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Fly Fishing Shenandoah Valley In The Summer; Guide to the Best Spots in Augusta County

Updated: Jun 23

Smallmouth bass being held

The summers in Virginia can be brutal. While we don't deal with the extreme heat of the Southwest or deep south, humidity can trap heat and lack of rain make fly fishing opportunities in the Shenandoah Valley difficult.

Mountain stream temperatures get quite high (above 70) and water levels get very low. We actually have streams that go completely sub-surface during the hottest months. This leaves very little in the way of fishing options until the fall.

However, we have a few local options if you really need to wet a line. First is the Shenandoah River. Starting at the southern end of the county heading north there are numerous public access points and boat ramps starting in Waynesboro.

The river heads north and changes from a size that is suitable for canoes to larger, wider stretches that can be floated in rafts. Smallmouth, sunfish, and a few largemouth are present throughout and will readily take a variety of flies. The river continues to grow, as do the fish, as you head more north. Route 340 is the best route to access the river and a company in Shenandoah, north of Elkton, even provides shuttle service and rentals.

If you are a trout only angler then the only option you have is Mossy Creek. This spring creek bubbles up on the western side of Augusta County and heads east towards Bridgewater. The springs constantly provide cold 55 degree water that provide a haven for trout. Still this stream is subject to summer heat and low flows and bright sun make fishing here in the hotter months quite technical. Anglers need to be aware of there positioning, shadows, even by the leader, and drift control. Rainbows and browns can be taken, but they can be extremely wary. Early mornings and evenings are your best bet for active fish.

If you can't soak up the rays at the beach then hit up these places to spend some time outside during the summer. Just remember the sunblock!

A note on Fly Fishing Shenandoah National Park

I write this as I understand that people come and want to fly fish in Shenandoah National Park. The Shenandoah Valley is one of the most visited places in the eastern United States. Unfortunately summer is just not the best season to fish park streams. In addition to low water, high temperatures severely stress native brook trout. These wild trout, when caught, quickly become exhausted, and the lack of oxygen means they might never recover even though they swim away when you release them. If you are really into wild brook trout the best fishing season for your fishing trip is fall or spring.

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