Great Smoky Mountains Fishing Report 07/26/15
The conditions for fly fishing the streams of the Smokies continue to be excellent.
Just stay above about 2500 feet in elevation to avoid fishing water that is on the
warm side of good. I am running behind again today. We have been very, very busy
at Perfect Fly. Did you notice that Amazon is now worth more ( a larger company)
I'll leave this up another day for those who may have missed it:
More Brook Trout Streams - Indian Camp Creek
Indian Camp Creek is one of those streams that's not well known, simply because it's
almost invisible. Don't laugh too hard. Angie and I have fished it at least seven or
eight times, yet when I tried to show it to a friend a couple of years ago, I couldn't find
the entrance to it. We went up and down highway #321 between Gatlinburg and
Cosby twice before I even noticed where it runs under the highway. When I did, I still
couldn't find the road that leads to Maddron Bald Trailhead that happens to be the
only way to get to it inside the park. I guess you could reach it by hiking miles from
I stopped at a store and talked to locals that live within five miles of it and all they
knew about it was where you could fish it outside the park, miles from where I wanted
to go. They told me all it had in it in the park was little specs. I Kiddingly just thanked
them and told them I didn't want to catch any speckled trout, that I had caught about
a million of them the many years I lived in Florida.
Now, some of you may have read or think you have to park at the Maddron Bald
Trailhead and hike about a mile and a half to the stream. Well, I don't do it that way,
although I have a few times. I turn right down a residential street and go to where
there is a washed out bridge that crossed the creek at one time. I'm only guessing
that's a public street. It may be that it a private road. Never-the-less, being the
fearless sole I am, I park there at the end of the dead end of the road across the
street from someone's cabin and fish up the stream from there. The park boundary is
only a few feet upstream. So far, no one has left a sign or called the Sheriff. Oh
well, now that I've clued everyone in on a possibly illegal way (my disclaimer) to fish
Indian Camp Creek, let me tell you what a wonderful little stream it is.
I forgot the turnoff: Turn right off highway #321 onto Baxter Road and travel about a
half mile. You will pass some homes along the way. You'll see a sign pointing towards
the Maddron Bald Trailhead where you can turn right to access it. This trail is a very
popular hiking trial that leads to the Albright Grove, an old growth forest. It has some
of the oldest and tallest trees in the Smokies and is the main reason people go there.
I think the hikers intentionally try to hide it from fly fishers, or maybe they are
the only ones with enough sense to use a map.
Indian Camp Creek can be accessed from the Maddron Bald Trail but the trail, an
old maintenance road, doesn't get near the stream until about a mile and a half
upstream. The trail crosses it and some of its tributaries a few times in the
high elevations of the headwaters, but not the lower section of the stream. The
Creek runs through Indian Camp Valley.
The Albright Grove trail crosses the Maddron Bald Trail a couple of miles upstream.
You can get on it and cross the creek but at only one point. Other than that, you have
to make your own access from the Maddron Bald Trail down to the stream in the lower
section of the Indian Camp Creek. Of course, you can fish it upstream from any point
you can access it.
We have found brook trout far below there, in the lower end of the stream but there's
far more rainbows than brook trout. The further you go upstream, the more they will
become plentiful. It's headwaters seems to have a good population.
Indian Camp Valley doesn't seem to have near as many Rhododendron as most
areas of the park. The stream isn't so congested with thick bushes as it is trees
near the water and it's possible to move up the banks in many places.
There are several small tributary streams in its headwaters. Otter Creek and
Copperhead Branch are two of them that are located in its the uppermost
headwaters. Jones Branch is another one downstream from those a short ways.
Cole Creek enters a lower section of Indian Camp Creek. It has a small tributary
called Maddron Creek. The lowest tributary in the park is Buckeye Creek which
flows into Indian Camp Creek not far inside the park boundary. I know the headwaters
have plenty of brook trout but I'm not certain about some of the lower elevation
tributaries. We haven't fished any of the low ones except near their confluence with
Indian Camp Creek where it's all rainbows.
Campsite #29 on Otter Creek in the headwaters area is the only campsite near
Indian Camp Creek. You have to do about as much hiking as fishing to fish the
headwaters area on a day trip. You could stay at this campsite (Otter Creek is a
headwater tributary) and fish for brook trout.
This is a beautiful area of the park, especially in the headwater area of the stream.
It's a favorite area of many hikers because of the scenery and the old growth
forest. We recommend it only for those anglers who want to fish different areas of
the park and who want to test new waters.
We caught a brook trout in the Oconaluftee River one time, but the reason we only
have caught one, is the fact we never fish the uppermost part of the Oconaluftee
River below its headwater feeder streams. I would guess there's probably a good
mixture of rainbows, possible a few brown trout and brook trout as far up as the
confluence of Kephart Prong and Beech Flats Prong. I assume that because I know
they are in the lower parts of the two of the above streams we have fished. There are
also brook trout in the lower part of the Oconaluftee River because the Cherokee
Nation stocks them downstream of the park.
I've been told there are some "larger than normal" brook trout in the Bradley Fork, a
large tributary of the Oconaluftee River, that most likely migrated upstream from
Cherokee but we have never caught one. We fish Bradley Fork quite often in the off
season when the campground is mostly empty. They could possible be there at other
times, so I certainly won't say there are not any brookies in the lower part of Bradley
Fork. Brook trout are far upstream at the upper end of Bradley Fork but we will get to
Both Kephart Prong and Beech Flats Prong are relatively small streams that
contain brook trout, rainbows and possible some brown trout near the confluence
although we haven't caught all three species in either of the two creeks. As mentioned
above, the upper section of the Oconaluftee River below the confluence of Kephart
Prong and Beech Flats Prong does contain all three. Again, we haven't caught all
three during any one trip there but we have caught all three species at different times.
I feel sure it it's possible to catch a grand slam there.
Rainbow trout make up the most of the trout in Kephart Prong, or at least all but the
uppermost part of the small stream. It can be accessed from the Kephart Prong
Trail that leads off Highway #441. We have only been on this stream a couple of
times. It was difficult to fish, or I should say difficult to get around on, but it did give up
a few brook trout and a few rainbows each time. I wouldn't rank it high in comparison
to many other streams of its size although it's worth the effort to fish if you want to
explore new territory. It has several very small tributaries. You may well do better
than we have done. Both our trips were in the Fall. I should also mention that brook
trout only live up to about three years in the park. We haven't fished this stream in the
last four or five years, so it's possible there's been some changes from what we
observed from a very limited amount of experience on the stream.
Beech Flats Prong is also accessible from highway #441. There are probably three
miles of it you can get to from the road. It runs fairly close to the highway although it
is out of sight in most places. This stream has all three species of trout in its lowest
section. The brook trout are mostly in the headwaters but I would guess you could
catch a grand slam there if you made the effort to do so. We have only fished it a
Beech Flats Prong has a very small tributary called Kanati Branch. It can be
reached from Highway #441 from the Kanati Fork Trail for a very short ways, then
you would have to fish in the stream or crawl around under the bushes. The stream
runs under the road near the trailhead. We have yet to stop and fish this stream. It
appears to be very small. I'm fairly sure you could pound out a few brook trout if you
are willing to climb around under the bushes. It's said to have a population of brook
Collins Creek is another tributary of the upper part of the Oconaluftee River. It
crosses under highway #441 from the Collins Creek Picnic Area. This stream has all
three species of trout, but mostly brook trout. It's almost scary that brown trout exist
there. Although you can catch a few brook trout there, there's plenty of other areas in
the park nearby that are easier to fish with more brookies. Above the Picnic Area,
Collins Creek is very small and tightly enclosed. It is only easy to access in the Picnic
Weather: (At Gatlinburg at about 1600 ft)
There is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. It will be
mostly sunny with a high near 85. Winds will be calm.
Monday, there's a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Calm winds will
come from the west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
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: 149 cfs at 1.68 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 250 cfs, and with extra caution up to 400 cfs)
Oconaluftee River: Rate 238 cfs at 1.37 ft.
(good wading conditions up to 500 cfs, and with extra caution up to 700 cfs)
Cataloochee Creek: Rate 44 cfs at 2.25 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 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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