This weekend I snuck in a few hours of afternoon fly fishing at Beaverdam Creek. This creek flows out of Shady Valley, Tennessee and through a wildlife management area within the Cherokee National Forest and into Virginia. The Virginia portion runs for just a few miles until it enters Damascus, where it crosses right through the main town park.
After catching a couple of rainbow trout, I exchanged my rod for a camera. Wearing waders, I was able to capture some interesting colors from the middle of the creek. Note the orange and yellow reflections in ripples in the center of the creek. The 2012 fall colors have been the best and brightest in years in Southwest Virginia.
Spring is high season for trout fishing in Southern Appalachia. This evening I was able to get in a couple of hours of fishing on Tennessee Laurel Creek.
Tennessee Laurel Creek starts in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee and flows north across the Virginia state line into Damascus. There are bunches of turnouts next to Route 91, the road that parallels the creek, where you can fish.
The creek is not limited to fly fishing, so some days—like today—there are way too many fisherman on the Virginia side, where VGIF stocks regularly. I therefore drove across into Tennessee, where the stocking program is not as prominent, but where there are still numbers of wild trout.
The creeksides are now lush and green. The greenery is reason enough to get outside this time of year.
Tennessee Laurel is a typical Appalachian freestone creek, with lots of rifles and pocket water. It has more chutes and slightly slacker water than its sister Whitetop Laurel Creek, allowing for longer and easier drifts in most sections. When the water flow is right, it’s a pleasure to fish.
This is the Appalachian Trail footbridge that crosses Straight Branch Creek near Damascus, Virginia. This photograph was taken on Saturday, July 9, 2011. If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see the white blaze on the anchor tree on left of the footbridge in the background. In order to obtain this composition, I waded into the center of the creek and set up a tripod. I slowed the shutter speed slightly in order to capture the movement of the water in the foreground.