Rainfall causing scheduling issues for fishing guides

Pervasive rainfall in the area over the past few months has been making life difficult for guide services in the region. While trout fishing across the valley is still being considered good by guides, they say they have had scheduling problems.

Other species of fish, like smallmouth bass, have been a different story, said Colby Trow, owner of Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg. He  employs 13 guides who fish within an hour radius of the shop.

“We’ve seen a lot of rescheduling due to high water, he said. “Our trout fishing has been really good. Up until about April 27th, until today [Monday], we’ve had three, maybe four fishable days on the warm water rivers like the Shenandoah and the James because they’ve been so high and muddy. For anyone who is only a smallmouth bass fishing guide, it would’ve been a real brutal blow to their season.”

Trow said that guided fishing trips come with a unique set of challenges, as many customers make trips from out of town and have a short window in which to fish. He said they will work with customers should weather cause problems so that they can get their time on the water.

“Fortunately, we’ve been at it for quite some time so we’ve got a lot of back-up plans,” said Trow. “Especially people who have been driving from out of state… We were able to convert a lot of our float fishermen who wanted to target bass over to trout. The overall number of trips we lost wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.”

For those who are gung-ho about catching smallmouth, or trout in better conditions, Trow said his customers will have to wait.

“We’re looking at July and August to reschedule trips we’re losing now from heavy rain because we’re booked,” he said. “If those people don’t have the ability to reschedule, it’s just a lost trip… It’s been a lot of shuffling and moving around.

“It’s been no quick, simple task when it comes to scheduling,” said Trow. “When you get 3 inches of rain overnight and you’ve got 15 people in town that want to fish the next day, you’re kind of scrambling. If there’s nothing available you just have to say, ‘there’s no good fishing.’ We’re more concerned about our customers and their experience on the water…We’ve been making due.”

Harry Murray, who also offers guide services through his store Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg corroborated Trow’s experience, saying that the water they fish has been too high and muddy for good fishing.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com