View Full Version : Planning a trip to Hazel Creek...
Well, I'm 40 years old this year and although I've fished many of the park streams, including several of the hike-in variety, I've never found my way over to Hazel. I've researched the usual stuff, and from photos and descriptions on the internet I think I know what to expect - but I was wondering if anyone here might have anything to help us on our virgin trip to this historic area and fabled stream?
I'm thinking mid-May. Gray or brown caddis. Maybe a hendrickson or two left over?
Any help, advice, well wishers, jinxes, suggestions or warnings about haunted trails, killer squirrels or poison spiders are appreciated. :)
To be honest with you, I don't care if I don't catch a single fish. I'll just be happy to finally see ole Ms. Hazel in person.
03-30-2010, 07:54 PM
Owl--It's a storied place and one I've visited countless times, although today it is far from being my favorite destination in the Smokies (too many people). As for flies, those you mention are fine but I'd have some attractor patterns, some Parachute Adams for sure, and some small beadhead nymphs to fish in tandem with the dry flies.
I would also recommend two specific things to make for a better experience:
(1) If you have that option, go during the week, with Monday through Thursday being optimal days.
(2) I'd recommend a non-horse campground, although in the case of Bone Valley there's a sort of horse and no-horse separation, but sometimes the horse folks pay absolutely no attention on that score.
03-30-2010, 08:33 PM
Good advice from Jim as usual. I would stay at #84 and and walk up to #83 (Bone Valley) to look around. #84 is much more appealing and there not far apart. Easy hike from the lake.
03-30-2010, 08:49 PM
If it was me I would stay at 85 (sawdust pile). Bigger water and better hatches. Mid may should be yellow yellow and more yellow. Sally and the mayfly kind. Yellow Stimulators in different sizes and you are covered. Too many people and activity up around Bone Valley.
Thank you all.
Jim and Swede - when you say "too many people" - how many people are we talking about? I don't really mind people as much as the fellow that goes with me does - he always wants to play mountain man and find somewhere without a soul for 3 miles. :)
Also, the fact that I have sort of a bum knee right now comes into play. ( I have no trouble walking, but going uphill isn't really pleasant so I'm wondering about the trail - although on topo software it looks about as flat as we get in the Blue Ridge) Anyway, the knee is going to keep us from hiking up farther than the first one or two BC sites, I'm afraid. I haven't even tried walking around with the pack on loaded yet, and may even have to build a little cart to wheel it in. That said, I still want to go having never seen it. If I don't go now, who knows - I could end up moving away or getting hit by a bus or whatever. I've decided that no matter what, I'm going to start doing the things I've wanted to do before both knees go or some of that other stuff happens and I can't do it.
That said, I wouldn't want to ruin my buddy's trip though. If there are going to be people 1000 yards from each other on the river, or campgrounds that are filled to max, we may have to rethink our trip and go elsewhere. Due to work, we can only go on the weekend as far as I know( I'll ask him). But heck, anywhere we go that my knee will allow me to go is going to have people at this time of year.
Thanks for the help and to those that have emailed me too. I appreciate it greatly. As always if anyone here ever finds themselves in need of fishing info for GA trout water, let me know and I will help you all I can.
Oh and TNSwede, I was googling for info on Hazel and actually came upon your blog! I enjoyed reading about your trip to Hazel very much!
03-31-2010, 10:16 PM
Owl, I too had wanted to get over to Hazel to say I have done it, but honestly I was amazed at how many other folks were over there when Hans and I made the trip last year. Now don't get me wrong, we're not talking about tailwater type crowding. You should be able to find lots of free water, but it doesn't have the same "hidden gem" feeling that many of the other places in the park, that are off the beaten path have.
On weekends in May you can expect that the campsites will be full (or close to it). If you can go during the week, you would be much better off. But even if the campsites are full, its a pretty big stream; you should be able to find some water...
The trail is easy, but if you have a bum knee, I would heed Hans' advice and stick to 85. There are a couple of sites right along the creek, but I think the ones on the other side of the trail are nicer and more secluded. This way you can drop your pack and head up stream (or up trail) to your heart's content.
04-01-2010, 08:16 AM
I'll give you my $.02 worth. Our last trip to Hazel was several years ago before the marina when up on their prices. It was mid-May. We went over on a Monday and came back on Friday. We stayed at Bone Valley where there was one other group of three. On the way up Proctor and Sawdust Pile were empty and Sugar Fork had one tent on it. There was also a group of 5 or so at Calhoun.
On Thursday evening a group on horseback came into Bone Valley, but camped away from us over a small hill and out of site. On our way out Friday, Sugar Fork, Sawdust Pile and Proctor were all virtually full. Ran into a friend from Charlotte who said he was on a trip with Jesse Brown Outfitters, so that explained some of the crowds. On the boat ride back to the marina, the driver said they alone had over 50 people over on Hazel.
With all that said, go anyway. Just don't expect to find a lot of solitude in the first 5 miles of stream over the weekend. If your knees will handle it, walk above Bone Valley to fish - and don't pass up Bone itself as "too small". The trail up to Bone Valley rises about 500 feet from the tailhead - a very easy hike. Even with that many fly fishermen on the creek, most of them fished within a mile or so of their campsites. Just like any stream in the Park, the further you get from the trailhead, the fewer people you'll see.
Bone Valley is my favorite because of the short hike to Cold Spring and Bone V. Ck itself is right there. Trail is old RR bed, and up to Sugar Fork is as good and flat as they come, last stretch to BV is a bit rockier and not as wide. Do not know how you would build a cart, but game carts from Cabelas have always worked for us. Easy to put two 55 gal plastic boxes from Rubbermade on a cart, and all fits inside. Just make sure you find the right balance point that puts it in a position to push without fighting weight imbalance. Echo what has been said abt yellow and orange stimmies, really all I end up using because I start with one and end up never changing. Have a great trip to a magical place. Skip
Thanks for all the info guys. Will let you know how it turns out if we make it up there! I appreciate the help!
04-11-2010, 03:11 PM
Sorry I missed this thread, Pete and the other pretty much summed it up though. #85 would be the one I would pick as stated earlier.
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