11/08/10
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 Slickrock Creek North Carolina
The name of this stream could possible tell you something. The low pH of the water
that's typical in this area of the southern Appalachian Mountains means there's little
algae in the water and that means the rocks in a stream are usually not as slick as
those in water with a high pH. This stream probably does have a higher than normal
pH although I don't know that for a fact. It's also supposed to have Green Drakes
and if this is true, then the pH of the water is certainly much higher than the average
stream in the area. We have not verified that. The name could mean that those
rocks out of the water, covered with moss or fallen leaves are slick, which would be
true for certain. It could also just be that someone that had something to do with
naming streams took a hard fall on Slickrock Creek at one time.

Angie and I have only fished this stream one time and then probably not in the best
area of it because it requires more effort to reach than we have been willing to
exert. We always take a commercial grade video camera along and that makes it  
tough on a long hike, especially when you reach my young, old age. Neither of us
slipped and fell in Slickrock Creek. We did catch a half dozen small brown trout but
none of them were over 12 inches.  We only fished a short time due to the time it
took to negotiate the steep decline of the trail. All of the trout above the lower falls
are supposed to be brown trout. The stream is probably too low in elevation to have
any brook trout in its headwaters. Below the falls, fish from Calderwood Lake can
enter the stream to spawn. There are probably both browns and rainbows below the
falls.

Slickrock Creek is a tributary of the Little Tennessee River. It flows into Calderwood
Lake not very far from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in western North
Carolina. It's known for its brown trout. It doesn't have any road access and
therefore, it has maintained all the things it takes to continue to be a good trout
stream over the years. It flows through the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Area.
Much of the stream forms the border between the states of Tennessee and North
Carolina but most all of the headwaters and upper part of the stream are in the
state of North Carolina. It's managed by agreement between both states, so a
license of either state works for Slickrock Creek. Most of the stream is in North
Carolina and that's why we call it a North Carolina stream.

The stream can be accessed from only a very few places, none of which is exactly
an easy route to take. The lower part of the stream can be reached from U. S.
Highway #129, the most dangerous road in the Eastern United States as far as I'm
concerned.  U. S. Highway 129 crosses Calderwood Lake just below Cheoah Dam.
From the trailhead at the bridge, the Slickrock Creek Trail (also called the Ike
Branch Tail because it intersects it) follows along the bank of the lake to the mouth
of Slickrock Creek. It's about a 2 mile hike. According to a friend of mine that
regularly fishes this stream , the Ike Branch Trial is the better trail to take to get to
the water in the lower section of Slickrock Creek..

The other place to access the creek is from Forest Service Trail # 41 which is
located at the end of Forest Service Road #82 (Slickrock Creek Road) which is off
highway #129 in Robinsville. You have to drive about 7 miles to Big Fat Gap over a
small, gravel road to get to the trailhead. It's about a 2 mile hike to the creek's
middle section using this route but don't let the millage fool you. This route seems
like two miles of vertical distance. It does put you in a good area of the stream.

I can see why many anglers claim they have poor results fishing this stream. Its
brown trout just don't respond to the typical way most local anglers fish the small
streams of the Southeast. The wild browns are a lot easier to spook than rainbows.
They avoid the sunlight. Nymphs are always far more productive than dry flies
fishing this type of water for brown trout. During low water conditions, it's especially
difficult to approach the browns in this relatively shallow stream. Here are just a few
difficulties you face. You can't use the high stickin method effectively in low water
and double and tandem rigs wouldn't work well. Staying hidden while you make
longer than normal, precisely placed presentations with a nymph, isn't easy. Unless
you are staying overnight, fishing during low light conditions early and late in the
day would be out. Strike indicators wouldn't work well. There are other problems with
fishing Slickrock Creek using the traditional, locally accepted fishing methods that's
beyond the scope of this article.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh