People like to fish for trout where there actually are trout. Makes sense to me. That’s why fee-fishing areas are gaining in popularity. One of the crown jewels among Virginia’s Fee Fishing streams is the Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area on Big Tumbling Creek. The Game Department historically stocks big fish here, often trophy sized fish.
The Clinch Mountain fee fishing area offers put-and-take trout fishing with the added advantage that trout are stocked several times per week throughout the season. The fee-fishing program operates from the first Saturday in April through September at Clinch Mountain. During the fee-fishing season, a daily permit of $8.00 is required in addition to a valid Virginia freshwater fishing license. After the fee fishing season, these areas revert to designated stocked trout waters and a trout license is required instead of the daily permit.
The fee fishing area is located within the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area in southwest Virginia, about 7 miles west of Saltville. The area consists of approximately 7 miles of Big Tumbling Creek and its two major tributaries, Briar Cove Creek and Laurel Bed Creek. Big Tumbling Creek is a large, steep gradient stream with numerous small waterfalls and large, deep rocky pools. The two tributaries are much smaller with a more moderate gradient. Laurel Bed Lake is no longer part of the fee fishing program and does not require the daily permit. However, the lake continues to be managed for trout as well as for flow augmentation for Big Tumbling Creek. Trout are stocked 4 times a week throughout the fee period in the streams, and fishing begins at 5 AM daily, except for opening day, and ends one hour after sunset. Camping is available at the area and VDGIF owns and manages the surrounding land.
Maps & Directions
Access to Clinch Mountain Fee Fishing Area
From Marion take I-81 south to exit 35 at Chilhowie, then north on route 107 to Saltville, then west on 613 following Department signs to the fee fishing area.