View Full Version : Cataloochee & Big Creek (10/6-10/8)

10-13-2008, 10:52 AM
Sorry it took a while to get a report up, but I had to go out of town when I got back from my camping trip.
Well, I was suppose to go to the Deep Creek backcountry, but because I had a bad cold we decided on a frontcountry campground. And since we moved to a frontcountry campground we decided to move to Cataloochee over Deep Creek. Not because of the fishing, but because I really enjoy that area and the gentleman going with me had never been there before and was excited about the prospect of seeing elk. So, here goes, we made it into Cataloochee Valley around lunch and set up camp,
a couple of twin marmots, I had recently ordered this tent and my fishing partner had recently sent back a tent that he wasn't happy with and I told him that I loved mine so he ordered one

We decided to try our luck on Palmer Creek first, because in my past experience that has been the easiest creek to fish. My friend caught three fish rather quickly (a brown, rainbow, and brook), but that was it for the next couple of hours. I started out with an October Caddis and fished the water right below the bridge with no luck I switched over to a Parachute Adams and fished back up the same stretch of water and began to get strikes as well as a couple of hook ups. Fly selection settled.
first fish

another really fat rainbow


10-13-2008, 11:12 AM
Not sure if I used all of my allowed space, but caught a few more rainbows and browns

all in all not a lot of fish, but not a bad day, there were quiet a few people in the valley, most were watching elk, but some were fishing.
We went out to see the elk. Didn't get any real good pictures but the elk were active and bugling. The status of herd bull had clearly been settled. This 7X7 was staying close, but was also run off a couple of times by a bull with more antler and body mass. Notice the broken tines

The next morning we decided to fish the gorge from the 3rd bridge at Asbury Crossing back up to the second bridge just above the group campsite.
Here is the gauge at Asbury Crossing

and at water level, the lowest I have ever seen it, right on 2 ft

We fished up the gorge and had more of the same (or maybe I should say less of the same) type of fishing as the day before. This is beautiful water, but I think it fishes as tough as anywhere in the park. Did catch a few, like this brown

Forgot to mention the water temp down at the gauge was 51 degrees.
That evening we traded wading boots for hiking boots and walked up Caldwell Fork, that creek actually looked pretty good and managed a little fishing there as well, including this brown

Wednesday morning it was raining and we packed up and headed across the gravel road to Big Creek I had never fished Big Creek before. We hiked up to the Midnight Hole and fished up to the entrance of Mouse Creek. Totally different situation. This is a big streambed with a lot of big rocks. We got more fish to rise but hooked up less often. Catching nothing but small rainbows. All in all I had hoped for better fishing and might would have found it at Deep Creek. But I enjoyed the trip and showing a friend a new area. Would also like to go back and try Big Creek on up stream around the Walnut Bottom area, maybe in the Spring.

10-13-2008, 01:05 PM
Cataloochee is a tough area to fish, don't get discouraged. Any angler that has fished it can tell you that there has been a day when it seems like you couldn't buy a fish there.

As far as big creek goes, you will catch nothing but small rainbows up until walnut bottoms then you will start to get some specs. The stream actually has a steeper gradient in the lower stretches and flattens out once you get about a mile or so above mouse creek.

10-14-2008, 10:01 AM
Very nice pictures! There is no place in the park I would rather fish than Cataloochee (admitedly I haven't been everywhere in the park...yet) and no place that can be harder to catch fish. I don't know why. I keep going back every chance I get because of the elk and scenery which are there even if the fish aren't.