07/02/11
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.    Cream 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 12
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.

Oconaluftee River
We caught a brook trout in the Oconaluftee River one time but the reason we only
have caught one, is the fact we never fish the uppermost part of the Oconaluftee
River below its headwater feeder streams. I would guess there's probably a good
mixture of rainbows, possible a few brown trout and brook trout as far up as the
confluence of Kephart Prong and Beech Flats Prong. I assume that because I know
they are in the lower parts of the two of the above streams we have fished. There are
also brook trout in the lower part of the Oconaluftee River because the Cherokee
Nation stocks them downstream of the park.

I've been told there are some "larger than normal" brook trout in the Bradley Fork, a
large tributary of the Oconaluftee River, that most likely migrated upstream from
Cherokee but we have never caught one. We fish Bradley Frork quite often in the off
season when the campground is mostly empty. They could possible be there at other
times, so I certainly won't say the're not any brookies in the lower part of Bradley Fork.
Brook trout are far upstream at the upper end of Bradley Fork but we will get to that
later.

Both Kephart Prong and Beech Flats Prong are relatively small streams that contain
brook trout, rainbows and possible some brown trout near the confluence although we
haven't caught all three species in either of the two creeks. As mentioned above, the
upper section of the Oconaluftee River below the confluence of Kephart Prong and
Beech Flats Prong does contain all three. Again, we haven't caught all three during
any one trip there but we have caught all three species at different times. I feel sure it
it's possible to catch a grand slam there.

Rainbow trout make up the most of the trout in Kephart Prong, or at least all but the
uppermost part of the small stream. It can be accessed from the Kephart Prong
Trail that leads off Highway #441. We have only been on this stream a couple of
times. It was difficult to fish, or I should say difficult to get around on, but it did give up
a few brook trout and a few rainbows each time. I wouldn't rank it high in comparison
to many other streams of its size although it's worth the effort to fish if you want to
explore new territory. It has several very small tributaries. You may well do better
than we have done. Both our trips were in the Fall. I should also mention that  brook
trout only live up to about three years in the park. We haven't fished this stream in the
last four or five years, so it's possible there's been some changes from what we
observed from a very limited amount of experience on the stream.

Beech Flats Prong is also accessible from highway #441. There are probably three
miles of it you can get to from the road. It runs fairly close to the highway although it
is out of sight in most places. This stream has all three species of trout in its lowest
section. The brook trout are mostly in the headwaters but I would guess you could
catch a grand slam there if you made the effort to do so. We have only fished it a
few times.

Beech Flats Prong has a very small tributary called Kanati Branch. It can be
reached from Highway #441 from the Kanati Fork Trail for a very short ways, then
you would have to fish in the stream or crawl around under the bushes. The stream
runs under the road near the trailhead. We have yet to stop and fish this stream. It
appears to be very small. I'm fairly sure you could pound out a few brook trout if you
are willing to climb around under the bushes. It's said to have a population of brook
trout.

Collins Creek is another tributary of the upper part of the Oconaluftee River. It
crosses under highway #441 from the Collins Creek Picnic Area. This stream has all
three species of trout, but mostly brook trout. It's almost scary that brown trout exist
there. Although you can catch a few brook trout there, there's plenty of other areas in
the park nearby that are easier to fish with more brookies. Above the Picnic Area,
Collins Creek is very small and tightly enclosed. It is only easy to access in the Picnic
Area itself.

All of these streams are small and require Smoky Mountain brook trout fishing tactics.
That means you must use very "creative" cast in case you are wondering what that
means. Anyway you can get the fly to the spots it needs to be in without spooking
the trout is a good cast. Sidearm cast, flips, bow and arrow cast, sidearm roll cast
and anything you have to do to get the fly in the right spots is required. I still prefer a
long fly rod for this type fishing but many anglers disagree with me. The short rods
are more manageable but don't perform as well for me.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh