Whitetop Laurel Creek

img_3061

Stream Category: A and Special Regulation

Wild Trout: Brook, Brown, and Rainbow

Stocked Trout: Brown and Rainbow

Other Species of Note:

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Green Drakes, Midges

Nymphs: Hares Ear, Pheasant tail, Prince, Perdigons, Zebra, Mop, Squirmy, Soft Hackles

Streamers: Never Tried, 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Roll, Tuck

img_3062

About:

How do you describe a stream in only a few paragraphs like I like to do when they are several books written solely about this stream? I guess for me I would like to break it down in one word statements; “amazing,” “outstanding,” “difficult,” “frustrasting,” “beautiful,” “technical,” and “easy.” Whitetop is all of these and more, especially if you count the stocked sections with the wild sections, as I am going to do in this review, Whitetop is probably one of the few jewels in Virginia that experienced and beginner fly fishermen will love.

img_3063

Now before I get down to why every fisherman should fish this stream let me explain some key features, then we can continue on why I love this stream so much. Whitetop is a freestone stream locating in Damascus, Virginia, which is one of the “Top Ten” stop over towns for the Appalachian Trail. A majority of this stream can be accessed by some type of vehicle; whether it be a bicycle, car, or truck. This stream can go from ankle deep water, to water above your head. It literally has everything; long deep pools, shot shallow pools, long runs, short runs, short, and long riffles. It is best to always have a wading stick and to keep your eyes open for areas that look deep. Don’t be deceived in the fall, leaves that have fallen from the trees often congregate in deep holes and make them look a lot shallower than they are. There are sections that are stocked and then there are sections that are not, just make sure that you know for sure what section you are in. 

IMG_3059.JPG

To be fair, it would take a multiple life times to completely know this stream, it changes from year to year, like all streams do, but this one is so long it is virtually impossible to know every knick and cranny of it. What I do know of the stream is that it is brilliant. Somedays you can go there and catch fish after fish, another day you will meet Mr. Skunked. But what makes this stream so special is that there are fish here year round; brooks, rainbows, and browns.  

IMG_3069.JPG

What is the best way to fish this stream? Well choose a fly that you like, one that is special to you and try, if this doesn’t work try another, if this doesn’t work keep trying… patience is the key to Whitetop… that and mop flies and squirmy wormies. Literally I would be lying to you if i tried to tell you what works and what doesn’t, Whitetop is a mystery, that only patience can solve. 

img_3068

Additional comments:

Ok don’t freak out, but there are monsters living in Whitetop, Big fresh water dragons, that will take off your toes. Ha, just kidding! But seriously there are Hellbenders that do reside in Whitetop, please be mindful of these creatures, watch for them when you are wading, and don’t be frightened by them, they will not hurt you and they benefit the stream. 

An adult eastern hellbender. (Photo courtesy Rod Williams Laboratory)

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:

IMG_3013.JPG

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:

Cripple Creek (Ravens Cliff)

Stream Category: A

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:

The Ravens Cliff portion of Cripple Creek is not to be confused with the pay to play areas of Cripple Creek, even though the fishing (when stocked) is almost just as good. Unfortunately Ravens Cliff is just a very hard area to get to unless you live in that area. Don’t get me wrong, this freestone/sandy bottom creek is an awesome fishery, but the drive will drive you crazy. Also unless you have a local cell phone provider, do not expect to get cell phone and gps service here to get you back out once you are at Ravens Cliff.

OESfTVu7TzKn89ot83MLDQ.jpg

When it comes to fishing, these fish respond well to nymphs and streamers. The best tactic is to sight fish from the bank, this way you are not alarming the fish of your presence, and cast a streamer or nymph in front of them. If fishing a streamer aim three to four feet in across and in front of them, making sure that you pause briefly when the streamer is in sight of the fish. If you see a fish turn to follow, speed up your streamer just a tad but not too much that the trout can not out run it.

 

Additional Comments:

As far as parking, there are several parking lots, just make sure that you don’t park in some of them that are fields unless you have four wheel drive. Also make sure you tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to be back, as I have said earlier, this stream has little cell phone service.

Directions:

South Fork of the Holston River Sections A, B, and C

IMG_3043.JPG

Stream Category: A

Wild Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown, 

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:

The stocked section of the East Fork of the Holston River Sections A,B, and C might be one of the prettiest trout streams in the state of Virginia. Just like it’s non-stocked section, this stream is a popular destination for it is abundance of trout (wild and stocked). Not to mention the state loves to put lunkers in this section. I can not stress enough how awesome the fishing is on this stream. Honestly I often drive two hours at the least very least to fish this stream, it is that good. Another benefit to this section are that the stockers are often dumb like stockers are, unlike their wild brethren upstream,  and will hit just about anything.

IMG_3044.JPG

The stream is also very clean to be a stocked streamed, and there are plenty of pull off areas for your vehicles (even large trucks). Fishing this stream is very easy, use nymphs and streamers. But to get the big boys to play you sometimes to have to use a nice sized streamer to get them angry enough to strike.

 

Because this section is connected to the wild area, this stream often will have trout in it even when you would think it would be fished out. Just be patient and you should catch something. if youre not patient then head on up to Buller for the wild section, just be mindful of the special regulations.

 

Directions:

Middle Fork of the Holston Marion

IMG_3041.JPG

Stream Category: A

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow, Brown, 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:

Unlike the Middle Fork of the Holston River Upper A, the Marion section is downright amazing. It has a little bit of everything for everyone; it has ample parking, very large holes and flats, nice ripples, and plenty of fishable area. The downside is that it is smack dab in the middle of Marion, which means this area receives a ton of pressure. So if you are planning on fishing this area you better make sure that you are keeping up with VDGIF stocking website.

IMG_3039.JPG

Fishing the river will be like fishing any other stream, I would stick to nymphs and streamers, however you could possible get away with some dry flies and terrestrials (hoppers and such before the October frost). The state seems to like stocking big fish in this area as well, so make sure you bring a net, also because of its slippery freestone bottom I would carry a wading stick.

 

So if you are in Marion you are presented with a big quagmire, fish this section or the East Fork of the Holston near Buller fish hatchery or below that in the stocked area. Reastically, it will just come down to if this area has already been fished out or not. The fish in this area are a lot easier to catch, but because of the pressure it receives it will not take long for it to be fished out. I would at least check the water here before deciding to go on towards the East Fork.

 

Directions:

Middle Fork of the Holston Upper A

Stream Category: B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow

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 Middle Fork of the Holston River Upper A should really be considered to be a headwater or a very small creek, instead of stream/river. This area is very hard to get to because of overgrowth and vegetation. However even though this area is laborious to get to it still has some decent fishing-that is if you are a spin fisherman. Sadly this is just not a great place to fly fish, in fact it is a nightmare because of the area you are left to fish.

riF+QPDZSbujU+6OQdxYbA.jpg

This is a very small freestone stream, that does have a decent amount of fish (if you get to them before the spin fishermen do). If you do decided to fish this stream use a small rod and set it up as you would a nymphing rod. Tuck casts will be your friend. Honestly if you are in this area there are a plethora of other parts of the Holston, and other streams, that will treat you a lot better.

 

Directions:

Poorhouse Creek

fullsizeoutput_7ce

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.

fullsizeoutput_7d2.jpeg

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: