Fly Fishing in November & December by Harry Murray & Murray's Fly Shop

November and December provide outstanding fishing for large trout and smallmouth bass. However, the cooling streams and the natural foods change the feeding habits of the fish and we get our best results by adjusting our fly selections and angling tactics accordingly.

In order for you to get good fishing I will break down my three favorite forms of angling at this time of the year. First we’ll look at my favorite Pennsylvania fishing, then we’ll discuss Virginia’s Delayed Harvest Streams and large stocked trout streams and finally I’ll cover the smallmouth fishing.

Fly Fishing in Pennsylvania

The wonderful hatches of Blue Wing Olive Mayflies banked high on the list of Vince Marinaro’s favorite fishing and since Vince never gave me bad advice I’ve often taken advantage of the great dry fly fishing. (In order to take advantage of Vince’s wisdom I strongly recommend reading his book A Modern Dry Fly Code.

This hatch is usually heaviest from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on many streams I fish but on heavily overcast days they will be on much longer. Falling Spring and Big Spring gets some great Blue Wing Olive hatches.

My favorite flies for this hatch are Beatis Parachute Dry size 18, C.D.C. Blue Wing Olive Dry size 18 and Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 18.

During November and December I really enjoy the exciting fishing of the trout feeding on natural cressbugs and shrimp on the Letort and Fisherman’s Paradise at Bellefonte. I like to get to the stream at daylight because many large trout are feeding in water a foot to 2 feet deep along the banks. I fish these one-on-one to these trout with Ed Shenk's Cress Bug sizes 14 & 16, Murray's Shrimp (scud) size 14 and 16 and the Shenandoah Sowbug size 14 & 16.

Some days I can't resist going big fish hunting below the undercut banks on Big Spring Creek with Shenk's Sculpin size 8 and Murray's Black Madtom/Sculpin size 6. By moving carefully along the banks and fishing these flies deeply back under the banks I've caught some very large trout.

My favorite fly rods for this type fishing give me great accuracy and delicacy and protect my fine leader tippets with the large trout. Two of my favorites are the Scott Radian 9ft. 4-weight, 4pc. and the St. Croix Imperial 8ft. 4-weight, 4pc.

Scott Radian 904/4 Fly Rod & Reel Combo

Scott Radian 904/4 Fly Rod & Reel Outfit includes the rod with case and lifetime warranty, Orvis Access Mid Arbor II Fly Reel, Scientific Anglers Mastery VPT WF-4-F Fly Line and 100yds 20lb Backing with a Classic Knotted Leader for $948.00 ($105.15 savings)

St. Croix Imperial 804/4 Fly Rod & Reel Combo

St. Croix Imperial 804/4 Fly Rod & Reel Outfit includes the rod with case and lifetime warranty, Orvis Clearwater II Fly Reel, Scientific Anglers Air Cel WF-4-F Fly Line and 100yds 20lb Backing for $347.90 ($30 savings)

Virginia's Delayed Harvest and Large Stocked Trout Streams

Many of the large trout streams in Virginia have great trout fishing with streamers during November and December. Streams such as Big Stoney Creek west of Edinburg, the Jackson River and the Bullpasture River hold large trout that feed heavily on natural minnows. By using streamers such as the Murray's Pearl Marauder size 10, Spuddler size 8 and Shenandoah Silver Ghost size 10 which match these minnows one can catch many large trout.

The same Blue Wing Olive Mayfly hatch I mentioned for Pennsylvania is good on these Virginia streams and the same flies are effective.

Virginia's Big Stoney Creek has large cress bug and shrimp populations below the springs at Columbia Furnace and the Wakeman's Grove area and many trout feed heavily upon them. The same flies I use to match these naturals in Pennsylvania are great on Big Stoney Creek.

Effective fly rods for these Virginia streams are the same as those I use on the Pennsylvania streams with one exception. Many of Virginia's delayed harvest are small and have tree limbs close overhead so the Murray's Mountain Trout Rod at 6ft 10in is a much better rod to use.

Murray's Mountain Trout Fly Rod & Reel Outfit

The Murray's Mountain Trout Fly Rod & Reel Combo comes with a MMT Rod (6'10", 3-weight, 3pc) with case and lifetime warranty, Orvis Access Mid Arbor II Reel, Scientific Anglers Mastery VPT WF-3-F Fly Line and 100yds 20lb backing for $897.90 ($100 savings)

Standard flies for Virginia Delayed Harvest and large trout streams for this time of the year include: Spuddler size 8, Pearl Marauder size 10, Shenandoah Silver Ghost size 10, Beatis Parachute size 18, C.D.C Blue Wing Olive size 18, Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 18, Shenk's Cress Bug size 14 and 16, Shenandoah Sowbug size 14 and 16, and Shrimp size 14 and 16.

Bass Fly Fishing

We can still catch some large bass in November and December if we adjust to the existing conditions.

NEW Murray's Magnum Bass Streamer Fly Assortment with 6 compartment fly box for $24.99

For my bass fishing in November and December I like to use rods which are powerful enough to cast the large flies I need to attract the bass. I also want it to have a smooth progressive action which will enable me to pleasantly fish the deeply sinking fly lines I use to swim fly flies deeply. My three favorite rods for the bass fishing are Scott Radian 907/4, Scott Flex 907/4, and St. Croix Imperial 907/4. If you prefer to purchase these as a rod and reel outfit to save some money then we have a few options.

Fly Casting Workshop

Fly Fishing Workshops

I am starting my Saturday Fly Fishing Workshops again this month. These workshops are great for those that want to get into fly fishing or explore different areas. They are all held at Murray's Fly Shop in Edinburg, VA from 10a.m. to noon. Cost $20/per person. If you have a school or military identification then you can attend for free. I will be covering the following topics:

  • Learning to Fly Fish
  • Fly Casting
  • Basic Fly Tying
  • Selecting the Proper Fly Rod Outfits
  • Nymph Fishing for Trout
  • Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park
  • Mastering Trout Fishing
  • Smallmouth Fishing on the Shenandoah River
  • Mastering Spring Creek Trout Fishing

For more information on these workshops visit our website or call us at 540-984-4212.

Fly Tying Workshop
  • Visit the fly shop at 121 S. Main St, Edinburg VA 22824
  • Call (540) 984-4212
  • Email
  • Online at
  • Facebook at

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