I visited the middle stretch of the fly fishing only section of Beaver Creek in the late December with no illusions of catching much of anything that late in the year. It was a cold, cold day when I got there with the water temperature barely reaching 38°. I knew I was in for a slow day based on that fact alone.
Earlier in the day we had fished up at the northern section of Beaver Creek and had seen a number of fish but had not been able to hook up with any of them. Recognizing that any day this cold would turn into a reconnaissance, we decided to skip to the middle section to see what it had to offer. We pulled into the well marked parking area and did a quick visual recon of the creek which lay in front of us. The creek is fairly wide and deep here and looked promising. John decided to go upstream while I would go down. I moved away from the parking lot to follow a small trail on the northern back and eventually found a place to slosh across. I decided to walk downstream and fish my way back up as was my usual practice.
After dodging around a very short posted section, the water started to look very good. Right after the posted section, there’s a nice deep run where the water spills from under a bridge and slices downstream into a tight cut protected by close-knit bushes on the far bank. The near bank in this section skirts around a farmer’s field giving the fisherman only a narrow, but unobstructed strip of land to walk on between the water and the barb wire fence. It’s a very strange feeling to fish on a creek and be surrounded by all the signs of civilization this close. However, I am grateful to the landowners who allow us access to their property in the pursuit of trout.
After walking downstream about three quarters of a mile, I started fishing my way back upstream. Given the lateness of the season, I knew that using dry flies would be a long shot. Therefore, I tied on my normal Copper John on top with a generic pheasant tail dropper and went to work. The slow moving water at this time of year barely pushed my indicator downstream. Given the clarity of the water, I could watch the nymphs drift lazily; without any compelling action. I have a real problem seeing fish underwater, so I may have seen some of them as well – but not recognize them for what they were.
I fished my way back upstream to the parking lot with no luck to match John’s similiar experience. However, the potential of this place is well documented in Coburn and Gelso’s book, as well as other fly fishing oriented publications and websites. In fact, Mikescatchreport.com visits Beaver creek often and reports good experiences.
Bottom line: I know I need to come back here again. The short two – three hour visit on this frigid day was not enough to classify this water. Granted, it offers exceptionally easy access via the parking lot and has manicured banks which both imply staggering pressure given the fly fishing only designation, but there is something interesting about this stretch that makes me want to return. It’s also not that far north of the DC area. Finally, it gets a huge load of fish dumped into it each stocking season. What’s not to like? With that, I know I have to come back during fairer weather. As I write this in June, fairer weather is upon us, so I need to do that soon.
Getting there: Take exit 35 off of I70 heading to Hagerstown and go south on Rt 66. Turn right on Beaver Creek Road followed by another right onto Beaver Creek Church Road. Follow this over the bridge and turn left. The Fly Fishing Only parking area is about 100 yards downstream from the bridge on your right.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is written up in Gelso’s book as well as marked on the MD DNR site.
There is a nice stretch as you round the corner
Pretty deep here
The creek runs close to homes
After the farmhouse, it widens and gets flat
There are still a few deep areas near the banks
In late December, there was not much movement to the water
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore