By Frank Meade, Wintergreen Sporting Club
This is great trout water in an easily accessible, beautiful country/agricultural setting. It is an easy early morning drive from Wintergreen. You might have to tolerate the scent of manure. Worthy destination year-around as discussed below. Trick is to be one of first four fisherpersons to show up at 257 Market in Dayton, Va., which opens as early as 5am. This is a challenge on Saturdays, but those who can fish during week or into the colder months don’t have to rise as early. Important: The stream is closed on Sundays.
This unique catch and release-fly fishing only fishery was created through friendships between Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the landowners. Beaver Creek is one of our more popular fishing spots because it fishes so well all year. The heavy springs help keep the water flowing at consistent levels as well as keep temperatures in the 50-63 degree range. Anglers can expect to catch trout when there is snow on the ground or when it's 100 degrees in August! These favorable conditions allow for a good amount of natural reproduction. Wild brook and rainbow trout can be found in the 6-15" range with a few larger wild fish caught annually. In addition to the wild fish, larger quality rainbows are stocked almost every month. Anglers can expect to catch these rainbows in the 14-20+ inch range.
Beaver Creek is known for large insect hatches, especially tricos, blue wing olives, and sulphurs. The BWO's and sulphurs will start in mid-late April and continue throughout the summer months. The tricos tend to be in full force by mid-late June and will be found until November some years! Terrestrial fishing during the summer months brings some of the best dry fly action. The adjacent meadows and pastures fill with large hoppers, crickets, Japanese beetles and ants. Nymph and streamer fisherman will be productive any time of year in the various riffles and deep holes.
The fishing area extends for 2 miles and is open to four anglers per day Monday-Saturday year round. 4 permits are available at the 257 Grocery at 6939 Briery Branch Road, Dayton, Va., and are managed on a first come first serve basis daily. A donation of $10 to Trout Unlimited is required to obtain the permit. All proceeds from the permits go directly to the stocking and maintenance on Beaver Creek. These permits may not be reserved or booked for future dates.
Distance from Wintergreen: 60-70 minutes (depending on line at Starbucks in Waynesboro). (Steam is closed on Sundays; also requires special pass. See report.)
Water Type: Spring-fed stream with water in 50-65 degree range year round. Running through various landscapes including roadside, pasture land, and light forested areas.
Primary Game Fish: Rainbow Trout
Recommended Lures/Flies: San Juan worms (pink and red) on droppers under attractor flies are a good choice. During warm weather, hoppers and other terrestrials. Dries include Mr. Rapidans, Coachmans, BWOs, Adams. Egg patterns and bead head nymphs have worked for me. Still learning this stream. Can be very productive with big, healthy rainbows, and can also be very tough fishing. Have not had success stripping streamers, unfortunately.
Not Kayak/Canoe Suitable
Directions: I-64W to I-81N to Bridgewater exit 240. Follow GPS to 257 Market in Dayton, Va., to purchase $10 pass. For stream access, park at Ottobine Country Store or Ottobine Elementary School.
Note: Ottobine Country Store has gone out of business so pack a hearty lunch or load up at 257 Market when buying your pass. There are fast food locations in Bridgewater that you pass when coming west from I-81.