Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for Deep Creek (GSMNP) North Carolina
There are three basic way to fish Deep Creek as well as other large streams in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park that hold brown trout. I probably should say
three species of trout to pursue. One is the brook trout that are in the headwaters as
well as most of the tributary streams. Another is the normal dry fly fishing for rainbows
and small brown trout. I say small not because it is impossible to catch a large one on
a dry fly, but because it is unlikely. The third pursuit would be the large browns. That
should be done on nymphs and other subsurface flies like wet flies, soft hackles and
streamers. Those three types of fishing require different techniques although you may
very well catch one of the other species if you happen to be fishing where others are
For the big brown trout, it is best to stick with nymphs and streamers most of the time
and far better to fish low light conditions. By that I mean early and late in the day and
during cloudy or overcast days. The large browns tend to hide during bright days and
venture out only when it is difficult for you and their predators to see them. They
become most visible during the spawn period of time. Even during low light conditions,
it is still usually best to fish the undercut banks, crevices under large rocks and other
type places they can hide.
The brook trout can be caught on either a dry fly or a nymph but it becomes a matter
of fishing very small headwater or tributary streams in the higher elevations. Fishing a
creek that is ten feet wide and covered with tree limbs is greatly different in many
respects from casting streamers in the lower end of Deep Creek, for example.
Choosing to fish for brook trout is a matter of selecting the right locations.
The other way, fishing dry flies for rainbows and browns (as large as you can get to
eat a fly on the surface) can be done in most any of the water in Deep Creek except
the high elevations, although the rainbow seem to go as high as the lack of waterfalls
allow them to go. The thing is, when you are fishing a dry fly, you are just about
eliminating your chances of catching a very large brown trout. If you are in the middle
to lower sections of Deep Creek, you are eliminating your odds of catching a brook
I have yet to provide any details of how you go about either of the three types of
fishing. What you should do is decide which type of fishing you prefer to undertake
and pursue it instead of trying to do a little of it all.
Although we have mentioned the heavy recreational use of the lower section of the
stream in the Campground area, it is a very good place to fish during the winter and
other times the park isn't crowded with tourist. The lower section is a sizeable stream
that holds some very large brown trout.
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Deep Creek North