Whitetop Laurel Creek

Damascus, Virginia

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Premier trout river. Plunge pools, shaded runs, clear water, steep gradient. Two-mile walk into artificials-only section. When you walk the cindered roadbed along the best section of Whitetop Laurel, let your mind’s eye see a chuffing narrow-gauge steam engine braking as much as the engineer dares to hold back its cargo of big-butted poplar and oak on the treacherous 4.5 percent grade. At night, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the shriek of the open whistle telling all that there’s no stopping her now, not till she gets way down to Laureldale, a stone’s throw east of Damascus. In the three-and-a-half mile, artificials-only section, the water flows from long pools through riffles and chutes, only to pool again. It is a classic stream, with reasonably easy access, but, as is the case with good streams, with a bit of a walk at either end into the best fishing. Such is the stream’s gradient, that a frog-strangling gully washer which turns the river the color of lentil soup on Tuesday, will be clear enough to fish Thursday morning. Species: Brown, rainbow. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.
America's 100 Best Trout Streams

DESCRIPTION FROM:

America's 100 Best Trout Streams

by John Ross (Falcon Guides)

Premier trout river. Plunge pools, shaded runs, clear water, steep gradient. Two-mile walk into artificials-only section. When you walk the cindered roadbed along the best section of Whitetop Laurel, let your mind’s eye see a chuffing narrow-gauge steam engine braking as much as the engineer dares to hold back its cargo of big-butted poplar and oak on the treacherous 4.5 percent grade. At night, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear the shriek of the open whistle telling all that there’s no stopping her now, not till she gets way down to Laureldale, a stone’s throw east of Damascus.

In the three-and-a-half mile, artificials-only section, the water flows from long pools through riffles and chutes, only to pool again. It is a classic stream, with reasonably easy access, but, as is the case with good streams, with a bit of a walk at either end into the best fishing. Such is the stream’s gradient, that a frog-strangling gully washer which turns the river the color of lentil soup on Tuesday, will be clear enough to fish Thursday morning. Species: Brown, rainbow. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.

©  John Ross/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Damascus
Access: Easy
Season & Limits: Year-round
Local Maps: Virginia DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to Whitetop Laurel Creek

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Apr 2018