Whitetop Laurel Creek - Fishing Opportunities
While fishing the put-and-take waters is generally reliable only during the stocking season (October through June 15), the special regulation areas offer excellent fishing opportunities throughout the year.
While most anglers who fish the special regulation waters use fly-fishing gear, spinning tackle can also be very effective. Ultra-light gear in conjunction with small jigs and single-hook spinners can catch trout in all seasons and water conditions.
During the winter cold-water period, the best flies imitate the nymphs which dominate the trout's diet as this time of year. Whitetop Laurel has an excellent forage base, and patterns including everything from tiny caddis larvae to giant black stonefly nymphs are effective. During late winter, as spring approaches, a few warm, sunny days in succession may prompt blue-wing olive mayfly hatches, offering anglers occasional spurts of dry-fly action.
The activity levels of trout and trout anglers both increase greatly with the arrival of spring. All the standard flyfishing tactics are applicable as insect hatches swing into action. In high-flow conditions, a bulky streamer or flashy spinner can produce impressive results.
The long days of summer bring low, clear flows, and anglers must adjust accordingly to be successful. Keeping a low profile and making long, quiet help prevent spooking the trout, which often readily take imitations of terrestrial insects if no other hatch is occuring.
As waters cool in fall, trout everywhere begin feeding heavily, and those in Whitetop Laurel are no exception. Autumn also offers the best chance to tangle with one of the stream's trophy brown trout as they prepare to spawn. Large streamers such as muddler minnows, wooly buggers, and woolhead sculpins are the best choices for the fly angler seeking a big brown.
However, the best advice for an angler considering a trip to Whitetop Laurel is simply go for it. Even on the rare day when the trout refuse to cooperate, the experience of being on one of Virginia's most beautiful streams makes any trip worthwhile.