Whitetop Laurel Creek


Stream Category: A and Special Regulation

Wild Trout: Brook, Brown, and Rainbow

Stocked Trout: Brown and Rainbow

Other Species of Note:


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



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.


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. 


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.  


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. 


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)


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