Wilson Creek: Adopt-A-Stream and Stream Watch
Stream Watch includes reporting stream blockage erosion or flooding damage from expected heavy rain
Forest Service Road 192 crosses over Bucks Timer Creek, Little Wilson Creek, (upper) Wilson Creek, Stack Rock Creek and Andrews Creek, with easy stream and trail access upstream and downstream!
The gorge is prime
paddling waters for kayakers, canoers and summer tubers.
South Harper Creek is degraded due to hillside farming run-off.
The Chapter adopted the headwaters of Wilson Creek under the state Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) program, (upper) Wilson Creek which is Catch-and-Release, Single Hook Artificial Lures Only (C&R/L) regulated in 1985. The Chapter expanded the adoption to include the (lower) Wilson Creek Delayed Harvest (DH) regulated section below the community of Edgemont in 2013.
Rocky River Trout Unlimited volunteer efforts under the adoption program of Wilson Creek include but are not limited to (click to learn more):
Adopted Streams and Tributaries
Entire watershed above the Edgemont, Ltd. private club in Edgemont which is managed by the USDA Forest Service in conjunction with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission managing the wildlife and fishery. Most of these waters are primarily a wild brown trout fishery. Wild rainbow trout are caught on occasion and mostly in the cascading sections of (upper) Wilson Creek where the habit has been best suited for rainbow trout. The extreme headwaters of each tributary and primarily (upper) Wilson Creek all contain native brook trout.
(upper) Wilson Creek (C&R/L) - access is by the lower trail just above private property (Rocky River Trout Unlimited Adopt-A-Stream trailhead signage), the middle trail which drops down along Persimmon Branch (Rocky River Trout Unlimited Adopt-A-Stream trailhead signage), the abandoned road down to the old Bill Crump property (Rocky River Trout Unlimited Adopt-A-Stream trailhead signage), by hiking trails above and below Forest Service Road 192 which is to the left approximately 1 mile above the community of Gragg (the third stream crossed), by less frequently used trails above and below Edgemont Road at a higher elevation, under highway NC 221 which is unfishable and under the Blue Ridge Parkway viaduct which is unfishable. These waters are all Catch-and-Release, Single Hook Artificial Lure Only regulated (C&R/L). Each headwaters tributary is fairly remote and very scenic with portions that are high gradient cascading. The tributaries included in the adoption from east to west are:
Persimmon Branch - a tiny stream entering on the east side below the old Bill Crump property (contains some wild brown trout)
Cary Flat Branch - a tributary of Bucks Timber Creek, fishable only in the lower portion below a private pond in Cary Flat community.
Bucks Timber Creek - first small stream crossed by Forest Service Road 192 and accessible but with no trail. Access is best from the abandoned road.
Little Wilson Creek - second stream accessible by trails above and below Forest Service Road 192 and Edgemont Road at a higher elevation.
<no name> Branch - fourth tiny stream crossed by Forest Service Road 192 which is unfishable.
Stack Rock Creek - fifth stream crossed by Forest Service Road 192 and a tributary of Andrews Creek. Accessible from Forest Service Road 192 but is best fished starting from Andrews Creek.
Andrews Creek - sixth stream accessible by trails above and below Forest Service Road 192. The trailhead downstream is found prior to crossing the creek. This hiking trial is highly used and continues downstream and joins the primary hiking trail along (upper) Wilson Creek.
(lower) Wilson Creek DH - roadside access is along the majority of this section of stream. This section is Delayed Harvest regulated which means Catch-and-Release, Single Hook Artificial Lure Only from October through May. From June thru Spetember this section is Hatchery Supported regulated which means bait may be used and fish may be harvested according to the regulations. NC Wildlife Resource Commision stocks a mix of brook, rainbow and brook trout in a variety of sizes throughout the DH season. These trout are triploids and do not reproduce or mix their hatchery raised genes with any wild trout that may be present. Although these waters are primarily smallmouth and redbreast sunfish habitat, the stocked trout that adapt survive well throughout the year in cooler deep pools and well aerated, bouldered runs. Members along with many other anglers and visitors frequent these waters with a few choosing to abuse the area by leaving trash behind or simpoly not following fishing regulations. By adoption, our members are committed to an extensive Stream Watch capability as well as an annual Stream Clean-up.
Other Sections and Tributaries of Wilson Creek (waters not adopted by RRTU)
Wilson Creek is a tributary of Johns River and begins at a low elevation as smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish habitat. Anglers often fish for smallmouth bass from the Adako Road bridge up to the Brown Mountain Beach resort lower property line. Beginning above the upper Brown Mountain Beach resort (dam) property line, the USDA Forest Servce manages all the public game lands in conjunction with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission managing the wildlife and fishery. The entire Wilson Creek stream and headwaters above Adako Road bridge and also the Lost Cove stream and headwaters are designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers or Wilderness Areas and protected by federal law.
(lower) Wilson Creek (HS) - roadside trail access (rough and very steep at many places) from Brown Mountain Road is from designated parking places in the first 6-mile gorge section. There is general roadside access to the stream (except for the private property portions which may be posted against trespassing) from above the gorge section up to the Delayed harvest regulated section. This section of stream is Hatchery Supported regulated. NC Wildlife Resource Commision stocks a mix of brook, rainbow and brook trout in a variety of sizes during the closed season in March with some re-stocking during the rest of the year. These trout are triploids and do not reproduce or mix their hatchery raised genes with any wild trout that may be present. Although these waters are primarily smallmouth and redbreast sunfish habitat, the stocked trout that adapt survive well throughout the year in cooler deep pools, well aerated bouldered runs and the whitewater rapids within the gorge. The gorge is prime paddling waters for kayakers, canoers and summer tubers. Tributaries in upstream order include:
<no name> Branch - enters Wilson Creek within the gorge on the west side several miles upstream from the public game lands boundary.
Craig Creek - this small stream enters Wilson Creek on the west side and parallels Craig Creek Road (contains some wild rainbow trout).
Phillips Branch - this small stream enters Wilson Creek on the west side at the beginning of the DH section (contains some wild brown trout).
Harper Creek (Wild) - enters Wilson Creek at the first bridge along the Wilson Creek DH section on the west side. This is a major tributary and a fairly remote, destination trout stream. The entire Harper Creek watershed is regulated as Wild. Some DH stocked trout may migrate into Harper Creek up to Harper Creek Falls, a scenic waterfall visited by hikers year-round. Access is by hiking trail with a trailhead at the mouth of the stream, a second trailhead with ample parking about 1/2 mile up Brown Mountain Road and a third trailhead about 1/2 mile further up Brown Mountain Road. The second and third trails join along the ridge and are both rigorous hikes over the ridge that end close below the falls.
Raider Camp Creek - enters Harper Creek above the falls on the south side. Past stream improvement projects by USDA Forest Service have attempted to remove sedimentation from past logging and retore these waters to a productive trout stream (contains some wild brown trout).
North Harper Creek (Wild) - Harper Creek divides over a mile upstream above the falls on the north side to form this remote, significant tributary. The stream is regulated as Wild with wild brown trout in the lower portion and with brook trout in the headwaters. Access is from the downstream Harper Creek hiking trail and from the upstream Harper Creek trail which trailheads off Kawana Road off Forest Service Trail 464. The lower Forest Service Trail 270 (end above the split) and the upper Forest Service Trail 229 (ends well below North Harper Creek Falls) are fairly short but very rigorous hikes over the ridge to the stream. Both trailheads are along Forest Service Trail 464. North Harper Creek Falls near the parking at the end of the dirt road is a majestic as Harper Creek Falls but with less water volume.
Two (2) <no name> Branches - enters North Harper Creek on the south side in the headwaters (contains some brook trout).
South Harper Creek - Harper Creek divides over a mile upstream above the falls on the south side to form this fairly remote, significant tributary. However, the stream is degraded due to hillside farming run-off from the Kawana community. The Tablerock Chapter Trout Unlimited secured a grant and worked closely with the farmers in Kawana to build a siltation catch basin (an empty pond-like structure) downstream of the farms where flood waters will spill over and be filtered. This have greatly reduced the sedimentation. However, the farming run-off is yet to be handled well enough to restore the stream to the quality of North Harper Creek. The stream is regulated as Wild with a mix of some brown trout and some rainbow trout with brook trout in the headwaters upstream of farmland in Kawana
Three (3) <no name> Branches - these small streams enter South Harper Creek below, within and above the private farmland in the Kawana community (contains some brook trout).
Estes Mill Creek - this small stream enters at the sharp bend in Wilson Creek DH on the east side just south of the intersection (Betsy's Store) of Brown Mountain Road and graveled highway NC 90 (contains some wild rainbow trout). There is a privately owned old water wheel and mill house upstream in the community of hillside cabins as the stream parallels graveled highway NC 90 east. Much of the stream is private property and posted against trespass with many overgrown portions that are unfishable.
Thorps Creek - this small stream enters Wilson Creek DH on the east side at the Mortimer Recreation Area Campground (contains some wild brown trout). In the late-1980s, the Dogwood Anglers Chapter Trout Unlimited, Rocky River Trout Unlimited and other chapters installed a number of in-stream structures through the campground to create deeper pools and better trout habitat. Most of these structures have failed over the years due to the soft streambank soil and annual flooding.
Lost Cove Creek (Wild) - enters Wilson Creek just above the end of the Wilson Creek DH section on the west side through private land in the community of Edgemont. This is a major tributary and a very remote, destination trout stream. The stream and headwaters is Catch-and-Release, Fly Only regulated with wild brown trout and rainbow trout well mixed and oc-existing in the lower portion and with brook trout in the headwaters. Some delayed harvest section stocked trout may migrate into Lost Cove Creek up to Hunt Fish Falls.
Rockhouse Creek - enters Lost Cove Creek along Roseborough Road on the north side in the community of Edgemont. The stream is regulated as Wild (contains wild rainbow trout)
Gragg Prong - enters Lost Cove Creek on the north side downstream from Hunt Fish Falls. The stream is regulated as Wild with a mix of some brown trout and some rainbow trout downstream of the community of Roseborough and with brook trout supstream of Roseborough.
Ling Branch - enters Gragg Prong on the east side in the headwaters (contains some brook trout).
Webb Creek - enters Gragg Prong through private land on the west side in the community of Roseborough. The stream is regulated as Wild with a mix of some brown trout and with brook trout in the headwaters.
<no name> Branch - enters Webb Creek on the west side in the headwaters (contains some brook trout).
Sassafras Creek - small, high gradient cascading, very remote and scenic, east side tributary of Lost Cove Creek (contains wild brook trout).
Laurel Creek - enters Wilson Creek on the east side through Edgemont club private property (contains wild brook trout). Access is by a rough, steep trail-less hike down the ridge from Edgemont Road on public game lands above the club property line.
Note: NCWRC regulations are as of 2012-13 and are subject to changes annually.
Rocky River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (c) 2014
Rocky River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (c) 2014