High Shoals Creek

Stream Location: Swallow Creek WMA

Wild Trout: Native Brook Trout and Wild Rainbow Trout

Stocked Trout: None

Other Species of Note:

Gear: Seven Foot Rod, nothing above this.

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: None 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Tuck, Overhead, and Roll

About:

How can I describe High Shoals Creek? A place that I never thought would have existed here in Georgia. A place that is so incredibly like Virginia, a place that has such great beauty, while is absolutely so frustrating. I guess I can describe it for those that are familiar to the brook trout scene in Virginia with three words: Little Stony Creek. It reminds me soo much of Little Stony Creek that I can not put my head around it at times, it has all of the characteristics and all of the headaches. 

For those that are not familiar with Little Stony Creek or the Cascades (as the stream is generally known as), Little Stony is one of Virginia’s premier native brook trout and wild rainbow trout streams. It is one of the few heavily restricted streams in Virginia because of such. However it is also one of Virginia’s most popular hiking destination because of the beautiful water falls at the end of a two mile hike. Honestly it is one of the bane’s of my existence during heavy tourist season.

Just like Little Stony Creek, High Shoals Creek, is a beautiful hike to two amazing water falls, it also has some of the prettiest native brook trout and wild rainbow trout in it, and of course there are a billion tourist that love to frequent High Shoal Creek for the waterfalls. It is maddening! 

Forgetting about all of the people that come here, disregarding the no climbing the falls signs that people ignore just to cliff dive right into a monstrous hole, a hole that probably held dozens of native brook trout at one time, lets talk about the stream itself. As far as I know there are no restrictions on this stream, which shocks me, you would think the State of Georgia would  have some type of restrictions for this stream because of the native brook trout. However you would be wrong. Also this stream is not as easy of a hike as Little Stony Creek is, even though it .3 miles shorter. Also I really hope you like Laurel bushes, they are everywhere.

First of all you will have to drive straight up a mountain, praying that no tourists are there – that you will not find cars parked all the way up to the mouth of the trail. Then at the mouth of the trail you will have to hike about 1.5 miles straight down the mountain you just drove up. The trail is very steep, I really hope you have brought some type of studded boots or sandals, but it eventually levels off right where an angler should start jumping into the creek to the right of the trail. Unlike Little Stony Creek, you will start fishing the head waters at High Shoals and work your way down stream (that is if you do not care to be as stealthy as you should be in brook trout waters). Each and every hole is roughly the same for the first quarter mile or so, big drop into a big hole, with a very long and shallow pool following it. All of which has some type of Laurels to block easy overhead casts. This is where having a very short rod will come in handy, you will not be able to do many false cast for distance, instead you will need to maximize what little false casts you can make, and rely on precision shots. Also you will need to use roll and tuck casting every chance you can.

As you work your way down the stream you need to use extreme caution and common sense when it comes to some of the holes that you can fish. Remember you are going down a mountain, with very slick and sharp rocks, and it is at least a 1.5 mile hike out – this is not the area that you want to fall and break anything in. Each hole will get a little more difficult as you come up to the first small waterfall with the Laurel bushes getting thicker and thicker. After you get past this section you will come up to the first waterfall called Blue Hole Falls, if you are lucky enough to fish this section without any tourists jumping into the hole from above, make sure you fish this section deep with a  heavy nymph, mop, or squirmy. Hopefully you can coerce a fish out hiding. Below this hole are several other holes, again be very cautious because the second waterfall, which is named High Shoals Falls, is very high and is blocked by Laurels. Below the second waterfall fish the small trickle that forms out of the falls, you will be amazed by what is there, also this starts the wild rainbow section of High Shoals Creek. From here you can continue to fish down to where it meets the Hiwassee River, however this is as far as I have ventured to fish. More will come as I try my luck down this stream.

Additional Comments:

After reading this I hope that I have conveyed some very important information, and I hope it doesn’t dissuade you from fishing this gem. Ultimately you need to plan to come here during the week time when no one is off to fish or hike, be very careful and plan out a trip here. Notify someone of when you are going here and what time to expect you back. I would even suggest telling them a time that you will call them when you get to Helen or back into cell service, this way they can notify the Towns County Sheriff’s office for help if you don’t call back.

Directions:

West Fork of the Little River

Stream Category: B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Prince, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tails, Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies

Streamers: Minnow Patterns, Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Overhead, Roll, and Tuck 

About:

If you can find the West Fork of the Little River than you are doing better than most, it took me almost two years of searching back roads and looking at overhead maps to find exactly how to find it. As for fishing this creek I really can not say much because I haven’t fished it but once. It really wasn’t that good in the area that I fished because of low water conditions. Also there is a very long section that goes through a farm that I never got to explore. Hopefully one day I can provide more information on this str3e

Directions:

Rush Fork

Stream Category: C

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Prince, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tails, Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies

Streamers: Minnow Patterns, Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Overhead, Roll, and Tuck 

About:

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Rush Fork might be one of the most interesting and cutest, yes I said cutest (don’t judge me), streams in Floyd County. A large majority of the stream will require you to walk through farmers fields to access the stream. Fortunately you do not have to have their permission to do this, and no permit is required. However please be aware that these fields have animals in them and that they can get out if you leave gates open. Also please do not litter, pack out what you pack in. If you lose a fly to a branch, please retrieve it if possible. Pretty much what I am getting at is we want to keep these farmers happy, if we keep them happy then they will continue to let us fishermen use their property.

 

As farmer as fishing, well Rush Fork is not the most idealistic place to fish unless there is a decent flow of water. When it is really shallow the creek in most places is almost non-existent, but when the stream is high it flows just like any other stream. However since this is a small spring fed stream you need to fish it like a spring creek. Sight fish and stay as far away from the creek bank as possible, a long nymphing rod will do wonders on this creek. Also if you see grasshoppers or any other terrestrials in the field, definitely use a hopper or terrestrial pattern. I wouldn’t even attempt to use streamers on this creek. Even if the stream is high water, it is usually crystal clear so you need to be as far away from the bank as possible.

 

Additional Comments:

There are not many pull off spots on this creek. Be mindful that the access to this stream is provided by farmers, so do not block any gates and make sure you shut them.

Directions:

Poorhouse Creek

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Stream Category: C

Wild Trout: Brook

Stocked Trout: Brook

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: None

Nymphs: Prince, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tails, Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies

Streamers: None

Waders: No

Net: No

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Tuck 

About:

Pourhouse Creek might be one of the best of the three smalls streams in downtown Sturat. It is by far not the largest stream in the world, but it at least looks like a stream that will hold trout, and one that is easily fishable. There are tons of pull off spots, so you don’t have to worry about having your car hit, and there are very few no trespassing signs on this creek.

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As far as the creek is concerned, it is freestone/sandy bottom stream-with  deep holes, long flats and big rocks/structures that trout can hold up behind. I would fish this creek using fast sinking nymphs and let them drift through these deep holes, that or use streamers and fish above the hole. Over all Pourhouse is decent at best, but still not worth the drive if you do not live in the local area.

 

 

Directions:

South Mayo River (SF)

Stream Category: C

Wild Trout: Brook

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: None

Nymphs: Prince, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tails, Squirmy Wormies, Mop Flies

Streamers: None

Waders: No

Net: No

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Tuck 

About:

The South Mayo River in this section is both still a creek and forming into a small river. The Upper portions of the this section reminds me a lot of the NF section, it is small and very hard to fish. There are tons of foliage blocking the the river, which is very frustrating trying to get to river. Not to mention you have to watch for no trepassing signs constantly through this section. However once the South Mayo River, and the NF Section, and Pourhouse merged into one small river the South Mayo river starts to shine.

There is a small park in the industrial park part of Sturat that the city of Sturat is trying to convert into a Greenway, like the Cities of Roanoke and Salem. It is in this section that the South Mayo River is the most accessible, it has deep holes, long flats, and actual trout. Honestly this will be the best place for a person to fish, not to mention it has its own parking lot.

Additional comments:

Still, like I have said before, there are tons of other mountain streams that could easily be stocked with trout in Patrick County that would be better fisheries. Also, unless you live in Sturat, there are tons of better streams located in that area that hold nice trout and are a lot more accessible.

Directions:

South Mayo River (NF)

Stream Category: C

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Brown and Rainbow

Other Species of Note:

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Terrestials

Nymphs: Hares ear, pheasant tail, prince, stone, perdigon, squirmy wormy, and mop

Streamers: tiny, tiny minnow and wooly buggers

Waders: yes

Net: yes

Wading Stick: no

Casting: Tuck

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About:

The South Mayo River (NF) might be one of the crappiest streams in the state of Virginia, with so much other water to stock I have no clue why the state of Virginia would stock such a stream. The water can be cold at times, and it does come from from fresh mountain water, however the creek is very, very tiny… it is not a river yet. 

Personally I love fishing all water, and yes some creeks can be very tiny and still have amazing fish living in them. However this portion of the South Mayo River is not one of them and it should be abandoned for more ripe streams in Patrick County near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If you do not heed my warning and decide to fish this area, be prepared to be disappointed because the fish here get fished out quickly, and be prepared to tuck cast only. 

Additional comments: 

There are very few pull offs, so once you are at one of these stay there. Also lock up your vehicle, though I love Patrick County it is still not a safe place to leave cars unlocked. 

Directions:haAuvuXFS4GJanRclCdlMg.jpg

Rock Castle Creek

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Stream Category: B 

Wild Trout: Lower Sections are considered to be a Wild Trout Stream (Rainbow and Brown)

Stocked Trout: Brook, Brown, and Rainbow

Other Species of Note:

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Small Minnow 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Tuck, Overhead, and Roll

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About:

Rock Castle Creek, which is located right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a gym of a stream. It is one of the few streams that a person can access easily off of the parkway. The beginning of this stream reminds an angler that they are fishing in brook trout waters, that the streams are very rocky, with deep pools, and fish here are relatively small. However the stream opens up when it gets going and becomes a stream that can rather large fish. 

This mountain stream, immersed in laurel thickets and deep in a very natural forested area, is extremely cold: even during the summer months.  I would highly suggest wearing waders at all times, unless you are one of the few that love wading in freezing water. 

Honestly I don’t know what else to say about this stream, besides fish it almost immediately when it does get stocked. No wait, I guess I can say one other thing, this stream reminds me of what all of the state of Virginia mountain streams should be like. By this I mean it is very cold, shaded, and has a lot of rocks in it, it really is the perfect stream for wild trout to be reintroduced into and become one of a few special regulation wild streams that can be accessed off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sadly though it is a Category B stream that gets fished out rather quickly. However if you are willing to hike off the beaten path the stream does have wild trout in it, but this is towards the end of the stream.

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Additional comments: 

There are very few pull off points to the stream, and some of these still leave your vehicle very close to a road that has a ton of traffic on it. Be mindful also of trespassing and take precautions when it comes to little to no cell phone service. Also, and I can not stress this enough when it comes to Blue Ridge Parkway streams, be mindful that you are in bear country, be safe.

Directions:

Big Cedar Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take – A

 

Wild Trout:

Stocked Trout: Brown and Rainbow

Other Species of Note: None

 

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, and Terrestrials

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, Perdigon

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns, Articulated Minnow Patterns

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

 

Casting: Tuck, Roll, Spey, and Overhead

 

About:

Big Cedar Creek is a part of the rare few places in Virginia that look like they should be in Colorado. Also Big Cedar Creek should not be called a creek, believe me it’s a small river. Big Cedar flows right into the Clinch River, I could be biased because I love the Clinch Valley area, but I definitely would recommend going to Big Cedar at least once. One reason for it is that the area surrounding Big Cedar is just a gorgeous area. Big Cedar, itself, is not mucked up with trashed, people in the area keep this river kept up and in pristine order. The second reason why I am a little biased towards the Clinch Valley is that I dispatched trains going through that area for almost six years. The third a final reason I love the Clinch Valley area is that the people there are just down to earth people; they are friendly, you could probably leave your car unlocked, and they will do their very best in helping you if you’re ever in need. However Big Cedar Creek is not very accessible to anyone, except those that live in the Clinch Valley area. For those that live in the Roanoke area, it is at least a three hour drive (depending on traffic on I81).

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Big Cedar is just one of those few streams that it is hard to explain with words; it’s definitely a freestone creek for a majority of the area, however sometimes it transforms into a flat limestone creek. Just be very careful where you walk, I would definitely bring a wading stick with you. This stream you can use technique known to fly fishing: from streamers to spey this stream will accommodate you. Fish here can be pretty big for stocked fish, but the majority of the fish you will find are your normal 10-12 inch fish. But occasional you will lay into one of the fish that has escaped from a private section of Big Cedar, these fish are monsters. Fishing some areas (limestone flats) can be difficult, you have to aim for the deeper sections of the flats, or look for some type of structure that trout will often lay in. As you get in the freestone area fish it like you would any other freestone stream; there are a couple areas that have very deep holes that are really promising. However they are towards the end of the stream, where it feeds into the Clinch River and it’s about a 2 mile hike to this area.

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Additional comments:

Parking is great here, you have your own parking lot. Also there is a trail that covers the entire stream, sometimes the trail gets a little above the stream, but for the most part the trail is right next to stream.

 

Directions:

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Little River

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Stream Category: Put and Take – A

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: 

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Kayak: Yes

Rod: Switch

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

About:

Everything about where the stock this section is of the Little River drives me nuts, honestly whomever decided to stock this section needs to be beat with fishing rod, a heavy salt water fishing rod… backwards with a reel on it. The Little River, depending on where you are at can be sandy or freestone, but in this area it is very sandy. 

Unless you can over head or roll cast very far, or have a switch/spey rod, or a kayak it is pointless to fish in this area as one fly fisherman to another. From one side of the river to the other, it is at least 30 to 40 yards, and the water here is just too deep to wade. Realistically the state should put a kayak/raft ramp in right where they stock and one every two or three miles down the river. Then it should change this section to be a catch and release only or delayed harvest area, that can only be fished by raft or kayak. 

No I do not recommend this stream to any fly fishermen unless you meet the criteria above

Additional Notes: 

Hardly any parking, just pull off the best you can and hope for the best.

Directions:

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Burks Fork

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Stream Category: Put and Take -A

Wild Trout: Brook and Brown

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies, Grey Scuds

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Burks Fork reminds me a lot like Laurel Fork, not to mention they are really not that far from each other. Just like Laurel Fork Brush Fork is a mountain spring fed, sandy bottom stream that goes right through farm land. The only difference I seen is that Brush Fork is a bit wider than Laurel Fork in some spots and a hell of lot narrow in others. Like Laurel Fork, the land owners are letting the public fish this area, so please take care of it. 

Like Laurel Fork, be prepared to euro nymph a lot, this is not a fly fishing stream until you get below the last bridge where there is a small ungated parking lot. Also be prepared for a lot of debris from fallen trees and there limbs. 

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Additional Notes: 

Not many pull spots at the low water bridge but at the other end where the state stops stocking, there is an ungated pull in area, just don’t be a jackass and tear these farmers land up. Also take out what you put in.

Directions:

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