09/27/10
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
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Craneflies
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Fly Fishing Noland Creek
Noland Creek is the only major stream on the park side of Fontana Lake that you
can reach from a road. It flows into the Tuckaseegee arm of Fontana Lake. You can
get to Noland Creek from Bryson City, North Carolina, via the North Shore Road,
usually called "The Road To No Where". The road ends just past the Noland Creek
Bridge. You can access the stream from the Noland Creek Trailhead at that point.
This trail provides access for most of the length of Noland Creek. The stream is
approximately twelve or thirteen miles long depending on where you want to say it
starts.

This stream is fished very little, or at least we haven't been there when anyone else
was fishing it. I'm certain that there are plenty of anglers that do fish the creek but I
doubt it is ever crowded. Once you get to the stream via the "Road To No Where",
that's as far on Noland Creek as you can go in your vehicle. You'll be on your feet
from there on, starting with a steep decline down from the road to the stream and
from there as far up the creek as you desire to walk. You can also go downstream a
short ways.

Noland is a beautiful little stream. I would call it a medium size stream for Great
Smoky Mountains National Park but it would be a small stream any where else in the
nation. The creek seems to stay the same size for a long way, or at least as far up
as we have fished it which is about four miles. It flows through the Noland Creek
Valley. There are a total of six campsites along Noland Creek. One, campsite #66,
is below the road near the lake and the others are upstream of there. It's about two
miles upstream to the first campsite #65.

You can also access Noland Creek from Clingman's Dome but it's a steep decline
down to the water. We have not fished the headwaters but we have previously
posted an article written by Craig Lancaster who has fished the headwaters.
Click
Here to see Craig's article about the headwater's brook trout fishing.

Rainbow trout are present in the stream for most of its length. I'm told Noland has
some brown trout in its lower end but we have yet to catch one out of about six trips
over the last several years. We have only taken rainbows. I don't understand why it
doesn't have lots of brown trout if there are any there at all. The stream seems to
be well suited for browns. There must be plenty of rainbows because we have
always been able to catch a lot of them. The creek isn't a steep declining stream
until you get to its headwaters. It's a gently or moderately flowing stream most
places with only a few plunge pools. There are lots of long riffles and runs.

There really aren't any sizeable tributary streams that amount to much. Laurel
Branch comes into Noland just above the lake. We have not fished this little
tributary. Bearpen Branch flows into Noland about two miles upstream from the
Noland Creek Trailhead. It's small but does contain plenty of rainbows. It's located
above campsite #65. We have only fished upstream in Bearpen Branch a short
ways. Indian Creek is another very small tributary upstream from Bearpen Branch.
We haven't fished it.

Mill Creek, not to be confused with the Mill Creek we recently wrote about in Cades
Cove, is the only other sizeable tributary and it's relatively small. It's near campsite
#64. Springhouse Branch Trail accesses the stream for the first couple of miles.
Springhouse Branch is a tributary of Mill Creek but it's also very small. We haven't
fished it but we have fished Mill Creek for a short ways.

There are several very small streams in the headwaters - Bald Branch, Solola
Branch, and Clingman's Creek are the largest. There are some others and most of
them probably contain brook trout.

Noland isn't a prime destination stream but it's certainly worth fishing, especially if
you are like us and want to learn more about the different areas of the park. If you
have an opportunity you should give it a try.
          
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