Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for Straight Fork GSMNP North Carolina
The Straight Fork is a nice little average size Great Smoky Mountains National Park
trout stream. Its average gradient is more moderate than steep. The decline of the
stream isn't steep but in a few places in the section along the road. The road follows
the stream for about five miles from where the Straight Fork exits the park. Above the
point the road departs the stream, you have to make you way along in the streambed.
It isn't that difficult to do for at least the first mile or two. There are a few areas clear
enough that you can get out of the stream and progress upstream on the banks.
One of the best sections of the stream is just inside the park. You can park practically
anywhere along the road and walk only a few yards to the stream. It has quite a few
large rocks and boulders scattered along its way, but again, it isn't steeply declined.
The runs and riffles are fairly long. There are a few pools but most are shallow. This
section has quite a few brown trout. Although we have spotted a few well over twenty
inches, the largest we have caught was only sixteen. There seems to be an almost
50-50 mixture of browns to rainbows in this area of the stream. We usually fish the
riffles and runs from the bottom to the top focusing on the current seams. It is fairly
easy to navigate upstream most all the way to where the road departs the stream.
Between three and four miles in, the stream gets a little more decline in it and the runs
become faster and deeper. There are a few deep pools in this area. The higher
upstream you fish, the fewer brown trout you will catch. When you get to the bridge
where the road leaves the stream, you will begin to pick up brook trout. Most of them
are on the small side but I feel sure there are a few large ones in the stream.
It seems that the Straight Fork has more aquatic insects than many of the streams in
the park. The hatches are heavy and plentiful. There are a lot of Blue-winged Olives in
the lower section of the stream. We have seen a quite a few Hendrickson and Sulphurs
there also, or more than most of the other streams in the park.
The Straight Fork fishes like the perfect dry fly stream. Its long runs and riffles almost
always hold more than one trout willing to take your fly. On one fall day, Angie
managed to catch five rainbows and browns out of the same run. It's not a stream you
want to just hit the likely looking spots and move on. It pays to work the flows slowly
and cover all the water.
The Straight Fork has produced a lot of trout for us every time we have fished it and
that has been at least twenty or more times during the past several years. I'm not sure
if it is the lack of pressure, a high fish population or exactly what, but it produces as
many trout as any stream we have fished in the park and usually, far more. We hope
you have the same success as we have had with this stream.
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