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 Abrams Creek - Mill Creek to Chilhowee Reservoir
This article covers the section of Abrams Creek from the confluence of Mill Creek
near the Abrams Falls Trailhead Foot Bridge downstream to its exit into Chilhowee
The upper section of Abrams Creek is accessed from the Abrams Falls Trailhead in
Cades Cove and the lower end is best accessed from the Abrams creek
Campground at the South end of Smoky Mountains National Park. Just remember
the traffic situation in Cades Cove and allow for it during tourist season. It takes a
long time to get there through the Cove at times. If you use the South entrance at
the Abrams Creek Campground remember you will need to travel upstream a ways
before you will encounter trout. There are usually far more smallmouth bass in the
section near the campground than there are trout.
The upper end of Abams Creek from the trallhead bridge at the parking lot in Cades
Cove has a relatively high pH. There are plenty of aquatic insects and several
species that are different than those in the pure freestone streams of the park due
to the high pH. Mill Creek enters Abrams just below the bridge and add water with a
lower pH. The water below that point still has a pH level far above the normal
streams of the Smokies but the farther you travel downstream, the lower the pH
becomes. The higher than normal pH not only produces more aquatic insects, it
increase the size of the rainbow trout. They have more food to eat. For that reason
you will find Abrams has some larger than normal rainbow trout for the Smokies.
Although we have not caught but one over 12 inches (Angie in the Spring Creek
section), I have been told by reputable anglers that they exist up to 16 inches
although few are caught. You will find the average size of them larger and they
seem to always be stocky and healthy.
The upper end of Abrams Creek has the Abrams Falls trailhead that borders it but
you should be aware of the creeks relationship to the trail. The horseshoe, as it is
known, is a circular curve in the streams course that's a mile long. The stream
leaves the trail at one end of the horseshoe and returns to the trail at the other end.
Fishing it takes a full day for most anglers. Another similar curve in the creek just
above the Abrams Falls is about three-fourths of a mile and takes at least a
half-day to fish and negotiate the stream. Make sure you allow plenty of time to fish
these two areas. You cannot easily climb out of the stream and get back to the trail.
It would be difficult to next to impossible in places.
The main tributary to Abrams Creek is Rabbit Creek. Rabbit Creek enters Abrams
Creek about three and one-half miles upstream of the Abrams Creek Campground.
You can also access Rabbit Creek from the Rabbit Creek Trail but you must hike
about five miles from the Abrams Falls trailhead entrance at Cades Cove. This
makes it more practical to camp at the remote campsite on Rabbit Creek. You can
also access Rabbit Creek from the Parson's Branch Road but the stream is tiny at
that point. The only other significant tributary is Panther Creek. It flows into Abrams
Creek upstream of the Abrams Creek Campground but it's easier to access the
upper portion of the stream from the Parson Branch Road. This small stream
normally has a very good population of rainbows.
All in all, Abrams Creek is one of the park's better trout streams. However, it doesn't
contain brown trout. It doesn't have brook trout, or what we call the "Symbol of the
Smokies Trout". It requires a long drive to a remote area at its most Southern
access at the Campground or a drive through busy Cades Cove. It's easy to find
yourself fishing behind someone else. It is slippery in some areas. You can get
caught in a very bad situation in the Horseshoe Loops if your not careful. But, but,
but, there are larger rainbows in Abrams Creek than there are the other streams in
the park. Some rate it very high and others don't enjoy fishing it.