View Full Version : Hazel Creek Report

09-15-2010, 04:10 PM
I've just returned from a week's working near Fontana Village. On most evenings over the past week, I've been able to slip over and spend an hour or two at Hazel, poking around on the lower mile of river. For those who love Hazel, I thought I'd let you know how things were going.

Last week, the water was low and warm. Scaaary low. The rocks above the bridge at the Calhoun place were sticking up high, with the riffle barely covered in water. We got a light rain Wednesday morning, but by Thursday the ground was dusty and the river thin. This meant long leaders and 7x tippet for me.

I fished Wednesday and Thursday at the top end of Calico Street just above the bridge. There was no one in the campsite, and I saw no other fishermen. There was a young male bear waiting for me at the junction of the lake on Thursday. I've seen this bear several times near the landing and he has no fear of man. Sorry about the poor pic.


Despite low water, the trout obliged and I managed 6 to 8 small rainbows every evening on parachutes and bead-heads. I also caught two or more chubs for every trout, even doubling twice on chubs with the dry/dropper rig. Chubs are a bit of a pain on the lower end of Hazel. The rainbows are plump this year.


On Thursday evening, I managed to take a nice small brown on the dry just before quitting at 7:30 pm.


Also on Thursday, I encountered a family leaving the landing who had just spread their loved one's ashes in the river. While I fished that evening, I mused that having your ashes spread in the Hazel Valley was a good way to end a fisherman's life journey.

For the weekend, I moved to quieter water elsewhere in the park. Sunday afternoon, I had a "green weenie" experience. I've often read on this site of local success with the inchworm pattern, but the few times I've tried it I've had no takers. With fishing slow on Sunday, and water up from a heavy Saturday rain, I tried an inchworm as a last resort. The results were amazing! The first pool yielded 5 fish, and I could often see fish stir up from the bottom and chase the weenie hungrily. Who says I can't be taught?


Monday I went back to Hazel for a very quiet fish. There was a small group of "vegetation management" park rangers camped who apparently were attacking kudzu in a nearby area. Other than that, peace and quiet, except for the gobblers at the Calhoun place.


The fish didn't cooperate much Monday. Three small rainbows and no chubs. When even the chubs don't bite, you know it's time to go home. One word of fishing advice. No matter the stream, the fishing was hottest when I first arrived each evening and tapered to a halt around 7 pm. I didn't get a chance to fish mid-day, but I suspect this would be the best time to wet a hook, as the evening shadows are getting long early and the air is cooling. The leaves are just starting to turn up higher. Fall is in the air.

Jim Casada
09-15-2010, 07:34 PM
Slipstream--Interesting report, and one thing really intrigued me. I know the area where you were fishing like the back of my hand, but I've never heard mention of "Calico Street." Do you have any idea of the origin of this place name?
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-15-2010, 08:26 PM
Very nice, thanks for the report. I may try to head over there in November once the crowds are gone for sure.

09-15-2010, 08:50 PM
Thanks for the report slipstream I haven't been over there since last spring and the water was way up then. Glad it got some rain over the weekend but I bet it is already dropped back down quite a bit. Jim I was curious about the Calico street too. I have an old book signed by Duane Oliver called Hazel Creek from then till now at my house and I found a map in there of Proctor from 1904-42 and it lists "Calico Street" as the street that runs between the Calhoun house and Hazel creek (north side of Hazel) and it goes on up past the mill area (basically the current day hazel creek trail) begining near the bridge in front of calhoun house and continues on North following hazel to the right upstream but the map doesnt say how far hopefully slipstream can tell us more.

09-15-2010, 09:00 PM
The Hiking Trails of the Smokies (little brown book) also mentions Calico Street on page 276. I knew that it sounded familiar.

I wonder what's happening up and down the Hazel Creek trail at this very moment?

09-15-2010, 09:04 PM
lol Jason I sure would like to know that myself. When I am hiking lots of times I imagine what it would be like to be there in the middle of the night. Of course my mind imagines that all the wild animals come out to play then. Probably a bear parade or a lucky fisherman at one of those backcountry sites sitting around some lonely fire ha.

09-16-2010, 02:25 PM
I'll defer to Mr. Casada on any issue of place names in the park or Hazel Creek Valley. I got the name Calico Street from the park service map showing the town of Proctor that's posted right at the bridge just before the Calhoun house. The map shows Calico Street running up from Calhoun to the mill. I believe this map is also reproduced in Lance Holland's book on Fontana. I'll look in Mr. Holland's book to see if there is any more information.

I think we all know more about the street on the other side of the creek, Struttin' Street, where Proctor's well-to-do lived. Perhaps Calico suggested the working class side of the river. I also find it interesting that the Calico side of the river seems the preferred one. The trees are large and majestic, the land flatter and more open, and it's sunnier. If I had a choice, I'd live on the Calico side.

09-16-2010, 02:36 PM
Where can you find that book? I'm being lazy about looking for it. Nice post.

Jim Casada
09-16-2010, 04:46 PM
Jswitow--The book is in print and one place you could get it, and get a signed copy, would be at Appalachian Mercantile in Bryson City. Lance owns it.
Jim Casada