Copyright 2015 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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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
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
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
12/14/13 Our local Demascus contact
reporting the creek has been running high
and cold. The stream has been recently
stocked along the road and a few fish have
been taken during the past two weeks. He
plans on fishing the wild trout section during
the next week.
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
(Bottom Of Page)
Fishing Report Updated 04/27/15
12/31/13 Whitetop Laurel creek is still
flowing high and will a couple more days
settling down. No reports of fish caught
during the past week.
01/07/14 Levels are back up some but
cold water is the big problem. It will
warm up by Thursday but bring in
more rain and higher water on
01/21/14 There have been no reports of
anglers catching trout mainly due to high
water levels. It is back down now and only
the cold weather should be a problem.
01/28/14 Still no reports of fish caught but
the weather has been very lousy. Much
better weather is on the way this weekend.
02/11/14 Still little breaks in the cold
weather. Several guys planning spring
trips have ordered flies but no reports
from anyone fishing.
02/18/14 Warm weather is in the forecast
for a change. Rain on Thursday, otherwise
clear. There will be some good
opportunities this coming week.
02/25/14 Stream levels are high right now.
No reports from anyone fishing came in
last week. Colder weather is in the picture
03/11/14 One customer reported catching
a few trout this past week along the RR
track. He ordered more of BWO nymphs
but caught one nice one on a streamer.
03/18/14 Customer reported seeing Blue
Quills hatching but only caught a couple of
03/25/14 Our local contact reported
BWOs, Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Little
Black Caddis and Little Brown Stoneflies
04/01/14 Hatches continue but high water
slowed the catching down. It should drop
some this week and be much warmer.
04/08/14 Stream levels are down to near
normal and two customers reported catching
several trout in the wild trout section. Several
hatches are occurring including
Hendricksons/Red Quills, Quill Gordons,
Blue Quills, Little Black Caddisl and Little
Brown Stoneflies. See the hatch chart on
your upper left.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
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04/15/14 Conditions have improved this past
week with warmer water and lower stream
levels. We had one customer reporting
catching some trout in the wild section.
04/22/14 Stream levels are in great
shape and anglers reporting catching
stockers along the road and wild trout in
the wild trout section. The next week
should be even better.
04/29/14 One customer reported catching
several trout in the wild trout section. He
reported several people catching stockers
along the road upstream of Damascus.
05/06/14 Several customers ordering flies,
some getting ready and some already
catching fish. Trout are being caught
along the road and in the wild trout
section. Several hatches are occurring.
05/13/14 More good reports from anglers
fishing both sections of the stream. Heavy
rain is forecast this week, so check the
stream levels before traveling very far to fish.
05/03/14 Anglers reporting lots of trout
are being caught along the road on
imitations of Sulphurs. They are
hatching in large quantities.
06/10/14 There are lots of trout being
caught in both the stocked section and the
wild trout sections. Lots of hatches are
taking place. Excellent conditions.
06/24/14 Low water levels are causing
some problems for some. The stocked
section fishing has slowed down but the
wild trout section is fishing as good as it
every does. Two good reports from
07/08/14 Sulphurs and more sulphurs. Anglers
are reporting good catches of both stocked
and wild trout. Water levels have been a little
low but fishing continues to be very good.
07/22/14 The water temperature in the lower
elevations is getting marginal at times. We
suggest you fish the wild trout section in the
higher elevations. Hatches have slowed but
terrestrial insects are becoming important to
08/12/14 Action on the stream along the
highway has ceased for the most part but
anglers are catching trout in the wild trout
section. Cream Cahills, Little Yellow Stones
and terrestrials are the main insects to imitate
at this time.
09/02/14 One regular customer has been
catching a few trout each trip. He is fishing
the Trico hatch and using terrestrials.
09/16/14 Fishing has picked back up along the
section that follows the RR bed as well as the
wild trout section. Lower water temperature has
helped big time. One customer reported
catching lot of trout this past week.
09/23/14 Two good reports from last week.
Customers were using our Little Brown
Caddis and terrestrials - ants and beetles.
10/07/14 Badly needed rain is falling as I write
this. Conditions should greatly improve during
the next few day.
10/14/14 Three good reports came in this past
week from both the stocked and wild trout
sections. Lots of rain this week and levels may
be high a short time.
10/28/14 The stream is in good shape in all
respects but we didn't receive any fishing
reports from the past week. Recommend
Blue-winged olive nymphs, emergers, duns
11/11/14 Great conditions this past couple of
weeks with some nice brown being caught.
Cold weather on the way.
12/04/14 Sorry for the lack of reports. We
have received several good reports during
the past three weeks and fishing continues
to be good. Scuolpin streamers have taken
some nice brown trout.
12/16/14 Plenty of stockers being caught but
no reports of wild trout. Fish from Damascus
upstream along the road.
12/23/14 No reports from the past week but
conditions remain very good.
12/29/14 Two very good reports from the
past week of trout being caught mostly on
01/05/05 Another good report from a local
fishing near town in the stocked section.
01/19/15 The catching has picked up the
last two days thanks to the warmer
weather. Good stream levels.
01/26/15 No reports from the past week. Very
cold weather has hampered the catching.
02/02/15 Still no reports but stream levels
and weather forecast looks pretty good for
this next week.
02/16/15 Sorry, but conditions have gone
from poor to bad. Freezing temps and lots
of snow forecast this next week.
03/02/15 Still no reports from anyone fishing
but the good news is, the weather is beginning
to warm up some.
03/09/15 The water levels have been high
but currently back down; however, there is a
lot of rain in the forecast. You may need to
use streamers for a few days.
03/16/15 The levels have been high for the
past week but falling. Some Quill
Gordons/Blue quills have shown up in the
lower reaches so get ready.
03/23/15 Reports of Quill Gordons and Blue
Quills hatching but with high water. It is back
03/30/15 The cold front has passed and
conditions should improve this coming week.
04/06/15 Lots of rain in the forecast but
warmer weather and more hatches. It should
be good this week.
Report from angler 4/07/15:
Last weekend April 5th Whitetop
Laurel was fishing very well. I have
seen a lot of blackstones in the river
and air, along with some quills. They
come off a little later in the afternoon.
The rain has probably washed it out
for a few days but it can be fished as
the water recedes. Run everything
very deep, that's my advice. The fish
in the special regulation section are
averaging 8" but I did catch a 14" bow
and a 16" brown Sunday with a lot of
8 to 10 inchers in between. A #16
white/tan midge with brown hackle is
a very effective fly here to. I do love
this little fishery and love that you
actually provide fishing reports, I will
try to do my part in the future if that's
fine? I fish here weekly at least.
04/13/15 Full blown hatches are underway.
Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, Little Black caddis
and Hendrickson starting.
04/20/15 Two good reports from last week.
March Browns, Giant Stoneflies and other
new hatches. High water this morning.
04/27/15 Cooler weather has slowed the
hatches but still getting good reports of