Big Tumbling Creek (Clinch Fee Fishing Area)

Important Notices for this Waterbody

Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area Road Closure

Anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts need to be aware of a recent road failure that occurred at the Clinch Mountain WMA along the gorge access road. Heavy persistent rains caused the roadway to collapse on February 19, 2018. As a result, public vehicular access is restricted to the WMA boundary along Big Tumbling Creek to the gate at the foot of the mountain into the foreseeable future until repairs can be made. This closure will limit access to the gorge area and above along Big Tumbling Creek (Section D), Laurel Bed Lake, mobility limited angler access areas, and the shooting range. Current plans are to manage the fee fishing area during the 2018 season from the lower boundary where Section A begins upstream to include Section C. Section D and the mobility limited fishing access areas will not be stocked in 2018 until after road repairs can made and the road reopened.

Tumbling Creek Road Repair Update: September 5, 2018

Stocking during the 2018 Fee Fishing Season will be as follows:

Monday: Section B – Starting at the bridge above the WMA manager’s residence upstream to the gate at the bottom of the mountain. Section C – (foot access) Foot of the mountain upstream to the mouth of Red Creek.

Wednesday: Section A – The beginning of the fee area upstream to the WMA shop.

Friday: Section B and Section C

Saturday: Section A

More information can be obtained by contacting the Marion Regional Office (276-783-4860).

The Clinch Mountain fee fishing area (Tumbling Creek) offers put-and-take trout fishing with the added advantage that trout are stocked several times per week throughout the season. The fee fishing program operates from the first Saturday in April through September at Clinch Mountain. For those anglers who miss the opening day of trout season, the fee fishing area still provides this opportunity on the first Saturday in April when it opens at 9:00 AM During the fee fishing season, a daily permit ($8.00) is required in addition to a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license. After the fee fishing season, these areas revert to designated stocked trout waters and a trout license is required instead of the daily permit.

The fee fishing area is located within the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area in southwest Virginia, about 7 miles west of Saltville. The area consists of approximately 7 miles of Big Tumbling Creek and its two major tributaries, Briar Cove Creek and Laurel Bed Creek. Big Tumbling Creek is a large, steep gradient stream with numerous small waterfalls and large, deep rocky pools. The two tributaries are much smaller with a more moderate gradient. Laurel Bed Lake is no longer part of the fee fishing program and does not require the daily permit. However, the lake continues to be managed for trout as well as for flow augmentation for Big Tumbling Creek. Trout are stocked 4 times a week (except Sunday) throughout the fee period in the streams, and fishing begins at 5 AM daily, except for opening day, and ends one hour after sunset. Camping is available at the area and VDGIF owns and manages the surrounding land.

Maps & Directions

Access to Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area
From Marion take I-81 south to exit 35 at Chilhowie, then north on route 107 to Saltville, then west on 613 following Department signs to the fee fishing area.

Fishing Opportunities

The fee fishing area is open daily from the first Saturday in April through the last day in September. Fish are stocked 4 times per week during the fee season. A daily use permit costing $8.00 is required in addition to a resident or non-resident fishing license in order to fish the fee area. Fishing begins daily at 5 AM and ends 1 hour after sunset. Permits and licenses may be purchased on the web.


Parking and information kiosks are located along the stream and trash containers are plentiful for waste.

More Information

Additional information can be obtained by calling:

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Marion Regional Office
Phone: 276-783-4860


The Marion Fish Cultural Station
Phone: 276-782-9314