Washington County, Maryland, February 18, 2011
The weather was nice. Really nice. Seventy degrees nice. After spending the morning
fishing on Big Hunting Creek and finding more fishermen than fish, I decided to drive over to Beaver Creek in Washington County to see if conditions were better. But what I really meant was, I hoped that I wouldn't find as many people fishing there than were on the water here.

But what did I really expect? This was some of the finest weather this region has seen in a long time and folks just wanted to get out and do some fishing in short sleeves instead of being bundled up in layers of polyester and fleece.

On my way down to one of my favorite spots on the creek I saw the
Beaver Creek Fly Shop sign and pulled into the parking lot. This is a new shop that just opened in what used to be the old general store. However after glancing at the clock in my car I knew a visit to the store would have to wait until AFTER I was done fishing or I'd never make it to the water. I quickly did a U-turn and headed back down the road.

Lots of anglers were out. It was no different here than on Big Hunting Creek. The fine weather brought everyone out to fish. There were already several cars parked in the lot but I decided to give it a good try anyway.

I stopped at the edge of the water and looked upstream. There were several people ahead of me, moving slow, so I decided to begin fishing right there. Not the greatest spot on the creek but if I wanted to wet my line I'd better do it now rather than be picky and not have any chance at all. This section of water has been known to give up fish on a dry fly, but most of the big ones are caught when you dredge with heavy, lead-wrapped nymphs. I tied on a size 12 beadhead attractor pattern and began pounding the likely spots as I moved slowly upstream.
After going about 30 yards I noticed that the local fishing club had been active in their stream improvement projects. Old deadfalls were cut up and stacked and juvenile saplings planted in tubing that protected them from local herbivores. Sections of the stream bank had been reconfigured and reinforced with boulders and sisal matting and large rocks were placed in the stream to slow down the flow of water and create runs and riffles.

I fished for a few hours and had what could have been a trout on my line. It felt like a snag, but at this point I'm going to say it was a fish because that way I can declare victory and go home, especially since more people were showing up on the water and I was getting hemmed in by folks fishing upstream AND downstream towards me.

After breaking down the equipment I figured it was time to visit the new fly shop. It just opened two months ago and is run by Matt Rosenthal, who used to run
a fly shop in the Smoky Mountains. Family obligations brought him to Washington County and he decided to openb another fly shop.

The Beaver Creek Fly Shop has everything and angler might need (and even things you don't really need but is cool to have). Scott and TFO rods, Scientific Anglers and Rio lines, reels, leader, tippet, packs, vests, flies, boots, books, videos and lots of fly tying supplies. Matt also showed me the upstairs room he's renovating for fly tiers or for folks who just want to hang out. It's a large space that when complete will have flat panel television and dvd equipment, large tables to tie flies and seating for club meetings or get-togethers. My only beef is that there still isn't any shop-branded merchandise to purchase but Matt said he's working on it and should have some fly boxes, hats and shirts in soon.
After spending over an hour in the shop it was time for me to get into the evening traffic for the drive home. I didn't land a fish, but it was a great day to be out on the water anyway.

EQUIPMENT: I used a 5 weight rod with floating line and an assortment of nymphs and streamers.

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. The Beaver Creek Fly shop is located on your right just past the I-70 overpass as you head down Mapleville Road at 9720 Country Store Lane.