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New Zealand Nymphing Technique

Contributing Author - Patrick Taylor

Moormans – North Fork, July 5th 2009

I fished the North Fork of the Moormans today (July 5th) and had success. The water levels are dropping but it is still fishable (well maybe not after today’s constant rain!). The lower section is highly pressured due to easy access, so you have to hike to find fish as the majority of easy access pools have been cleared. The river is currently running clear and there are plenty of pools holding some fish. I hiked approximately 2 miles up and started fishing down. You have to choose your spots – and when you do, you have to commit to following the river down to the next exit point – so watch out, weigh up whether you want to wade down or climb back up. As I waded down the bed from the entry point, I came to a series of pools that looked promising with a fast entry and deep pockets.

I used a dry fly (light Cahill) and nymph (Pheasant Tail) combination (New Zealand style - see below) – and was rewarded with 4 small Brook Trout – the largest being 9 inches. It might not be everyone’s idea of fishing, but as a Brit, I had to come to the US to catch a Brookie. As a side note, I on the way back to the car that I had parked at Sugar Hollow, I had a quick dabble on the reservoir – getting some tiny bass and bluegill. I fished Sugar Hollow in April and had great success – trout and large Bluegill– but seems like with the summer months here it brings out the worst in people. Litter, bait containers and beer bottles all over the place – all the big fish spinned or baited-out. Anyway, if you fancy a late season Brookie – you have to work for it – and if you head further in, you will be rewarded.

GPS Coordinates: 38.159194,-78.74691

I had a knee Op 3 weeks ago – and some of the wading is very slippy – so be careful!

New Fly Guys - take note - Diagram of New Zealand Nymphing Technique:

View downstream on the Moormans

The Brookies are here if you will walk a bit

Rapidan, off route 29, Seminole Trail – July 4th, 2009

I fished the Rapidan on July 4th in what could be called the ‘middle stretches’ – just outside Burtonville. In terms of gaining access to rivers, I have started looking at where canoe/kayak people access the river (here’s a good site) to avoid trespassing. I accessed the Rapidan at a point on Route 29; entering the area with the car and parking at the right of the turn-off – if you have a more robust vehicle, you can head down closer to where you should enter the water. The Rapidan is currently running clear and at the access point it was possible to wet-wade for 2 miles downstream – the majority of which, if you choose your path, is no more than knee height.

The river bed here is mostly sand and small pebbles. I generally stuck to the middle of the river and worked each bank dependent on features – especially shaded areas or deep pockets. I used a bead head Woolly Bugger (Brown with flash) or tried dry fly (Black Caddis) and nymph combination (prince or pheasant tail). I picked up a lot of fish over 3 hours mainly sunfish (like Bluegill), smallmouth (small – no more than 9 inches), red-eye bass (?) and some monster fall fish (1lb at least – and good fight). Anyway, a great way to explore the river and constant action. Not sure how pressured this place is given that I didn't pick up bigger fish away from the access point. There were several herons, otters and northern water snakes – so it’s a very healthy river – I would definitely fish here again.

GPS Coordinates: 38.279561,-78.340416

The Rapidan at Route 29

A "net busting" fall fish!


Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore

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