Big Creek Trail
Big Creek Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for Big Creek GSMNP North Carolina
Big Creek may not have as many aquatic insect hatches as some of the other streams
in the park. This is probably because of its steep decline. When heavy rains occur in
this part of the national park, flooding often occurs and the streambed is almost
cleaned of everything that gets in the way. Most insects are either stoneflies or clinger
mayflies. There are not many crawlers, swimmers and probably no burrowing mayflies.
There are few caddisflies. The trout feed opportunistically most of the time.

The rainbows probably only average about seven inches long but they are fast,
aggressive and fairly easy to catch if you stay hidden from them. The one on your
upper right is much larger. It is close to 12 inches.  

As mentioned in the introduction, this stream is big time pocket water. The huge
boulders make some big pockets and holes. While dry fly fishing can be good at
certain times, all in all this stream fishes much better with nymphs. As you will see in
the hatches section, most of the aquatic insects are stoneflies. There are some clinger
mayflies but they usually stay well hidden until they hatch. We suggest you use a
stonefly nymph and especially during the times prior to a hatch of a particular species.

The "high stickin" method of fishing a nymph works great in this stream. There are
many boulders that allow you to get close to holes and pockets without spooking the
fish. Some of the runs are deep and fast and it also works great there.

The headwaters provide some excellent brook trout fishing. The streams there are
typical small, brook trout streams but they are usually very steep. You must climb up
the streambed in most cases and that can be tough going in some areas due to the
boulders and steep decline of the stream.

There are many of the tributary streams. Swallow Fork, Gunter Creek, Mouse Creek,
McGinty Creek, John Mack Creek, Yellow Creek and Deer Creek are the larger ones.
Of course, all of them are actually small. Swallow Fork is one of the larger one. It has
its own trial which starts about five miles above the campground.

Brook trout exist quite low. In fact they can be caught within two or three miles
upstream from the campground at times. Most of them are much further than that.
Most all of the main tributaries have brook trout. These small streams will produce nice
brook trout during the hottest days of summer.

There is a large trail that follows the main stream up from the campground at the lower
entrance to the park. It is located high above the stream in most cases. Getting down
from it to the stream can be rough in many areas. Anglers have managed to make
their own trail along the opposite side of Big Creek. It is shown in the picture at the top
right of this page. The trail goes right beside the campground area next to the creek. If
you are planning on hiking into the headwaters, then you would probably want to take
the formal trail. There are several remote campsites on Big Creek.
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Big Creek, North
Carolina - GSMNP