07/16/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
3.    Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Cream Cahills
5.    Sulphurs
6.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
7.    Little Green Stoneflies
8.    Slate Drakes
9. .  Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
10.  Inch Worms
11.  Grasshoppers
12.  Ants
13.  Beetles


Brook Trout Streams - Part 20
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.

Big Creek
Big Creek is one of the very best watersheds for brook trout in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park yet few anglers go there for that purpose. In fact, during the
few times (8 as a guess) Angie and I have fished Big Creek, we have not seen anyone
there fishing that wasn't a local. We have only met a few and we have stopped and
talked to them all. I might also add, they were usually some very interesting characters.

Big Creek could very well be the best brook trout destination in the park. Yes, Raven
Fork may have larger fish but it's very difficult to fish, especially on high water, and its
also tough to access. Yes, it's also a fact that there are many brook trout streams in
the park with as many brook trout as Big Creek that are much easier to access. On
the other hand, there's probably more water with brook trout, near good campgrounds
and fairly easy to access in Big Creek than any.
It may well be the park's Brook
Trout Sleeper.
I'm taking a risk because we have limited experience there but I'll toss
the thought out at least until someone proves differently.

The first brook trout that you may encounter are much lower than one would think.
Although they begin to show up in the Walnut Bottoms area about five miles upstream
from the Big Creek Campground, they exist far downstream from Walnut Bottom in
places. Although we have only caught a few below Walnut Bottoms, we have been told
by two of the regular local guys, one of which has fished the stream for over forty
years, that plenty of brook trout exist within three miles of the campground. That said,
I would still recommend that one purposefully seeking brook trout should probably
begin much further upstream. In fact, the tributaries would probably always hold a
higher percentage of brook trout than the main stem of Big Creek. Campsites
numbers 36 and 37 are both located within the general area you would need to fish
for brookies.

I should also add that in comparison to many streams in the park, Big Creek is a cold
stream. It gets its water from very high peaks. You can catch plenty of rainbows and
brook trout in the hottest part of the Summer.

Yellow Creek:
Yellow Creek is the farthest of the tributary streams from the Big Creek Trailhead that
you would want to consider fishing.  It's relatively small and doesn't have a trial that
follows it. I don't see any reason anyone would choose it unless they just wanted to
say they fished all of Big Creek's tributaries. You would most likely find plenty of
solitude anywhere you wanted to fish the Big Creek Watershed, so that wouldn't be a
good reason to choose it. Yellow Creek lies about nine miles upstream from the Big
Creek Campground. It can be accessed via the Yellow Creek Trail which leads off the
main Big Creek Trail.

Deer Creek:
Deer Creek is a very small tributary of Yellow Creek. It's located about a half mile
upstream of the Yellow Creek/Big Creek confluence. You would probably have to think
hard to come up with a good reason to fish it over other streams in the area.

Gunter Fork:
Gunter Fork is a beautiful brook trout stream. It does have a good trail (Gunter Fork
Trail) to access it from in a few places. Rainbows and brook trout can be found in the
lower section of the stream but brook trout will be the only species found in the
uppermost parts of the stream. It flows into Big Creek about six miles upstream of the
campground.

Swallow Fork:
Swallow Fork is the first major upstream tributary with brook trout. It's located near
campsite #36 about five miles upstream from the Big Creek Campground. Swallow
Fork Trail follows the stream but it's very difficult to access it water from most places
along the trail. It does cross the stream at a foot bridge not far upstream from its
confluence with Big Creek. You will need to fish within the confines of the stream in
most places.

John Mack Creek:
John Mack Creek is a small tributary of Swallow Fork I see little to no reason to
consider but it's there ready and waiting on you.

McGinty Creek:
McGinty Creek is a small tributary of Swallow Fork that has a population of brook
trout. It's very small without a trail. I recommend it for those guys who want to catch
some brook trout there only to try to con their copy cat friends into going there. You
could tell them something like "Man, McGinty Creek is the best brook trout stream in
the park. I slaughtered them there on a size 10 Classic McGinty Wet Fly. I didn't
measure them but some looked like they might go over 12 inches". On second
thought, I really wouldn't do that
unless maybe you just wanted to make headlines in a fly
shop's fishing report.



Copyright 2011 James Marsh