View Full Version : Slick rock 3/18

03-19-2011, 09:16 PM
** I dont' have my pictures down loaded as of yet but, they will come hopefully tomorrow. Sorry.

I had eagerly been a waiting for spring so that I could fish a stream that I hadnít been able to fish in 2 years and on Thursday that day finally came. I love the Slick Rock Creek drainage in its wilderness setting. There is no trash in or along the stream because of the lack of access. The only sounds heard are those of the stream, birds, and the occasional passing jet 30,000 feet over head. I got to the stream via boat which cut off untold hours of hiking. I parked the boat and gathered my things and with a child like excitement hit the trail. No pun intended. As I hiked along the trail the stream beside me was enticing and run with almost perfect flow. The shadows came and went along the stream making it even more alluring but, I had set my mind to fishing farther than I had previously been before. I passed one beautiful hole after another until I finally couldnít keep my TFO in its case any longer. I sat for a moment waiting to see what I would begin fishing with, and after I saw no rising I opted for a double nymph setup. I began to work the stream with the utmost caution as I knew from previous trips that the browns in this stream were easily spooked. The stream is comparable to that of the Middle Prong of the Little River in size and flow. There are long slow runs and deep plunge pools. I however would say that for the most part this particular stream is deeper than the Middle Prong and has more trees and laurel over hanging its banks making it a very interesting and appealing location for a hunting brown. The width of the stream in most areas makes it possible to put the distance on a cast in that there are not many branches hanging too far over the river. That however changes the farther you travel up stream. I fished some of the most beautiful runs that a trout stream has to offer but, my effort was for not and I hadnít had a single fish interested in my presentation. I could feel the discouragement entering my mind, and I began to wonder what I was doing wrong. As I sat on a rock and began to eat a candy bar witnessed a small 6 inch trout rise to the surface and snatch a Blue Quill before it could free itself from the water. As I watched this fish I was amazed when I saw him hurry back to the bottom of the stream however, he didnít hover close to the bottom like most trout I see in the park. This small trout actually went underneath a rock. This behavior puzzled me and explained why I hadnít seen any rising activity even thou the Blue Quills, and Quill Gordonís, and Black Stone Flies were coming off in unbelievable fashion. I laughed to myself and thought ďI bet itís hard to see an emerging fly with a rock over your headĒ. I placed my nymphs directly by the rock this little fish was under numerous times but, he never emerged from his hiding place. I pushed on in hopes of finding a hungrier customer. I fished the shallow riffles, the deep plunge pools, long slow spans, and everything in between. Still, I had no takers. I was almost ready to give up hope when my line went tight and a flash of silver filled the small run I had just placed the nymphs into. With little fan fare I landed the 9-10 inch rainbow that devoured the #22 olive midge. With new found confidence I continued on and as I came onto a run that just screamed of being a big trout location, I paused to figure out how to make the best presentation. Half of the river made a 90* turn into the bank which was dark and ominous in the shadows of the low hanging laurel bushes. I gathered my thoughts and placed the nymphs at the head of the turn in the run and as the line entered the pool I saw my strike indicator twitch. I slowly raised the rod and as it grew tight I felt the weight of the fish. The fight only lasted a second before he snapped the 7x tippet but, he was a good fish and what I had came in hopes of finding. I had had enough for the day and it was growing darker so I began to head back down stream where I had left my tent and gear. Along the way I picked up the rainbow that I had caught earlier and tied to a string, he would make for a fine supper. Back at camp I cooked potatoes and shamelessly fried the small fish. What a tasty meal with the smoke flavor added to the meat of the fish and crispy fried potatos. As I enjoyed my supper I watched a respectable sized trout surface feeding in the long run below my camp so, I elected to give it one last try before turning in to bed. I entered the stream well below the feeding trout and began to hop scotch the rock towards him, keeping low and as hidden as possible. As I took a step I felt a squishy feeling in my boot but, I paid little attention to it. When my next step came I felt pebbles under my foot. When I looked down I saw the sole of my wading boot lying on the river bottom. I grabbed the sole of the boot and headed towards the bank. The river was slick even with working felt soled shoes so wading the next day in my hiking boots would have been out of the question. Dejected from having such a lousy day of fishing and the overwhelming aggravation of my boot breaking, I packed up my tent and gear and hiked out in the dark. I made it back to the boat and decided if the dam didnít have the flood gates open that I would stay the night at the truck and fish the tail water in the morning since I had had some rather fine days of fishing only there but, the dam was still putting a ton of water threw with the gates open. I loaded the boat and began the long and arduous trip across the "Dragon". I hope that I can return on a better day in a month or two and find the fishing to be on par to what I truely believe this little wilderness stream has to offer.

I believe the fishing was just off this day for a couple of reasons. The most obvious at the time was that I had 3 expert fishermen ahead of me all day long. I saw their wet tracks on the rocks and in the sand and the fish were possibly already spooked. These fishermen had 4 legs a furry body and a cute little face, otters. The other and one that I didnít think about until I later spoke with my dad about the trip was the fact that it was a full moon and that the fish were possibly feeding at night. I will however be back and regardless if I catch any more fish than I did this day I will still enjoy the trip to one of the last truly wilderness areas around. Thanks for reading.

As promised here are some pictures.

This is characteristic of most of the water below the "Lower falls".


It is hard to tell in this picture but, it is almost vertical in a lot of areas.


This is one of the several campsites along the trail.


These runs were hard to pass up.


The trail narrows here and is on the left side of the picture. If your not careful your pack can easily snag on the rocks here and throw you into this pool, which doesn't look it but, is actually 8 feet deep or better.


All the signs indicated that there were trout in the stream. LOL!!


I will let this picture speak for its self.


As you can see the river is rather wide in some areas.



This is "Lower Falls" and I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of the falls closer to them. They are actually 25-30 feet high and very loud.



03-20-2011, 06:28 PM
Great report. I used to take my kids to the skinny cove where slickrock enters Calderwood. It has a smooth, shallow pebbly bottom that is great for kids and lounging. Never have been there with a rod in my hand.


03-20-2011, 10:02 PM
Yes sir, Slick Rock creek is one of the better places to take young kids on Calderwood. Where Parsons Branch comes in is also a good place but, not as good as here.

03-21-2011, 06:04 PM
been there a bunch only fished once and got skunked....have seen a monster +30 in trout hanging out in the cove that feeds into the lake

03-21-2011, 06:10 PM
Great report FishnHunt! Have been curious about Slickrock for some time now. I appreciate the pics, you have greatly aided my interest in that area. I need to make it happen this spring.


03-21-2011, 06:37 PM
Nice pictures. Every year I say I'm going to get over there and fish. This may be the year.

03-21-2011, 10:06 PM
A friend and I turkey hunted the "power lines" one spring years ago. We did manage to call in a giant tom which my friend missed 4 times. He still doesn't like it when I bring that up in a conversation. Anyways, on to the point. On our return back to the boat ramp we pulled into Slick Rock Creek just to check it out and there were 100s of HUGE browns just staging where the creek entered into the lake. They were stacked up from where the old road bed enters the lake all the way to the falls. We assumed that they were eating the fry coming down the river (although we didn't see any feeding) since it was later in the turkey season when we were there. Of course neither of us had brought a rod along so we just sat and watched them for quiet a while and kicked ourselves. I have saw some true giant fish in that lake and often wonder what those big blobs at 100 feet on the depth finder are. I was broken off one night by something while drowning night crawlers up there. A friend fo a friend (yeah, one of those deals) works at the power houses up there and he says that at night you can see some "whoppers" swimming threw the lights of the dam. The largest brown that I've ever brought to hand was caught on a live 8 inch yellow perch while fishing for walleyes but, she was no where near the 30 inch plus this guy claims to see. A 30 inch lake run brown I would guess could weigh well into the mid teens.? Since posting this I've went back to look at the pictures and I really want to get back over there soon. I must be a sucker for punishment.

03-21-2011, 10:17 PM
I attempted to get to slickrock with the boys last year, and we were repelled by, not one, but two nests of yellow jackets in the trail. Everytime I mention going back (via a different route) everyone revolts (they still havent forgiven me for all the stings). I have to get back out there so this may have to involve some solo work on my part. Thanks for the impetus to get this started again! Great pictures!


03-22-2011, 11:58 AM
Your report brings back some memories. Last time I was up there was in the early 80's. Beautiful place. Hope to get back there one of these days.

03-22-2011, 09:30 PM
Thanks for sharing story and pictures.

04-03-2011, 05:34 PM
Pardon my ignorance, where is slick rock??

04-03-2011, 10:12 PM
Thanks for a great report. The photos make me want to plan a trip up there.

04-04-2011, 07:43 PM
fishermen00...its in the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness Area of the Nantahala National Forest... the lower end dumps into Calderwood Lake...one of the access points is via trail from a parking lot near Cheoah Dam.

On the portion of the stream that NC/TN share a boundary, either state license will suffice. Further up, where it goes into NC, a NC license is required.

04-04-2011, 11:05 PM
Joelo, I actually met two guys that had been over there for the past three months working on a bridge over a creek from the trail that comes from Cheoh dam. He said the trail was not much better but, the bridge was nice. They were camped at the mouth of the creek and when I asked how long they had been there the oldest man said "bout 3 months". I thought he was pulling my leg and then he went into detail about how the ice locked their boat in the creek and how they tracked a bobcat for a week in the snow. Every night he came down to their camp and the tracks got a little closer every time. They never saw him either.

I've wondered at what point on that creek that your required to have a N.C. license. Do you have a land mark or split that would indicate it?

04-05-2011, 05:54 PM
FishnHunt, if you come in at Big Fat Gap ... trail #41 then over to #42 (tough hike out if I remember correctly) you hit Slickrock from the NC side...looks like about 0.5 miles downstream to the shared boundary. It looks like trail #139 comes in from the other side of the creek where the creek leaves the shared boundary. As far as a landmark, you're in NC once you get above where Big Stack Gap Branch joins Slickrock Creek.

From the lake, it looks like you have about 3.5 miles of shared boundary before the creek heads into NC.

04-05-2011, 09:09 PM
fishermen00...its in the Joyce Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness Area of the Nantahala National Forest... the lower end dumps into Calderwood Lake...one of the access points is via trail from a parking lot near Cheoah Dam.

On the portion of the stream that NC/TN share a boundary, either state license will suffice. Further up, where it goes into NC, a NC license is required.

Thanks, I did a little research after I posted my request and thought I found it. Looks like a great place to take the son once he gets a little older.