Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/22/15
Great summertime conditions, so what is your excuse?
How about some more brook trout streams:
Most people that refer to Bunches Creek are referring to the section outside the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee North Carolina. It runs into Raven
Fork in Cherokee. There's places it can be fished outside the park and even places it
is stocked but the best brook trout fishing is inside the park.
You can access Bunches Creek from the Heintoogo Ridge Road which starts at the
Blue Ridge Parkway about eleven miles from its beginning. After traveling about four
miles, you will enter GSMNP.
About half way to Balsam Mountain Campground, approximately two and a half miles
from the entrance to the park, you will pass the first access (trailhead) to the Flat
Head Trail. A short hike down the trail will take you to Bunches Creek. This is the only
point you can reach the creek inside the park via an official trail. You can fish up or
down the stream from where the trial crosses the stream.
Flat Creek is a small tributary of Bunches Creek. It too can be accessed from the Flat
Head Trail but it's best to use the trailhead at the end of the paved section at the
Picnic Area just past the Balsam Mountain Campground. This is near the beginning
of the one-way, Round Bottoms Road that takes you to the Straight Fork.
By the way, the Balsam Mountain Campground is the highest elevation campground
in the park. Flat Creek also starts at a very high elevation and that, along with it's
slightly difficult access and remote location is one reason for it and Bunches Creek's
good brook trout population.
Most people that use this trail, use it to access Flat Creek Falls. It's about a half mile
to Flat Creek. The stream can be fished all the way to Bunches Creek but mostly
from within the stream. It's small and tight. The trial does follow the creek but access
isn't always easy. Although it's at a high elevation, the stream isn't on a extremely
steep decline. From a climbing standpoint, It's easier to fish than most other high
Enloe Creek is another great Smoky Mountains brook trout stream. It's a tributary of
the best brook trout stream in the park - the Raven Fork. Enloe Creek isn't easy to
fish or better said, it isn't easy to wade. It's basically large pools connected by
plunges. It takes a lot of climbing to fish it.
The stream can be accessed two different ways - from Smokemont Campground on
the Bradley Fork, or the Hyatt Ridge Trail off of the Straight Fork Creek Road. The
only thing about using the later trail is that you probably won't fish Enloe Creek, or at
least at your first stop. That's because you have to cross Raven Fork. You can reach
the Enloe Creek Trail from either of those two directions, the shorter distance being
the Hyatt Ridge way.
It is possible to fish the stream on a day trip but for someone my age, your doing
good to fish it at all. I would prefer a day to get there and three days to rest after I get
there. I'm kidding but it is not an easy day trip and that's not kidding. You can stay at
campsite #47 and that's probably the best way to fish the stream.
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
Today, there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly
sunny with a high near 87. Southwest wind will range from 5 to 10 mph becoming
northwest in the morning.
Thursday, showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 2pm. It will be mostly
cloudy with a high near 83. Light and variable wind will change to the northwest at 5
to 10 mph in the afternoon. The chance of precipitation is 70%.
Smoky Mountain Stream Conditions:
The streams with links that have nearby USGS Station Real-time stream data: Click
to links to see updates:
Little River: Rate: 159 cfs at 1.72 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 265 cfs at 1.44 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 47 cfs at 2.27 ft (good wading conditions up to 125 with
extra caution up to 150 cfs)
Little Pigeon River: It is at a good level to fish.
Hazel Creek and the other larger NC streams flowing into Fontana Lake:
They are back in good condition.
Current Recommended Streams:
Any of the streams above about the 2500 foot elevation. It is going to be hot again
today. This is summertime.
Recommended Trout Flies:
Brown and White Belly Sculpins:
Hook Size 6
Cinnamon Caddis: (mostly Abrams but a few in all of the streams) 16/18
Green Sedges (Caddis): 14/16
larva (green rock worms)
Slate Drakes: 10/12
Little Yellow Stoneflies: 14
Little Green Stoneflies: 16
Light Cahills: 14/16
Cream Cahills: 14/16
Inch Worms: Hook size : 10/12/14
Green/Tan/Orange Hoppers: 10/12
Black Carpenter Ants: 16/18
Japanese Beetles: 16/14
Recommended Fishing Strategy:
Keep in mind, the strategies I am recommending is for the maximum odds
of catching numbers of fish. Many prefer or favor a dry fly and by all means there
isn't anything wrong with that. It's just a fact that if nothing is hatching at the time, it
reduces your odds of success. You can still probably hook some trout, just not as
many as if you fish subsurface. Of course, this is also based on using good
techniques and the right flies. Some guys don't know how to fish below the surface.
If you fished the day or two before and know where something is hatching, fish the
nymph or larva stage of it. If you haven't fished the day or two before, until I spotted
something hatching, I would fish the Slate Drake nymph. They are big swimming
nymphs that are easily caught and eaten by trout and are still hatching. If you spot
something else hatching (coming off the water), it will most likely be Light or Cream
Cahills. Change to the appropriate emerger, dun or adult imitations of the insect.
When the Slate Drakes, Light or Cream Cahills are hatching, there will be a spinner
fall late in the day. Often, you can catch more trout fishing the spinner fall quicker
than you can during the hatch. Change to the spinner imitation of the mayfly.
Little Yellow and Little Green stoneflies are hatching, but of course, these hatches
take place during the evenings. Both species of stoneflies crawl out of the water to
hatch. Fishing a Little Green Stonefly nymph or Little Yellow Stonefly nymph, very
late in the afternoon near sunset should produce. If you see the stoneflies depositing
their eggs on the surface of the water, switch to the adult imitation of the stonefly.
As mentioned above, Light and Cream Cahills are hatching. Look for them in the
faster water areas. They will get caught up in the fast water runs and riffles.
Tips for Beginners:
Tips for the Self Proclaimed Experts:
Whatever Hits Me:
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