11/03/10
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
3.    Slate Drakes
4.    Needle Stoneflies
5.    Little Yellow Quills
6.    Ants
7.    Inchworms
8.    Beetles
9.    Grasshoppers
10.  Craneflies
11.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Fly Fishing Fires Creek North Carolina
Not many anglers have ever heard of Fires Creek. It's in an area of the state of
North Carolina not far from the Georgia state line that's out of the way to anywhere.
It's located about 16 miles east of Murphy North Carolina off highway #64..
Tennessee anglers are very familiar with the Hiwassee River but the Hiwassee
tailwater is several miles to the west of Fires Creek, which is one of its tributaries. It
has ten miles of wild trout waters located on Nantahala Game Land that, thanks to
the lack of stocked trout, are not fished very often. Its lower section is stocked.

I wouldn't call Fires Creek a destination blue ribbon trout stream but only because of
all the other nearby streams in Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina and
North Georgia. It's almost a hidden jewel for those who enjoy fooling wild trout. This
isn't exactly a small creek. It's more like a medium to large size trout stream in Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a wild, rough, pocket water stream with short
riffles, runs and deep plunge pools. The population consist mostly of rainbows but
there are some brown trout. Its headwaters flow from Tusquitee Bald area of the
Tusquitee Mountains. It flows into the Hiwassee River near Hayesville. It has two
very small tributaries - Little Fires Creek and Long Branch that also contain wild
rainbow and brown trout. Backcountry camping is allowed along the stream at a few
points.

The entire length of Fires Creek can be accessed from Forest Service Road # 340.
Just under two miles upstream from the National Forest land is Fires Creek Picnic
Area. There's a small waterfall that enters Fire Creek in the Picnic area. Most of the
people that use this area are not there for fishing and the ones that are mostly fish
the stocked waters downstream. Just above the picnic area, the stream enters a
deep gorge for about three miles and the road runs far above it. It can be accessed
along this section of road but it's very difficult. It's best to fish upstream from below
the point the road departs the stream at the picnic area The road get back close to
the creek above the gorge and provides good access from that point for a long
ways to where FS 340 intercepts FS 340C. Above that point the creek enters
another gorge but it's still accessible from the 340 road although it is well below the
road and tough to get to. It's best to fish upstream from that point.

The first surprise you may get when you reach this creek is the fact it isn't as small
as you may expect it to be. I'm not saying it's a big stream. I'm just implying there's
plenty of room to cast. It's doubtful you will see anyone else fishing unless it's purely
coincidental or during the prime Spring season. Fishing upstream can be tough in
the gorge sections but there are trails following along the streambed. Where you
cannot easily wade you can exit the creek and walk upstream to another access.

Fishing Fires Creek is very similar to fishing the streams of the Great Smoky
Mountains. You do have to use caution about letting the trout see your movements.
Staying hidden from the trout by staying low and moving slowly are keys. Short,
upstream cast work best. Just like in the Smokies or any fast, pocket water stream,
most of the time you'll find the trout are relatively easy to fool in the fast water.

We haven't taken samples of the insects from this stream but it appears to be very
typical of most of the streams in the GSMNP. The water appears to have little, if any,
algae and I would guess the pH is similar to the streams in the park. Because it's
mostly fast, pocket water, its mayflies are probably mostly clingers. According to our
notes, we did look at the bottom of some rocks which had some free-living caddis
(rock worms), saddle-cased caddis, chimney cased caddis, March Brown nymphs,
and Little Yellow Stoneflies. I'm fairly sure that some swimming nymphs like Slate
Drakes and BWOs are present but they are very difficult to find by picking up rocks
from the stream. I'm not sure just which crawler mayflies exist in Fires Creek but I'm
sure there would be some species of them. I would also bet most all of the stonefly
families are present.

All things considered, Fires Creek is a very good stream with little pressure from
anglers. You shouldn't expect to set any records for large rainbows but I would bet
the stream has some large brown trout, although we didn't catch or see any the one
and only time we fished the stream. We did catch a small brown and several
rainbows up to about eight inches in length. We only fished about three hours,
moving around to mostly just see the stream. Writing this makes me want to return -
so many steams, so little time.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh