View Full Version : fishing above Tremont

10-02-2008, 08:48 PM
If anyone can help me, I would like to know the difference between fishing off of the middle prong trail, the panther creek trail, lynn camp prong, or up into sams creek? If anyone has any coments on these areas, I sure would like to hear your input. thanks again!!

10-02-2008, 09:04 PM
Fishing off the Middle Prong Trail (Lynn Camp Prong), and any of its tributaries is off limits because of the brook trout restoration project for the next few years. If you went up there right now, you would find no fish in those streams as they have all been eliminated to be replaced with brook trout in the spring.

However, you can fish in Thunderhead Prong and Sams Creek. Between the two, I would go to Sams Creek and fish for brookies. I've always found Thunderhead Prong to be a little thin on rainbows though a number of bows were transplanted from Lynn Camp Prong over to Thunderhead during the restoration project.

Are you familiar with how to reach Thunderhead and Sams? If not, holler and we'll get you directions. Both are reached from the parking lot at the top of Middle Prong above Tremont.

10-02-2008, 09:23 PM
the map I have shows that Sams creek is at the y at the end of the road past tremont. I shows it is off to the right going upriver. However, my map does not have Thunderhead prong listed. Is it close Sams creek?

10-02-2008, 09:36 PM
What you are thinking is sams creek is thunderhead prong. Sams creek runs into thunderhead prong about a mile or so upstream from thunderhead's confluence with lynn camp, at which point it forms the middle prong of the little river.

10-02-2008, 09:45 PM
thanks mtnman2888 and nvr2l8 for the information. are these areas hard to fish? what size are these streams?

10-03-2008, 06:46 AM
Thunderhead is most likely still pretty low since they haven't had any rain recently, and therefore i'm sure sams creek is low as well. I was up in june with the water low and both thunderhead and sams creek were still fishable, just a little skinny. Sams creek is definitely a little tighter than thunderhead, with both having a pretty tight canopy in spots. If you're familiar with small stream fishing then i would have no concerns. I have caught one brown up thunderhead one time, but other than that all you will catch is rainbows until you get around sams creek, then some specs will mix in.

10-03-2008, 06:57 AM

These are small streams. But they are not that difficult to fish. While you won't have a lot of room for big back casts, for the most part there is adequate room for getting your fly up stream. The lower part of Sams Creek is difficult just because it is very tough getting anywhere up the bank - you pretty much have to stay in the stream.

However, if you are interested in fishing Sams, get on what is called Defeat Ridge Trail directly across the bridge from the parking lot and to the right (there are no signs to this trail). This will continue along Thunderhead prong and you will cross over Thunderhead on a metal bridge. Keep going on this trail even though it leaves the stream for a while. It will curve back around to Thunderhead above the confluence with Sams. If you cross the stream, you will see the trail pick up on the other side. Keep going on this trail and you will begin to hear Sams to your left. You need to be patient and keep going up this trail above the waterfalls (this is the natural barrier that separates the brookies on the upper part of Sams from the rainbows on Thunderhead and lower Sams. Eventually, the trail will come back close to Sams and you can begin fishing up there in a pure brookie stream.

There is a fairly high canopy over the river in most places here and it is relatively easy to fish this stream (at least as far up as I have been - could get tighter farther up). Sams is a beautiful little stream and I don't think you'll be disappointed. And its always fun to fish for specs.

10-03-2008, 07:51 AM
hey Charlie......from the parking area, how far and difficult of hike is it. I was wondering if it was something Abby could handle. She has done the hike to Abrams Falls and out to Charlies Bunion from N. Gap parking area.

Sure would be nice to get a brookie or two (or 5)

God Bless & Good Fishing

10-03-2008, 08:39 AM
thanks guys for all the info!!

10-03-2008, 05:29 PM

It's more of a walk than a hike. Nothing at all like Abrams or Charlie's Bunion. There is very little change in elevation between the parking lot and where the trail crosses Thunderhead. It climbs a little from the crossing up to Sams but it's a fairly gradual climb. The one time that I fished Sams, I started at its confluence with Thunderhead and went up stream to above the waterfalls and then found the trail coming back out. It was a very quick walk back out. Since it was downhill all the way, I can only guess on the change in elevation but it seemed fairly easy. Nothing like the steep spots on Abrams.

10-04-2008, 11:59 AM
Bob, just to add to what Charlie and Craig have posted. The trail is not difficult, but its not very well maintained, so in a few spots you have to look around and make sure you are heading in the right direction. After you cross the bridge there are two stream crossings to get to Sam's Creek, but the water is so low that they shouldn't be any problem.

You'll know you are at Sam's creek when you get to the hairpin in the trail. There is a faint path that breaks off the trail (at the hairpin) and you'll want to walk a little ways down it before trying to get into the stream. Like most streams, the fishing gets better the farther up the stream you go. Its a bit of a jungle, but the elevation is pretty easy.

Here's a section of a topo on the Defeat Ridge Manyway:

10-30-2008, 04:43 PM
Approximately how long would you say it takes to reach the access to Sam's Creek, that PeteCz describes in the post above (at the point of the hairpin on the topo map), from the Middle Prong parking lot at the confluence of Lynn Camp Prong and Thunderhead prong?

Also, the topo image shows Long Branch (creek?) on the map; do you happen to know whether that stream shows up on the GSMNP trail map. The GSMNP trail map appears to show Sam's Creek, Thunderhead Prong, and Shut-In (Creek?), but I'm not sure.

Any info you anybody could provide would be very much appreciated!


David Ayliffe

10-30-2008, 08:54 PM

If you go all the way up Defeat Ridge Trail, cross Thunderhead and continue on up the trail to the upper part of Sams Creek (at the referenced hairpin), my guess is that it's around 30 - 45 minutes. I have come down that trail but have not gone up it but it doesn't really take that long.

There is a trickle of a creek that runs into Thunderhead from the direction of Long Branch on the map - guess that is it. Hardly seems big enough to even have a name. Guess Mr. Long just wanted to have something named after him.:rolleyes:

10-30-2008, 09:52 PM
I just made a trip up to fish Sam's creek this month and the brookies were very willing. The directions given above are the way I found it, thanks to Pete and Charlie, and Bill at LRO. The walk is easy my 5yr and 9yr old can do it with no problems. It will take about 30 minutes in from the parking area to where you can start fishing Sam's. One word of caution, when you make the creek crossing at Thunderhead I found three foot paths you want the one leading up to the right the other two go no where fast. It is well worth the walk I have made it two times and am looking forward to going back soon. My last trip (about a week and 1/2 ago) the fly of the day was a orange palmer no dropper. Good luck and have fun watch out for the wild pigs I saw about 6-8 up there but no bears.

10-31-2008, 09:36 AM

Gentlemen, thanks very much for the helpful information. I am hoping to try out Sam's Creek tomorrow. This will be my first trip. I am still relatively new to fly fishing, and I have only caught rainbows so far. So, this will also be my first time pursuing our native quarry.

Steve, what was the water level like up there? Also, do you recall what size orange palmer you were successful with?

Thanks again guys,

10-31-2008, 04:54 PM
David, My son and I went up Thunderhead in early October. We didn't quite make it to Sams. Across the foot bridges the water, to me, gets a little skinny. We are new to fly fishing and we fished a little in some of the small pools but we went to lower elevations and found a little more water. It seems that they have had some rain out there since we made our trip. Maybe the water levels have come up some. Just a little info for what it is worth. Have a great trip!! flyguys.

10-31-2008, 09:35 PM
Thanks for the info. I know there was a little rain last week; hopefully, it will have some residual effect. We'll see. Even if we don't catch fish, I think it will be a great day to be out there. Have a great weekend.

10-31-2008, 10:05 PM
My son and I will probably be up there (on Sams) in the afternoon for a few hours. Hopefully the water temps won't be too low for a top water bite.

11-01-2008, 08:17 AM

Steve, what was the water level like up there? Also, do you recall what size orange palmer you were successful with?

Thanks again guys,

The water was a bit skinny, however Sam's has a lot of pools with good water. The palmer was #14 and the stim was also #14 smaller would have been better, but that was what I had. If you get this before you go get a handful of #16 and #14

11-01-2008, 10:39 PM
Was that you and your son headed up to Sam's Creek as we were on our way down this afternoon? If not, I hope whoever it was had better luck than we did.

Thanks for the fly size suggestions. I stopped by LRO on the way up and grabbed some flies. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it happen up there today. I think we may have been out there a little too early for the dry flies, but I don't know. The water did seem a bit low. At any rate, it was certainly beautiful up there today, and I did manage a small rainbow when we got back down to Middle Prong.

Thanks again for the advice,

11-02-2008, 09:21 AM
Yes, We hit the trail from the parking area about 1:30pm and hiked for 2 hours before we started fishing. We were almost to the old BC site and the confluence with Starkey creek. THe water was extremely low and the pools were full of leaves. I slipped on a loose rock and my leg and ankle slipped down into a cravase while I fell backwards onto a boulder. I was lucky to not have broken my ankle. Still a little sore today. We decided to head back down the trail and we hit a few pools below the Thunderhead confluence but we had no luck on dry flies even though there was a lot of small mayflies flying around. We fished down on the lower section of LR for a few minutes but only caught a few tree limbs and leaves! Lets hope we have a wet winter to bring the streams back up to better levels.

11-02-2008, 11:25 PM
Sorry, if I had seen your post before we went up, I would have definitely introduced myself. Apologies.

Wow, two hours. Y'all went way up there. It seemed like, after the switchback (which I think we properly identified but not sure), some kind of trail continued up that dry creekbed? Was that the case, or did you have to hop up those boulders the whole way? Does it ever clear out up the creek a ways, or are those monster boulders on the creek the whole way up?

Yeah, when I saw the little flies around, I thought we things might begin to happen, but it didn't work out. I agree; hopefully, we will have a wet winter.

Glad to hear you weren't hurt seriously!

11-03-2008, 12:17 AM
Sorry you guys had rotten luck. If we caught fish all the time it wouldn't be called fishing it would be called catching:eek: Sam's is a beautiful walk though!!