• Ray Sugg

Good Day in Mitchell and Yancey! 7/2/20

What a good day - a new creek, an old favorite, a new favorite, a wild trout hat trick (rainbows, browns, and brookies), 40+ trout, and I went through Egypt!

Looking down on the hamlet of Poplar, NC from HWY 197

The only reasons most people would end up in Poplar, NC would either be to kayak the Nolichucky River or passing through while riding motorcycles on NC 197 to Erwin, TN. Hollow Poplar Creek runs through the middle of the valley, and although it is not recognized as public trout water by NCWRC, I heard from a reliable source that it at least once contained trout. Even though I had to go through Egypt to get there, it turned out to be worth it!

I parked at the old Lower Poplar School, which now serves as the community center, and seeing no posted signs, fished the stretch right beside the road. I caught a dozen chunky 7-9 inch wild rainbows on nymphs, and Hollow Poplar Creek became new creek #977.

Lower Poplar School

Hollow Poplar Creek, new creek #977


Right beside NC 197,

wild rainbow trout!

I also planned on checking out three tributaries of Hollow Poplar Creek, but I was unable to get permission to fish two of them, and a hot day in July is probably not the best time for the bushwhacking trek that Shinbone Creek requires, so that one will remain on the bucket list until a later, less snakey date!


From there, I went one ridge over to the east and fished two more potential new creeks with no luck and was refused permission on a third. Three "no"s in one day has never happened to me before (I must be losing my mojo!) so I decided to head over to one of my favorite spots on the planet for some therapy. Little Rock Creek flows off of Roan Mountain and the upper section is regulated by NCWRC as wild trout water. Although almost all of the creek flows through private property, the NCWRC has done a great job securing fishing rights, and the access sites are well-posted. I first fished it back on June 30, 2009 (new creek #221), and also got nine other new creeks in Mitchell County on the same day. Not to be outdone, Bobby Kilby took me back to the same area two years later and showed me nine more new creeks I had overlooked! I will post pictures of both of those trips on a later date. Little Rock Creek has always been one of Bobby's favorites, and it has become one of mine - any time we are in the area, we at least spend an hour fishing Little Rock and Fall Creek, it's major headwater tributary. Some days, you can catch wild browns, rainbows and specs in the same water on Little Rock. Today, I fished maybe 50 yards of Little Rock Creek up to the confluence of Fall Creek and caught a dozen wild browns, and then fished up Fall Creek far enough to catch six specs to complete my wild trout hat trick!

Little Rock Creek

wild brown trout!
If you squint your eyes, you can see a deer crossing Little Rock Creek at the confluence of Fall Creek.
Fall Creek


spec! (wild brook trout)
One of several falls on Fall Creek

On my way home there was still an hour of daylight left, so I stopped at Bald Mountain Creek, a hatchery-supported stream in Yancey County. I first fished Bald Mountain Creek back on August 15, 2009 (new creek #293) on a day that I fished nine new creeks in Yancey County - that day deserves a post, too! I have probably only fished it once since then, so I decided to give it a try. I pulled off another hat trick of sorts, catching several healthy wild rainbows, a stocked brown and a stocked brookie!

Bald Mountain Creek

wild rainbow trout

stocked brown trout

stocked brook trout

Dang if it wasn't a good day!

Adventures of a Troutbum

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