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cubefisher
08-11-2010, 10:29 AM
All:

I haven't been to Hazel Creek in years. From what I've gleened from this site, it gets really crowded there in May.

Does anyone have a sense for how much more or less crowded it tends to be during weekends in late October/early November? I realize that's a subjective question, and there are not guarantees; I'm just trying to do my homework. I'd hate to take the ferry and be caught in a situation where I had little to no ability to find solitude and fish and be stuck there until Sunday.

Jim Casada
08-11-2010, 10:38 AM
Cubefisher--I am not sure how you define solitude, but if you mean not seeing other anglers I think you can pretty well forget it on a weekend in the fall (or spring, or summer). The one exception would be if you were willing to hike a long way--up to the Calhoun campsite. Even then there are no guarantees, because horses are allowed in that site. As for the lower portions of the stream, a lot of outfitters utilize it because of the ease of access via pontoon and the fact that Hazel Creek buggies let them offer comforts beyond what is normal in the backcountry. For example, I know Ian Rutter, Steve Claxton, Ronnie Parris, Roger Lowe, and others utilize Hazel Creek on a quite regular basis, and if an outfitter has a group of six or eight fishermen in a party they can cover a lot of stream mileage.
ON the other hand, Hazel Creek endures pressure as well as any stream in the Park, and it certainly has plenty of fish and fine fishing. If solitude is what you seek, however, I'd go elsewhere (at least on weekends).
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

cubefisher
08-11-2010, 02:36 PM
Thanks, Jim.

I've gotten used to seeing other anglers; that doesn't bother me as much as it used to. So, to me, solitude is more like not feeling like you're waiting in line to find a place to fish or feeling like you're fishing in someone else's footsteps because there's nowhere to fish where you aren't.

When I was there in the Spring years ago, I think we saw a small group on the way out, but that was it.

We typically fish out of a few select frontcountry sites and can get out of other anglers' way with little to no effort.

thanks for your input/insight!

lexfly
08-12-2010, 12:45 PM
Cubefisher,
I have only been to Hazel once. Mid Sept last year thurs thru Sun. We stayed at bone valley. There was one guy at the site below it and people leaving bone valley when we got there. Other than that we only saw rangers and people at the lake campsite when we left. Although there was one very curious bear or several as we all saw one at different times. I think October is a different story from what I hear. I will hopefully be back there (or somewhere down that way) mid October.

GrouseMan77
08-12-2010, 06:45 PM
My wife and I stayed at #83 (Bone Valley) in November two years ago and didn't see another person for two nights. No one was at #84 either night.

I wonder how many nights a year that happens?

Mac
08-13-2010, 12:30 PM
I love Hazel in October, matter of fact I love any Smokys stream in October.

Dont worry there is pletty of water on Hazel the farther up you are willing to go the less crowded.

If you have free time in October go for it you will not be sorry.:biggrin:

Speckleman5
08-15-2010, 09:52 AM
Grouseman more this year than any other. They were both closed for a while due to bears....may make this fall there pretty exciting.

Jim Casada
08-15-2010, 08:54 PM
Grouseman--Once you get into November it is common. There's not a lot of overnight activity from then until mid-March. Once the leaf color is gone the hiker numbers drop dramatically. The good news is that browns are usually still on the move then, although weather can be problematical in November.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

flyman
08-24-2010, 09:49 PM
The window between the time most of the leaves fall off the trees and winter really sets in is a good time to fish over there. Most of the crowds will be gone, and the weather can be quite nice that time of year. Just keep your eye on the long range (3-5 day) forecast. Fish the lower end, you might get a surprise. :smile:

GrouseMan77
08-25-2010, 07:11 AM
I have been entertaining the idea of heading over there again. If I do it will be between the months of November and March.

Speckleman5
08-29-2010, 09:55 AM
I have never seen so many people in my life as there were last May. I'll never go again in the "peak" months.

Jim Casada
08-29-2010, 12:33 PM
Speckleman--Yep. Too many people for me too. The outfitters consider it a paradise, partly because it's easy in terms of setting up camp, and the stream's fame hurts as well. I'd advise going during the week, and not in April, May, June, late September, or October.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)
P. S. Do you know or are you related to Jackie Corbin. He's a lifelong friend, a boyhood fishing buddy, and presently a researcher in the Medical School at Vanderbilt (he's been there 30+ years). He was one of the discoverers of Viagra.

Mac
08-31-2010, 01:04 PM
Went to Hazel the first week of May this year and stayed at campsite 82 for a week and never saw another fisherman. :cool:

Jim Casada
08-31-2010, 04:07 PM
Mac--That's great, but for those unfamiliar with Hazel Creek, he was at the Calhoun campsite. It's a long haul from anywhere--seven or eight miles from the lake and a mighty walk from the top down (and a booger if you go back out that way). That's likely why you had it to yourself. All the other campsites are far more accessible and thus far more likely to see lots of people. Also, although I thoroughly enjoy the kind of smaller stream fishing you'll find in the proximity of Calhoun, many folks like the bigger water and its potential for really big fish.

Mac is right though, it's far and away your best bet for solitude on Hazel Creek. For example, I was in there in May of 2009 camped at Bone Valley (roughly five miles from the lake). While we had the Bone Valley campsite to ourselves the first night but not afterward, there were scads of people all up and down the creek. I doubt if there was a stretch of a quarter mile anywhere that didn't have a fisherman on it, never mind the fact the creek was way too high. I spent most of my time on Bone Valley Creek, not caring to be swept away in the flood. Had conditions been more salubrious, I think I would have still fished Bone Valley. I just don't like "help" at every bend of the creek.
I would add, in closing, that if you plan to go where Mac was, you better be pretty darn fit or younger than yours truly. I envy guys who think nothing of eight miles with a backpack!

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

JoeFred
09-08-2010, 08:16 AM
The Lower Hazel Creek map (http://www.smokystreams.com/maps/ltrelhc01.htm) is finished. It should be available at certain outfitters soon. Lots of streams left blue due to lack of publicly available species data for the drainage. Thanks to Jim Casada and others for providing input. Map also shows Chambers Creek, Pilkey Creek and other small northshore tribs in the area.

JF