Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Cream Cahills
2. Cinnamon Caddis
3. Slate Drakes
4. Little Green Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
5. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
6. Inch Worms
Getting Started - Brook Trout Streams
I am constantly reminded by new anglers planning on fishing Great Smoky Mountains
National Park that just handing out advice for them to fish the high elevation brook trout
streams isn't enough information. They always come back with something like "can you tell
me some specific streams or places I should try". That's only to be expected, coming from
anglers new to the park.
For the next three or four weeks, my "Getting Started" articles will point out some of these
I doubt many of you know that LeConte Creek that flows along Cherokee Orchard Road
just outside the city limits of Gatlinburg has brook trout. In fact, I think it was the first
stream that the park biologist restored with native brook trout.
I first had second thoughts about mentioning it. It's easy to access and probably quite
fragile in the sense that it could easily be over-fished, so if you do fish it, please keep that
in mind. It can be accessed from Rainbow Falls Trail.
Road Prong (Tributary of West Prong of Little Pigeon River)
Road Prong is one of the best brook trout streams in the park that is fairly easily to
access. It can be accessed from the same popular trail that leads to the Chimney Tops.
When I say easy to access, I'm only referring to getting to the stream. I'm not referring to
fishing it once your there.
The Chimney Tops trail leads to the Road Prong Trail, which is about a mile from the
highway #441 Chimney Tops trailhead. There are points where the trails cross the creek
just about the entire length of Road Prong and that's where most anglers access the
stream. In most places the water is very difficult to reach from the trail. The trail is high
above the stream in many areas and about impossible to reach in most places except at
This is not exactly a very small stream. If the water is at a normal level or higher, it's tough
to wade and must be done within the stream. It requires a lot of boulder climbing. The
upper sections are generally steeper and even tougher to maneuver but there's plenty of
beautiful brook trout in the stream for those willing to go to a little extra effort. Most people
that fish this stream fish it from the first two or three points where the trails cross the
stream. Few venture farther than the first mile or two upstream of its beginning.
Why not just get to the best one in the park?
Of all the serious anglers that fish the Smokies that I have had the privilege to talk to,
there's one thing they all seem to agree on. They will all tell you they think the Raven Fork
is the best brook trout stream in the Smokies. Now don't get this wrong, they all have other
places they consider their personal choice to fish but it's not because they don't think the
Raven Fork has more, larger brook trout than any stream in the park. It's for other
reasons. I know that one reason the "plenty of big brook trout story" is true is the fact the
Raven Fork is the largest pure brook trout stream in Great Smoky Mountains National
Park. There's just more water and more food for the brook trout. It's also very well
protected and by that I mean it's difficult enough to get to keep most anglers away from it.
Even when the anglers that do fish it get there, they are limited to basically only one
general area and that's the one and only point a trail crosses the stream. Below that point
is considered one of the roughest, most difficult to access areas in the park. The stream
flows through a canyon or gorge.
I have talked to some local Cherokee residents that have lived near the stream where it
exits the park their entire life. They have all told me at one point or another, they have
ventured into the gorge and they all seem rather happy they did. They will quickly tell you
the reason why they're glad they "climbed" into the gorge is that they know not to ever go
back there again. Seriously, there are some ways to get there by crossing private property
but I'm told it's of little or no value because you cannot get down to the creek without a
huge effort and when you do get to the stream you cannot transverse it and maneuver
around well enough to fish it other than at the particular point you reach it. According to
the ones I have talked to, it's getting back out that the problem.
The reason I was so inquisitive about it was that I have tried to find an easier way to fish it
than via the Hyatt Ridge Trail. From what I can determine, it doesn't exist. To get there you
need to enter the park on the Straight Fork Creek gravel road. The entrance is just above
the confluence of Raven Fork and Straight Fork Creek. Do not stop and fish Straight Fork
Creek. That stretch of water is strictly reserved by the U. S. Government for Angie and I. I
wish. Travel up the road to the Hyatt Ridge Trailhead.
Now, here's the easy part. Walk 1.9 miles up the mountain to the Enloe Creek Trail. Then
walk down the mountain to the Raven Fork, a distance of about a mile. There you'll find a
bridge across the Raven Fork and campsite #47. You can venture though the campsite
and up an angler made trial for a short ways and fish but there's not a trail that follows the
Raven Fork. You have to fish up or downstream and of course, fishing downstream
usually spooks the fish. Fishing through and around the deep pools isn't easy. Climbing
over the huge boulders and though the thick undergrowth isn't easy either. If the water is
a little high, forget wading the stream. You probably won't be able to, at least not safely.
It's best fished under low water conditions. In other words, fishing the Raven Fork isn't
easy even when you're there. My guess is that 90% of the water in the stream isn't fished
during an entire season and that's a full calendar year in the Smokies.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
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