Fires Creek Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Fires Creek North Carolina
Not many anglers have ever heard of Fires Creek. It's
located in an area of the state of North Carolina not far
from the Georgia state line that's out of the way to
anywhere. It's located about 16 miles east of Murphy
North Carolina off highway #64. Tennessee anglers are
very familiar with the Hiwassee River but the Hiwassee
tailwater is several miles to the west of Fires Creek,
which is one of its tributaries. It has ten miles of trout
waters located on Nantahala Game Land.

I wouldn't call Fires Creek a destination blue ribbon
trout stream but only because of all the other nearby
streams in Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina
and North Georgia. This isn't exactly a small creek. It's a
wild, rough, pocket water stream with short
riffles, runs and deep plunge pools. The wild trout
population consist mostly of rainbows, but there are
some brown trout. Its headwaters flow from Tusquitee
Bald area of the Tusquitee Mountains. It flows into the
Hiwassee River near Hayesville. It has two very small
tributaries - Little Fires Creek and Long Branch that
also contain wild rainbow and brown trout. Backcountry
camping is allowed along the stream at a few points.

The entire length of Fires Creek can be accessed from
Forest Service Road # 340. Just under two miles
upstream from the National Forest land is Fires Creek
Picnic Area. There's a small waterfall that enters Fire
Creek in the Picnic area. Most of the people that use
this area are not there for fishing and the ones that are
mostly fish the stocked waters downstream. Just above
the picnic area, the stream enters a deep gorge for
about three miles and the road runs far above it. Fly
fishing the stream in this location is possible but it's very
difficult. It's best to fish upstream from below the point
the road departs the stream at the picnic area The road
get back close to the creek above the gorge and
provides good access from that point for a long ways to
where FS 340 intercepts FS 340C. Above that point the
creek enters another gorge but it's still accessible from
the 340 road although it is well below the road and
tough to get to. It's best to fish upstream from that point.

The first surprise you may get when you reach this
creek is the fact it isn't as small as you may expect it to
be. I'm not saying it's a big stream. I'm just implying
there's plenty of room to cast. It's doubtful you will see
anyone else fishing unless it's purely coincidental or
during the prime Spring season. Fishing upstream can
be tough in the gorge sections but there are trails
following along the streambed. Where you cannot easily
wade you can exit the creek and walk upstream to
another access.

Fishing Fires Creek is very similar to fishing the streams
of the Great Smoky Mountains. You do have to use
caution about letting the trout see your movements.
Staying hidden from the trout by staying low and moving
slowly are keys. Short, upstream cast work best. Just
like in the Smokies or any fast, pocket water stream,
most of the time you'll find the trout are relatively easy
to fool in the fast water.

The water appears to have little, if any, algae and I
would guess the pH is on the low side or more acidic.
Because it's mostly fast, pocket water, its mayflies are
probably mostly clingers. According to our notes, we did
look at the bottom of some rocks which had some
free-living caddis (rock worms), saddle-cased caddis,
chimney cased caddis, March Brown nymphs, and Little
Yellow Stoneflies. I'm fairly sure that some swimming
nymphs like Slate Drakes and BWOs are present but
they are very difficult to find by picking up rocks from
the stream. I'm not sure just which crawler mayflies exist
in Fires Creek but I'm sure there would be some
species of them. I would also bet most all of the stonefly
families are present.

You shouldn't expect to set any records but I would bet
the stream has some large brown trout. The first time
we fished the stream, we caught a small brown and
several wild rainbows up to about eight inches in length.
We only fished about three hours, moving around to
mostly just see the stream. Since, trips to the stream
(two) have been much more productive, especially in
the Delayed Harvest section.

Trout can be caught on warm days during the winter.
Spring is the best time for fly fishing the Fires Creek
because of its hatches.
Summertime is okay but some of the water can get too
warm for good fishing on the hottest days.
Fall is the best time for big browns in the lower section.

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Fires Creek North Carolina
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Type of Stream

Rainbow Trout (wild and stocked with
Brown Trout (wild and stocked with

Small to Medium

Southwestern North Carolina

Nearest Towns

Delayed Harvest section: Oct. 1- first
Sat. in June.
Hatchery supported section:
April 1-February 1 (closed in March)


Non-Resident License
State of North Carolina

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
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stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
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you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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