06/25/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Green Sedges (Caddis)
3.    Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
5.    LIght Cahills
6.    Sulphurs
7.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
8.    Little Green Stoneflies
9.    Golden Stoneflies
10.  Slate Drakes
11.  Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
12.  Inch Worms
13.  Grasshoppers
14.  Ants
15.  Beetles

Brook Trout Streams - Part 5
It's the time of year when the high elevation streams really become important, so for the next few
days I will be pointing out some high elevation brook trout streams (and some not so high),
many of which you may be familiar with and some you may not be familiar with.

Straight Fork Creek Brook Trout
Straight Fork Creek isn't known for its brook trout population but it has plenty of
them in its uppermost part. It's relatively easy to access, at least at the point the
brookies first start showing up in any substantial quantities. There are a few
brookies along the upper part of the gravel road that follows Straight Fork Creek
but the closer you get to the end of the two-way section of the road at the one and
only bridge, the better your chances of hooking one. Upstream of the bridge your
probably more apt to catch brookies than browns or rainbow trout.

If you enter the park at the Cherokee fish hatchery you cannot proceed beyond the
bridge. It changes to a one-way road that you must enter from the one-wat Balsam
Mountain Road which begins a few miles away. The bridge is the furtherest point
you have road access to the stream except at the very end of the one-way road
coming in the opposite direction from Balsam Mountain. You can walk up the
one-way road and venture through the woods to get farther upstream on Straight
Fork, or you can just fish upstream staying mostly within the stream. The creek
does get larger a short distance above the bridge and the farther you go the more
brook trout you are likely to encounter. This is a rarely fished section of stream, or
at least we have never seen anyone fishing it.

Ledge Creek is a small tributary stream that enters the Straight Fork just below the
bridge but for the most part, its only accessible from the one-way road coming in
the opposite direction. You can enter it by water from Straight Fork and wade
upstream but it's easier to just walk up the road a ways to encounter it. You would
be better off fishing up the main branch of Straight Fork than you would Ledge
Creek but not if someone was fishing just ahead of you on Straight Fork, so it's an
option if you insist on catching brook trout in that area.

If your really serious about brookies you can make a rough up and down, longer
hike to the Raven Fork which is accessible off Straight Fork Road. In that case
you'll be fishing the best brook trout water in the park in our opinion, but we will get
to that later. The Straight Fork enters the Raven Fork just outside of the park but
the Raven Fork isn't accessible upstream of the point it enters the park without
crossing private property and without going to a huge amount of trouble fishing
through a deep canyon-like ravine section of very rugged country just inside the
park.

Straight Fork has some small tributaries that enter the stream but mostly outside
the park. They do extend up into the park and provide brook trout opportunities.
These are Flat Creek and Bunches Creek and I will cover those tomorrow.

In summary, we have caught browns and rainbows above the bridge but it will
eventually change to mostly brook trout. There isn't a trial that follows Straight Fork
above the bridge, so keep in mind it's fishing upstream in the water mostly. It isn't
easy to fish upper Straight Fork but if your in the Cherokee area, it's a good way to
escape other anglers and catch some brookies without making a long hike.

2011 James Marsh