Mossy Creek Trifecta
If you are looking to fly-fish for trout in west-central Virginia, and need guidance, then Mossy Creek Fly Fishing is your best hook-up. The Trow brothers have provided fly-fishing guidance for nearly 20 years on more than a dozen local waters in the Harrisonburg area and from their store, which they opened in Harrisonburg in 2003.
I have been a client for the better part of five years or so, and thoroughly enjoy the private waters that they make available to dedicated fly-fishers. Their outfit is very well known for drift excursions for smallmouth and largemouth bass, carp and musky, but my singular experience is fly fishing for trout.
On their website, they promote more than a dozen waters, but my favorite is the Smith Creek running through Susie Q farm (see release video above), which is near the Broadway exit of Virginia I-81. There is more than a mile of premium, catch-and-release, fly-fishing only trout water in this private reserve that feels like a trout fishing nirvana, especially when there are only four to six fishermen on the beat. The stream features a multitude of runs, riffles and holes, all of which are enticing and hold plenty of fish (mostly rainbows). Thanks to Mossy guide, Wayne Paxton, I hooked up a 16-to-17-inch beauty in one of my favorite riffles during a recent outing in mid-March.
The iconic Mossy Creek offers both public and private sections. Mossy guide, Bob Cramer, the original owner of Mossy Creek Outfitters location in Bridgewater, has been a great mentor on the private section and helped me catch a number of decent rainbows and browns. Generally, a guide is needed to fish these private sections of Mossy Creek, but is not a pre-requisite to fishing the public water.
The section open to the public is the result of an arrangement between landowners, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) and Trout Unlimited (TU). VDWR highlights Mossy Creek as one of the State’s most iconic waters. This is a spring-fed, limestone creek that is home to legendary brown trout that are not easily out-witted by experienced fly anglers.
This public section is situated in rolling agricultural land and it is not unusual to be fighting for territory in the water with livestock – I have had to make way for cattle on a couple of visits there. A no-cost, landowner permit is required and can be secured via the Special Regulation Trout Waters section of the VDWR website. Mossy is south of Bridgewater and can be accessed via the Mt. Crawford exit of Virginia I-81.
Twice in the last five years I have been offered Beaver Creek as an option for guided fishing from Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. I find it a nice alternative to Smith Creek and Mossy Creek as it contains wild trout and brookies, in addition to larger rainbows stocked on a monthly basis. Like Mossy Creek, there are private and public sections. In fact, guiding is not allowed on the public section and daily access is limited to four permitted anglers, on a first come, first-served basis the day of fishing. A minimum donation of $10 to Trout Unlimited pays for stocking and maintenance of Beaver Creek.
I have not been compensated by Mossy Creek Fly Fishing for the mention in this blog post. I am simply a happy client!