Want a rough hike to a non-productive end? Go to Little Wilson Creek where it spills into Big Wilson in the special regulation area. There is another Little Wilson that hits Big Wilson much farther down on 58.
While this could be an alternative if Big Wilson was unfishable, after working up this stream for about 1/2 mile, I don’t know why anyone would bother. After all, the Wilson creeks are within decent driving distance to other good alternatives like Whitetop-Laurel. Additionally, it’s a bouncy drive and a hike of at least 1.5 miles just to get from the parking area to the junction of Big and Little Wilsons. So, if you are concerned about Big Wilson being unfishable, make that assessment when you turn off of 58 where it goes over Big Wilson Creek. If high, just keep on going to another place.
The pictures below are deceptive. They show wide pools but do not show that these pools are inches deep. While there may be some small brookies up here, the agony of bushwacking up and navigating your fly around the entrapping trees is not worth the payoff.
I made the diversion up Little Wilson when I fished the lower section of Big Wilson. After all, I was there and this was new water. Little Wilson crashes into Big Wilson over a 10 foot high waterfall at the boundary of Grayson and Rogers parks. There is a cute sign there – I’m sure it was reproduced in the thousands posted all over national parks – that prohibits hang gliding and other vehicular activity. Looking around at the dense brush as I heaved myself up over the waterfall, I concluded the Forest Service does not have to inpect this area to catch violators.
The creek is generally very small, very tight. The vegetation overhangs the tiny water and makes getting a good cast, even a roll cast, problematic. Working up the stream, you encounter a high gradient section where the water massages numerous rocks and creates small areas of calm that, like everything else on this creek, are only inches deep.
While I am sure that the most mature and most dedicated fly fisherman can have a good time up here in pursuit of 4 inch brook trout, that’s not me. However, I continued to look and pressed upstream. There had to be something better than this. I was excited when I stumbled up on several large pool areas that were framed by high banks on both sides and fed by a small waterfall. After spending time working these with my Mr. Rapidan to no success, I slowly walked into the pool to discover that I had been fishing very shallow water.
When water is exceptionally pure and clear like it is here, I have a hard time telling the depth. While you can make a distinction in a larger creek or river by looking for a change in the shading from light to dark green or brown, it’s impossible for me to tell much difference when you can see individual rocks on the bottom.
After walking up a 1/2 mile, I gave up. There may be the holy grail of trout water higher up, but I’ll leave that to others to find. If it is there, I’d certainly like to know and will add that feedback to this post if anyone cares to send it to me.
Bottom Line: Nope. I’m not coming back here. The Big Wilson is so much better that I would rather continue to work upstream from the junction that make this diversion. While I did not catch anything, I’m guessing that any fish in this creek will be small and uninteresting.
Getting There: Follow 58 and turn north onto the small road where Big Wilson Creek goes under 58. Follow that road and the stream north and turn left onto Peace House. Stay on it until the end. You will need a 4×4 at some point on this road if you want to get all the way to the turnaround I parked in. Park at the house and continue to walk on the rutted road. This takes you to Big Wilson Creek. Work upstream on Big Wilson until you come to the junction of Little Wilson. It will be easy to spot – there is a small, 10 foot or so waterfall that marks the junction of the two creeks.
Secrets Revealed? No. This is a very public location that is documented in the following places:
Another trick pool. Looks great, but is also inches deep
Much of the Little Wilson where I walked is this type of higher gradient stream – nothing really fishable
Did I say it was tight back here?
Unless stated otherwise, this article was authored by Steve Moore