Birthday on the Fly Part 2: Mossy Creek
In the afternoon, after a hearty lunch that included Chips Ahoy (so retro), we decided to hit a couple more bends on “Farm Creek” before taking the drive down I-81 to Mossy Creek. As the suburban sprawl of Harrisonburg quickly faded away into rolling farms, vineyards and pasture, I tried to hide my nervousness and anticipation. Mossy is one of the best spring creeks on the East Coast, and has a considerable reputation as being the hardest. Most of the guidebooks warn away the impatient or novice angler, and our guide reminded us that Lefy Kreh called it perhaps the second most challenging river he’s fished. Frankly, I was just hoping my bro and I could get a good shot. After such a memorable morning, we were doing just fine.
As we drove alongside the creek to park my heart broke a little when I saw how off-color the river was, but our guide, Jess, told us it meant we didn’t have to do the crawl to the bank. The banks were absolutely alive with crickets, hoppers and spiders. Some big brown spiders were even dashing across the creek, literally dancing on the water. Later, a huge splash indicated that not all of them made it to the other side. This BUG FACTORY and the constant cold water from the spring was reputed to make big trout…and it didn’t disappoint. We spread out and for the next two hours methodically cast streamers to the banks and into the pockets and channels between the weeds. With few riffles, I was intent on casting to anything that looked fishy–that is, any change or break in the monotony of the creek, an undercut, an overhang, a log, a patch of shadow, a seam or boulder. Finally I was rewarded with a very nice rainbow.
Later, just as as we were about to wrap-up, thinking it would have been his last cast, my brother hooked up with a very nice wild brown that came several feet of the bank to hit his Mossy Creek “special” rig. Huzzah!