Mossy Creek Public Section 2-7-2011

7 02 2011

My friend and co-worker Matt is having his first child at the beginning of March, so we wanted to get out and do some “last minute” fishing before the little one arrived. We decided we were going to hit the public stretch of Mossy Creek the 2nd-ish week of February and let the weather dictate which day. Unfortunately the best day hit on the day after the Superbowl, so that meant I was going to have watch my partying during the big game. I did and I was able to get up and meet Matt at 7am. We drive the 2 hours west of Richmond and park at the church on Mossy Creek Rd by about 9 am, no one else is here. While pulling ourselves together, Matt spots a bobcat or some wild animal and runs over to get a better look, but it scurries off. Strange start to the day. We get all geared up and head over to the stream.

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I have fished the private stretch of Mossy once and while this is still technically Mossy Creek, the public stretch looks MUCH different. It doesn’t feel as deep, the holes don’t seem as long, the undercuts are not quite as defined, it just looks more difficult to fish (not to mention all the pressure it gets). Matt immediately settles down into a spot right above the iron bridge and starts casting down towards the bridge. I imagine this area gets hit pretty hard, but it was worth a try. We’ve got 3 miles of public water to fish, might as well hit as much water as we can.

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We make our way upstream, trying to hit all the deep holes, runs, and logjams we can find. We’re both casting Kreelex flies, one in gold/copper and one in gold/silver but neither of us are even getting sniffs. We see a few trout but nothing is interested in our flies. I change over to a green bead head wooly bugger with rubber legs, but still not getting much.

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We make it to the first cattle crossing and cross over and continue to fish. Along this stretch, I notice a couple of risers, hitting who knows what on the surface. I don’t see a hatch but I spot one trout hit the surface in the same area about 10 times. I lose the kreelex streamer and tie on a BWO in size 18 hoping to get a hit. I throw my BWO above the sipping trout and let the fly drift down…nice cast it drifts right over where the trout was hitting the surface…but I get nothing. I continue to make another 15 or 20 casts with not even a sniff. I guess I spooked it with probably a sucky drag-laden drift. I pull up and start to tie back on a streamer when all of a sudden….SLURP! The same trout hits the surface again. Damn fish!

Matt had made his way around me and was fishing upstream when I hear a “Hey I got one!!!” Jubilation sets in as I realize we’ve finally got signs of trout life! I drop all my gear and run down to take a picture of what I hope is a 12″ brown. While it wasn’t the big whopper I was hoping for, we at least wiped the skunk off and Matt now has his first Mossy Creek trout landed.

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We noticed a couple of old timers have showed up and they’re making a bee line for the stream section above of us. We’ve fished about a half mile upstream from the iron bridge and know there’s a lot of Mossy below it, so we let the old timers take that section and we make our way back to the iron bridge. Along the way, we come back to an area we had previously fished and noticed that some cows had set up shop right by the creek bank. I snap a couple of pictures as it seems like a nice, photo op.

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While standing at looking at the cows, we notice that one of them is a bit “jittery”; it’s jumping up on its hind legs and seems to have a bit more “life” to it. As we’re walking away, this particular cow starts to follow us. At this point, Matt and I look at each other and ask aloud “Hey man do cows attack people?”, jokingly. We turn around and noticed that not only is the ornery cow following us, but the other 8 or 9 or so are now following as well. We pick up the pace. We propose the cow attack joke again, still giggling about the thought of it while we pick up our pace even more. We turn around to look and the cows have also picked up their pace, almost to a gallop. While I did grow up in the east end of Richmond, I’m not all that familiar with bovine behavior. I’m unsure if I should be afraid for my life, if I should run, or turn around and make myself as big as possible and make a lot of noise. At this point, hilarity has now turned to a little bit of fear. I ask Matt how fast he is, “Fast enough” he responds. I’m thinking I just need to be faster than him. We start to jog. I turn around to look and the cows are now in full gallop. Matt and I begin sprinting. I haven’t sprinted since 2008 or so, but I’m amazed and how quick I can become when forced to…all while in full fishing attire: waders, wading boots, backpack, net, rod, etc, etc. We sprint about 100 yards and start to walk again. I’m damn near out of breath. Turn around to look and the cows are still coming. Man these things are faster than you think! We start to sprint again…another 150 yards and this time put enough distance between us and the cows that they are no longer pursuing us. Matt and I are in stitches about the thought of attacking cows, but glad they’re no longer chasing us. Good opportunity to break for lunch.

After lunch we head down below the iron bridge and start making our way downstream. There’s a lot less to this story than the first, because we covered a lot of water and only spooked a few fish and didn’t catch anything. Well I did catch 2 large fallfish, but it should probably be left not discussed. The further we traveled from the iron bridge, the “worse” the water got. While there was a hole or two to fish, most of the water was flat with very little structure, nothing for a trout to use. The walk way eventually got so choked up with brush, we turned around and headed back. I’ll probably never fish this far downstream from the iron bridge, it seemed worthless.

On the way back, more cows had surfaced again….this time around 30. Some where along the line we had determined my red backpack was the reason for the charging cattle, so Matt made me walk 50 yards in front of him as we passed the cows. Luckily none of them charged, so I didn’t need to sprint again.

We fished the section below the iron bridge again for another 45 mins before we left. I managed to make a once in a life time cast to an undercut and managed to coax out the largest fish seen of the day, 16″+ brown but he merely sniffed my fly and went back to his resting place. I then spent the next 15 minutes making cast after cast hoping to get him back out…but nothing. We call it a day around 4:30pm. 7+ hours on Mossy Creek and all we had to show for it was a 6″ brown and 2 giant creek chubs. That’s Mossy for you!

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3 responses

14 02 2011
Beaver Creek 2-12-2011 « Tight Lines and Tight Deadlines

[…] had a day to myself and after Mossy Creek earlier in the week, I had the trout itch that needed to be cured (not to mention my trout season beard is in full […]

4 04 2011
NY-VA Fisher

Great TR. When you heading back out from Richmond? Give me a shout next time you go and we’ll carpool. I’ll drive and bring beers if you show me the ropes. Is it really only 2 hours?

4 04 2011
Eric Miles

It is definitely only 2 hours from the West End of Richmond.

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