Dismal Creek – Giles County


Stream Category: B

Wild Trout: Brook Trout



· Dry Flies: Adams, BWO, Caddis, Stimulators, Terrestrials
· Nymphs : Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, Prince, Zebra, Copper Johns, and Soft Hackles
· Streamers: Wooly Bugger
· Rod: 7’ and 9’
· Waders: Hip or Chest
· Net: Yes
· Polarized fishing sunglasses



Back and side casts shouldn’t be an issue as long as you are using a 7’ rod, also I recommend using roll casts for the Dismal Creek falls section when using heavy multi nymph rigs.



While not easily accessible, Dismal Creek provides fly fisherman with yearlong opportunities for both native and stocked trout. Located on the border of Giles and Bland Counties in the Jefferson National Forest this stream is primarily known for its scenic falls. It is not uncommon to see people hiking and camping here due to its close proximity to the Appalachian Trail.


Dismal Creek has three stocked areas of water; however you can continue fishing on up the stream for native brook trout. The first section, which begins at the End of State Maintenance sign to Dismal Creek falls, is probably the hardest and most overlooked section of stream. This is due to the fact that there are limited options of access areas to the stream. Passed the E.O.S.M. sign the road will begin to snake up the mountain side leaving the stream entirely, leaving only two options: park at the bottom of the mountain or park at the falls. Since starting to fly fish the stream I have only once fished this entire area once and it took all day. While this section does have pocket water for dry flies, I prefer using a multi nymph rig with a jig nymph for the bottom fly.


Up next is Dismal Creek falls which is the most popular area of the entire stream for fishermen. When fishing this area you will need to be prepared to fish deep even during the summer months. Normally using a 9’ rod I setup a rig consisting of three weighted nymphs one foot apart and a suspension device two to three feet above the last nymph. Don’t be afraid to put on a larger suspension device, because of the falls the surface turbulence doesn’t seem to play a factor while fishing. Roll cast directly into the falls and let the nymphs dead drift through this deep area for best results.


The final section, which is above the falls to the camping area on Lion’s Den road, is a dry fly fisherman’s dream come to true with its long slow moving flats. It’s really hard to imagine this section being here after seeing the other faster moving parts of Dismal Creek. Just make sure you bring a 7’ rod and some patience for this area, you will get hung up by the rhododendrons.

There are some cons to Dismal Creek though. Unlike the other streams in Giles County, you cannot simply get off of US 460 and be there in a matter of minutes. Ultimately there are no simple ways to get to Dismal Creek, on average it takes over an hour to get to there from any major town or city. The other cons are the elbow to elbow spin fishermen that show up right after a stocking and the tourists that love to swim at the falls.

Additional Notes and Precautions:

Because of Dismal Creek’s seclusion one must keep in mind back country safety issues. There is no cell phone service here, I would highly recommend telling a friend or a relative that you are going here and a general time you will be back. Likewise make sure you bring plenty of water, some non-perishable food, and a med kit in case of an emergency (the closest hospital is forty minutes away). Also suggest wearing some type of bright orange clothing for the hunters in the area. Lastly, if you have a concealed permit to carry I would suggest you do so, this area is known for to have bears, bobcats, and rattlesnakes.

Directions from Bland, Blacksburg, and Dublin, VA:

From Bland, go east on VA 42 about 13.5 miles. Go left (north) on VA 606 for 1 mile and turn right onto VA 201 just past store.

From Blacksburg, go west on US 460 to Pearisburg and take the second exit onto VA 100. Stay on VA 100 for 10 miles. Turn right on VA 42. After 10 miles, turn right on VA 606 and follow directions above.

From Dublin, go north on VA 100 until you get to VA 42 and turn left. Follow directions for Blacksburg from here.

2 thoughts on “Dismal Creek – Giles County

  1. Thanks for all the valuable information you provide. Just fished Mossy Creek and caught some browns for the first time as my brother is a senior at JMU in Harrisonburg. I on the other hand am a freshman at Virginia Tech and am wondering where the closest spring creek(s) is/are if any?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know of only one spring creek in the Blacksburg area, its called Mill Creek, but it is a private (pay stream)http://www.millcreektroutfarm.com. The rest of the stream is posted past this guys trout farm. I would check out the Roanoke River, Little Stoney, and Big Stoney if you are just looking for local streams. If you are looking for good brown trout water, and don’t mind a drive, then I would suggest going to Bristol and trying out the South Holston River below the damn, or going to Northfork, WV. Thanks for the comment.


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