set the hook properly on those rapid strikes, and my percentage of fish brought to hand went way up after that.