If you are fishing the North Branch of the Potomac upstream of Kitzmiller, you'll be tempted to stop at the railroad bridge that provides Abrams Creek its outlet into the mainstem of the river. Not only does the confluence feature a large hole that has to be heavily stocked with trout during the season, but the view under the bridge reveals a pristine creek containing sparkling water cascading downstream.
After you fish the confluence (heavily pressured judging from the bait containers), you can wade across the North Branch just upstream of the junction and work your way through the tangle of fallen logs to get your first clear view of Abrams Creek. Earlier this year, I did just that. When you look at the pictures below, you can see why I was excited to fish this water. It has a spectacular light blue/green color and flows across a uniformly rocky bottom. There's a decent drop in elevation that produces numerous gradient breaks generating riffles to oxygenate the water.
As I fished my way upstream, I noted the rough terrain along the right hand shore and thought to myself that this has to have very little pressure as a result of the tough going. I fished upstream for a half mile without catching anything. I wrote this off to a "bad day at the office" and cut through the woods to intersect the dirt road west of the stream that would lead me quickly back to the junction.
Later, as I was reading up on the efforts to remediate the acid runoff in this section of the country, I was surprised to see that Abrams Creek was listed as one of the bodies of water that had been severely impacted by mining operations. While West Virginia plans on installing a liming operation to correct the acidity in the water, that effort had not yet started. Therefore, I wasted my morning fishing dead, sterile water.
So, don't make the same mistake I did -- stick to the mainstem of the North Branch and you'll have much better luck.
Bottom Line: Dead water, avoid this until the remediation is complete. Keep this spot in your back pocket and check in a couple years because it will be a nice small creek to fish when life returns to it.
In the meantime, my book on Fishing the North Branch has plenty of better places nearby that you should visit
Remember to refer to my rating explanations - these are based on what I look for - so RED for Physical Fitness translates to easy physically - you do not need to be in shape to fish this section. I prefer terrain that is tough to get into and out of.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is dead water
Tell a friend about this article by clicking on this link