Washington County, Maryland, April 5, 2008
I did my good deed for the day by netting this rainbow trout for Angler Number 1 on Beaver Creek, Maryland.
I was supposed to go fishing for shad at
Fletcher's Boat House with Jin this weekend but the weather did not cooperate and we decided to cancel the trip. However as I was putting my stuff away, I told my dear, dear, lovely, wonderful wife that I wasn't fishing this Saturday because Jin couldn't make it. "Why don't you go fishing anyway. I'm going to be home all day doing some paperwork," said my dear, dear, lovely, wonderful wife.

It was raining heavily around midnight but had tapered off to a drizzle by the time I left at 4:30am and I made a snap decision to fish Beaver Creek again. I figured anything in my area would be flooded out but Beaver Creek might be ok because it was running a bit low
the last time I fished it and if any water did come in so would lots of buggy food for the hungry trout.

Again, I was the first one on the stream. The water was a bit higher but running clear. I began casting and about 20 minutes later had a small rainbow on the line. However after that fish everything seemed to shut down as the sky got darker and the wind picked up. The air temperature also began to fall and I had to zip up the jacket to stay warm.

Two other anglers showed up around 9am and just as one of them was walking towards me I had a strike. There was a light tap as I was slow stripping the streamer back to me on the swing. I did a quick strip-strike and the line went tight and the water boiled as the fish jumped and rolled. It looked like a large brown trout. The fish and I did the usual back and forth dance for a bit with lots of splashing. I freed the net and was getting ready to land the fish but I was getting ahead of myself and not paying attention to the fight. I muttered a few choice words as the fish shook free.

"God, that was a big fish," said Angler Number 1 as he walked up. "Looked at least six or eight pounds. And did you see the other fish he spooked when you were fighting him? They were big too and they all ran under that tree in the water."

We exchanged fishing information as I inspected the fly. The size 6 3X-long streamer hook was bent open. I guess I need to get the HEAVY streamer hook rather than the regular wire ones. Angler Number 2 said they both lived in the area and asked me if I saw the fish feeder. Fish feeder? The downstream section is heavily posted as private property with no fishing allowed but the owner has set up an automatic fish feeder 50-yards beyond the cable stretched across the stream and this goes off at 2:30pm every day. Both anglers laughed and said you could stand at the property line and watch a mass migration of trout speeding downstream to gorge on the pellets.

Angler Number 1 went to fish the next run up from me and after five minutes he was yelling for Angler Number 2, who was too far downstream to hear anything. I was about to ask if he needed help then saw him upstream trying to get his rod, which was bent almost double, past a tree that was sticking out into the creek. Yeah, I guess he needed help.

I stepped into the water and netted his rainbow trout. Nice fish--very fat and healthy (probably from eating all that fish chow). He posed for the customary hero shot and the fish was released. Angler Number 1 said while he was fighting the rainbow, he saw another large brown trout spook from an undercut near the bank and this one was even larger than the one I hooked earlier.

I continued to fish. I got two more hits but no luck landing them. One was a long distance release and the other was a tug, splash and roll, then off. I think the trout were grabbing the fly by the tail because when I looked they seemed a lot thinner than what I originally tied on.

The wind began to pick up and by noon it was really blowing. And it was cold. Angler 1 and 2 left and the biting shut down so I called it a day and drove down the road to fill some gas and have lunch at 'Chez Sheetz'.
EQUIPMENT: I used a fast action 9' 6-weight rod, Rio Nymph weight forward line, short and heavy fluorocarbon leader tapering to 15-pound test (Seaguar) and an assortment of nymphs and streamers. If you show up with light action gear (3 or 4-weight rods) it's the old cliche--showing up with a knife at a gun fight. These trout will do everything they can to duck into the heavy wood or undercut banks to break you off so you need equipment that will allow you to end the fight quickly and not overplay and stress the fish.

DIRECTIONS: From I-70 heading towards Hagerstown, take Exit 66 (Boonsboro) and turn left at bottom of ramp onto Mapleville Road (66). Continue down 66 and turn right onto Beaver Creek Road. About 100 yards past Beaver Creek Church Road on your right is the fly fishing parking lot. Follow the signs and instructions.