Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for Hazel Creek GSMNP North Carolina
Hazel Creek is one of, if not the, best stream in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
One reason is the chemistry of the water. For some reason, probably because some of
it was fertile farming land at one time, it has a lower pH than most of the streams in the
park. It is still on the high side of the scale but it definitely has more aquatic insects
than many streams in the park. Its moderate gradient in the lower section accounts for
its many crawler mayfly nymphs such as Hendrickson and Sulphurs.
If you are going to be consistently successful on Hazel Creek, you need to fish flies
that imitate insects about to hatch or that are hatching. If hatches are not in the near
picture, you should fish imitations of whatever you think is most plentiful and available
for the trout to eat. Matching the hatch isn't always necessary, but it sure helps to pay
close attention to the hatches.
You have to either hike a long ways or cross Cherokee Lake to get to Hazel Creek.
Once you get there, the Hazel Creek trial provides easy hiking. Be sure to take as little
gear as you can if you plan on fishing only for one day. The local marina provides
shuttle services to the mouth of the creek. You can have them drop you off and pick
you up at a prearranged time. Otherwise, you will need to stay overnight at one of the
campgrounds. It is a popular camping area.
Hazel Creek has several tributary streams. Bone Valley Creek, Sugar Fork, Proctor,
and Walker Creeks are some of the major ones. Bone Valley is a fairly large one with
several tributaries of its own each of which has a population of Brook Trout. It is only
five and a half miles upstream of the mouth.
Each of its three species of trout can require completely different fishing methods and
techniques. The small brook trout streams in its headwaters require fishing in tightly
enclosed spaces where casting can be very difficult. You get the fly to the ideal places
the best way you can. Fishing the fast water of the runs and riffles usually produces
rainbow or small brown trout. The larger brown trout are usually hidden underneath
bank undercuts, logs and brush in the water, and under large rocks and boulders most
of the time during the day. The best way to catch the larger browns is to fish a nymph
in all of these type of places where they hide.
Both the rainbows and browns can be caught during low light situations such as just
after daylight or after sunset on streamers. Those dark, overcast, days with heavy
clouds are also good days to fish for the larger browns with streamers. The brown trout
spawn in the month of October and November and they can be caught on streamers
during the this time. They migrate upstream looking for spawning areas and can be
spotted easily at times. Please don't try to catch them during the spawning process or
destroy their redds by wading through them..
Generally speaking, the farther you travel upstream, the more fish you are likely to
catch simply because the see fewer flies and are not pressured.. On the other hand,
most of the larger fish are in the lower and middle sections of the creek. You are in
good waters, however, anywhere you fish Hazel Creek.
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Hazel Creek North