Just above the stocked section, Little Irish Creek transitions into a wild trout stream. Before people panic, The Virginia fisheries folks clearly indicate the wild status on the area trout map that is available on their website – no secret. This is a wild trout stream that runs right next to a major forest road. Just imagine what that implies in terms of pressure.
That said, the stream is full of water and compares favorably with the typical wild trout water you find in the Shenandoah National Park or in other mountain areas where you chase a blue line. It’s between 5 and 10 feet wide with the only fishable sections being in the small pools that collect for a brief instant in the creek’s downward journey where the water levels out before charging downhill again. I suspect that this creek gets pretty low in the summer and that may limit the population of brookies that theoretically inhabit this water.
The farther upstream you go, the skinnier the water gets. This means that as you walk along the stream in those places where it moves away from the road, you will walk a significant distance to find a fishable pool. Another detractor for the stream is the fact that the Forest Service spreads a number of campsites along its course. By the time you get halfway to the top of the ridgeline, the water becomes exceptionally skinny; dropping to 2 to 3 feet across and only inches deep. From this point to the headwater, you will walk considerable distances to find any fishable pool at all.
At the top of the ridge, the creek is barely 2 feet across with a depth of 1 to 2 inches.
Bottom Line: with the Pedlar River and other options so close, I recommend you give the wild trout section of Little Irish Creek a pass.
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.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Flyfisher’s Guide to Virginia
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At the lower end, it’s pretty good water
Too bad this is next to a campsite
Midway up the wild section, the water gets small
until it gets to the spring
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore