The double haul is a casting technique that can be challenging for many fly fisherman. Simon Gawesworth for Rio Products offers some excellent tips.
The double haul is a “pat your head while rubbing your stomach” kinda of cast but if you follow Simon’s suggestions you should be able to get the hang of it.
I agree with the set up recommends to learn the double haul, but you don’t have to wait until you have it. You can learn with a regular weight forward line. Simon’s suggestion will just make it easier.
If you want a casting lesson or Rio lines you can find both at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing.
When I started Five Great Virginia Streams for Tenkara on March 5th I had hoped to get all five covered in a couple of weeks. Now here we are on May 4th and I am just getting to number 4, the Rapidan River. Sorry about that, but life and new job keep me away from this chronicle.
The Rapidan is probably my favorite brook trout water. I have spent more time and logged more miles on the water then any place else on earth. It truly is my home water.
The Rapidan, located in the Shenandoah National Park, is a high gradient mountain stream with a variety of riffles, pools, runs, and falls. You can drive right to the water but you will be on a dirt road of varying quality much of the way. It doesn’t require a 4×4, but a sports car is not recommended.
To reach the Rapidan take state route 29 to Madison. Head west on route 231 toward Banco. Bear left onto route 670 toward Criglersville and Syria. Go about 2 miles and turn left onto 649/Quaker Run Rd. Follow Quarker Run Rd. until it becomes a dirt road. Stay on the dirt road and you go up on over the ridge, crossing a fire road and head down into the Shenandoah National Park. You will bottom out at the Rapidan with a 4-5 car parking area on your left.
You can start fishing up or down from here and there are miles of water either way. If there are more than two cars, I would continue on the road until you find a pull off that suits you and start fishing.
If you continue on the road you will cross the first of two wooden bridges. There are 4-5 car parking areas near each bridge. When you cross the first bridge you will be entering the state’s Wildlife Management Area. You can camp in this area if you want.
Continue past the second bridge you will pass an in-holding (not open to the public) and further along you will come to a locked gate. If you hike up the trail you will reach Rapidan Camp, President Hoover’s summer getaway. This is where the Mill Prong and the Laurel Prong form the headwaters of the Rapidan. The U.S. Park Service maintains an interpretive operation at Rapidan Camp. It is an easy ½ hour hike and worth the trip if only for the historic value of seeing a rustic presidential retreat.
If you have read the other posts then you already know what flies work in these mountain brook trout streams; a dry or dry-dropper rig either Adams or BWO parachutes. For nymphs try a Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare’s ear or Copper John. A few Quill Gordons, March Browns and Sulfurs for mayfly imitations; little black stoneflies, yellow sallies and some tan and olive caddis round out the assortment. Of course if you want to go the full tenkara route then try an Oki or Ishigaki. Check with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing to get the latest on what’s working.
Because the Rapidan has more gradient it offers more complexity to the water. You can spend a lifetime fishing the Rapidan and will always find interesting water to fish. I have fished it in every month of the year and covered most of the water and still look forward to fishing it again.
Give the Rapidan a try and let me know what you think.
The St. Mary’s River.
The St. Mary’s River is located in the George Washington National Forest’s St Mary’s Wilderness area. It flows through a beautiful canyon like area in the mountains and is one of the more scenic fishing spots in the Old Dominion.
The St. Mary’s is near the town of Vesuvius. One way to get there is from I81/64 to exit 205. Take Route 606/Raphine Road to Route 56/Tye River Turnpike to 608/South Bottom Road-Cold Springs Road to St. Mary’s Road. There is a parking area at the end of the St. Mary’s Road.
Like Ramsey’s Draft you can start fishing very near the parking area. I prefer to hike in for a bit and start my serious fishing above Sugartree Branch.
This section from Sugartree Branch to the falls is really a beautiful area and you will find yourself looking around as much as looking at the water. Like the previous rivers in this series it is a typical riffle-pool-run system. The area plenty of open area’s making casting very easy and enough tight spots to make it challenging.
Depending on the water conditions Sugartree Branch is worth looking into to. It is a reasonably steep gradient with a trail running along side. You can take this trail up and around a section of the river and come out at the falls. You will cross a couple of branch that lead down to the river but the going can be steep and tangled. Think first before you blindly head down. This section is deep in the wilderness area so plan accordingly.
As with the other streams, a dry or dry-dropper rig works well; either Adams or BWO parachutes. For nymphs try a Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare’s ear or Copper John. A few Quill Gordons, March Browns and Sulfurs for mayfly imitations; little black stoneflies, yellow sallies and some tan and olive caddis round out the assortment. Of course if you want to go the full tenkara route then try an Oki or Ishigaki. Check with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing to get the latest on what’s working.
Fishing St. Mary’s is a commitment and will eat up a day very easily. The numbers and size of fish in the St. Mary’s are fewer and smaller than the other rivers; the scenic nature of the canyon however more than makes up for it. It is great hike and fish river, but you need to be sure you are up for it. Take some emergency gear, food and water with you. You may want to look at topo map to see what you are getting into.
If you go let me know what you think.
In part 1, I wrote that I would be sharing some notes on five of my favorite tenkara streams. All are public water, three in the George Washington National Forest, and two in the Shenandoah National Park. This is the second stream in the series, Skidmore Fork
Skidmore Fork is a tributary of Dry River that flows into and out of Switzer Lake. The section below the lake is the easiest to get to and fish so that is what I will focus on.
Skidmore Fork is easy to reach. From Harrisonburg, Va. take 33 west. About 6 miles from Riven Rock Park is a moderate sized parking area on your left. If you start-up the hill you went to far.
Skidmore is a soft gradient stream with the typical pools, riffles and runs. You can fish up from this first ford all the way to the base of Switzer Lake or down to where Skidmore meets Dry River. If you fish up, a logging road runs along the stream and makes access and egress very easy. The logging road crosses the stream four times before it gets to Switzer Lake.
Skidmore does not offer the wide open casting that you will find on Ramsey’s Draft or the Dry River. I fish a shorter rod like the Patagonia Soft Hackle or Tenkara USA Rhodo.
Here, like Ramsey’s draft, a dry or dry-dropper rig works well; either Adams or BWO parachutes. For nymphs try a Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare’s ear or Copper John. A few Quill Gordons, March Browns and Sulfurs for mayfly imitations; little black stoneflies, yellow sallies and some tan and olive caddis round out the assortment. Of course if you want to go the full tenkara route then try an Oki or Ishigaki. Check with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing to get the latest on what’s working.
Skidmore can easily occupy a full day of fishing, offering plenty of variety to keep you entertained the entire time. By the way, on your way to Skidmore you will be driving along the Dry River, which is also an excellent brook trout stream. No one would blame you if you yielded to temptation and stopped at the many pull-offs along the way to give the Dry a try.
If you go let me know what you think.
The 2013 Tenkara Summit will be in Harrisonburg, Va. on May 11 and 12, hosted by Tenkara USA and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. I am excited to be part of the team planning and hosting the summit and because many folks are not familiar with the bounty of brook trout fishing here in the Valley I thought I would share some notes on some of my favorites. All are public water:
St. Mary’s River
I will start with Ramsey’s and over the next couple of weeks I’ll write about the others.
You will find Ramsey’s Draft 4.5 miles west of West Augusta, Va. on route 250. Look for Mountain House Day Use Area on your right as you are headed west. There is plenty of parking in two areas; the paved lot with picnic tables and a smaller unpaved lot across the low water bridge.
Once you are geared up you can fish up or down stream from the parking areas. Most of the water is above the parking areas but a trip downstream is worth the time. If you want to hike in a bit you will find an easy trail that heads upstream from the parking area and runs along and crosses the stream a few times. It is very easy to move along and fish where it suits you. Ramsey’s is a pool-run-riffle stream and for the most part gives you lot’s of casting room. It is a low gradient stream so you will not be scrambling over boulders or falls.
Here is an interesting story about Ramsey’s. Colby and Brian Trow, the owners of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, took Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis here. Colby fished his tenkara rod in pools that Tom had just fished and caught fish left and right. It was then that Tom decided he needed to give tenkara a try and spent the afternoon fishing tenkara on Ramsey’s.
I generally fish a dry or dry-dropper rig; either Adams or BWO parachutes. For nymphs I will use a Pheasant Tail or Gold Ribbed Hare’s ear. You might want a few Quill Gordons, March Browns and Sulfurs for mayfly imitations. Little black stoneflies, yellow sallies and some tan and olive caddis round out the assortment. Of course if you want to go the full tenkara route then try an Oki or Ishigaki. Check with Mossy Creek Fly Fishing to get the latest on what’s working.
Fishing Ramsey’s is not hard but you want to plan your route in each section. The water is shallow and you can easily spook fish if you are not careful. Wade carefully and look ahead for the next good spot. The runs can be surprisingly good especially if you take the time to study the water and pick out the small pockets and holding water. The pools are spaced out so you have lots of water between them to drop a fly into. Ramsey’s rewards patience and a stealthy approach. If you think it might hold a fish it is a good idea to check, you will be surprised how often you are right.
If you fish Ramsey’s let me know what you think!