I reserved the evening for fishing Little Irish Creek with the understanding that, after a hard day of hiking the Pedlar, it would be a gentle end to the day. As usual, I did a map reconnaissance prior to pointing the truck in the direction of the water. I knew that the road ran parallel to the creek for its entire length — so I had no illusions of a remote experience. However, the creek had been stocked two weeks before, so I was optimistic that there would still be fish in the water.
I came to the creek heading westbound from the Pedlar and the stocked section starts as soon as the road comes down the steep ridge line to join the creek at a double campsite. This is the first opportunity for a stock truck to dump fish into the water. There’s a deep pool at the base of the nice, scenic waterfall that marks this campsite as a popular destination. Upstream, the water runs shallow over a rocky bed, and I doubt any fish move upstream given the depth and lethargic flow. If you have the energy, it would be worth it to walk east into the protected canyon given the natural instinct of trout to migrate downstream several days after stocking.
Looking upstream, the road moves sharply away from the creek and there are no additional potential stocking locations until the road rejoins the creek a significant distance up the mountain at another nice campsite. That campsite is on the left after the sharp corner shown at the left edge of the map. Fish deposited here would migrate downstream; making both canyon sections the places to target. Given the steep gradient and the shallow nature of the creek, this is pocket water fishing. Look for cuts and protected pools behind the larger boulders. Additional campsites speckle either side of the road as you continue to move higher into the mountain. There may be additional fish inserted at these locations, but the water starts to get skinny as it transitions into a wild trout stream. I fished the stocked section a little bit, but quickly lost interest after the great water I had been on all day. It didn’t seem worth the effort to hump down into one of the canyons after some stockers when I could go have a beer instead.
Bottom line: While the creek is scenic and runs over a over a rocky course, it hardly seems worth it to fish when you have the spectacular water of the Pedlar just around the corner. If you use spin gear, fishing this section will be problematic outside of the few pools that may exist. From a fly perspective, it’s nice because there is no dense overhanging vegetation to turn this into a complex, technical nightmare. I do not recommend Little Irish Creek as a destination. Instead, go to the Pedlar.
Sorry… no route… computer crashed and lost the track
Getting There: From US 60 eastbound from Buena Vista, VA, turn right onto Panther Falls Road immediately after you cross under Skyline Drive. Follow it forever… 7 miles… it becomes FR 315. Turn right on Forest Road 311 and follow it to the creek. There is a way to get here from Skyline Drive, but it involves knowing where some unmarked dirt roads are.
Google Local Coordinates: 37.677376,-79.296902
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
Date Fished: 4/6/2010
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Downstream from campsite where the road joins the creek
Upstream from same campsite
Start of canyon section
Canyon section from the road
Second stocking point at campsite – upstream
Downstream at the same campsite
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore