View Full Version : Upper Deep Creek - 6.14.08

06-14-2008, 10:47 PM
After getting nearly skunked yesterday evening above Tremont, I decided that I needed to try someplace out of the way. I had thought about going above Middle Falls on Snowbird Creek (14 miles roundtrip), but it would be a very long day trip and since the weather was sketchy (and woke up too late), I decided that I should try the trip up Snowbird Creek, on another day (anyone interested?).

Instead, I headed out to Upper Deep Creek. Traffic was fairly light in the Park and I made it to the trailhead in 80 minutes from Maryville. I planned to hike down to the unmaintained campsite and fish from there, but when I got there the water looked a bit skinny so I moved farther down. Along the way I flushed 6 grouse that were right by the side of the trail. It was quite a ruckus.

Since the trail is so high above the stream in most parts down there, I wound up hiking almost all the way to CS#53 before I could find a good spot to access the stream. I put in about 3.5 miles from the TH (a 60 minute hike – to about .5 miles above the campsite). I wound up fishing some of the same water Steve and I fished last year, so I may have even been closer to 53 than I thought.

First pool, first cast and the first fish! I don’t believe I had ever done that before (it was a nice 8” Brookie). I got a few splashes on the next couple of pools, but no hookups so I switched from a #14 Yellow Stimi to a #14 Parachute Mr Rapidan (my only one, of course). That did the trick. I managed to catch eight fish with that fly in the next 45 minutes, before losing it in a Rhodie on the far side of a deep pool. I switched to a couple of different flies, but nothing worked consistently (or I couldn't see it) and I managed four more fish. Who in the world can see a #16 Adams in choppy water on an overcast day...

I wound up catching thirteen fish (LDRd 4 more [on the Adams] and had over a dozen splashes), which is on the low side for that stretch of water, but the size of the fish more than made up for the quantity. All but 3 of the fish were 7” or larger. I caught two very feisty rainbows mixed in with the 11 brookies. One ran about 10” and was almost lost when he jumped out of the water and into some branches. The other rainbow was a fat 11” with very white flanks. He was hanging out in a small pool and once he was hooked made several leaps and an attempt to break me off under a ledge before I managed to horse him over to me (6x on a 3wt is not really horsing, is it?).

It had been very, very dark down along the stream with light drizzle from 1-3p (Deep Dark Creepy Creek, was the name that kept coming to mind). At about 4p, it started pouring, so a I headed out. It took about 75 minutes to hike the last 3miles of the trail back to Newfound Gap Rd. It was actually quite comfortable hiking in the rain (something I had never done before). It never rained hard enough to effect the footing and it definitely kept the temp down. Not a bad way to go.

I had been skeptical about attempting the trip again as a day hike, but it was definitely easier this year in the rain, than last year in the heat…might be a good early spring or fall day trip.

Now I just need to find the energy to do the Middle Falls (Brookie) trip, and possibly a crazy partner for the 14 mile daytrip. Anyone? Anyone?.....Buehler?

06-14-2008, 11:29 PM

Glad to hear I wasn't the only one that struggled in the Tremont area yesterday. Only three bows hooked before I stopped around 11:30. Sounds like a great trip today, though. Probably a bit more strenuous than I'm up for. I've got to get back to the gym - it would sure open up more fishing possibilities. That may be my new motivation.

I was interested in the parachute rapidan. I've got a couple of Mr. Rapidans that Walter Babb tied but they're wet flies. Had not seen a dry version. Got pics?

Off to Telluride tomorrow :biggrin: - check back a couple of weeks from now.

David Knapp
06-14-2008, 11:57 PM
Off to Telluride tomorrow :biggrin: - check back a couple of weeks from now.

Can't even begin to express how jealous I am. That is a beautiful area with lots of good water around. If you're fishing, the salmonflies should start showing up on the Gunnison soon and that is supposedly an event not to be missed... Anyway, have a great trip!!!

06-15-2008, 12:07 AM
Wow...that's really hoofing it for one day - just looking at the trail on a map, it looks steep. A few years ago, I explored that trail a bit - I went about 100 yards before I realized it was a bit much to try on my first trip in the Smokies and turned around.

That Mr Rapidan is a pretty good pattern, huh? I pestered Daniel into ordering some for me. It's basically a Wulff-type fly, with yellow posts. Of course, the "regular" Mr Rapidan has two posts, while the parachute version has the one. The fly was originally designed to match a Quill Gordon - an early-season fly that could be seen easily in choppy water. However, I've caught fish on it all year round - I had very good success with it a few weeks ago, and I've caught fish on Cosby, in the snow in November on it. It's very popular up in Virginia, but I don't think the trout in the Smokies have seen much of it, so it's a good change of pace, perhaps.

Here's a link to a fly-tying page with a picture of it:


06-15-2008, 08:09 AM
Thanks for the pictures. Looks like a dangerous fly.

I'm going to Telluride for the bluegrass festival. From what I hear, the snow run-off may still be a little strong for stream fishing; and with music from 10 a.m. to midnight every day, not sure there would be much time for fishing anyway. We are also spending a day riding the Durango to Silverton railroad. A friend of mine was telling me that the train stops in a couple of places on the way to Silverton and drops off fly fisherman at a very remote location then picks them up in the evening on the way back to Durango. Sounds like heaven but I'm not sure I would want to attempt without a guide.:redface:

06-15-2008, 11:31 PM
That is a pretty intense day trip. The trail coming out is pretty steep. The bears are active in that area also (speaking of deep dark creepy creek). I think 53 is still closed because of them. We were in there about a month ago and two were spotted as well as a fresh pile of bear crap found about 100 yards from camp. Anyways, sounds like you had a good time. There is some good water in that area and it seems to hold some healthy fish. Glad to hear you got out.

06-15-2008, 11:56 PM
Pete Cz

Is Middle Falls in the park or state water of North Carolina? Years ago My friends and I fished on the lower end of Snow Bird and I can not remember if it was part of the park. We camped over there for 3 days and all it done was rain. We got to fish for a couple of hours and that was it.

May God Bless You...


06-16-2008, 12:47 AM
Bill, Middle Falls is 7 miles upstream of the Junction on (Big) Snowbird Creek, in NC, in the Nantahala NF. To do it in a day would be 14 miles roundtrip. The elevation is very doable, but the amount of time to drive over there and back (from Maryville), combined with 14 miles of hiking, would leave little time (or energy for fishing). More likely I will attempt it as an overnight trip, If I can just find two days in a row that I could go...

Bugg, Campsite 53 is still closed. With the drizzle and low clouds it was very dark down in the valley. I was amazed at the size of fish up there, but maybe because its such a pain to get to (or really to get back out of...)

Charlie, have fun in Telluride! You really should take your flyrod and skip out one day...enjoy Sam Bush for me...

IJ, I had never heard of the Mr Rapidan until I saw your posts on here, last year. So a very big thank you! I purchased some #34 FlyRite dubbing and have used it for a number of different flies (Parachutes, Adams, Cripples and Stimulators). I need to convince Daniel that he needs to start carrying it at LRO...

PA, have you ever tried the Snowbird Creek hike into Middle Falls? I'm looking for someones opinion about how doable it is, in a day...(even though I probably already know the answer)

06-25-2008, 03:17 PM

Telluride was terrific. The streams out there were really swollen with the snow run-off. Looked to be pretty much unfishable at this point. I was advised at a fly shop that it would be July or so before they subsided enough to do much good. Below is a picture of the river along the rail line from Durango to Silverton CO - it was boiling pretty well.


I did manage to pick up a couple of new fly designs while I was out there. One is an EHC with a peacock collar - looked really nice and I can't wait to throw it in the Smokies. The other was a double white winged Adams. Probably won't present that much differently to the fish but I bought a few just because they looked interesting.

Can't wait to get back on the streams in the Smokies but after being gone from home for 10 days, it may be a bit before I can wrangle an opportunity to get away.