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View Full Version : Mingus Creek and/or Collins Creek - GSMNP


kevin.hoyt
08-06-2010, 08:53 PM
Does anyone have any info on Mingus Creek or Collins Creek on the NC side of GSMNP? I am heading over that way on business and would like to try one or both of these streams.

tennswede
08-06-2010, 09:39 PM
Collins creek is very tight and only has an old manway following it. It does provide for some open spots the first hundred yards or so in the picnic area. Mingus I have no idea, I assume it's not much easier than Collins. Collins has some decent fishing though, if you know how to crawl and fight rhodo.

flyman
08-07-2010, 12:50 AM
Hans gave a pretty good description of these two streams. Both of those steams are small and water levels have been running below normal. IMO these small streams fish better in the spring when the water levels are a little higher. Plenty of other water in the area that might offer better fishing.

JoeFred
08-07-2010, 11:45 AM
Monday I tried Collins Creek and even though a recent hard rain was evident, it was hard to find pools large enough to fish. I want to try it again in the spring. I did have some degree of luck on Walker Camp Prong that day however. Didn't bring anything to hand though. It was either a case of my fly not being tied on properly or... it was one huge speck I hooked. I choose to believe the latter.:smile:

JF

kevin.hoyt
08-07-2010, 01:13 PM
Does anyone have a few tips on the Bradley Creek area adjacent to Smokemont? Jim Casada's book and others say this is a good spot to potentially hit a species-type grand slam.

pineman19
08-07-2010, 09:29 PM
Kevin,

Bradley Fork is a very nice stream. There is a possibility of catching a slam, but you would need to hike approximately 4 + miles to the Cabin Flats area. I fished Bradley last Sunday, had a nice day, water levels were great. I didn't catch any browns which was disappointing, but I hooked a lot of feisty bows in the 6-10" range. Bradley is one of the most beautiful streams in the Park IMO. Pretty easy wading, nice runs and pools. The trail is a gentle grade all the way to Cabin Flats. You'll have a better chance at browns closer to the campground, but I have caught them all the way up to Cabin Flats. Nothing against Collins or Mingus, but unless you wanna bushwhack, Bradley is a far better fishing destination IMO.

Neal

Grampus
09-15-2010, 10:42 PM
Does anyone have a few tips on the Bradley Creek area adjacent to Smokemont? Jim Casada's book and others say this is a good spot to potentially hit a species-type grand slam.
I have caught all 3 species within a mile of Smokemont campground several times. Probably one of the most accessible and easiest place to get the slam.

Grampus
Jim Parks

oldhickory
09-15-2010, 11:13 PM
Does anyone have a few tips on the Bradley Creek area adjacent to Smokemont? Jim Casada's book and others say this is a good spot to potentially hit a species-type grand slam.


Kevin,

I got my first grand slam on the Bradley a few years ago. I will usually camp at Smokemont and fish Bradley and the Lufty. Bradley is a great stream to fish, especially above the campground, although, I have caught lots of trout right in the campground.

Michael

Jim Casada
09-16-2010, 07:32 AM
Kevin-hoyt--Bradley Fork is a great stream, but you are not going to find specks in the lower reaches near Smokemont. I don't believe I said lower Bradley Fork was a good place for a Smoky slam, and if I did it's a serious error. I'll check later today to be sure. You would have to get way upstream in the Tennessee Branch or Cabin Flats area for that to happen. If that's your interest, I would advise going to nearby Straight Fork or fishing upper Luftee (Beech Flats Prong). That may be what you have in mind since you say the "Bradley Fork area."
While it might not be the ideal choice for a one-day slam, unless you want to walk a lot, Bradley Fork is a fine trout stream. There are lots of big, long pools in the lower reaches which hold some good fish.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
Jim Casada

Jim Casada
09-16-2010, 07:37 AM
Kevin.hoyt--Previous posts pretty well sum up the situation on Mingus and Collins creeks. They are about the same size and fish best in the spring and early summer. Both hold plenty of fish, albeit running to the small side. There's no maintained trail on Collins Creek and maybe the most interesting thing about it which comes to mind is that it was the late Harry Middleton's favorite stream.
Mingus Creek is served by a trail and probably isn't quite as overgrown, overall, as Collins Creek. There's lots of history here, with the old mill at the mouth drawing thousands of visitors. Yet not one in a thousand of them visit any of the nearby graveyards or notice the vestiges of old home sites.
If you want a small stream that is really productive, drive down to Deep Creek, walk a half mile up it, take the Indian Creek Trail for a mile or so, and start fishing.
Finally, I cover both Collins and Mingus Creeks in some detail in my book.
Have a good trip.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Grampus
09-16-2010, 08:23 PM
Kevin-hoyt--Bradley Fork is a great stream, but you are not going to find specks in the lower reaches near Smokemont. I don't believe I said lower Bradley Fork was a good place for a Smoky slam, and if I did it's a serious error. www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)
Jim Casada
------------------------

Sorry, Mr Casada but you are wrong regarding presence of specks in the lower reaches of Bradley Fork! As I stated in an earlier post, I've done it several times with the last being 7/24/10, using a BH Prince. I typically do not fish past the connection of Bradley Fork Trail and Smokemont Loop Trail. In fact, Troutman's son caught his first speck in this area few years ago. I'm sure he'll share the photo if needed. I typically fish Bradley Fork 3 to 4 times a year and catch at least one speck on 75% of the trips.

One thing I've learned in fishing the Smokies 30+ years is to expect the unexpected. That's the beauty of fishing!

Grampus
Jim Parks

Jim Casada
09-17-2010, 07:20 AM
Jim--Thanks for the info, and I'm glad to hear that I'm wrong. Obviously I have to base things on my experiences or personal information, and I haven't caught a speck or until now had not known of one in lower Bradley Fork until your post.
It does confirm one thing I've observed elsewhere. specks have considerably expanded their range from the situation which existed 30 or 40 years ago, and they've done so in many streams where Park officials have not been involved in restoration in any way. Straight Fork, Beech Flats Prong, and as you now report, Bradley Fork, are among many examples. One or two fish don't prove much, but you say you've done it several times and that's good enough for me. I wonder if they came from Chasteen Creek or worked their way down from way upstream on Bradley Fork proper?

In my view what it suggests is that Mother Nature is probably doing a much better job of restocking than man, and I have some theories in that regard (and they are just theories).

(1) Never mind the maunderings of the minions of Al Gore about global warming (or climate change, or whatever the term du jour is), I think many Smokies streams have actually cooled a bit over the years. Certainly there is far more canopy cover than was the situation in the decades immediately following creation of the Park. That makes things better for specks (and worse for smallmouth, which are not nearly as widespread in Park waters as they were in the 1950s and 1960s).
(2) Park streams aren't as prone to siltation as they once were. Again, I think more vegetation, especially trees, re-establishing in old fields and open areas means less dirt washing into creeks. This helps specks, which are more affected by this than browns or 'bows.
(3) It may well be that prevailing theories about specks being unable to get along with 'bows and browns in the Smokies are wrong. After all, they do co-exist in fine fashion in Western streams
(4) Increased acidification (Ohio Valley coal plants) may, somewhat perversely, be helping specks or, more to the point, hurting 'bows and browns more. They don't tolerate highly acidic waters quite as well.
These are just observations, but I find it intensely interesting that the Park, TU, countless volunteers, and lots of dollars (some of them mine) have gone towards restoring specks and evidence such as you have provided increasingly suggests that none of this has been as effective as nature.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Crockett
09-17-2010, 08:36 AM
This speck topic where people find them unexpectedly might make a good thread. I stayed at Cataloochee front country campground over labor day and caught 2 specs. The first one I caught was right behind palmer chapel on palmer creek. I was a bit surprised since that is low but not too suprised although on previous trips I never got into specks until up near the confluence of palmer and pretty hollow creek only rainbows. The second speck I caught though was right behind the front country campground in cataloochee creek! This was below the confluence of caldwell fork and palmer right next to the campground. I was a bit shocked by this only expecting to catch bows or browns in there. It was about 6 inches in length and a fine looking speck. Any thoughts on that Jim? This leads me to believe that one could potentially get a slam right at the cataloochee front country campground too now although I did not.

Jim Casada
09-17-2010, 09:11 AM
Adam--I'm not too surprised, since specks are plentiful upstream of where you were. What I do find interesting is the timing--during the warmest water period of the year (although temperatures have dropped a good bit in the last couple of weeks).
I hope others will weigh in on this, and I can guarantee that Fred Turner is following it with interest as he endeavors to update the Park's stream/species survey (which is sadly out of date, totally out of funds, and was incomplete even when they had funding).
In my view it takes more than one speck to mean much, because an odd fish can "wander" or get washed downstream. However, when I get reports like Jim's about catching them with some consistency on lower Bradley Fork, it opens my eyes. I've only fished Bradley Fork once in the last two years and I didn't catch a speck (although I caught a passel of rainbows and three or four browns). But one trip doesn't mean much other than to give a general impression. He's got me sufficiently curious to head up there this coming week.
I'll also be interested to see what kind of response, if any, my thoughts on the natural expansion of the range of specks in the last decade or so draws. I'll have to see what Matt Kulp thinks as well, although I know he's on board with the change as regards smallmouth. In fact, he is the one who originally gave me the idea.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

Troutman
09-17-2010, 10:50 AM
Here is the photo Grampus was speaking of.

This was Evan's first brook trout and what a fun day we had on Bradley fork. I was more excited than he was! Seems like a long time ago, summer 2006, he's grown up now and leaving for college next fall.

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l114/gltroutman/EvansFirstTrout2006-1.jpg

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l114/gltroutman/EvansBrookie2006.jpg

Jim Casada
09-17-2010, 11:53 AM
Troutman--Now that's a smile to last a lifetime! It's great you captured the moment through a camera lens. How old was he when he caught the speck? I remember my first trout on a fly (at the age of nine) as clearly as if it was yesterday, as opposed to almost 60 years ago. In fact, I'm confident I could pinpoint the location, within 50 yards, on Deep Creek. It was near the Bryson Place. How I wish I had a photo of it.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)
P. S. My father was passing proud too, although he masked it quite nicely at the time. What really got his attention, however, was my first limit of trout three years later (that was when the limit was ten, if memory serves). It came from Indian Creek and I had a couple of dandies in the 11-12 inch range, which was (and is) a huge trout for that stream.

JoeFred
09-17-2010, 12:07 PM
------------------------

... regarding presence of specks in the lower reaches of Bradley Fork! As I stated in an earlier post, I've done it several times with the last being 7/24/10, using a BH Prince. I typically do not fish past the connection of Bradley Fork Trail and Smokemont Loop Trail. In fact, Troutman's son caught his first speck in this area few years ago. I'm sure he'll share the photo if needed. I typically fish Bradley Fork 3 to 4 times a year and catch at least one speck on 75% of the trips.

One thing I've learned in fishing the Smokies 30+ years is to expect the unexpected. That's the beauty of fishing!

Grampus
Jim Parks

The distribution map snipit shows what the NPS Fisheries Management sampling revealed, but this could have been a number of years ago. Based on the map they first saw specks in Bradley Fork at the mouth of Taywa Creek and in Chasteen Creek just below Upper Chasteen campsite.

http://www.smokystreams.com/mbpics/thread14282_pic1.jpg

It think this revelation shared by Grampus and Troutman is really special, but not nearly as much so as taking your kids fishing. I hereby propose we petition the Park Service to officially name one of the feeder streams above Smokemont Evans Branch. :smile:

JF

JoeFred
09-17-2010, 12:53 PM
This speck topic where people find them unexpectedly might make a good thread. I stayed at Cataloochee front country campground over labor day and caught 2 specs. The first one I caught was right behind palmer chapel on palmer creek. I was a bit surprised since that is low but not too suprised although on previous trips I never got into specks until up near the confluence of palmer and pretty hollow creek only rainbows. The second speck I caught though was right behind the front country campground in cataloochee creek! This was below the confluence of caldwell fork and palmer right next to the campground. I was a bit shocked by this only expecting to catch bows or browns in there. It was about 6 inches in length and a fine looking speck. Any thoughts on that Jim? This leads me to believe that one could potentially get a slam right at the cataloochee front country campground too now although I did not.

Great stuff, Adam! Specks found down low in the drainage by NPS Fisheries Management sampling a number of years ago include:

Little Cataloochee Creek just below Correll Branch
Sag Branch (a Caldwell Fork feeder.)
Caldwell Fork just above Sag Branch
Short distance up Pretty Hollow Creek (a Palmer Creek feeder.)
Palmer Creek just below Lost Bottom Creek
Hurricane Creek (a Rough Fork feeder. RF feeds Palmer Creek.)
JF

Crockett
09-17-2010, 01:14 PM
If that is the case Fred then I can tell you that the specks definitely seem to be spreading down lower into big cataloochee valley now. If I had just caught one I wouldn't be as sure about it as having caught 2 within a couple of hours of each other. When I go back over I will get some pics if I catch anymore down low.

Troutman
09-17-2010, 01:32 PM
Jim, Evan was 12-13 years old when he caught that spec. I remember it vividly. the area above where this pict was taken was a nice flat pool and I was coaching him on where to cast the dry fly into a bubble line. He was getting a little frustrated with missing strikes and at the time was still learning how to present a fly drag free, but this time it worked perfectly for him. Good memories. :smile:

JoeFred
09-17-2010, 05:10 PM
Troutman, I was being fairly serious about their naming a stream after your son. You, of course, would need to agree to such. Shoot, I heard that back when the park was being surveyed by TVA/USGS, someone on the crew would ask, "what are we going to call this one?" To which someone would reply, "lets name it for our rodman. Let's go with Toms (or whatever) Creek?" In my opinion, a 12-13 year old angler catching a speck where none were once thought to exist is about as good as it gets when it comes to surveying... and that's coming from someone who was a rodman working summers with TDOT. Hey, I busted my buns toting that rod and bushwhaking and I never got as much as a culvert named in my honor.:smile:

The Department of the Interior would probably cite a bunch of reasons why there can be no Evans Branch, but the thought they might just go along is intriguing. After all, we're not talking about the Nobel Peace Prize here.:rolleyes:

JF

JoeFred
09-18-2010, 02:40 AM
If that is the case Fred then I can tell you that the specks definitely seem to be spreading down lower into big cataloochee valley now. If I had just caught one I wouldn't be as sure about it as having caught 2 within a couple of hours of each other. When I go back over I will get some pics if I catch anymore down low.

Adam, I don't doubt what you're saying in the least. I like Jim's theories on the success the specks appear to be having on their own. I am impressed by the extent of the park you have fished just since I started following the message board. You just may become your generation's Bobby Kilby.

Crockett
09-18-2010, 10:27 PM
haha well Fred the real reason I was over in Cataloochee was to make plans for my upcoming wedding at Palmer chapel on Oct. 23rd. After getting married I hope I can still do all the fishing I get to do now you know. Amanda is a country girl from Russellville and seems to understand my affliction so I got that going for me.

Owl
09-19-2010, 02:39 AM
Although it's no great feat, I'll add that the "lowest" I've caught a brook trout was in the Little River at the Y.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said that though. ;)

The "lowest" I've caught a native brook trout was just below the falls of Indian Creek. I was surprised to catch two there in short order, among a small pool just below the falls pool. No doubt they somehow dropped down from further upstream.

Perhaps the changes you mentioned, Jim are the reason for the change in dominant species in Deep Creek and others? And while I'm at it - I sure like reading your common sense posts. Just saying. Thanks for that.