Washington County, Maryland, March 1, 2008
Drifting nymphs upstream from the Toms Road Bridge on the lower portion of Beaver Creek.

I followed the Maryland fish and game maps to the lower section of Beaver Creek at the Toms Road Bridge. According to the map, this was the midpoint of the public fishing area and it had recently been stocked with rainbows.

One of the first problems was a woman who had parked her car so that it blocked access to the parking area next to the Toms Road Bridge. Another angler and I had to park on the side of the road next to a field a little ways up the road. As we walked down to the water, the woman in the car just gave us a blank stare.

There was a bait caster fishing the bridge and he had already caught six fish and was pretty happy with his catch, one of which was a fat 15-inch rainbow. He showed me the nightcrawlers he was using as well as the treble hook spinner lure he was dredging through some deep water just under the bridge. As we were talking I saw the tip of his rod (which was in a holder) begin to twitch and said I thought he might be getting another bite. Meanwhile the other angler began casting his spinnerbait under and over this guy's line, which didn't seem to bother him a bit.
Most of the trout seem to be holding in a deep section just above and below the Toms Road Bridge. This angler pulled six out of that hole.

I asked the first angler about fishing downstream from the bridge (which looked like better water) and he told me that was private property. The fish and game map showed it as fishable water but there was a gate barring access to the stream and barbed wire strung up just past the bridge so I assumed it is off limits. Too bad. However the water upstream was not posted or fenced off and there was a notice from fish and game saying the landowner gives permission for us to fish there, just don't pig up the land with your trash. So I waded a bit upstream (barbed wire lined the banks) and began fishing some of the more promising riffles.
The water below the Toms Road bridge is on private property but is it off limits to fishing?

This part of Beaver Creek is very shallow and narrow, maybe 12 to 15 feet at the widest. Some sections were no more than ankle deep with most spots being calf deep with a rocky bottom. I couldn't see how any stocking trucks would get in these areas to drop fish unless they were backpacked in so most of the fish must migrate downstream from the other stocking areas. I also assume that most of the stocked fish in this area are put into the deep sections near the Toms Road Bridge where most are caught by anglers on the first few days of stocking and those that survive migrate downstream into private property and eventually find their way into Antietam Creek.

I came back to the bridge just as the last angler was leaving so I tried my luck nymphing the deep water. I saw that other fly anglers had been there too by the number of flies hanging from a cable under the bridge. You could fill a small fly box if you could get to the cable and cut off all the flies hanging there. I gave it a couple of drifts and got one quick hit and release before I packed up to hit the middle portion of Beaver Creek at Beaver Creek Road.
The deep water below the bridge on Toms Road.

NOTE: I emailed a question to the Maryland fish and game regarding their online maps and whether it was ok to fish the upper and lower reaches of this part (and other parts) of Beaver Creek. This is their response:

Mike, If landowners allow you to fish their property you should be allowed to fish from the bank unless otherwise noted. Problems arise when there are different landowners on each side of a stream. Generally these areas are posted by the landowner such that visitors should understand.

Fisherman access may be limited to only one side or a small section of stream may be off-limits due too a property corner. We typically try to stay away from such confusing or intersecting properties for fisherman access but as access continues to diminish we are limited to what we have.

Most waterways in Frederick and Washington counties are privately owned, so we are at the discretion of the landowner's wishes. We try to keep apprised of property sale or transfers as best we can however things change continually. Please remember that maps found on-line are for reference only and are not exact. It is always best to observe posted areas and error on the side of caution. Barbed wire may be encountered but if not posted, fishing should be allowed.

Some areas along streams are used for the grazing or watering of livestock. Please respect the landowner and do not litter or destroy property. If you would happen to observe the landowner please wave or say 'Hello' and thank him for your visit. Simple gestures insure future access.

Good Luck and Good Fishin,
Mark Toms
Fisheries Biologist
MD DNR Western Region

EQUIPMENT: I used an 8-feet 3-weight rod with a dual taper floating line and an assortment of nymphs.

DIRECTIONS: From I-70 heading towards Hagerstown, take Exit 66 (Boonsboro) and turn left at bottom of ramp onto Mapleville Road (66). Continue down the road and turn right onto Benevola Church Road. This is a very narrow road that winds its way past farms and fields. Watch your speed. There are several small one vehicle bridges. Take a right onto Toms Road and follow it to the bridge. Parking is on the right before the bridge.