This is a season many sportsmen and women devote to hunting, but fall and winter is also a great time to focus on improving your fishing skills. You can do that through books and online lessons, but Shenandoah Valley residents are also lucky to have hands-on fly-fishing lessons available right here in Edinburg. If you’ve considered taking up this pastime or just want to improve your skills at this challenging sport, various courses are available throughout the fall, winter and spring at Murray’s Fly Shop on Main Street.

The classes are conducted every year by well-known fishing author and speaker Harry Murray. Murray is known throughout the country for his fly-fishing skills and his books and magazine articles on the subject. The classes he holds will focus mostly on the trout and smallmouths that abound in local streams and the Shenandoah River. Attendees will hear Murray’s tips on how to tie flies to catch those fish, and how to present them to draw the most strikes and attract the biggest fish.

In addition to these seminars, “On the Stream” schools for smallmouth bass and trout fishing will be held next spring. Those will include hands-on instructions on nearby rivers and streams.

One of his most popular classes is called “Fly Casting & Rigging 101.” This course will be offered on April 9 and 23 and May 7. 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. You’ll also hear tips about where to fly fish locally and best flies for the different waters.

Following that presentation, you’ll move into the shop and Murray will demonstrate how to rig your tackle and tie several important knots you need to know to have a fulfilling day on the water. For these classes you can borrow rods and reels on hand or feel free to bring your own gear.

Another one of Murray’s popular classes is called “Fly Tying 101”. This seminar will be held on Nov. 13, Dec. 11, Jan. 29, and Feb. 26. It starts at 10 a.m. and runs through noon. You can bring your own materials and follow along or just watch Murray tie some basic flies. Fly tying kits are also available for purchase.

“Trout Fishing in Shenandoah National Park” is a slide show presentation based on Murray’s 40 years of fishing in the nearby 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 Nov. 20 and Jan. 8, Feb 19 and March 12, 2022.

“The Fine Points of Nymph Fishing for Trout,” is a class for both beginners and fly fishers with some experience under their belts. It will be held on Jan. 22. This one examines how to use nymphs in different types of waters including pools, runs, riffles, and eddies. The class covers local stocked waters, native brook trout streams, and western waters. The fee is $20.

“Smallmouth Fishing on the Shenandoah River 101” takes place Jan. 15, Feb. 5, and March 26, 2022. In this lecture you’ll learn both the most productive tactics and good access areas for getting to the river to wade fish. Productive flies such as steamers, nymphs and poppers will all be covered.

For updates and to reserve a spot for a class, go to 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