Mossy Creek is Virginia’s most famous fly fishing destination. Flowing through rolling farmland, it is a classic limestone creek that features tough-to-catch brown trout, undulating masses of aquatic vegetation, swift runs, and steep drop-offs. It is especially challenging to beginning fly anglers, and can even frustrate experienced fishermen. Since no wading is allowed, fish must be approached cautiously from steep banks. Those with patience and technique can have the chance at hooking into a large brown trout here.
Mossy Creek was first opened to public fishing in 1978. DWR, Trout Unlimited, and landowners along the stream partnered to create this world-class fishery. It was sealed with a simple agreement that all anglers must carry a signed permit card along with a valid Virginia fishing license. Since that time, fishermen have honed their fly fishing skills and hundreds of browns have been caught and released from its spring-fed waters. Thousands of young brown trout have been stocked into its waters since the 1970’s, allowing the food-rich waters and stable flow of Mossy Creek to “grow out” the fingerlings. The result is a popular destination that is sure to resonate with fly casters of all ages.
Maps & Directions
See illustrations below for directions:
Brown trout are the reason why anglers love to fish Mossy Creek. They grow rapidly from fingerling to adult stage, attaining stunning colors of yellow, brown, and crimson.
Occasionally, the brown trout spawn is successful, but the fishery is sustained by annual stocking of fingerling or advanced fingerling fish. Mossy’s spring fed waters keep the water temperature cold on the hottest summer days and virtually unfrozen throughout the winter months. Fly anglers look for blue winged olive, trico, and sulphur hatches at different times of the year, and often switch to terrestrial patterns by mid-summer. Once in a while, brook and rainbow trout are caught, but basically, it’s the home of large brown trout. Rock bass, eels, suckers, sculpins, and pearl dace are found in abundance.
Trout (brown, brook, rainbow):
- One trout per day
- 20 inches or longer
Fly Fishing Only
Anglers must have a free, signed landowner permission card in addition to their fishing license. Landowner permits can be obtained online. Permits can also be obtained by visiting the Verona Regional Office, between 8:30 AM and 4 PM, Monday through Friday.
- No trout license is required to fish Mossy Creek
- No wading, camping, fires, picnicking, loitering, or dogs allowed
- Leave livestock, fences, and electric fence controls alone
Plans are underway to do some bank stabilization and channel-narrowing along two reaches of Mossy Creek in summer 2008. This is a partnership between landowners, DWR, Trout Unlimited, and the Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District.
Reports from the Biologists
In the winters of 2007 and 2008, Mossy Creek brown trout seem to have experienced an increase in natural mortality not seen in the past. Several theories are circulating: the presence of river otter in the stream, anecdotal reports of increased avian predation, lower flows associated with dry conditions, and stocking true fingerling browns rather than advanced fingerlings. Summer electrofishing samples by DWR biologists have shown normal, healthy brown trout populations comparable to past samplings. A winter 2008 sample indicated that brown trout numbers were down (compared to summer 2007 samples), but strong enough for a good day of fishing. DWR is committed to maintaining a quality fishing experience at Mossy Creek and will be looking into the issues that are negatively affecting this fishery.
Facilities, Amenities, and Nearby Attractions
Mossy Creek runs through private property, so courtesy to landowners and their property is expected. Parking is allowed at two parking lots, one next to Mossy Creek Presbyterian Church and the other at the junction of Route 42 and Route 747. No restrooms or port-a-john’s are available. No handicap access is available. New fence crossings were installed by DWR, Trout Unlimited, Boy Scouts, and Dominion Resources personnel in 2006.
For additional information contact:
Verona Regional Office
517 Lee Highway
Verona, VA 24482
Phone: (540) 248-9360