Moderate Flows are more common
in Cataloochee Creek than many
others in the park. This makes the
stream slightly more difficult to fish.
Cataloochee Creek Watershed:
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Description:
Cataloochee Creek is a very good Great Smoky Mountains National Park trout
stream. It lies in one of the most beautiful sections of the park. It's located in the
Cataloochee Valley in the very remote northern portion of the park. This valley
cannot be mentioned without mentioning elk. The park has reestablish elk in this
portion of the park because it is in a very remote area. Many may not be aware of
the fact that at one time elk were plentiful in the Great Smoky Mountains. They
were hunted out in the mid eighteen hundreds.

Cataloochee Creek is as beautiful as a trout stream can get. It has long riffles,
some large pools and pocket water. It also has the classic  pool, riffle, and run
trout stream configuration. In places it reminds me of the Beaverkill.

S
tream Size:
We would classify the size of this stream as "large" when compared to other
streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it's still a small stream as
compared to other trout streams nationwide. The stream flows for about eight
miles inside the park's boundaries. It eventually empties into Walters Lake on the
Pigeon River just outside the park.

Accessibility:
Accessibility of Cataloochee Creek is very good once you get there. Getting there
takes a while. It's located miles from Maggie Valley which is the closest area of
any appreciable population. Cove Creek Road accesses the valley. It can be
accessed from Interstate 40 at Exit 20. It's about ten miles along Cove Creek
Road to the Cataloochee Valley. There's another way to get there, but it's not worth
it unless you want to visit other areas along the 25 mile plus dirt road route.  

Once you are there, you will find access to the lower portion of the stream easy.
Much of it is followed closely by a road. The portion of the stream is a short
distance from the road but still very easy to access. Not far above the
campground, the stream splits into its main tributaries, Palmer and Caldwell Fork.

Species:
Both brown and rainbow trout make up the population of Cataloochee Creek.

Average Fish Size:
The trout average about as large as they do anywhere in the park with only a few
exceptions. It's a very good place to catch a large brown trout.

Popularity:
The stream gets a little pressure in the early summer and early fall seasons,
however, It's more from the campers than anglers. Most any other time you will
have access to all the water you want out of sight of other anglers.

Difficulty:
The stream is a pleasure to fish. In many places it fishes like a picture perfect
Western trout stream. It's fairly easy to cast in most places and fairly easy to get
around in the stream.  

Tributary Streams:
Cataloochee Creek has several tributary streams that contain trout.

Palmer Creek:
Palmer Creek is a major tributary stream to Cataloochee Creek. Rainbow trout
are common in Palmer Creek but both browns, rainbows and some brook trout
exist in the lower portion of the stream. Brook trout begin to be a common catch
above the Pretty Hollow Creek confluence.

Pretty Hollow Creek:
Pretty Hollow Creek is a tributary stream of Palmer Creek. Pretty Hollow Gap Trail
provides access to this stream. Campground #39 is a good place to camp if you
are interested in fishing this small stream.

Lost Bottoms Creek:
Lost Bottoms Creek is a tributary stream of Palmer Creek. It flows into Palmer
about two miles above its confluence with Cataloochee Creek. It contains some
rainbow trout in its lower portion but most of the stream has a very good
population of brook trout. Campground #39 is a good place to camp if you are
interested in fishing Lost Bottoms Creek for brook trout.

Caldwell Fork:
Caldwell Fork is a small tributary stream of Cataloochee Creek. It flows into
Cataloochee Creek near the campground. The lower part of the stream contains
mostly rainbow trout and a few brown trout. Its uppermost parts contains brook
trout. The stream can be accessed from Caldwell Fork Trail that follows the
stream. Those that want to camp in the backcounty should stay at campsite #41if
they wanted to fish the upper portions of the stream. Den Branch, McKee Branch,
and Double Gap Branch are all very small tributaries of Caldwell Fork.

Rough Fork:
Rough Fork is the other major tributary stream to Cataloochee Creek. Part of this
stream runs through beautiful meadows and part of it through hardwood forest.
The stream can be accessed from the Rough Fork Trail. Campsite #40 is located
in its upper portion. Most of the trout are rainbows.

Little Cataloochee Creek:
Little Cataloochee Creek is a tributary stream to Cataloochee Creek. This
medium to small size stream has both brown and rainbow trout. Its uppermost
portions has a population of brook trout. The stream has several tributary streams
that form its main portion. Coggins Branch, Conrad Branch, and Andy Branch join
the Little Cataloochee Creek. These streams have mostly small rainbow trout.
Correll Branch and Woody Branch, both tributary streams, have brook trout.

Comments:
This is one of, if not the best trout streams in the park in all respects. It takes a
short drive to get there, even from Maggie Valley, North Carolina, but it's well worth
it. It's a great place to camp and fish. Not far above the campground it's possible
to catch a grand slam in the same area of the stream. Brook, brown and rainbow
trout are present.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh
Mother Bear and her Cub
Nice Rainbow Trout
Slow to Moderate Water
Palmer Creek
Palmer Creek is one of the major
tributaries of Cataloochee  Creek.
Bears are fairly common in the  
Cataloochee Valley as well as
many other types of wildlife
including elk .
This is a fairly large rainbow trout  
that are somewhat common in
Cataloochee Creek. It's also a great
brown trout stream. It flows through  
one of the most secluded valleys in
the park that's accessible by
automobile.
High Water actually makes
catching fish in this stream easier.
Notice the clear water below.
Cataloochee Creek is a relatively
large stream as you can see. .
Palmer Creek is a very beautiful brown,
brook and rainbow trout stream in its lower
section. This is one place you have a
chance to catch a grand slam.
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consist of smooth flowing water.
That makes presentation more
important than it is fishing rough
pocket water. It also means you
need better imitations of the
naturals. The stream and
tributaries do have their fair share
of pocket water.