Stream Category: Category A Stocked Stream.
Wild Trout: Brown trout and Brook trout. Big Stony has the state record for largest Brook Trout.
· Dry Flies: The one thing that local guides and I have in common is that we cannot get a trout in this stream to hit a dry fly. Sure you will see some trout rise, especially in the deeper pools, but since I have started fishing at Big Stoney I have yet to find a dry fly that works.
· Nymphs : Pheasant tail, Hares Ear, Prince, Zebra Midges, Zug Bugs, and Soft Hackles
· Streamers: Wooly Bugger (Black or Olive)
· Rod: 9’ rods work well for the entire stream, 7’ rods for Cherokee Flats towards Glen Alton.
· Waders: Depending on when and where you fish Big Stony makes a big difference when it comes to wearing waders. With most of the bigger holes you do not really need waders because it is easier to fish from the bank. However if you decide to fish off the beaten path I would recommend at the least hip waders. During the winter months I would suggest chest waders just for safety reason.
· Net: I always bring a net to Big Stony, believe me you will need it.
· Polarized fishing sunglasses
Perfecting a roll cast is a must for Big Stony. However there are a few places where you can let a side or back rip.
Big Stony Creek is a popular stream for both fly fisherman and spin fisherman; it is located in the back country of Giles County near the Appalachian Trail. There are two fishable sections to this stream; the first section is located from the Jefferson National Forest sign to Cherokee Flats, and final section from Cherokee Flats to Glen Alton.
The first section by far is the most popular part of this stream, not only is it heavily stocked but it also contains several brown and brook trout that are wild. Usually I will spot fish before going back country, the water is often very clear here except during the spring runoff so spotting fish is often not a problem. There are deep holes in this section requiring fly fisherman to use a long leader and tippet. This past spring I fished deeper than ever because of the heavy snow pack we received. When it comes to flies, I fish nymphs that are tungsten bead heads because they get my nymphs to the right depth without having to add split shot which drastically affects my cast. Also I suggest using a multi nymph rig; it really helps with prospecting for what trout are feeding on. You cannot go wrong with a Zebra Midge; every brown trout that I have caught in this section was on a Zebra. The con to this section is its popularity. After a stocking the stream will be packed with spin fisherman. Most of them have never fished beside a fly fisherman and don’t realize how much room we often take up in a stream and will throw a lure right into your fly line. The stocked fish in this area will get fished out rather quickly during the fall and spring months.
The second section is stocked just as heavy as the first section but that’s where the similarities end. Once you get to Cherokee Flats, the stream goes from deep pools and fast runs to shallow flats and slow moving runs all the way to its head waters at Glen Alton. I always keep 2 rods rigged up when I come to Big Stony because of this reason. I keep my 9’ rod for the first and second sections and my 7’ rod setup with a shorter leader and tippet for this section. Keeping this in mind you will also want to watch your fly choice and rigging for this section, often here I will use an un-weighted fly for my top fly and a smaller weighted fly for my bottom fly.
Additional Notes and Precautions:
Traffic on Big Stony road is often ridiculous, between people going well above a safe speed. You will also have to deal with tractor and trailers that have trouble going over the mountain leading to Kimbleton mines. When you find a good pull off point make sure you get all of the way off the road especially when there is snow and ice on the ground. Most of the pull off spots is in blind curves and you do not want someone to smack into your vehicle.
During the winter and early spring months, weather can be a huge challenge for those fishing Big Stony because of the varying terrain. I have literally started fishing the first section where there was no snow on the ground and when I got to Cherokee Flats the ground and road were covered in snow and ice. Needless to say be careful fishing during the winter months; bring proper clothing and when snow or ice starts to fall heavily its best just to leave. One winter day I went there right after a decent snow and saw fallen trees after fallen trees the whole way from the Jefferson National Forest sign to Glen Alton.
Big Stony is not only an area known for fishing but also hunting, specifically bear. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard gun shots around me or seen hunters parked with a bear in the bed of their trucks. During hunting season it is a very good idea to wear some type of orange or bright colored clothing for safety.
Additionally Cherokee Flats and Glen Alton, with the help of Trout Unlimited, is one of the few areas in Southwestern Virginia that is handicap accessible
Directions from Blacksburg, VA:
Take US 460 from Blacksburg west past Pembroke until you see the signs for White Rocks Recreational Area. Turn right on to VA 635, Big Stony Road. This road will take you to the stream, for the lower sections looked for the limestone mine and for the upper stocked portions look for the Jefferson National Forest sign and the Cherokee Flats sign.