Beaver Creek 2-12-2011

12 02 2011

I had a day to myself and after Mossy Creek earlier in the week, I had the trout itch that needed to be cured (not to mention my trout season beard is in full now). I decided I was going to try some new waters on this day so I headed west again from Richmond to the Shenandoah Valley…Beaver Creek. I’m constantly on Mossy Creek Fly Fishing’s website, checking conditions and looking at all the pictures of monster fish they catch in the local creeks. Beaver Creek is no exception in their trophy gallery so I was hoping I could finally catch that monster trout I’ve been looking for. Beaver Creek only has 4 rod passes per day and it’s first come first serve so I knew I’d have to get up early.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! My body’s internal clock wakes me up at 5:45am, a whole 15 mins before my REAL alarm was supposed to go off. While I’m excited about my opportunity to fish today, the desire to sleep almost won over. I’m glad I got out of bed…

I get to the Ottobine Country store at about 7:45-ish, get my pass (I was the 2nd of the day), and head up stream to Ottobine Elementary where I park and start to pull myself together. My leader is a bit short so I pull out an extra long piece of tippet and tie it on. As I’m clipping my tag ends on the connector knot, I cut the wrong piece and my tippet falls to the ground. Awesome way to start the day…

I get all my junk together and get over to the creek. It’s a beautiful, narrow creek running through pastures and a small wooded area. I start at a small foot bridge where the current is swift. It’s been a while since I fished anything other than a streamer, so I take out a bead head prince nymph, put on a strike indicator, and get to knocking the rust off a bit. I spend the next 30 mins or so working on my casting and drift technique with a nymph, it’s probably been 2 or 3 years since I fished this way. I keep moving upstream, with plenty of eddies, slackwater, and seams to fish but I’m not spooking any trout nor am I seeing any. I take out my thermometer and shove it in the water…I get a reading of 40F. I thought this was a spring fed creek so I was expecting it to be warmer; I chalk it up to a broken thermometer.

I carelessly keep moving up stream, not keeping a low profile when I notice the water has become deeper and more still and I see a fairly large trout swim away upstream. I should have been stalking a bit more and a little less careless, hopefully I didn’t spook the hole. I had placed several casts in front of this trout with the nymph and he didn’t take it before it swam off, so I decided I should switch over to the trout crack (kreelex). I make several more casts into this rather large, slow moving pool and get no hits. Well must not be anything in here other than the one fish I spooked, so I jump up to my feet to move on….SPOOOOOOOK!!!! About 10 spooked trout start darting all over the place, looking for cover. They must have all been stacked up on the bottom. Again, should have been a little more patient and worked the kreelex a little more diligently. Hopefully I didn’t kill the best hole I’d see for the day. 20 more minutes working the hole without a sniff and my worry was confirmed.

I head back to the footbridge and just below it, is a beautiful riffle with a very large pool below it. The following picture was taken from the back side of the pool, looking up to the top of the pool where the riffle enters.

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I still had the kreelex on, so I cast to the opposite bank and let the fly fall and swing into the center of the pool. As I’m stripping the line goes tight and the rod doubles over….FISH ON!!!! Holy crap, line starts pulling off and something hits the surface. That can’t be the fish on my line, it’s the size of an alligator! You would think one would be able to remember every moment of the best trout fight of their lives, but honestly the next 10 minutes are a blur. I spent so much effort concentrating on fighting the fish and giggling like a child with joy. The huge trout made several jumps shaking its head, a few long runs (pulled line off my reel..wow it’s nice to hear drag on a fly rod), tried to break me off in the riffle’s current, and just wouldn’t let me get it anywhere near the bank. I was fishing with my 3wt with 4x tippet and I just knew it was going to break, but it held on for me. I finally get the fish to the bank and attempt to net it with my very undersized trout net (note to self, get a new bigger net). When I get the fish a few feet away from the bank and lay it down, I can’t believe the size.

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I caught a large rainbow at Suzi Q back in December and this fish only had 3 or 4 inches of length on that other fish, but this fish outclassed the other by its girth big time. I’m unsure of the weight of this trout, but take a look at it compared to my hand.

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This was a monster trout that has to have been at least 5 pounds and I’m estimating it at 24 inches in length (using my rod for comparisons). Easily the biggest trout I’ve ever caught. I quickly snap a few pics (sure wish someone was there to take a picture of me WITH the fish) and get it back in the water. I revive it and ensure it swims away safely…hopefully he’ll be there for someone else to catch another day. I tell you what though, I bet it won’t be snapping at any gold/copper kreelex flies ever again 😀

Not sure how I’m going to top that one. I continue to fish and enter a wooded area that reminded me more of a Virginia brook trout stream….and I proceeded to fish it like one. I lost several kreelex flies and even a wooly bugger to over hanging limbs and branches and didn’t see any fish. I exited the wooded area and came to about a 1/4 miles stretch of stream improvements the Massanutten Trout Unlimited chapter has done. Let me tell you, the stream looks FANTASTIC. I didn’t see any fish holding in this section today, hopefully when the water warms up the fish will spread out. There are tons of log jams, mid stream boulders, k-dams, etc in this stretch…it definitely looks the part of trout water. I wish I would have taken more pictures here, TU really did an amazing job.

I finished the day at about noon and head back to the Ottobine Country Store for some lunch. I bought what is one of the best ham and cheese subs I’ve ever eaten for $4.50. If you fish Beaver Creek, do order lunch here. It’s awesome.

On a small side note, after I finished up I headed over to Mossy Creek to finish my day. There were 2 anglers parked at Route 42 and 4 anglers parked at the church. Coupled with the strong wind that blew in during the morning, there was nothing doing at Mossy. I did manage to catch another 12″ fallfish…damn creek chubs.

Picasa album of Beaver Creek.

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