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 Cataloochee Creek's Tributary Streams
The Cataloochee Valley has a lot more to offer than the eight miles of the
Cataloochee Creek itself. It has several tributary streams some of which are
excellent fisheries within themselves. One of these is Palmer Creek which starts just
upstream of the Campground at the confluence of Caldwell Fork, both of which form
Rainbow trout are common in Palmer Creek but all three species of trout exist even
in its lower portion. There are more rainbows than browns or brook trout but there's
a good mixture. Brook trout are very common on upstream above the Pretty Hollow
Rough Fork is the first major tributary stream of Palmer Creek. Part of this
stream runs through beautiful meadows and part of it through hardwood forest.
The stream can be accessed from the Rough Fork Trail. Campsite #40 is located
in its upper portion. Most of the trout are rainbows. There are several little
tributaries in the upper headwaters of Rough Fork.
The Davidson Branch is the next tributary stream but it's very small. There is a trail
that follows along nearby. Pretty Hollow Creek is the first tributary on Palmer Creek
that's really large enough to fish. Campground #39 is a good place to camp if you
are interested in fishing this small trout stream. It's just slightly upstream above its
confluence with Palmer Creek. It has both rainbows and brook trout but more brook
trout the farther you go upstream. It has several very small tributaries the largest of
which is probably Crooks Creek.
Lost Bottoms Creek is a another tributary stream of Palmer Creek. It flows into
Palmer not very far upstream Palmer Creek above Pretty Hollow Creek. It contains
some rainbow trout in its lower portion but most all of the stream has a very good
population of brook trout. Campground #39 is still the best place to camp if you are
interested in fishing Lost Bottoms Creek for brook trout. Beech Creek and Falling
Rock Creek form Palmer Creek in its headwater area. They both are very small
brook trout streams.
Caldwell Fork is the other main tributary that along with Palmer Creek forms
Cataloochee Creek. It flows into Cataloochee just above and very near the
campground. The lower part of the stream contains mostly rainbow trout and a few
brown trout. Its uppermost parts contains brook trout. The stream can be accessed
from the Caldwell Fork Trail that follows the stream. From the road you can see a
foot bridge that crosses Palmer Creek to the Caldwell Fork trailhead.
Those that want to camp in the backcounty should stay at campsite #41 if they
want to fish the upper portions of Caldwell Fork. Den Branch, Bag Branch, McKee
Branch, and Double Gap Branch are all very small tributary streams of Caldwell
Fork. McKee Branch has a trail that roughly follows it but it provides good access to
the stream only where it crosses it near its start. There are many others but none of
them are worth the effort to fish as far as we know and our experience has been.
Downstream on the main stem of Cataloochee Creek you will find Little Cataloochee
Creek to be the largest tributary stream. This medium to small size stream has both
brown and rainbow trout. Its uppermost portions have populations of brook trout.
The little stream has several tributary branches that form its main portion. Coggins
Branch, Conand Branch, Woody Branch, Dude Branch, Correll Branch and Andy
Branch join the Little Cataloochee Creek. These streams have mostly small rainbow
trout. Correll Branch and Woody Branch, both tributary streams, have brook trout.
Highway #284 that follows along Cataloochee Creek departs from it near its exit
from the park and follows along not far from the Correll Branch for a good distance.
It can be accessed from the road in a few places although the going is tough and
there are not any trails. The upper parts of this stream can be accessed at a couple
of points on the Long Bunk Trail that leads of highway #284 but it would hardy be
worth the effort except to just explore the possibilities. All the fishing would have to
just about be done within the stream itself.
There are a lot of little streams that drain into the Cataloochee Valley that may very
well hold brook trout if someone wanted to explore them all. I'm not certain as to the
extent the park officials have done that. I just know that with all the good brook
trout, rainbow and brown trout water available to fish, as far as we know, few
anglers fish many of the numerous very small brooks. An old bass fishing saying is
that a foot of water can cover up a big bass. It can also cover small brook trout just
as well. My guess is that as long as these high elevation small streams don't dry up
during hot weather, they have a good chance of holding brook trout.