Fly Fishing Cataloochee

Fly Fishing Cataloochee

The whole family headed out Easter weekend to Cataloochee Valley to do some fly fishing, catch some trout, and a little sight-seeing. There's so much to explore in Cataloochee Valley and we didn't have enough time last time we were up there. So, we rented a place in Maggie Valley to stay for several days. 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 open to eat since it was Easter weekend.

The first place I wanted to do some fly fishing in Cataloochee Valley was Palmer Creek. So, we headed up the Palmer Creek about 1.6 miles and started fly fishing. The weather up there was around 75° that day, so I knew I would see some mayfly hatches, stone fly hatches, and be able to cast some dry flies. When I arrived, I noticed I was correct there were lots of bugs hatching and the midges were everywhere also. I decided to tie on a yellow humpy dry fly and started casting into the little pools. I started to get hits right off and landed a nice little wild Rainbow trout. I fished the pool in front of me and caught several wild Brook trout. One of my favorite things to do is catch Brook trout in Cataloochee Valley on Palmer Creek. As most people know there is a Southern strain of Brook trout in North Carolina, which is different genetically different than the Northern strain of Brook trout normally found in North Carolina in the stocked trout streams. So, I love when I can catch native wild Brook trout in a pristine North Carolina stream.

As I started up to the next riffle on Palmer Creek, I caught several nice Brown trout. One thing you will notice in Palmer Creek that neither the trout nor the creek is too big, but the trout seemed to be plentiful today as I fly fished. I fly fished up to the second horse camp and then fly fished all the way back down. The trout quit eating later in the afternoon on dry flies, so I decided to start nymphing.

There are many creeks to fish for wild Brook trout, Brown trout and Rainbow trout in Cataloochee Valley North Carolina. We go just about every year around Easter, and I never get tired of fly fishing these trout streams for wild trout.

At about five o'clock we decided to go and see the Cataloochee Elk. So, I packed up the fly 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 followed them around filming them and taking pictures for a while. Finally, we headed out to get some supper in Maggie Valley.


The second day at Cataloochee we hit Rough Fork Creek and fished up to the Woody house. I caught some small brook trout along Rough Fork Creek. There were so many trout, but nothing very big. Most wild trout you find in North Carolina aren't very big, but they are very opportunistic to eat flies if they are drifted correctly.

When the fly fishing there slowed down, I decided to head over to Big creek. Unfortunately, the bridge was 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 Creek and a little feeder stream. The little feeder stream fly fished 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 wild rainbow trout drifting some nymphs. After about an hour I decided to leave and head back toward Maggie Valley. 


The next day as we drove to Cataloochee Valley, I decided to fly fish Palmer Creek again, since I had caught so many trout the previous day. The mayfly hatches were really coming off good that day and the temperature was about 75°, but you couldn't catch a fish on that creek that day. I went back and fished the same holes and not one trout hit my fly. So, I 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 think they were full of 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 saw only one other person fly fishing on Palmer Creek and he was catching any trout either. The whole time we were there I only saw person fly fishing on the creek in two days, I liked that. We finally packed up and headed back home. We always like to fish Cataloochee Valley around Easter to start our Spring fly fishing adventures.