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Mossy Creek Virginia
Type of Stream: Spring small
Species: Mainly Browns with a few rainbows
Location: Northwest Virginia
Nearest Town: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Mossy Creek is a limestone spring creek in Northwest Virginia. Its headwaters are near Mt Solon and from there it flows Northward for some 8 miles to its confluence with the North River. It flows along in the picturesque Shenandoah valley, which is flanked by Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park.
Since it is a limestone creek, flowing gently through pastures, it shares some characteristics with Abrams Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the limestone creeks of Central Pennsylvania. Basically, the pH is such that a good supply of nutrients in the water tends to support a healthy population of trout. Note: For a better understanding of how limestone affects trout fishing please go to “Fly Fishing Good Trout Streams vs. Poor Trout Streams”.
Much of the creek is private, but an arrangement with the private landowners allows a four mile section of Mossy Creek to be open to the public. In this section, parking areas are available allowing access to the creek. The Virginia Departmentof Game & Inland Fisheries stocks Mossy Creek with fingerling brown trout which have a tendency to grow rapidly in the nutrient rich waters. There is also a good population of holdovers as well allowing for many browns to be in the range of 12 to 16 inches and with an occasional brown over 20 inches. In addition to these areas on the stream there are two private stretches managed by the Mossy Creek Fly Fishing Outfitters.
Caution, the trout however are not easy picking. The name Mossy Creek is well fitting the stream, because like Abrams Creek, the bottom of the stream is covered with moss. Due to the specific regulations for Mossy Creek, anglers must fish from the banks. All is not easy fishing from the bank either as there is a good deal of vegetation capable of tangling an angler’s line and one must be careful not to spook the wary fish. Often times, anglers will resort to getting down on their knees so as not to spook the trout.
Fishing the Mossy Creek:
Delicate and accurate placement of the fly will be required so a finesse rod of 3 or 4 WT will be light enough but still provide the muscle need to land the trout. Also, with the bottom being covered with moss, it is advisable to dispense with the nymphs and use mainly dry flies. Any hooks that reach the bottom are subject to bring back a handful of moss. Streamers will work well as do the terrestrials. When using streamers which is a very popular way to fish the creek, it would be a good idea to use a 6 WT rod.
Mossy Creek is open for fishing for the entire year however; you will be required to register for a free permit that is available at the Verona office of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland fisheries. (VDGIF) The stream is for all intents and purposes catch and release only to preserve the population, but the creel limit rules allows you to keep one trout over 20 inches per day per angler. Please check the Virginia fishing regulations for the complete details.
Spring is a great time to fish for the big browns that have been hiding under ledges and or other cover such as logs. Start with the Blue Winged Olive and the Blue Quill dry fly patterns, followed by the larger BWOs and the Sulphurs in mid April. Tricos begin in late Spring and continue thru Fall with the hatches occuring in the morning. Late in the day, the spinners will fall creating another opportunity. Again, it will be best to stick to the surface, not using nymphs.
Mossy Creek is most famous for its summertime trout fishing because most of the public fishable waters run through meadows and pastures creating ample opportunity for terrestrial insects to land on the smooth waters. The Tricos wll bring the trout to the surface making them vulnerable to hoppers, ants and beetles. Due to the slow moving waters, the creek bed is never flushed out leaving it covered with silt. Therefore silt bearing mayflies like the hexagenia limbata (Hex) are the most important hatches. The spinners are usually falling for the last 1 and 1/2 hours before darkness.
Fall is a pretty time in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and will be well worth fishing the Mossy Creek. Use streamers like the Brown Sculpin, the Mudler Minnow and other imitations of bait fish.
Directions from HarrisonburgVirginia:
Take I-81 South to Exit 240
Go West on Rt. 257 for 3 miles to Bridgewater.
Turn left onto Rt. 42
Go South 3 1/2 miles until the bridge over Mossy Creek
Go South 3 1/2 miles until the bridge over Mossy Creek
The first parking area is on the right.
Continue down the road and turn left on Kyles Mill Road to find the second parking area.
Recommended DVDs, Books, etc.: