Category Archives: Fishing Reports

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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Beaver Creek, MD (2-12-17)

February weekends in DC have historically consisted of bundling up and only  venturing outdoors to test the local water for some pond hockey. This has certainly not been the case in 2017 though. Last weekend it was warm enough for golf on Saturday and a trip to Beaver Creek on Sunday.

Heavy morning rains became the only weather related challenge. I am a true weekend warrior fisherman so I’ve learned to appreciate rain. It can be a blessing in disguise that wards off other anglers.I parked near the Beaver Creek church and trekked my way downstream beyond the large farm.

The water was low and clear despite the dreariness, so I avoided streamers. I have had considerable success on size 20-22 red zebra midges here so I tied it on with a BWO nymph. I thoroughly fished all of the pools and deeper runs on the lower stretch and was rewarded with one quality Brown Trout on the zebra midge. (see below)

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Beaver Creek is a beautiful limestone steam that boasts nice quantities of wild fish. It’s a narrow spring creek, but I’ve seen some absolute pigs swimming around. I love Beaver, but it is not an easy stream to catch fish. Casting angles are tough to come by and the trout are intelligent and spooky when the water is low. I only netted one fish on this trip, but it was very much worth the drive!

South River, VA (1-20-17)

Happy belated New Year everyone.

Inauguration Day shut down my office, so my girlfriend and I took a long weekend trip to see her parents down I-81 in the Shenandoah valley. Luckily for me, this means I get to sneak out to do some fishing on the South River in Waynesboro. When I fished on the this river over Thanksgiving Break, I had an absolute pig break off my 5X leader during a lengthy fight. After thinking about losing that fish for two months, I was back and ready for revenge.

The river was running low and clear despite steady rain in the morning. I nymphed all day since there was little to no rising or visible activity. I used a fluffy yarn indicator for a more delicate presentation and tied on a size 18 BWO nymph and a size 16 caddis nymph.

Within 20 minutes of getting out there, I hooked up with a nice fish that ripped down the current and started taking drag. Could it be? Did the fishing gods bless me with another shot at a monster Brown? Not quite, but I did start the day off by landing a beautiful dark 16 inch Rainbow (see below).

I continued fishing up and down the South River, but only managed to hook up with two more small Browns. It’s a great little stretch of water, but it does experience significant pressure. Despite fishing on a Friday, I encountered 8 or 9 other anglers throughout the 2/3 mile stretch near the Invista plant. If you’re fishing the South River try to get out there early or fish on weekdays. Oh well, it was an awesome trip anyways!

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Accotink Creek, VA (10-29-16)

I noticed that Accotink had been recently stocked on the VDGIF website so I decided to go get some urban fishing in. Accotink is generally  a last resort for me since it’s a residential stocked creek that doesn’t seem to hold any fish over the Summer months. It was quite the change of pace from my trip to Colorado last week with wild fish everywhere, but it got the job done.

I parked at Americana Park and worked my way down, stopping at the biggest pools. There hasn’t been much rain in the DC metro area recently so there was little flow to the creek. When the water is this low, the stocked fish just get trapped in the pool they are put in. I fished for a couple of hours, got 5 takes, but only landed two fish. I was using a size 10 olive streamer, which seemed a little too big for the small Rainbows the VDGIF put in the creek this time around.

The highlight of the day was landing a very chubby 13 inch Rainbow with some great color. Even though it was a stocked fish, this beauty had a lot of color and it made the quick trip worth it.

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South Platte River, Deckers CO (10-21-16)

My recent trip to Denver reaffirmed Colorado’s reputation as a fly fisherman’s paradise. Truth be told, I was not into fly fishing until I fished in the Rockies last July for my first time. That day, I built a true appreciation for the sport and I have been hooked ever since. I revisited the same exact stretches of the South Platte River this year that I did in 2015, but was equipped with a lot more experience and a little more casting ability.

It was just 29 degrees when we met our guide in Deckers around 8:30, but temperatures were in the high 60s by the afternoon. We were able to experience some quality sight fishing due to the lack of rain and clear flows. There was little bug activity with the freezing temperatures, so we started by nymphing with small midges and eggs. Me and my buddy sight fished in the first pool and landed the two 16 inch Cutbows pictured below. Patience paid off for these stubborn fish.

Some Blue Winged Olives began to hatch and fish were clearly rising as the temperature rose. I tied on a dry-dropper rig with a BWO and midge and was rewarded with some immediate returns. The first was a beautiful 18 inch Brown Trout on the dropper and the second was another nice Cutbow that took the dry fly. This was an incredible surprise as I wasn’t expecting to have any success with dries here in late October.

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After lunch and a few adult beverages, it was back to nymphing in a lower stretch of the river. The success continued as we finished the day with a total of 9 fish – 3 Browns and 6 Cutbows. I strongly recommend giving Trout’s Fly shop a call to set up a guided trip if you are ever in the Denver area. I’ve done all kinds of fishing in my life from off-shore yellowfin tuna to carp fishing with beef jerky in South Carolina, but only a few trips, if any, compare to the experiences I’ve had on the South Platte River in Deckers, CO.

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Big Hunting Creek, MD (10-8-16)

There was uncertainty driving to the stream this morning. I had never fished Big Hunting in the Fall and the water below the dam becomes very low by the end of Summer. I also knew it would hold less fish since a stocking hasn’t occurred for several months, but I was up for the challenge. Steady rain was in the forecast, so I was hopeful the creek returning to normal flows would bode well for fishing.

The rain was coming down all morning, so I started by throwing a double nymph rig with an indicator. The first couple of hours on the steam was quite slow and I feared that my initial worries were valid. I began experimenting with some smaller flies and my luck quickly turned around. The size 18 green caddis nymph began to fool some fish almost immediately. I caught two nice 13 inch Rainbows in large pools and then a small Brown in pocket water.

As I fished the way back to my vehicle, I noticed I was getting a ton of looks and aggressive strikes on my strike indicator. Yes… the strike indicator. Given the time of year, lack of bug activity, and steady rain, I was surprised to see this behavior. Regardless, I threw on an elk hair caddis dry fly and landed the best fish of the day – a 15 inch Brown Trout. I caught it in a deep plunge at the head of a pool so it put up quite the fight. I was fired up when I finally landed it (pictures below).

To summarize-  it was an awesome day on Big Hunting. The rain scared off other anglers and the fish were cooperating pretty well considering the conditions. This was a great tune-up trip before I go to Denver in two weeks….

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Occoquan Reservoir, VA (9-4-16)

I was excited to take the Jon boat out  after some brief anxiety about Tropical Storm Hermine potentially putting an end to my fishing plans this weekend. The conditions were great with the exception of some occasional winds. The Reservoir was down a little, but nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year.

We started with topwater and hooked up with a nice 2 lb. Largemouth on a popper right at the edge of a weed bed. After that, my buddy and I pounded the banks pretty hard with soft plastics on the Woodbridge side from the Sandy Run area all the way down to the dam. There’s quite a bit of downed trees in the Reservoir so you have to accept the fact that you may get a few snags as you fish throughout. I started pulling up on what I thought was a snag and it turned out to be what looked like a 6-7 lb. bass that got off.I did not execute a proper hook set thinking I had just snagged another log, but caught a glimpse right before it got free at the surface. Rookie mistake.

After the excitement and anguish of losing the fish of the Summer, I did land a nice 2.5 lb. largemouth. It was a little skinny and had the body to be a much bigger fish, but it certainly made the trip well worth it.  Overall, we fished for 4-5 hours and left with 7-8 landed in the boat. Pretty solid trip, but I’ve certainly done better on the ‘rez.

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