Stream Category: Special Regulation
Wild Trout: Brook and Rainbow
· Dry Flies: Adams, BWO, Caddis, Stimulators, Terrestrials
· Nymphs : Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Prince, and Soft Hackles
· Streamers: None
· Rod: 7’
· Waders: Chaps and Hip
· Net: None
· Polarized fishing sunglasses
With a shorter rod you will be able to make any cast that you need to make on this stream.
Located minutes away from down town Narrows, VA, Mill Creek is the quintessential Virginian mountain stream with its large splash pools, rhododendrons, and boulder sized freestones. With its healthy population of native brook and wild rainbow trout, this technical stream is a nice alternative to Little Stony Creek. However do not anticipate any real size to these trout; they tend to be palm size or smaller.
Once you arrive at the parking area you can start fly fishing, the main hiking trail follows Mill Creek from the parking area to Mill Creek Falls. I always take a 7’ 5 weight rod, equipped with a long leader just in case I want to go from a dry fly to a nymph. However I would not recommend using a multi nymph rig or even a dry and dropper, stick to rather one nymph or one dry fly
Half of a mile up the creek from the parking area is a dam that has created a small pond. This particular spot often produces fish when the rest of the stream does not. Not only are the trout very forgiving here but there is very little overhead foliage to deal with; making this area a fantastic place for those learning to fly fish. Multi nymph and dry/dropper rigs can be used at this spot. In fact this is the only place I have ever hooked dual fish on a multi nymph rig.
Additional Notes and Precautions:
Weather is a huge factor when fishing Mill Creek. During the summer months expect the stream to have very low water and during the winter months expect heavy snow and ice. Ultimately fall and spring are the best times of the year to fish Mill Creek.
Mill Creek is also known for its excellent hiking and mountain bike trails so expect parking to be an issue, especially on the weekends.
Directions from Blacksburg, VA to Mill Creek (28.9 mi):
Take US 460 West towards Pearisburg, VA. Turn left onto Thomas Drive just after the last Pearisburg exit (which is just before the New River Bridge at Celanese). Go straight through the four way stop on to VA 100 North. Stay on this road for 3.4 miles then turn left onto Northview Street in Narrows. This road will continue all the way to the parking area. Note: do not take the right onto Poplar Street, it will look like the road is ending but it does not till you reach the parking area.
Stream Category: Special Regulation Water
Wild Trout: Brook and Rainbow Trout
· Dry Flies: Adams, Pheasant Tail, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, and small Terrestrials
· Nymphs : Pheasant tail, Hares Ear, Prince, Zebra Midges, Callibaetis, CCG Eggs, and Soft Hackles
· Streamers: I personally don’t use streamers on this stream
· Rod: Shorter rods such as 7’ rods work extremely well
· Waders: Hip waders will work for the whole stream, very few areas will get above your hips
· Net: No net will be needed unless it is just your preference
· Polarized fishing sunglasses
As long as you have a shorter rod you can do about any cast on Little Stony, just be mindful of the rhododendrons.
Little Stony Creek is one of the best native brook trout streams in Virginia. Conversely the fishing is not what makes Little Stony Creek so popular with people. Little Stony Creek is the stream that feeds the 200’ Cascades waterfalls which has been featured on CNN as one of the nation’s top waterfalls. There are two main trails leading from Cascades Parking lot to the falls. The left hand rail going to the falls is the easier route though it leads you away from the stream, while the right hand trail that never leaves the stream is much harder (especially while wearing waders). It is a good idea to decide before you head up the trail what type of trout you are going to fish for. If you are only going to fish for rainbows then you can start fishing as soon as you get to the parking area. The rainbows tend to be located between the parking areas up to the second trail bridge. While the brook trout fishing starts just before the second trail bridge going all the way up to the Cascades. Generally when I fish Little Stony Creek for brookies I will hike the left hand side until I am able to see the second trail bridge and that is when I make my own trail to the stream to start fishing. (Note: start looking for the bridge as soon as you come up to the first mile marker and for the small connector trail that is sometimes overgrown.)
By nature I am a nymph fly fisherman, I love tying them and I love fishing them. But this stream makes me enjoy dry fly fishing; there are really deep splash pools along with long flats that never disappoint when throwing a dry fly. You can use suspension devices and multi nymph rigs; however the best way to produce fish on this stream is to use a dry fly with a dropper. I personally like using soft hackles or a black callibaetis nymphs. Another good fly to use is a Clear Cure Goo style egg, I know it seems like cheating but they work well.
There are really only a few cons to this stream; there are enormous amounts of tourists that visit the Cascades which in turn fills up the parking area and during the summertime the stream runs really low when there has been a shortage of rain. Really, if you are able to deal with an often crowded trail you’ll love this stream.
Additional Notes and Precautions:
There is a $3 fee to park in the parking lot and you should always pay it unless you like getting a $75 ticket. You can also get a Seasonal Day Use Pass from the Ranger station in Blacksburg for $30, which will allow you to park without paying the daily fee. The parking can quickly fill up throughout each day, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays. Yet there is now a seven day-a-week shuttle service that is located in Pembroke (I have never had to use this service so I do not know if they charge for this service).
Make sure you also check the weather before you decide to go to Little Stony Creek, severe thunderstorms can pop up in this area without much warning and during the winter time snow storms can leave you stranded in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, if you live several hours away check the weather periodically during the upcoming week of your trip to keep an eye out for long periods of heavy rain, this stream is subject being blow out.
Astonishingly there is cell phone service almost all of the way up to the Cascades in case you were to have an emergency.
Directions from Blacksburg, VA:
Take US 460 from Blacksburg to Pembroke. Turn right on VA 623, Cascade Drive. This road will take you to the Cascades parking area.