12/27/08 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.

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.

Laurel Creek, Tennessee:

Laurel Creek is a relatively small creek that flows out of the Northeast corner of
Tennessee into Virginia. The Whitetop Laurel Creek joins it about two miles east of
Damascus, Virginia. Laurel Creek then flows west and eventually joins the South
Fork of the South Holston River.

The easiest way to get to Laurel Creek for anglers coming north or south on
I-81 is to exit to Damascus, Virginia, not far above the Tennessee/Virginia state line.
Two miles past Damascus on highway 58, turn right on Tennessee highway 91 (the
same road you turn on to go to the Whitetop Laurel Creek special regulation area
in Taylor Valley). You will be on Laurel Creek when you turn on highway 91. The
road follows the creek to and a few miles past the little town of Laurel Bloomery,
Tennessee, or almost its entire length. The stream is stocked by the state of
Tennessee but it also has a very good population of wild trout.

This stream is not fished heavily at all due the fishing in the Whitetop Laurel Creek
stocked and wild trout sections, as well as Beaverdam Creek which is not far from
there. Also, both the Watauga and South Holston Tailwaters are in the same
general area. This is fairly remote country, except for Damascus, and most anglers
that go there to fish do so in Virginia. As the old saying goes, "You just about can't
get there from here (meaning Tennessee)".

We have fished the stream five or six times, each time only for a short length of time
but we have been able to catch trout every time we have tried. I believe we have
caught more wild trout from the stream than stocked trout. It is a nice stream with
easy access that is not fished much at all except maybe right after the state stocks
it in a few places.

I could recommend this stream only if you visited Damascus to fish the Whitetop
Laurel Creek or you were fishing the South Holston or Watauga River and just
wanted to try some small freestone streams. It is not a stream you would drive very
far to fish on its own merits although it is a fine little trout stream. It has a good
population of both brown and rainbow trout that are generally easy to catch. That
includes both the wild and stocked trout.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh