View Full Version : Slickrock Creek - 10.11.08

10-13-2008, 01:55 AM
Another weekend of firsts. I had the pleasure of trying a new stream with Tennswede. We met up at 0-dark-30 and drove across the Dragon in the dark to Cheoah dam and the Slickrock creek trailhead. We hit the trail to the mouth of Slickrock creek at 7:15am in the shadows before dawn. The trail started out passable enough, but quickly went to **** after the intersection with the Ike Branch Trail.

The lower Slickrock trail has not been maintained very well and is quite rocky and washed out in many spots. The canyon the Cheoah goes through is incredibly steep and quite honestly its amazing that a trail even exists through this area.

After about an hours hike, we managed to come to the Slickrock Creek inlet high above Slickrock Creek. Through a break in the trees we could see across the stream to a large dead tree and a bald eagle scanning the river. A very impressive site.

We hiked up the Slickrock Creek Trail until it came down to the water and afforded us an opportunity to fish. The water was low and probably in the upper 50s (I had my thermometer but never broke it out to check). The stream isn't wide, so we split up and fished separate sections. Our results were not encouraging. After about an hour, neither of us had even seen any browns. The stream didn't seem to offer much favorable brown trout habitat, and the existence of Smoky Mtn Cutthrouts we took to be a bad sign. Where ever the shiners roam, its usually a sign that bigger fish don't inhabit the same area. We decided to hike upstream and try fishing above the falls.

We made it above the falls by 11am and fished upstream from there. While the stream looked more favorable in this section and we did see a few trout, we couldn't entice any of them to even look at a fly, let alone take one. We fished without any success until we reached the other end of the Ike Branch Trail that intersects with the creek. It was now 12:30 and neither of us had caught a trout. Hans hiked ahead to scout the section above the trail intersection and thought it looked like it was even skinnier than what we had been fishing, so we decided to call it a day on Slickrock Creek and head for some more favorable waters.

We hiked out over Ike Branch Trail (a good heart pumping trail in much better shape than Slickrock Trail) and made it back to the truck a little after 2pm.

Next stop was Straight Fork. I had never fished there before and was pleasantly surprised at the shape the stream was in. It was very fishable and had lots of nice holding areas. I managed to keep my skunk on, while Hans starting catching fish. He managed a few rainbows and browns including a very nice, fat brown at the very end of a drift that he yanked right out of the stream.

We fished along the road, below and above the intersection of the Hyatt Ridge Trail for the next couple of hours. Hans hiked up ahead of me scouting some water and ran across a 250 lb bear that was a little too curious for his liking. The bear stopped and sniffed at him for a little bit before Hans chased him away by banging his wading staff/walking stick on the ground a few times (and probably yelling expletives at the bear, but I could never confirm this).

We wound up fishing until about 7p. All-in-all not a very productive day on the stream in terms of numbers of fish, but we did manage to get in about 8 miles of hiking in some very nice areas as well as see some wildlife and try some new water. It was great fun fishing with Hans and I appreciated the opportunity to try one of his favorite streams. We traded lots of stories and had a lot of fun. Next time Neal, no excuses...

As for Slickrock Creek, I think we both agreed that it has seen better days. The extended drought and low water has driven out (or killed off) the browns that may have been in the lower sections. I read some reviews today that say the best fishing is up around the Fat Gap Trail, but my guess is that the water up there is little more than a trickle right now and not much better. If anyone has fished up there lately I'd love to hear how it is.

10-13-2008, 08:30 AM
Straight Fork is a good stream - I always manage to catch at least a few every time we go there. It only has 2 drawbacks that I have noticed: 1. The road closes in the middle of November for the year, and 2. It seems to be a popular place for the kids from Cherokee to "park"...we find a lot of beer cans, etc every time we fish there.

10-13-2008, 09:27 AM
I heard from a biologist that slickrock is a mere shadow of its former self. I believe that statement after hearing about several similar fishing reports from there like yours. If i remember correctly they have surveyed the stream relatively recently and found that there were not large numbers of fish in the stream. I know it is fairly low in elevation and i imagine the drought has really had an effect on this stream like you mentioned.

10-13-2008, 07:56 PM
Thank you Pete for being a good sport about it yesterday. It wasn't one of the better days that's for sure but from an outdoor perspective you couldn't ask for more really. Let's hope for some rain later this week if not I'll have a backup plan for Saturday. You better tie up some black and red zebra midges in 20 and 22 sizes. Talk to you later.

10-14-2008, 12:19 AM

I don't need to make any excuses. I have put in plenty of time fishing in the Smokies this year!


10-14-2008, 12:53 PM

I don't need to make any excuses. I have put in plenty of time fishing in the Smokies this year!


Actually Neal I'm quite jealous! It sounded like you had a lot more luck than Hans and I did. We need to get out fishing sometime...

10-14-2008, 03:38 PM

I apologize for being a little sensitive. Lately, I think I losing my mind over several issues that have nothing to do with fishing. I was happy with my trip due Deep Creek last week, maybe others with higher standards wouldn't be, but I caught several browns above the last large bridge that were largest ever in the Smokies over about 45 minutes. Now, I haven't fished the brown trout streams much up to this time, so my largest before this trip was around 8", LOL. I caught 4 starting at approximately 3:00 pm that range from 10-12" and they fought like the dickens. No jumps, but they were bulldogs and put a good bend in my 8 1/2' 4 weight. It didn't last long, then it slowed down and the smaller fish were the only action. I do enjoy Deep Creek, and I would like to explore the upper waters when water levels improve. Like you, the highest I have fished is around campsite 59, and I really liked some of the water in that area.



10-14-2008, 05:01 PM
Neal, No apologies necessary. Hans and I talked about your trip several times during our one-day excursion and wished we could have heard more of the details on Saturday. He said you sounded beat. After a week of sleeping on the ground, I can understand why.

As for Deep Creek, I have actually fished the upper 4 miles to just below CS#53 as well as the lower 5 miles up to CS#59, its the 5.2 in the middle that I can't seem to make it to, as a day trip. That one would require an overnighter and if the weather (rain) ever cooperates, I may have to give it a shot.

The upper area can be great if the water level is good. You have a really good shot of a quick "Slam" by catching Browns, Brookies and 'Bows right in the same section of water. But the hike out can be a bit taxing...

10-27-2008, 04:18 PM
I haven't been on SR in along time now maybe 10 years. I have camped back there 3 times though and day hiked it a few more. Don't think I would fish the lower end except in winter or spring (lake run fish) The browns are above the first water fall. The first person through there sees some fish, after that the browns are on high alert and wedged under a rock! Typcial mountain browns though. I would go in on the Ike Branch trail from now on. That was a hike out with a full pack! Never caught a big brown out of that one but have heard many stories. Low water spooky browns.
How long from SR to Straight Fork, couple of hours? You might try Big Santeetlah over there sometime, find the road which follows the stream and fish up that way(at least a mile above the lake). It would likely have been loooowww too though.

10-27-2008, 06:52 PM
Our main problem was the fact that this time the creek had no water in it. It was as low as Little River gets in this drought. Add to that no gradient and very few holding places. I wouldn't do this stream again unless the water table is refilled after this horrible drought we are in. Upstream of Ike Branch there was literally no water. two inches deep runs.

10-28-2008, 03:05 PM
Me and a friend went to Slickrock Creek towards the end of June or the beginning of July and had similar results. We managed to spook a few small fish and caught 4 o r5 on the day but it was a miserable day of fishing. We went in from Fat Gap and walked 2 hours downstream from the intersection with Slickrock Creek trail and fished until dark. It was the single worst day I have had all year. I'm glad to know it isn't only me, I was hoping for something special over there..... as for Straight Fork....Are you sure the road closes in November?? I have been over there in the dead of winter fishing before, in the snow....just like yesterday in Deep Creek...

old tom
10-28-2008, 05:36 PM
Spec - The road closes to vehicles on 11/9.

10-28-2008, 07:58 PM
hmm, it must have been either early in the spring or early November....i know the browns were hitting dry flies in the snow....