Gerald Almy

Gerald Almy

Lots of sportsmen and women are devoting their free time now to preparing for bow hunting or sighting in rifles and checking out muzzleloaders for upcoming deer gun seasons. But this is also a wonderful time to learn more about the sport of fly fishing. And one of the best places to do that is right here in the Shenandoah Valley, in Edinburg.

From fall through spring fishing author and teacher Harry Murray conducts an amazing variety of fly fishing seminars at his shop there. Murray is known internationally for his fly fishing skills and his books and magazine articles on the subject. The focus of the classes will be the trout and smallmouths that abound in local streams and the Shenandoah River. He’ll cover how to tie flies to catch those beautiful bronze fish, and how to present them to draw the most strikes and attract the biggest specimens.

Besides his pay classes, this year Murray will offer free fly-fishing lessons in his Murray’s Orvis 101 fly fishing school. These will be two-hour seminars to teach you the basics of fly fishing. His fly shop and Orvis will provide the rod and reel outfits for you to use during the presentation. Then he’ll demonstrate casts in back of the store. There will also be coverage of various types of flies you should stock and tackle requirements. Knots will also be covered. These classes will be held Nov. 16 and March 21 and May 2.

Here’s a brief rundown on some of the other pay classes that will be offered at his fly shop on Main Street in Edinburg. These are all priced reasonably.

The first class available is one on Oct. 5. It’s called “Fly Casting & Rigging 101.” This popular course will also be offered on March 28 and April 25 and May 23. This seminar begins on the lawn behind the fly shop where you’ll learn to perform all of the standard casts as well as curve casts, roll casts, and how to shoot line.

After that you’ll move into the shop and Murray will demonstrate how to rig your tackle and tie several important knots you’ll need to know to enjoy your time on the water. For these classes, you can borrow rods and reels on hand or bring your own gear.

On Nov. 2, another class takes place called “Fly Tying 101.” This seminar is also repeated on Jan. 18 and March 7. Fly tying is a wonderful pastime and hobby for cold winter days. Most people find it immensely satisfying to craft their own flies out of fur, feathers, and quill and then take them out and catch a fish on them.

This class is geared for beginners and materials are not provided. You can either bring those you have or purchase a fly-tying kit at the shop. It’s also valuable to simply watch while Harry demonstrates the techniques for some basic flies that will work on local waters.

“Trout Fishing in Shenandoah National Park” is a slide show presentation based on Murray’s 40 years of fishing in the park. He will also use a map to point out various streams you can try on your own. Many people take this class and then sign up for the follow up “On the Stream Mountain Trout School” in spring. This presentation takes place Dec. 7, Feb. 1 and March 14.

“The Fine Points of Nymph Fishing for Trout,” is the next class, held on Jan. 11. This one examines how to use nymphs in different types of waters including pools, runs, riffles, and eddies. It covers local stocked waters, native brook trout streams, and western waters.

Jan. 25 is the date for “Mastering Trout Fishing.” This seminar covers tactics for using dry flies, wet flies, and nymphs on both western and eastern trout waters.

“Smallmouth Fishing on the Shenandoah River 101” takes place Feb. 8, April 18, and May 16. In this lecture, you’ll learn both the most productive tactics and good access areas for getting to the river for wade fishing. Productive flies such as steamers, nymphs, and poppers will all be covered.

“Spring Creek Fishing 101” is a presentation slated for Feb. 22. These limestone waters are generally crystal clear with twisting cross currents, and are challenging to fish. They’ll be much easier to master after hearing this lecture and watching the slide show.

For dates of the “On the Stream” bass and trout schools, check out the website: murraysflyshop.com. You can also email Harry at info@murraysflyshop.com or phone 540-984-4212 for more information on any of these seminars.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.