Headwaters
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Introduction:
The headwaters of the streams in the Smoky Mountains National Park are the most
important part of the streams and their watersheds. This is where it all starts.
Without headwaters there would be no streams. They also are home to our most
important fish species, the
native brook trout. We call the brook trout the symbol of
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Very little has been written about the headwaters. Most of the small streams have
been named and their names have been published in various places but that is
about it. Some of these headwater streams have trails and some of them don't.
Although the trails maintained by the Park are shown on National Park and other
maps, little has been written about them.
Most anglers that fish the park have not fished the great majority of these
headwater streams. We all tend to fish the easily accessed areas and when we do
want to get away from the crowds, we usually get off the trail a mile or two at the
most.
It has long been my good intension to write about these headwater streams and
their accessibility, but so far, it has resulted in very little accomplished. Much of our
time is devoted in other parts of the United States. Although Angie can handle the
steep trails, it challenges my physical ability (to say the very least) to make many of
the long hikes required to reach some of the remote headwaters.

Introducing Craig Lancaster:
A few anglers consider hiking into the backcountry one of the most desirable
activities of fly fishing the park. Craig Lancaster is one of those guys who can and
does make the long and often steep hikes on a regular basis. He is a young man,
twenty-four years of age, from North Carolina who has been trout fishing for half of
his life. Craig has a new fly fishing blog:
http://highcountryflyfisher.blogspot.com  I
would like to encourage you to visit his site and help him promote fly fishing in the
mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Craig's first attempt to document some of the remote headwaters for this site was
threatened by thunderstorms which, unfortunately for the watersheds,  never
occurred. His change of plans resulted in his visiting an area of the park that
although not exactly remote, is as a matter of fact, an area that only a small
percentage of anglers have visited  - Thunderhead Prong.

New Headwater Articles by Craig Lancaster:
06/26/08 Middle Prong of the Little River: Thunderhead Prong
07/15/08 Oconaluftee River - Chasm Prong of the Bradley Fork Tributary
09/07/08 Raven Fork
09/10/08 Enloe Creek
05/15/09 Noland Creek
Thumbnails: Click to Enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to Enlarge
Native Brook Trout
Craig Lancaster
Images by Craig Lancaster