There they be!

“They’re porpoising,” I thought to myself. “Jesus, they are everywhere!”

I decided to cast my rope fly right in between two of the shapes that had just risen out of the water and dove back into to darkness of the deep cove. Slowly I stripped in the fly; strip, pause, strip, pause, strip, strip, strip, pause… then all Hell broke loose!

“Holy Shit,” I thought to myself, “That is a dinosaur! Do Not Fuck This Up, Slow And Steady, Do Not Give It Any Chance To Throw The Fly!”

Keeping the slack out of my fly line, turning the my rod against the way the fish was trying to go, keeping the line tight as the fish went aerial, slowly and steadily stripping in line I came to face to face with a prehistoric nightmare fish, a true monster with the teeth to prove it – I had finally caught a Gar! Sorry that I am not talking about a musky, I wish I was, but it was most definitely a Gar and it was the biggest fish I have caught to date – a whopping 39 inches (one inch away from a citation trophy fish).

Gar fishing for the most part is frown upon in both the spinning and fly fishing communities, Realistically the only fishermen that fish for Gar on a constant basis are bow fishermen. I think the main stigma of fishing for gar by both spin and fly fishermen comes from the fact that hooking a gar is damn near impossible, their beaks are almost complete bone and the only way to actually hook them is to let them run for 20 or so yards and swallow the lure/fly, then you can hook them.

The only other way to fish for gar is to use a rope fly, it is a simple thing really; to make one use a 2 to 10 inch nylon rope that has been unbraided and combed out, doubled the rope in a small key chain ring, and secured using several wraps of gsp , then coat the wraps with head cement.  Basically what these flies do is Velcro the mouth of a gar shut, entangling them so there is little chance of them getting away (however if you don’t let them run first and automatically try to “set the hook”, you will pull the rope flies clean out of their beaks).

Honestly I think the next part is what really makes spin and fly fishermen not want to catch these fish. Once you get the gar in the net and next to boat, you have to get the rope fly untangled and out of it’s mouth. Sounds easy enough… um no it is not. Gar have hundreds of razor sharp teeth, their scales are like razors, and they just don’t sit there all nice as you try to get the fly out of their mouth, to be honest you can see how pissed off they are just by looking into their black eyes… they want to bite the shit out of you. Everything about a gar makes them very unfriendly to spin and fly fishermen.

So how the hell do you get a rope fly out of a gar’s mouth? Well you have to be very careful and patient. First thing you need to do before going gar fishing is to go your local hardware store and buy a crowbar, a pair of very longnose pliers, and some stout leather gloves. Granted you only need one of the gloves, the one that you will be holding the fish with, but you definitely need them, believe me I know! I didn’t use a pair of gloves one time and my hand felt like it had paper cuts all over the palm and fingers of my hand. Trust me; use gloves!

Once you net a gar leaving them in the net like you would a musky, take the crowbar and pry open its mouth (aim for the back part of the mouth  where the teeth are the smallest. After you get the crowbar in its mouth and pry it open it is time to try and get the rope untangled. You can use the pliers to try and pull the tangles out, however I have found that if you just use your glove free hand you can get the rope fly out faster, but once again remember these fish are out to bite the shit out of you, you have just became their nemesis. Once they are free of the rope fly, put on the other glove, pick the gar out of the net, get a quick picture, then release them quickly. Always measure them in the water before picking them up, if they are close to citation try and go to a dock or land to get the photo of the gar’s measurement. Once again, take my word, there is nothing scarier than a gar flopping in your boat, teeth just chopping away and you trying to get the damn thing out of your boat or back on to the bump board for a measurement.

So why should an angler fish for gar? Well it is like musky fishing; realistically you are not fishing, instead you are hunting a fish. You have to spot them, cast with precision, and try not to spook them all at the same time. Not to mention watching a gar follow your fly up to your boat might be one of the coolest things ever to watch. I thought initially that these fish were spooked by boats, nope I was wrong. Not to mention there is something primal about catching a fish that is so prehistoric, to see it close and personal, they are truly a wonder of the world. Plus here in the lower Eastern United States what else are you going to fish for that is so close to a musky? 

Pads Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class -B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Brook Trout

Other Species of Note: None

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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

Casting: Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Pads Creek might be one of the most hidden jewels in all of Bath County. Yes this stream is a Put and Take Stream, and we all know how much I do not like Put and Take Streams, but if you are going here you better have a good 4 wheel drive vehicle that you are willing to take through a stream. That at least puts a damper on some of those that like to follow the stocking trucks, well that and Pads Creek is literally in the middle of a no where gorge. If you go here make sure you carry (you can never be too cautious), take lots of food, water, and something to sleep in. Realistically I am not trying to be a pessimist, but stuff does happen, it is always a good idea to be prepared for anything. 

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Now for what all of you have come here for: the fishing. Pads creek is a sandstone/limestone/shale creek that is gorgeous to fish. Ok well let me first say, the road that leads to Pads Creek is very flat and very straight dirt road that is fun as hell to drive, honestly I would go there to just fly down that road over and over again. But I digress, fishing here very simple, keep it simple. Find a good drop off pool, throw above it, watch it come down, and expect to get a fish every time. Yes they might not be citation size, but this creek is very easy and fun to fish. You can streamer fish, you can nymph fish, and you can dry fly fish. This is one of those streams that I would take some to teach them how to fish on, because it has almost every scenario that one encounters in stream fishing here in Virginia.   

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Additional Notes: 

Park where ever you like, just make sure you are off the road, especially if I come through flying.

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Directions:

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Pigg River

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class – A

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook 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

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

I guess the Pigg River is the one way for Franklin County and VDGIF to apologize to it citizens over Runnett’s Bag Run. These two creeks are polar opposities; while the other is literally the worse stream I have laid my eyes on, the Pigg might be the most well maintained streams I have ever seen. 

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The stocked section of the Pigg River runs through Waid Recreation Park, near Rocky Mount. Other than it being a Put and Take area, I cannot in good conscious say anything bad about this stream. 

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The Pigg is a freestone/sand river that is a Euro Nympher’s dream come true. Usually where I find trout in the Pigg is located in deep, fast moving holes, or through the riffles. It is the perfect spot for a long nymph rod, controlling the nymphs height and how fast it runs through the holes is crucial. 

But for those that like to streamer fish or dry fly I am almost certain the Pigg will accommodate you as well. I have observed several fish rising to flies, and lets be honest if a spin caster does well so will a streamer fisherman. 

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Additional Notes: 

Please be mindful of how beautiful this area is, keep it clean. There is more than ample parking. Also be mindful of others using the park; there are several lacrosse and soccer fields here, not to mention runners that use the fishing trails. 

Directions:

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Runnett Bag Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class – B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown 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: No

Net: No

Casting: Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

If there wasn’t already a stream called “Shit Creek” in my area I would call this stream Bag’s Run “Shit Creek.” Unfortunately I don’t want to dishonor “Shit Creek” (Elkhorn Creek, WV), by calling this shitty creek “Shit Creek,” but it is very shitty. 

Where to begin, other than this creek might be the shittiest creek I have ever been to, well it is a freestone rock/sand creek. It really depends on what part of the creek you are on. There are some decent holes, but they get fished out quickly. If there was one place I would recommend a chapter of Trout Unlimited to clean up it would be this one, trash is everywhere (I think you can see the role of toilet paper in the upcoming picture), it is definitely not accessible (a lot of the stream flows through private property, which makes no sense to have it as a stocked stream), and you should definitely carry while at this creek. 

I would skip this creek and go to Pigg Creek, which is thirty minutes away. 

Additional Notes: 

Parking is located on pull off spots on the sides of the road and at a church parking area. If you do go here please carry while you are here, and don’t be stupid and go by yourself.

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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Little Indian Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take – B

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook

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:

This might be the most hidden jewel of Floyd counties fisheries, at least when it comes to trout fishing. Even though I wish every stream could be catch and release/wild trout, I am willing to let this one be open for everyone. The pure size of fishable water of Little Indian Creek is amazing. It is definitely a freestone stream with a lot of boulders, large holes, big drop offs, long runs, fast runs. Etc. you name it Little Indian Creek has it. 

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What I also like is its location, it is not far from Floyd or Christiansburg, is almost dead in the middle. The only problem that I see with the stream is the amount of trash located around it, to have such a beautiful stream is such a great thing; but to have to climb over tires, watch out for hidden glass, and metal chaps my ass. But don’t let these things hinder you from coming here to fish. You will not be disappointed (well as long as you don’t step on glass or rip your waders). 

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It is sort of funny, when I first started this website I really didn’t mind the trash that much, or push for its removal. However now that I am apart of Trout Unlimited seeing streams like this infuriates me, whatever chapter is in charge of Floyd County should see to cleaning it up, with a handful of volunteers with trash bags this stream could be sparkling clean. Yes you might have to do it at least twice a year, but I feel that it would be worth it. By the way this is a big hint to the chapter that is over Floyd County, or to chapters that are close by that would love to have a nice area to fish.

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Additional Notes: 

There are several pull off spots along Little Indian Creek, just make sure you are off of the road completely, people tend to fly on this road.

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Directions:

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Laurel Fork

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Stream Category: Put and Take B

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: Brown and Brook

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

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Ok so I might be a tad bit biased when it comes to this stream; mainly because I grew up five minutes away from this stream, and it is fed by the pond at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not to mention the fact that the stream is on private property and the owners let people fish it, my hat goes off to you people. 

For the majority of the stream you can walk it in an open field, just be aware that there are live stock in these fields, and that you should always close a gate that you have to open. As for the stream, it is a traditional mountain spring fed, sandy bottom stream that meanders slowly through farm land. When there is not a lot of rain, the stream runs slow, however after a good rain this stream runs fast. 

The fishing can be tough because of the bushes located all along of the stream bead, but if you are using a euro nymph set up you should be fine. On other parts of the stream, it opens up and you can use just about any cast. 

Apparently this stream was once a wild brook and brown trout streams, sadly though that is not the case. However this stream, along with Mabry Mill Pond, would be an excellent project for Trout Unlimited to look into restoring as a wild trout area, as long as the Federal Government/VDGIF/and the land owners would allow it. Honestly it is my firm belief that it could be a top destination to those that like to fish along the Blue Ridge Parkway and it would go with both the Parkway’s and the State of Virginia’s wish for tourism in this area. 

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Additional Notes: 

There are not a lot of parking places, please be mindful of where you park (making sure you are not on in the road, and not on posted property). Also take out what you bring in, let us keep these landowners happy so that we can continue to enjoy this stream.

Directions:

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Spring Run

 

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Stream Category: Special Regulations – Catch and Release

Wild Trout: Rainbow, Brown, Brook

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, Grey Scuds

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Spring Run has always been a miss for me, I really have never experienced such a skunking in my life in regards to one stream. What infuriates me is to watch a fish rise right where they are supposed to rise, and then them not hitting anything. What is even more infuriating is that everyone swears by this stream, how awesome it is, that it is where the monsters come to play, yet I have yet to even get a bite. 

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Ok with that being said; this spring stream is simply beautiful. The area around it is well maintained, and there is hardly anyone there when I have been there. It has some very long deep runs that you see in spring fed streams, some very deep holes, and a lot of vegetation to contend with. Other than that fish it like you would any other spring creek and hope for the best. 

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Honestly I would not have anything bad to say about this stream, and I still recommend it, but just be prepared for a skunking. Hopefully one day I will catch one of the monsters there that I have personally seen. 

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***Side Note: I have only been here when it was very skinny water***

Additional Notes: 

There is a parking lot located at the stream. 

Directions:

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