My next stop on my Mossy Creek pilgrimage was to go to the western parking area. A lot of the documentation says to park at the church at the top of the hill. That information is outdated. There is a designated parking area that will fit approximately 4 vehicles at the edge of the stream. Continue past the church, down the hill to the parking lot.
The parking area sits on a high bank overlooking the stream. Of course, being an angler, the first thing I did after leaving my truck was to take a quick glance at the stream below. Like downstream, the water had a milky color to it, but I was startled to see numerous brown trout holding in the pool immediately below me. They were feeding off the top and taking turns silently rising, slurping and then disappearing into the misty water. Immediately, I knew where I would start fishing.
There is a wooden platform at the edge of the bridge that permits access, over the fence, to the middle section. I moved quickly down the steps and followed the extremely well beaten trail along the single strand of wire that was the electric fence. As I approached the feeding pool, I crouched down, got on my knees and slithered up to a good perch at the edge of the water. Everyone says to use hoppers on Mossy Creek. The only reason I tied a small one on was to use it as an indicator for the BWO dropper. On the first several flips, I was startled to see nice size brown trout cruise up, inspect the hopper, ignore the BWO and return to hugging the bottom, confirming the other bit of wisdom that these trout are highly educated.
Being stubborn, I stuck with that rig and soon began picking up some of the smaller, stupider rainbows. Later, I talked to another angler who said that rainbows are stocked periodically at the bridge. I don’t think this is a recurring event, so my assumption is that everything in the creek is wild. Anyway, I finally decided that the hopper combination was not going to work on the big browns and switched to nymphs under an indicator. Like on Beaver Creek in Maryland, I immediately began picking up hits on cressbugs and scuds.
After a glance at my watch, I realized I was spending far too much time in this location. As I packed up to run back to the church to take a business conference call (it’s on the high ground with better reception), I spoke with two other anglers who had just finished fishing the western section. The reported poor luck upstream, so I resolved to spend more time in the middle if it continued to be productive.
Switching into reconnaissance mode, I walked as far downstream as I had time as shown on the map to the right. At the place where I turned around, the banks become high and I am sure it is a little more challenging fishing downstream from my turnaround point. On the way down, I noticed that the stream was generally shallow with deeper sections protected by dense collections of underwater vegetation. Clearly, I had to target those narrow runs if I were to catch anything.
Working back upstream, my luck continued to be good and I picked up some nice browns like the one in the picture below. At this point, I was using small midges under a stimulator pattern. The trout hit both flies equally. Up until this point, I had the stream to myself. The other two anglers were gone by the time I finish my conference call and, it was a Tuesday. But, along about 4 PM, the parking lot filled up and anglers began swarming the stream. It was obvious to me that this trophy trout water is close enough to the college in Bridgewater as well as the population center of Harrisonburg to see evening pressure after work. In fact, I had a brief chat with another angler who was still in business attire, minus the tie! Lesson learned there, hit the water early and on a weekday. I can’t imagine what this must be like on a weekend.
As the pressure picked up, I realized I needed to move quickly to the western end to finish my reconnaissance and the day’s fishing activities.
Bottom Line: Great stretch of water. Much easier to negotiate than the eastern end.
Google Local Coordinates: 38.352035,-79.048933
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
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Date Fished: 10/16/2012
Downstream from the bridge. Parking at left
Open field – easy walking
Pounded path… heavy, heavy pressure
Note the spring creek type growth in the water
Where I turned around
Typical Mossy brown
View looking back to bridge
Lousy picture, but I wanted to balance out the picture section…
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore