Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to Cosby Creek GSMNP Tennessee
The lower part of this stream is a quick and easy stream to fish. The upper headwaters
takes some hiking to get to. The lower section has lots of small rainbows but there have
been a few larger ones caught there also. The stream is stocked just outside of the park. A
road follows the lower section up to the Cosby Campground. You can stop and fish just
about any where there within sight of the road.
As just mentioned, you can hike into the headwaters but you can also catch plenty of brook
trout starting at the campground and fishing upstream. You don't have to make an extended
hike to catch them. The farther you hike into the headwater, the better the fishing usually is.
It gets far less pressure.
These small to tiny headwater streams typically have a short plunge and a small pool. The
gradients are usually quite steep. There are few areas where the water flows only
moderately. Most all of it is fast water. The brook trout can be found in just about every little
pool. They usually don't hold and feed in the fast water of the plunges or in the white water.
Most often they are positioned in the slower moving water at the ends of the pools. It just
requires sneaking up on them and making a soft presentation that doesn't spook them. It
also requires keeping your flies out of the trees. Cast are normally only a few feet. It usually
takes all types of short, creative cast to get the fly in the right spot. Stay very low and sneak
up to each area large enough to hold a brook trout.
The lower section along the road is quite different. Cosby Creek is one of the small brook
trout streams that you can reach from a road. There are not that many in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. Brook trout start showing up as low as just below the Cosby
Campground. Most of the trout below the campground will be rainbows. Fish upstream in the
short riffles and runs. All of he pictures are of the lower section along the road. There is
enough room to cast in many areas but some of them are very tight and enclosed with tree
limbs. Short, upstream cast are all that are required. High sticking nymphs in the fast water is
also usually effective but most of the time the trout will respond to dry flies.
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Cosby Creek Tennessee