Loudoun County, Virginia, July 1, 2011
It was a pretty nice day considering it's the middle of summer. The skies were clear, with no thunderstorms expected, and the humidity was low but my expectations of hooking into a huge carp was running pretty high. I was anchored in a tiny tributary feeding a small stream leading into Beaverdam Reservoir and there were large carp feeding in shallow water just ten feet away.

The launch area at Beaverdam Reservoir was crowded with people enjoying the beautiful day--kids swimming, dogs playing and adults sunning themselves and folks fishing from kayaks and canoes. I quickly launched and paddled away from the crowd and slowly pulled into one of the small inlets I've fished before. I saw activitiy along the shoreline growth and spent some time catching bluegill and bass.

Flyfishing and fly selection for this area wasn't very complicated. A good 5 weight rod and a black cone-head Wooly Bugger is just about all you need here. Cast and twitch it a few times and you magically have a fish on the line. Nearly all the fish I caught were fat and very healthy, with good color and heft to them. I also found it amazing how very small fish will beat larger fish in a race to cram a large fly into their mouth. I guess it's survival. Eat or be eaten. Whoever gets to the food first grows the fastest and biggest and will soon dominate the area.

After half an hour of fishing I pulled anchor and slowly paddled up a narrow, tight feeder stream--a spot that larger boats cannot reach and that most folks wouldn't even bother trying because when you first look at it, you'd think it was a fetid mosquito-filled mud hole. But when the water is high, you can paddle quite a way upstream where large unpressured fish live.

In water this skinny, noise is your enemy. You will see the wakes of the fish you scattered if you make an inadvertent splash or bump your gear against your hull. I surprised several deer, who snorted and bolted away when I rounded a corner, and really pissed off a large Blue Heron. But when I reached my fishing spot I could see several large shapes feeding in the weeds in water that was just a few feet deep.

As the carp feed, they leave a trail of mud plumes that drift slowly downstream. They were feeding about 12 feet of the starboard side of the kayak and the trick was to lay the fly delicately in front of them. Not too far away and not too close either. I blew the first three shots I had by putting it to far away, placing it behind the fish then putting it into the trees behind me. I finally got the fly in front of the fish and watched it mud its way closer until it swam right over and past it. Twitching it did not help. So I spent the next 2 hours trying to hook one of the fish but had no luck. They just weren't interested.
DIRECTIONS: Beaverdam Reservoir is located off Belmont Ridge Road down Mt. Hope Road next to the Mt. Hope Church. The parking area is dirt and gravel and holds a limited number of cars. Please take any trash you create home with you when you leave. Shoreline fishing access is limited and the best way to fish the reservoir is from a kayak, canoe or john boat although I have seen high powered bass boats here. Electric motors are allowed but NO gasoline-powered motorized watercraft. A new floating dock has recently been installed and it makes launching and recovery a breeze. This area is heavily patrolled by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and you should have a valid freshwater fishing license and follow all boating rules to the letter.