North Fork Moormans’ River and Lower Moormans’ River 1/19/12

North Fork of the Moormans’ River and Lower Moormans’ River
Air temp – 47 deg F
Water – 38 deg F
Slight breeze, cloudy skies
Water clarity – clear
Hatch – no activity

Today my fishing trip was more like a walk in the woods with my dog whereupon I happened to bring my fly rod along.


Tucker had to take a backseat this month with all of the time I have to spend in the hospital so I felt like I owed him a long jaunt in the mountains. As well as a ride in the front seat.


The stream was gin clear and the perfect antidote for too many hours with the critically ill.


We didn’t see a single fish on the north fork. In my limited experience I haven’t seen any fish on the upper reaches of the north fork. This electrofishing summary posted at the trail head kind of sums it up.

I don’t think much has changed since 2003. There are some riparian trees, but not nearly enough. There are a few deep pools where I have seen rising fish in the spring and summer but they may have been dace.
In any event, Tucker had a great time. He is becoming much more obedient and only left me once to go chase deer for five minutes. When I stop at a pool to fish he politely stands beside me and doesn’t disturb the water. That is until I snag my line somewhere and start to cuss and thrash around. Then he thinks we are playing a game.

After an hour of walking along the trail and seeing no fish, I stopped for pictures. Bamboo rods make the perfect small stream companion. The dark green wrappings on a nicely finished hunk of chinese grass blend in perfectly with the surroundings.

This particular rod is a six weight which you might immediately argue is far too heavy for a small stream encounter. However this particular six weight is quite light and the action is perfect for short casts with mostly leader and only ten to twenty feet of line out. On some of the longer casts between 50 and 60 feet, his 7’6″ taper is a little under gunned.

There was still about 50 minutes of light left when we returned to the truck. We promptly headed to the Lower Moormans’ where there are plenty of stocked fish lumbering about.

As you know, I have been on a soft hackle/wet fly kick of late and I refuse to fish anything else. There were fish rising in the main thalweg to what I’m sure we’re size 24 midges. There wasn’t enough current in the flats section near the first pull off to swing the soft hackles so I went with dead drift dropped under a size 18 parachute Adams. I hooked into three and all three fish broke off the line before I got them reeled in. Clearly poor hook setting on my part. I was using a 22 partridge and orange. I think I was setting the hook too quickly and too fast. This is why I like swinging better, the hook sets itself!

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2 Responses to North Fork Moormans’ River and Lower Moormans’ River 1/19/12

  1. Christie says:

    Tucker: sure, Dad, I’d love to go play in the river.

  2. Eric Harvey says:

    Sorry to hear about your luck. I’m a 17 year old high school student who lives in waynesboro and loves to fish. I fish with both fly and spin gear mostly spin but rarely keep fish and mainly practice catch and release. The mormans is loaded with brookies! You just have to walk a good mile or two above the shendoah national forest boundary before you run into them. Me and my father fished it about two years ago in when we had a tremedous summer rains and caught 18 the first day and 19 the next day. There are plenty of fish the sign is misleading but your best bet is to fish when the water is high spring is usually a good time. There are also some very nice and probably the prettiest native brook trout I have ever seen I even caught a 12 inch, two 10 inchers and plenty of 8-9 inch fish. I wish you better luck and advise you to visit the stream again in the spring or when the water is higher. This river was once considered to be the best native stream in the state before the flood but it has made a heck of a comeback. Good luck!

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