07/08/11
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 13
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.

Noland Creek
The Noland Creek watershed lies on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park where it's fairly easy to access in its lowermost section near
its confluence with Fontana Lake not far from Bryson City. The nice drive from Bryson
City is along a beautiful stretch of highway that goes around the remote side of the
Tuckaseegee arm of Fontana Lake right along its bank. Noland Creek is right near
the end of the famous "road to nowhere",one of many examples of just how well our
federal government can waste our money. I guess it's now best described as the
finest trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Access to Noland Creek is via the Noland Creek Trailhead located at the Noland
Creek Bridge near the end of the road. The trail drops steeply down to the creek near
the lake but the trout in this area are all browns and rainbows. The brook trout found
in this watershed are miles upstream from this one and only road access.

Mill Creek is the first small tributary stream of Noland Creek that is reputed to have a
population of brook trout. It's confluence with Noland Creek is about 4 miles upstream
of the trailhead. Trout in the lower section of the stream are rainbows but brook trout
are suppose to exist in its upper reaches.

Springhouse Branch is a small tributary of Mill Creek. Access can be gained at some
points to Mill Creek and Springhouse Branch via the Springhouse Branch Trail.
Campsite # 64 is located near this confluence.

Noland Creek brook trout fishing is best described by this article written by Craig
Landcaster and posted on this site back in 2009.

Upper Noland Creek:
5/15/09

Written by: Craig Lancaster

Noland Creek is perhaps one of the most overlooked major destination
streams in the park, not to mention the upper portions that are hard to
reach. Far overshadowed by more popular nearby streams Deep and
Hazel Creeks, Noland offers fine fishing in its own right. Although few
people seem to fish Noland, even fewer fish the upper portions, which will
be classified as above campsite 62.

Access to this portion of Noland is such that at least an overnight trip is
necessary and can realistically come from two different directions: the
Road to Nowhere or Clingmans Dome Road. If you are walking up from
the Road to Nowhere you will hike a relatively easy 9 miles up Noland
Creek Trail before you reach campsite 62 and about 10 miles before you
reach campsite 61, both excellent sites to set up a base camp (if you are
staying at campsite 61, reservations are necessary due to the small size of
the site). If you decide to come in from Clingmans Dome Road you are
facing a much shorter hike of about 4.5 miles to get to campsite 61 and
about 5.5 until campsite 62. This hike down Noland Ridge Trail and a
quick trip over to Noland Creek Trail can be done fairly quickly on the way
down as it is downhill most of the way and offers some spectacular
scenery hiking through the evergreen forests in the high elevations. If you
choose to come back out this way, however, be prepared for one of the
tougher hikes in the park as you will have to combat an increase in
elevation of almost 3,000’ to get back to your car.

The stream is of a fairly good size even at the uppermost reaches.
Upstream from campsite 61 there is no trail access and the stream does
become smaller and is often a challenge for even the most experienced
small stream angler. Below the campsite, however, there is generally
ample room to cast although there are times when the rhododendrons
choke the stream bed just enough to warrant a bow and arrow cast. The
stream gradient is typical for this altitude in the Smokies, offering a
generous mix of runs, plunge pools, and flats. Above the campsite the
gradient ramps up noticeably with swift water plunging down large rocks
and boulders becoming the norm.

Rainbow trout generally dominate the whole length of the Noland Creek
watershed, which offers some insight as to why it is not as popular as
other nearby streams. Around campsite 61 you will begin to run across a
few brook trout and, as expected, those numbers increase the farther you
get upstream before becoming almost entirely brook trout about a mile
above the campsite, but remember, there is no trail so all your tracks will
have to be retraced to return to camp. The average size fish is typical for a
Smoky Mountain stream, although rest assured that some of the deeper
runs and pools are home to larger fish.

Noland Creek is definitely worth any adventurous angler’s time although
it is often overlooked by most. Anyone willing to put the effort into fishing
this stream will find another beautiful spot in the Smokies where great
backcountry fishing, beautiful scenery, and solitude meet.

Craig Lancaster



































































Copyright 2011 James Marsh