12/26/08 Special Note: If the magazines can put out issues a month ahead of the
date on them, I can put out some articles a few days ahead of the date on them.

Destinations:
Since this is the holidays, most of you will probably be staying home or visiting friends and family
during the coming days. I doubt that many of you will be traveling to and fishing the Smokies
although I hope you do.  January and the first part of February is probably the coldest time of the
year and you will have to pick out the better days to expect much success fishing the freestone
streams. By the end of February, everyone will be doing their best to force the bugs to hatch and
the trout to respond even though they will probably have to wait a few more days to see any
surface action. That considered, I thought I would write about some fishing trips we have made
to various other destinations. Don't expect these articles to win any awards, just tell you about
some things I hope you will find interesting and a few that I look back on with a gleam in my eye.

Whitetop Laurel Creek - Part 2

The Whitetop Laurel Creek in Taylor Valley will remind you of one of the streams in
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will need to fish it about the same way.
The only main difference I have noticed is that the water has a higher PH than most
of the streams in the Smokies. That makes a difference in the aquatic insect
population. There are a lot of Sulfurs and Pale Evening Duns and a healthily
population of several species of net spinning caddisflies.

There is no road that follows the Taylor Fork Section. You will have to hike up the
stream. By the way, the fishing is also good downstream at the end of the #725
paved  road. It flows off the mountain down to the Virgina Creeper area I mentioned
yesterday.

This is a neat stream to fish. The little town of Damascus in also a neat place.
Laurel Creek flows right through town and the people are all laid back type folks
that cater to hikers and anglers. There are several neat places to stay and eat in
the area.

The best fishing we have experienced there, in both the stocked and the wild trout
areas, came during the surfer hatch which seems to last a long time. For one
reason they have both the true Sulfurs and the Eastern Pale Evening duns, both
called sulfurs by the locals. Like the South Holston Tailwater, which also has both of
these mayflies called "Sulfurs' (not a great distance from there) it too has a very
prolific Sulfur hatch. You will see the trout go nuts over the spinner falls late in the
afternoons. The stream also has a few Eastern Green Drakes. We have not been
there during the Green Drake hatch but have some fly fishing friends in Damascus
who have.

In one day of fishing, Angie and I fishing only one at a time, caught well over
seventy trout on a late April day on this stream a few year ago. A high percentage
of them were brown trout. Although none of them were over fourteen inches long,
that sure wasn't a bad day of dry fly fishing. If you are looking for a new place to try
that isn't far from the Smokies, then I could highly recommend the Whitetop Laurel.
This stream made the "Trout Unlimited's Book of Top 100 streams. I wouldn't rate it
any better than several streams we have in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
but it is a different atmosphere that offers a change of pace with very good fly
fishing opportunities.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh