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 Deep Creek
There's just something about Deep Creek that almost turns me off when I first arrive
there to fish but that feeling only last up until I start fishing. That always changes my
feelings very quickly. I never cease to be amazed at the number of fish that can be
caught smack in the middle of the congestion in the campground located just inside
the park. I'm not saying the fishing isn't better and easier upstream because it is. It's
just that from its first appearance, especially when there are lots of people there
(which is usually the case) you wouldn't think you could possible catch a trout. It
usually turns out right the opposite of that. You'll find there's not only a good
opportunity to catch plenty of trout, you also have an opportunity to catch some
very nice ones.
Angie caught a rainbow just over 12 inches not over two hundred yards up the main
trail. It was one of a couple of dozen caught in the same area that particular day.
On another occasion, I caught a 16 inch brown trout just inside the park in the
campground area when it was full. That happened during the middle of the day,
which was quite surprising. That part of the stream can have more tubers and kids
playing in the water than trout at times. We have caught some rather large numbers
of trout not very far upstream on Deep Creek including the most brown trout we
have ever caught on a dry fly in the park. It's now sounding like I am bragging and I
don't mean for you to take it that way. I'm only trying to point out that Deep Creek
can be deceptive. It's one of the better trout streams in the Smokies.
However, after having written the above, I can still say that you will most likely be far
better off it you will spend an hour or two hiking up the Deep Creek Trail. It starts at
the end of the road at the parking lot above the Big Creek Campground. We have
fished this stream during the cold winter when no one else was fishing and caught
several trout. We fished it once during the hot summer, when the water was at an all
time low, and still managed to catch trout. In some ways the lower sections reminds
me of a Catskill stream. The trout can be very selective and difficult to fool in the
smoother sections of water but that's one reason we like the stream. It's lower
millage demands more skill than most other streams in the park.
You would have to classify Deep Creek as a large stream in comparison to other
streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has some long runs and riffles
and some rather large pools. It's lower section is located at Bryson City in North
Carolina where it exits the park and enters the Tuckaseegee River.
The Deep Creek Trail follows the stream fairly closely but it's a good distance away
from it in places and high above the stream in some places. There are eight
campsites along the stream. You want normally escape the large numbers of
non-anglers until you have hiked a few miles upstream and that isn't assured.
This creek has rainbows, browns and brook trout in its headwaters but it's mostly
known for its brown trout. They seem to be very plentiful in comparison to most
other streams with browns in the park.
There are several tributary streams. Indian Creek is a small stream that enters
Deep Creek about a mile upstream of the campground. The Indian Creek Trail
provides access for about four miles. The trout are mostly rainbows in this stream..
The next major tributary headed upstream is Pole Road Creek. It's about seven
miles above the campground. The Pole Road Trail (I want to type Pole Cat road)
follows the stream. It too has mostly rainbows. There are four campsites near its
confluence - sites #54, 55, 56 and 57, all of which are located fairly close together.
The Left Fork of Deep Creek is considered the main part of the stream when it
splits about mid way upstream. I guess it's because it is larger than the Right Fork.
It has mostly brown and rainbow trout in its lower section and brook trout in its
upper section, or so I am told. We haven't fished the headwaters of Deep Creek. It's
something I plan to do in the near future simply because I haven't done so. The Left
Fork has a small tributary called Bearpen Branch and a few very small tributaries in
The Right Fork has some small tributaries in its mid range elevations - Nettle Creek,
Beetree Creek, and Cherry Creek. It also has some sizeable brook trout streams in
its headwaters. Rocky Fork and Sahlee Fork are two that can be reached from
highway #441. The Big Creek Trail runs all the way from the campground near
Bryson City to highway #441.
We have found that matching what's hatching or getting near its hatch time, is by
far the best approach to use on this stream. It's actually the best strategy to use
anywhere you are fishing for wild trout but it's especially true for Deep Creek. We
try to determine what the most plentiful food available is at the time and fish
imitations of it. It must work well because on several occasions we have been able
to catch plenty of trout when other anglers were complaining about the slow fishing
on Deep Creek.
When the fishing is easy, attractor and generic flies work okay in the fast water, but
when it isn't so easy, they will usually fail you. That's when most anglers select an
excuse from their long list of them. Even when conditions are excellent and the
fishing is fairly easy, you will find specific imitations of the most plentiful food will
always outperform the generic flies.
One thing we have learned about fly fishing the Smokies is that the traditional and
commonly accepted methods and strategies of fishing, and the flies most often
used, are as old and outdated as its logging and moonshine days. When a car
show is being held near the Smokies, you will always see a few antiques crossing
over the mountain at Newfound Pass. They still work well at times and so do the old
flies. Day in and day out, I just wouldn't want to depend on them to catch trout any
more than I would want to depend on the old vehicles for transportation.