Fly Fishing Cataloochee

Posted in Fly Fishing Reports.


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Well we headed out Easter weekend to Cataloochee to do some fly fishing and sight seeing. I had a few days off and so did the wife. We had been wanting to go back up into this area since we last visited. There's so much to explore in this area and we didn't have enough time last time we were up there. So I decided it was a good time to go to revisit. So we rented a room at the Ramada hotel in downtown Maggie Valley. Since the highway I-40 had the big rockslide it has stopped a lot of tourism in this area. Since it was Easter weekend we thought it would be jam packed up in this area, but we found the place almost abandon. None of us really minded too much that we had the whole town to ourselves almost. Luckily there was a few places to eat dinner. Since we got the continental breakfast at the grand resort of the Ramada hotel all we had to do was pack a lunch and we were good to go.

The first place I wanted a hit with Palmer Creek. So we headed up the creek about 1.6 miles and started fishing. The weather up there was around 75° that day. So I decided I would try some dry flies. I tied on a a yellow humpy started casting into the little pools. I started to get hits right off and landed a nice little rainbow. As I started up to the next riffle caught a brown trout. The fish and this creek are not too big, but they did seemed to be entertained by my dry fly. We fished up to the second horse camp and then fished all the way back down. The bite turned off later in the afternoon on dry flies so I decided to start nymphing. I tried dredging the bottom with my nymph rig and kept getting hung up too much. So I switched to some smaller lead and got the nymphs up higher in the water column. This worked a lot better and I got more strikes.

There were a lot of insects hatching mid-day and the midges were every where. But this day had an usual hatch and it wasn't on the water it was on the path beside the stream. There were thousands of sweat bees everywhere. I had never seen anything like that before in my life. Each one of us got stung a couple times because there were so many of them they would get in your clothing then you would pinch them and they would sting you. I set my rod down beside the path to get a drink of water and after two gulps of water my rod was completely covered in sweat bees, it was weird. My son didn't care for this at all since he has a fear of bees after he got stung by some yellow jackets on a creek one day with me. They would not sting you unless you pinched them. At about five o'clock we decided to go and see the elk. So we packed up the rod and headed over to the field where all the elk were. As we approached the field we saw dozens of the elk. We counted 31 in the heard. The big bull wasn't there but there were two small bulls in the heard. I never seen that many out in the field and it was a sight to behold. We chased them around filming them and taking pictures for a while, till my son decided he was hungry. So we headed out to get some supper in Maggie Valley.

The second day we hit Rough Creek and fished up to the Woody house. I caught some small brook trout along the rough fork trail, but they weren't very big. They were plentyful though. So I decided to head over to Big creek. Unfortunately the bridge is out near the Palmer House so we went around the other side and took the 16 mile journey that takes an hour to get to Big creek. On our way to big creek I stopped off to fish the little Cataloochee and a little feeder stream. The little feeder stream fish pretty good and seem to have an abundance of brown trout. I didn't go too far up the stream, as I wanted to get over to Big creek before the sun went down. After arriving at Big Creek I fished around the camping area and got some rainbows using some nymphs. The park was crowded there and the kids were playing in the water making all kinds of noise. So after about an hour I decided to leave and head back toward Maggie Valley. Normally at big creek you can take I-40 back in Maggie Valley but this is where the rockslide impeded our traveling. So we had to go back on the 16 mile goat trail that took over an hour. We got back in Maggie Valley and ate supper at a place called Snappy's Italian Pizzeria. If you go to Maggie Valley don't eat there, that place sucks. It is overpriced, the service sucks and the food isn't that good. If you do go eat, eat at Legend's Sports Grill. These people have the best prices I've ever seen for a restaurant in the mountains and the food was outstanding. The waitresses there were nice and friendly. We have eaten at J Arthur's Restaurant before and thought it was overpriced. The Legend's Sports Grill food is just as good and has better prices. Plus they have 21 TVs and since my son was having TV withdrawals it fit the ticket perfectly.

The next day I decided to hit Palmer Creek since it did so good before. The hatches were really coming off good that day and the temperature was about 75°, but you couldn't buy a fish on that creek that day. It was weird. I went back and hit the same holes and got nothing. So we headed further up stream thinking that might help, it didn't. The only thing I got was a longer hike. I threw everything I had in the box and nothing. Most of the strikes I had were just a glancing strike. You only got one try and that was it. I had a few inspect the fly like they were some tailwater trout or something. It was so good two days ago and the only thing I can think of was they were full from all the bugs they ate the previous days. There was no other reason why they shouldn't hit those flies. So I did the next best thing, I took a bunch of bug photographs, I might as well get something out of it. So it worked out in the end.

We packed up and headed out with only two fish to hand. We saw another fisherman on the creek and he was having about the same luck. The whole time we were there I only saw one fisherman on the creek in two days, I liked that. So we headed back home with a stopover in Brevard. I decided I might as well hit the "D" on the way back. It was so funny coming from never seeing but one fisherman on the creek in two days to 10 fisherman in 50 yards. Funny thing was they weren't catching a thing. So I decided to move up where there wasn't anybody. I headed up into the riffles and I picked off a few rainbows. The fish moved up to get away from the pressure, so did I. that's my story and that's how I am going to tell it.