Beaver Creek, VA (3-18-17)

Beaver Creek is a 2-mile stretch of fly fishing-only water located just outside Harrisonburg, VA. It costs $10 to fish and only four anglers are permitted on the stream per day. Those hoping to fish here must set their alarm early since daily permits are distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

I had been talking about fishing Beaver Creek for quite some time. I finally committed to the trek yesterday after seeing the 57 degree temperature in Harrisonburg, which was 10 degrees warmer than DC or western Maryland. The stream is located on private farms and cow pastures, so the muddy bottom was no surprise. It was cloudy and the stream was stained from the snow earlier this week. The weather cooperated nicely, but two quick storms came through pushing 25-30 mph winds and heavy rain for 10-15 minutes.

The conditions appeared ideal for a streamer, so I tied on a slumpbuster and covered as much water as possible. Two hours of streamer fishing yielded no bites. I started to worry that I drove all this way for a skunking. I didn’t see any fish rising, but BWOs were hatching in droves. It was time to switch my approach to nymphing. As I pondered what nymphs to use, I remembered how effective hot pink Senkos can be for bass fishing in muddy water. With this in mind, I tied on a hot pink San Juan worm and an olive hare’s ear flashback nymph. The worm turned out to be a great choice!

I finally hooked up with a small wild Rainbow on the worm at the bottom boundary of the stream (pictured below).
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I fished the deep slow-moving pools on the way back to the car. My next fish was a fat 16-inch rainbow that also fell victim to the SanJuan worm (pictured below). IMG_0189

I threw my best cast of the day in another deep run and executed a perfect mend. The strike indicator shot down so I set the hook. I thought I had a snag, but it turned out to be an absolute monster. There is no better feeling for a fisherman. I had hooked a tank of a Rainbow on the hare’s ear. I was using a 5X liter on my 4 Wt. rod, so landing the fish was no easy task. The fight lasted 3-5 minutes and the trout worked me back and forth across 40 yards of water. I dropped my net far from where I wore the fish out so I had to land the beast with my hands. What a fight from a 22-23 incher!

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I walked back to my car to take a break. I was wavering between heading home or throwing a few more casts towards the top boundary. I couldn’t leave the table on a heater so I kept fishing as the evening settled in. I threw a cast right on the edge of a small cliff-like drop-off and the indicator violently went under. I hooked another pig!

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After a slow start, I ended the day with a small wild ‘bow, a 17 incher, a 22-23 incher, and 19-20 incher. In terms of quality, this was the best day of trout fishing I’ve ever had. Beaver Creek you will see me again soon!

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