View Full Version : Campsite #49: Cabin Flats

07-13-2008, 05:27 PM
Just got back from a camping trip up to cabin flats above smokemont for a few days of fishing. We started hiking about 7:30 friday morning with the 4.7 mile hike ahead of us. The bradley fork trail is an easy one and has relatively small pulls with nothing too challenging. We arrived at camp and quickly had everything set up in time to be on the water by a little before 11. We began our way fishing upstream and almost immediately we were catching fish. I was using a stimulator and Justin was using a home tied tennessee wulff. The gradient of the stream quickly turned steep a little ways above the campsite but flattened out again above a long series of cascades. Most of the fish caught through this section were rainbows but the specs began to mix in more and more the farther we got, we even ran into a couple browns. After a quick stop for lunch, we continued pushing upstream and were catching increasing numbers of brook trout and fewer rainbows. We eventually made it to chasm prong, which appears to be a little over a mile upstream of the cabin flats site. Chasm prong started out with a gentle flow but quickly turned into what you would expect from a headwater stream. At this point, virtually all of the fish caught were specs and they were still aggressively taking our flies. By about 5 we decided to head back and we made the long, and i mean long, journey back downstream to the campsite. It took us around an hour and a half of in stream wading to get back to the campsite, but we made it back and rested the rest of the evening.

Saturday morning we got up and were on the water by 7. We had originally decided to go back and fish above chasm in hopes of fishing frowning gap prong but we decided against it since we figured it would take a good 3 hour hike of in stream wading to get there. Instead, we went downstream below taywa creek and fished up. Once again, we were in to fish in no time using the same ol' trusty flies. We reached taywa creek and had already brought several fish to hand a piece when we decided to give it a try. Taywa is extremely tight and requires around a 30' climb up boulders to fish it. This stream was extremely cramped and a bow and arrow cast is all that is needed, along with about a 6' rod. We began fishing our way upstream but soon came to an impassable area choked down with deadfalls and rhododendron. We climbed back down the stream and made our way back on to bradleys fork. This section was comprised mainly of rainbows but browns mixed in as well. The farther we began moving upstream, the browns seemed to disappear and a few specs took their place. The fishing from taywa to the campsite seemed to be not quite as good as above the campsite, although we brought plenty of fish to hand.

It was a great trip with lots of fish caught and we explored a new area. I would like to make it up to frowning rock prong one day and check that out, but both of our feet were a little too sore to make that long of a trip upstream. On a side note, there was evidence of wild hogs as i found an area where the soil had been tore up, it looked like someone had run a tiller. Hope everyone got out to enjoy the good weather and boosted water levels this weekend. I will post some pictures later today or tomorrow when i download them.

07-13-2008, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the report Craig. I have fished just above the Cabin Flats campsite. The last time was last fall when water levels were really too low for fishing. Glad to hear it has recovered. The Cabin Flats area is really beautiful, and I need to do a backcountry trip as well so I can explore the headwaters.


07-13-2008, 07:06 PM
Great report Craig sounds like you all had a good time fishing and camping in the back country. I hope to get to do some camping with my daughter later this summer.

May God Bless You...


07-14-2008, 06:18 PM
Here are those pictures that i promised:

View of the Smokies when I arrived Friday morning

Bradleys Fork above campsite 49

Nice sized spec

Justin fishing a nice stretch

Rainbow that fell victim to Justin's Tennessee Wulff

One last picture on the way out

07-14-2008, 08:28 PM
Craig, your time behind the lens produced some nice results. You truly captured the beauty of high country trout and their habitat. I can't wait to head for the park's backcountry again.

07-14-2008, 08:36 PM
nice bee balm pics....next time you go up, as you cross the bridge about the third time, bradley fork gets on your left, look at the bank to your right,,,,a path will go up...it leads to a single grave of a child

Elk riverrat
07-14-2008, 10:22 PM
my son and I spend a week up there in June of 1986, only saw one other person and it was a hiker that stopped late and spent the night. Don't remember his name but do remember he was an engineer in a battery plant in Florida, he fell coming down the trail from the AT, he was cut and bruised all over.

We had a ball, I think of that trip often, son is married and 28, I'm 50. My first wife was dealing with breast cancer and it was one of the few long trips we got to do in 3 years. She passed in 1989, I remarried 4 years later and ever time I've tried to take my new bride to Cabin Flats it is always closed due to bears, I've pretty much given up. Glad to hear you got to camp and had a good time.

You will cherish these trips as you get older.

07-14-2008, 11:57 PM
MM2888 -- great pics and thank you for sharing! Beautiful fish!


07-15-2008, 09:24 AM

That is neat about the grave i wish i would have known about that before we went up there so we could have stopped by.

It was a good trip and i would like to plan another trip up there sometime to fish some of the other tribs even further up like frowning rock prong!

07-15-2008, 05:22 PM
Is the first picture of "cabin flats?" What is cabin flats? Thanks.


07-15-2008, 06:06 PM
the first pic is of the mountain farm museum at oconoluftee......cabin flats is the name of the back country campsite

07-15-2008, 06:08 PM

Craig took the first picture at the Oconaluftee Vistor's Center before we got underway. Cabin Flats is the name of backcountry campsite #49, which sits on a flat area with fairly open woods situated right along upper Bradley Fork.

07-15-2008, 06:59 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I've never made it up that way. Looks like I should.


Dancing Bear
07-15-2008, 08:08 PM
Did you see any? I haven't been to Cabin Flats since the 80's when I backpacked but didn't fish. We never went to that area without having a bear encounter. I still have a water bottle with teeth marks from an overnight visitor from back then. Cabin Flats was one of our favorite places to camp.

07-15-2008, 08:30 PM
Dancing Bear,

I am the guy fishing in one of Craig's pictures. We did not see any bears, but we did see a fresh bear track on the Cabin Flats trail on the hike in. We also noticed a lot of hog sign near the campsite.

07-16-2008, 06:34 AM
Like justin said, we didn't see any, but supposedly that area is pretty bad for them. I believe justin told me that from that area all the way over into cataloochee and big creek was bad for bears because there are alot of trees that produce a significant amount of acorns and food for the bears so they tend to hang out in the area, makes sense.

I'm sure if we would have been looking hard enough we would have found a bear up in the woods spying down on us, but i tend not to look for things like that. I would bet that we walked by a few during the course of our trip.

About the hogs, we noticed small hog prints on the cabin flats trail and then an area near the campsite where they had rooted around the soil. It looked like someone had run a tiller around back there. I emailed the park service to let them know so maybe then will send a ranger back there to try and find them.

07-16-2008, 09:17 AM
Craig, as usual great report and great pictures!!

The park does have a hog eradication project, so they would be interested in knowing where you saw the "tiller" signs.

As Sam said from another thread, just put a Honey handprint on you partner's back and you'll never have to worry about the bears...especially if you can out run him (Justin, that is...)

07-16-2008, 12:16 PM
Ha! If it ever comes down to a foot race between Craig and me, I will just have to wave a white flag and pray the bear already has a full stomach.

07-16-2008, 05:48 PM
One of the gentleman eradicating is staying at the house at the bottom of the deep creek campground. I am sure he'll be out on them after they receive your email.

07-16-2008, 06:01 PM
Were there hogs reported in that area? We stayed there last november and again in may and didn't see any traces, but of course that's not to say they weren't there. Any word on whether or not he got any around deep creek?

07-16-2008, 07:41 PM
I am pretty sure he did. Not 100 percent positive though, I went camping a few weeks back with one of his roommates for the summer. Bugg is working the trail crew I will ask him for a number, I am pretty sure he did. I know he is gallivanting around with some night vis goggles and a night vision scope on the old rifle..... I ran into some people walking up to Clingmans for the sunset that said they m,et him one night and he was as startled as they were. I'll get back to ya on that one though as soon as I get some info Craig. Shoot me an email when you get some time, I have some info for you on what I think is one of our favortie watersheds.

old tom
07-18-2008, 12:48 PM
I'm guessing he got rid of the hogs on the lower section of Deep Creek. I run that trail on a regular basis and during the winter there was a spot a little over a mile up the trail that was "tilled" on a regular basis. It shows no sign of hogs now.

On a related note, I saw my first hogs this past spring. I was doing a bike ride on Fontana Road (aka the Road to Nowhere). I was coming back toward town and had settled in for the long pull up from Noland Creek. Heard a rustle to my left up the hill and got a glimpse of something black. My first thought was bear cub - where's the momma and how fast can I turn this bike around and how fast can I go down hill. Turned out to be a sow and three piglets. They are skiddish creatures and were gone in a flash.