Fishing Conditions

Last Updated: July 31, 2018

2018 fishing licenses are available in our store. Also available online at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

7/29/18 9:00 - 5:30
Water clear to mild stain - 77 degrees
Partly sunny/low 80's
SP2 , State Park to Karo
 
The SP2 section of the South Fork is at a real nice level, high enough to get through without any canoe dragging. The fishing was fairly good. It started off well enough in the morning. I was fishing a #3 Mepps inline spinner (gold blade) and a 7 inch Berkley Power Worm (green pumpkin) on a 1/8 oz. Carolina Rig. Right off the bat I started to catch some big bluegill on the spinner, several went eight inches. Turned out that would be going on all day. I caught more big bluegill yesterday then I’ve caught in a long time. I was also catching smallmouth at a nice steady rate through the morning fishing. Most of my fishing followed my usual pattern of working the spinner across the river in the slack water around rock ledges. When I got into flat areas of water, I usually bottom fished the plastic worm in the deeper holes. Most of the smallmouth were in the ten to twelve inch range, the bigger proportion towards the ten inch side of the ruler. Not particularly large smallmouth, but still aggressive and fun. Like I said, the fishing was not a red hot bite, but it was steady. Never a long wait for a fish. Occasionally got a midsize smallmouth here and there, one sixteen inch around eleven o’clock. All but a couple of smallmouth were caught on the spinner. The bluegill were tearing the spinner up. The afternoon fishing was essentially more of the same. I did catch a few fish with a Bandit 100 crankbait (shad), but switched back to the spinner. It was just hard to find something that worked better than the Mepps. End of the day, a few less than forty smallmouth and almost twenty bluegill. A good portion of the bluegill were around eight inches. An eight inch bluegill puts up a surprising fight. Needless to say, there were many more fish that hit, but never made it to the boat. But then, that’s fishing as usual, right. Well, not exactly. They were tapping and smacking the spinner constantly without hooking up. More so than usual. Reeling the spinner in I would constantly feel taps and swipes without getting one on. But fairly often someone would slip up and get the hooks. Game on. Varying the speed while reeling in helped. Go fast, then slow. Occasionally just stop reeling for a second. All in all, it was a fun day of fishing. I would rate it as about average for this time of year on the South Fork. Fairly steady bite. Good fun and reasonably easy to catch some fish. When it gets too hot you just wade, or if you’re like me, you just do a little swimming, then get back to fishing. A hot summer day on the Shenandoah is a special treat. A beautiful and unique way to get away from it all. Good luck with your fishing.
 
 
Date 7/18/18, 9:30 - 5:30
Water clear, 78 degrees
Weather partly cloudy, 84 degrees
Trip SP2, State Park to Karo Landing

The river was getting just a little shallow through this section, but not too bad. Had to drag the canoe over the rocks a couple of times, but maybe could have avoided it if I had been a little more careful where I was going. Started out fishing a #3 Mepps spinner (gold blade). Caught a couple of smallmouth and a couple of bluegill pretty quick. I only stayed with the spinner for a little while, then switched to a Rebel Wee-craw crankbait (brown crawdad), alternating with a 3” Zoom Fat Albert grub (green pumpkin) on a 1/8 oz. Texas rig. I was fishing the Craw around the rock ledges and throwing the grub up near the banks. The craw was catching a mixture of smallmouth and bluegill. Most of the time the smallmouth hit the lure in the slack water just upriver of the ledges. In other words, in front of the ledges instead of past them. The crankbait fishing was fun, but tossing the grub up under overhanging tree branches was much more productive. Either way, the bass were mostly around ten to eleven inches, I only caught a couple that went twelve. The morning fishing was ok, not great but not bad. By noon I had boated eleven smallmouth and a few bluegill. From twelve to one, I caught twelve bass, a few with 4” senkos (green pumpkin), most of them with the Craw around the rocks. A few bluegill in the mix as well, though I gotta say the bluegill were not biting as well as the last couple of times I was out. The crankbait fishing was lots of fun ‘cause the bass were nice and aggressive, really hitting the lure hard. Coming out of the water, dancing around. Mostly ten and eleven inch fish that felt a lot bigger. There were times when I was worried about breaking the line only to find a twelve inch fish when I landed it. Really, you’re only a foot long bass? The bite slowed down after one o’clock for a couple of hours. During that time I was mostly fishing 4” and 7” Berkley Power Worms (green pumpkin) on 1/8 oz. split shot rigs. You know, slow bottom fishing. It was slow and I wasn’t getting near as many fish as I had right after noon, but when the bite slows, you have to go with the flow. Eventually I switched back to the spinner and started getting hits both around the rocks and up near the banks as well. And once again they were hitting the lure hard and aggressive. After the bite picked up a little more, I started using Zoom Super Flukes (green pumpkin). Smallmouth were hitting them nice and steady, fair amount of topwater action. Since they were hitting the flukes so well, that was all I fished the rest of the day. I must say I’m rather partial to flukes. As often happens, the bite was steady getting better right up to the end of my fishing. I scored twenty-three smallmouth from noon ‘til four-fourty, which was when I had to stop fishing and paddle on to Karo Landing for my pickup. I caught my last three fish in about the last five minutes of fishing just above Thunderbird Farm. Interesting day of fishing. I had to change lures and patterns several times during the day. It was decent fishing in the morning, pretty hot for an hour after noon, then slow, then warmed back up to decent fishing again. I never caught a bass over twelve inches, and the majority were an inch or two smaller than that. That was not all that surprising, warm summer fishing is not what anyone considers lunker time. In fact I’m always a little surprised if I catch a large bass in the summer. I had a good time fishing yesterday. Nice weather, good fishing. Hope you get a chance to get out on the South Fork. Good Luck with your fishing.
 
Update: Lunker fish reported being caught on Thursday and Friday. Will update weekend activity later.

 

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Fly fishing on the Shenandoah

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