Old Dominion has long been a highly sought after destination for fly anglers from all over the country, and the southwest corner of the state holds some of its biggest draws. From White Top Laurel Creek where wild trout abound, to the South Fork Holston River where trophies are common place, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.
1. Whitetop Laurel Creek
This stream is up there with some of the best wild trout rivers in the entire Southeast. For anglers, the place to begin on Whitetop is the 6 miles of stream below Konnarock beginning at Creek Junction, near the confluence of Whitetop and Green Cove Creek. This marks the beginning of a 6-mile artificial only stretch where all trout smaller than 12 inches must be released. This stretch can be accessed by way of Creek Junction Road, just east of Damascus. Those in the know say that prime time on Whitetop is during the spring months, when feeding trout will rise for just about any kind of dry fly you can throw.
One of the oldest rivers on the North American continent, the New boasts a robust fishery that’s home to everything from trophy smallmouth bass and musky to walleye, black crappie and redbreast sunfish. In Southwest Virginia, this warm water fishery flows through Grayson County and offers enterprising anglers the opportunity to catch the smallmouth bass of a lifetime.
Another fishery accessible by way of the Mount Rogers Recreation Area, Big Wilson Creek has been called one of Virginia’s finest mountain trout streams. In the upper portions of Big Wilson, you will find an abundance of wild rainbow and brook trout that seek refuge in the numerous deep pools flanked by the protection of car-sized boulders. With spring just around the corner, now is the time to start planning a trip to Big Wilson Creek. March is one of the best months to fish this stretch of river and dry fly fishing is one of the most effective methods.
4. South Fork Holston River
The South Fork Holston River rises in Smyth County, Virginia near Sugar Grove and is home to the Virginia state brown trout record. It also serves as the headwaters for the popular Holston River tailwater in northern Tennessee. The nearby Buller Fish Hatchery produces northern pike muskellunge, smallmouth bass, and walleyes, as well as 50,000 trout per year. While the stream itself is fairly small, the fish it holds are not, and the remote nature of the area makes for smaller crowds than many of the other great trout streams in South West Virginia.