Wilkes County

Here's a link to Michael Ebbs' Stone Mtn. fishing page for more information.

Bullhead Creek

Bullhead creek is the "poor man's trout club". This is a beautiful stream in Stone Mountain State Park. It is a special regs stream, open year round, and subject to a daily quota. There are 8 beats on the stream, first come first served. All fishing is C&R, flies only, of course... Bullhead offers fishing to big trout, not wild, but they aren't too easy to catch since they see a lot of fisher-traffic.

Bullhead hasn't been stocked in years, and has a nice reproducing population of rainbows, browns, and brookies (at the higher elevations). The Park Service does feed the fish in the major pools a few times a week, but hey, that's fair, since we ask the fish to burn a lot of calories when we catch 'em. All things being equal, I'd prefer a natural stream, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to catch 20+ inch fish...and there are a lot in there. I fish Bullhead several times a year since it is the closest trout stream to my home, and it's still about 130 miles. Here's a picture of Bill Murphy of Blacksburg, VA holding a nice rainbow!

Bullhead is a study in contrasts...the two upper beats (one on the main stream and the other on a feeder, Rich Mountain Creek) offer fine fishing to wild brookies. They aren't fed up high, and the fishing pressure is much lower...everyone salivates over the big guys. On the other hand, the other beats offer mostly rainbows and browns, and many more big fish. On the upper stretches, an 8" inch fish is nice. Lower down, an 8" fish is breakfast to the big guys (but they can be reluctant to bite, since they see a lot of fishermen).

I've always done better on nymphs down on the lower beats, and dries (like the Mr. Rapidan) on the upper stretches. Trout chow imitations are officially forbidden!

This should give you idea of what it's like. I'll add more on this stream later, and add in others in Wilkes County, but I'm just getting started on this effort.

Basin Creek

Here's a report from Derek Brown on a trip from March 15, 1997.

Yesterday I fished Basin Creek outside Stone Mt. State Park. It was a perfect day...warm, mostly sunny, crystal clear water and the trout were cooperative. The first fish of the day was a brillantly colored Brookie. The rest of the fish caught were all Rainbows. A #16 Adams seemed to work best. Also I caught fish on an Elk Hair Caddis and a Royal Wulf. It was a great day for fishing (but what day isn't) - I caught 14 trout (most were very small), lost 4 or 5 others, and I got to enjoy some beautiful scenery.

Now I fully expect to hear from others who just got back from Montana (with stories of 20+" trout) and the Bonefish flats of the Keys BUT I doubt they had any more fun than I did yesterday.

Roaring River

This is another Stone Mountain State Park stream. Bullhead Creek flows into Stone Mountain Creek and they form the Roaring River. This stream runs along the main road through the park, and consequently is easily accessed and gets somewhat silted from the dirt roads. The state paved part of this road in 1995 and this should help a lot. However, the biggest problem is accessibility. If you have a stream that is easy to fish with "standard" regulations (put & take, bait OK), your don't get many carryover trout. The Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) has taken a step in the right direction...this is what is called a "delayed harvest" stream. If you are in the area and get closed out of Bullhead (remember the first-come first-served beat system), give the Roaring River a try, especially if it's after October 1st or before the first Saturday in June.

Starting in 1996, the WRC converted the stream to delayed harvest starting in October, running through June, and there are fall stockings as well as spring stockings. I had a really nice day in November of 1997 on this stretch...a grey, overcast day, but the fish were hitting a Parachute Adams early in the day. They stopped mid morning on the Adams, and I used a Syl's Nymph (a soft hackle wet fly) and continued catching fish. Finished the day with a wee dram of the 18 year old Macallan.

I had a truly fantistic day (beautiful weather, tons of fish, including a couple of holdovers) in May of 1994. I fished this stream in May of 1996 and caught fish until I was tired of catching them, using a Royal Stimulator. Another great day. It's pretty, not crowded during the week, and a lot of fun, even if the fish are stockers.

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Last updated 02-January-1998