Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies
4. Slate Drakes
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Little Yellow Quills
13. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Fly Fishing the Oconaluftee River - Lower Section and Bradley Fork
We are calling the lower section of the Oconaluftee River the section from the
confluence of Bradley Fork down to the park's boundary near Cherokee. This
section and mainly its tributaries are excellent stretches of water to fish. The section
of the Oconaluftee River from the Bradley Fork confluence to the park boundary is
only about two and a half miles. This stretch lies mostly along meadows lined with
trees. The majority of the water in this article is in Bradley Fork and its tributaries.
Bradley Fork is one of the best streams in the park. It has plenty of rainbows and
some very nice brown trout. I hooked the largest brown trout I've ever hooked on a
dry fly in the Smokies on the Bradley one Fall day inside the Smokemont
Campground when only a few campers were present. I say hooked because I ended
up losing the large brown which I estimated to be over twenty inches. I got several
very good looks at the fish which took me completely off guard taking the dry fly. We
have caught several nice size browns inside the campground area as well as a
good ways on up the stream.
The Bradley Fork Trail takes you upstream from the campground. There are
several miles of good trout fishing water on the Bradley Fork. It's almost as large of
a stream as the Oconaluftee River at its confluence. It has a very good population
of both brown and rainbow trout as well as brook trout in its headwaters. There are
several tributary streams.
Chasteen Creek is the first tributary upstream of the campground. It's a relatively
large stream itself. The trout are mostly rainbows although some browns can be
found in its lower section. Chasteen Creek is only about a mile upstream of the
Above Chasteen Creek's confluence with the Bradley Fork is Taywa Creek. It's a
small tributary with rainbow trout in the lower section of the creek and brook trout
farther upstream. This stream is followed closely by Chasteen Creek Trail and is
fairly easy to access.
The Bradley Fork is formed by Chasm Prong and Gulf Prong, two small headwater
streams. Chasm Prong is difficult to fish because it cannot be accessed from a trail.
You have to fish it upstream wading in the creek. This is an article we posted in
2008 about brook trout fishing in Chasm Prong written by Craig Landcaster. Gulf
Prong is a small stream that doesn't have a trail. Both these little streams have a
good population of brook trout.
Below the Bradley Fork confluence, the Oconaluftee River provides good fishing for
browns and rainbows all the way to its exit from the park. This section is much larger
because it also contains the water from Bradley Fork. The stream is wider, easy to
fish in places, and difficult to get around in others. It has some very large brown
The entire Oconaluftee River inside the park including its larger tributary, the
Bradley Fork, are great locations to fish anytime of the year. When the campground
is busy, Bradley Fork can become a little crowded with anglers and hikers, but the
main river is rarely if ever crowded. It's one of the best trout streams in the park.
As an after thought, I should have done a separate section on Bradley Fork itself.
It's a great little small stream with lots of trout and some large browns. Oh, well, I will
get around to it one day.