Fish Blue Ridge: Whitetop Laurel Creek

County: Washington
Fishery: Whitetop Laurel Creek
Difficulty: Intermediate
Town: Damascus, Abingdon
Attraction: VA Creeper Trail, Damascus Brewery, Mojos, Barter Theatre

About Whitetop Laurel Creek

Located in the shadow of Whitetop Mountain in southeast Washington County, Whitetop Laurel Creek is one of the best Blue Ridge trout fishing spots. 

Originating near the town of Konnarock, VA, Whitetop Laurel Creek flows nearly 30 miles before meeting the South Fork Holston River, Beaverdam Creek and Tennessee Laurel Creek in the town of Damascus, Va. A large, freestone mountain trout stream, Whitetop Laurel Creek is home to thriving populations of wild rainbow trout and wild brown trout, stocked by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

Fishing at Whitetop Laurel Creek 

Whitetop Laurel Creek flows through two regulated catch-and-release fishing areas totaling five miles apiece, where only single-hooked, artificial lures may be used. Two Category A stocked fishing areas separate the special regulation water and receive eight stockings during the stocked trout season (October 1 to May 31).

Whitetop Laurel Creek is accessible via Whitetop Mountain and other locations in the area. Much of the mountain traverses the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, a section of Jefferson National Forest. There are formal access points on Whitetop Mountain at Taylors Valley, Creek Junction and Straight Branch Falls. Roadside access to fishing areas along Route 58 near Konnarock provides access to the upper river. The Virginia Creeper Trail, a 33-mile rail trail that runs from the town of Whitetop, Va. down the mountain to the town of Abingdon, Va.,  follows Whitetop Laurel Creek for most of its length, providing additional access to remote portions of the river. 

Many Appalachian insect hatches, including that of the large, pale-yellow green drakes, provide ample dry fly fishing opportunities throughout late winter and spring. Although spring is “prime time” for Whitetop Mountain fishing, year-round fishing is good. Aquatic macroinvertebrates and larger crayfish, hellgrammites and baitfish make nymph and streamer fishing techniques productive in the absence of hatches. Though most Whitetop Laurel Creek fishers are fly anglers, anglers with spinning gear are also well-suited for Blue Ridge trout fishing with spinners, small jigs and crankbaits. 

Challenges to fishing Whitetop Laurel Creek fishing include tricky wading and tight casting quarters under rhododendron. Despite these challenges, the difficulty level for fishing Whitetop Laurel Creek is only intermediate. 

Suitable hubs for fishing Whitetop Laurel include the nearby town of Abingdon, Va. and the eventual destination of the creek: the outdoor town of Damascus, Va., also known as “Trail Town USA.” Both Abingdon and Damascus offer lodging, restaurant and entertainment options. 

Things to do in Damascus, VA

In the town of Damascus, several outfitters offer bike rentals and shuttle services to the top of the Virginia Creeper Trail, allowing cyclists to coast downhill along the creek on their way back to town. Mojo’s Trailside Cafe and Coffee offers a comfortable refuel while The Damascus Brewery provides fun nightlife opportunities. 

Travelers have countless dining options in Abingdon, VA, which pair nicely with a trip to the Barter Theater, Virginia’s state theater located on Main Street. As one of southwest Virginia’s premier trout fisheries, Whitetop Laurel Creek is a must-visit for traveling and local anglers alike.

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