Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Whitetop Laurel Creek
It seems like there's a Laurel Creek everywhere there
are trout streams in the Eastern United States. About
two miles East of Damascus is an old railroad bed
called the Virginia Creeper Trail. It doesn't have any
of the rails or cross ties remaining. It's now a very
nice hiking trail that follows the Whitetop Laurel Creek
for about two miles upstream. It provides access to
some very good fly fishing water.
There's a Laurel Creek close to the Whitetop Laurel
Creek that I will mention just to avoid any confusion.
It's in the Northeast corner of the state of Tennessee
not far from the South Holston River. It runs across
the Tennessee and the Virginia state lines, into the
Whitetop Laurel and then through the little town of
Route #58, east of Damascus, parallels much of the
Whitetop Laurel Creek for a long way. When the road
leaves the creek you can use the Virginia Creeper
The area along the road is stocked with trout by the
state. Catching trout is no problem there. It's a
beautiful, medium size stream with the typical run,
riffle, pool type water that flows down the mountain.
It's fairly easy to fish from the banks or by wading in
most areas, although some of the pools get rather
The best part of the Whitetop Laurel Creek is the
special regulation waters in Taylor Valley. Getting
there takes a few turns out of Damascus.
After heading East out of Damascus, turn right and
you will soon cross the state line into Tennessee. Not
far, maybe a mile, you will turn left on 725. You will go
back into Virginia and come to the intersection of 725
and 726 where you will again see the Whitetop Laurel
Just upstream (and downstream) from that point are
special regulation waters, single hook artificial only,
and lots of wild trout.
The Whitetop Laurel is one of the better freestone
stream in the State of Virginia. It offers easy to
access areas with stocked trout as well as lots wild
trout in secluded areas you can access with a little
effort. This has the effect of keeping those desiring to
catch the stocked trout in easy to access sections of
the creek and leaves most of the wild trout for those
who are interested only in the sport of catching and
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing this stream and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions. Please
allow up to 24 hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will
help you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Fly fishing Whitetop Laural Creek is year-
round business for the locals.
The best time to fish the stream would be
during the months of April and May when
there are a lot of hatches occurring and the
dry fly fishing is great.
Whitetop Laurel Fly Fishing Guide:
Fly fishing Whitetop Laurel Creek is a pure
pleasure. It's book perfect, small stream fly
fishing. The wild trout are aggressive and
requires some skill to catch but the
rewards are great.
A road doesn't follows the Taylor Fork
Sections. You will have to hike up or down
the stream. By the way, the fishing is also
good downstream at the end of the #725
paved road. It flows off the mountain down
to the Virgina Creeper area.
Some of the best fishing in both the
stocked and the wild trout areas is during
the surfer hatch which seems to last a long
time. For one reason they have both the
true Sulfurs and the Eastern Pale Evening
duns, both called sulfurs by the locals.
You will see the trout go nuts over the
spinner falls late in the afternoons.
The lower special regulation area runs
from the lower gate in Taylors Valley down
stream to Straight Branch, a small tributary
stream. The upper special regulation area
runs from the first trestle located above
the upper gate in Taylors Valley upstream
to Green Cove Creek.
You want to fish Whitetop Laurel Creek in
an upstream direction using a lot of short
upstream and up and across cast. The
pocket water areas have a lot of
conflicting currents and the more fly line
you can keep out of the water, the better
off you are. If trout are rising, fish a dry fly
but if you don't see any insects or trout
rising you are probably better off fishing a
nymph. The High Stickin method of
nymphing works great in this stream.
This is a neat stream to fish. The little
town of Damascus in also a neat place to
stay. Laurel Creek flows right through
town and the people are all laid back type
folks that cater to hikers and anglers.
There are several neat places to stay and
eat in the area.
Whitetop Laurel Creek Hatches and
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
White River and in all stages of life that is
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call.
We not only will help you with selections, you
will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92%
of the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
Whitetop Laurel has a huge, very diverse
population of aquatic insects that hatch
throughout most of the year. The pH of the
water is good and there are several mayflies
and caddisflies that reside in the creek that
you wouldn't expect to find in most Eastern
Appalachian mountain freestone streams.
The most consistent hatch is the usual Blue-
winged Olives. There are several species
that hatch months of the year. The best
hatches start in February and last through
June. There is a second hatch that occurs in
October and early November.
Little Black Winter Stoneflies start the first
hatches of the year in late January. These
can hatch into March. Little Brown Stoneflies
(actually in the same family as the Little
Blacks) hatch in March and until the middle
The Giant Black Stoneflies start hatching the
third week of April. It can last for six weeks.
The Yellow Sallies start a couple of weeks
later and hatch into the first of July.
The Golden Stoneflies start about the last
week of May and can hatch until the last
week of June.
One of the first mayflies to start hatching are
the Blue Quills. They start about the first of
March and can last until the middle of April.
Quill Gordons start about the same time and
last about a month. This is one of the better
hatches of the Whitetop Laurel Creek.
The Hendricksons start hatching about the
first of April. The hatch last about a month
but is usually not very heavy but enough to
get the trout's attention.
American March Browns start hatching near
the end of April and last almost two months.
This hatch is never concentrated but well
Eastern Pale Evening Duns start hatching
around the first of May and last through
About two weeks after this hatch starts, the
Sulphurs start hatching and last almost two
months. Locals refer to both of these
hatches as Sulphurs and they are very
Whitetop Laurel Creek has a decent hatch
of Eastern Green Drakes that starts about
the first of May and last around three
There are also plenty of Light Cahills that
hatch in late May and June. You will find
them in the faster water.
Slate Drakes start hatching in late June
and continue on through September.
These large mayflies are very important to
Mahagony Duns start hatching in late
August and last for about two months.
There are a few Grannon Caddisflies that
hatch in March. The hatch last about a
month from the lower to the higher
Green Sedges are fairly plentiful in the
creek. They normally hatch from about the
first of May through June. There are also
some Little Short-horn Sedges that hatch
near the same time.
The Cinnamon Sedges and a few Spotted
Sedge species of caddisflies hatch from
about the first of May through July. These
are the most important caddisflies. They
are plentiful in some areas of the creek.
The Great Autumn Brown Sedges start
hatching in October and can last until
Summertime is terrestrial time and
imitations of grasshopper, ants and
beetles. Inch worms also are plentiful and
fall and get blown into the water. The
terrestrial become important about the
middle of June through September.
Midges hatch throughout the entire year
but are most important during the winter.
Streamers are effective in the creek,
especially when the water is slightly high
and stained. Imitations of sculpin, small
minnows and small crawfish will work great
We always recommend "Perfect Flies".
They are not only the most realistic
imitations you can purchase, they are the
most effective flies you can buy. They
have proven to work great on Whitetop
Laurel Creek on many occasions. We
hope you give them a try if you haven't
already done so.
We suggest you fish the higher elevations
in the summer months.
Fall is an excellent and a beautiful time to
fish the Whitetop Laurel Creek.
The trout can be caught throughout the
winter months on warm days.
Whitetop Laurel Creek Fly Fishing
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge