View Full Version : Fishing at Cataloochee

04-24-2007, 02:10 PM
Going to make first fishing trip to Cataloochee valley in next couple of weeks and would like any advice as to the quality of fishing, best areas to fish, best areas to tent camp, and general impressions of this area. Been there a couple times sightseeing/elk watching but never fished in there. Thought the lack of pressure might make it worth a trip. Any input?

Byron Begley
04-24-2007, 03:23 PM
I have fished there some. The campground is small but nice. It is usually packed on weekends. My favorite streams are Caldwell, Palmer and the stretch of water below the confluence of those. There is an old church in the valley and I enjoy the fishing in that stretch of water. I have found Cataloochee Creek to be tough at times but I have had some good days there too. It is a beautiful place and the fishing is good. I would throw in a bicycle, great place for short rides.


04-24-2007, 07:51 PM
I'm actually thinking of going up there this weekend myself. I have heard that the fishing can be tough, but i've also heard it's some of the prettiest dry fly water in the park. I hope others with experience will chime in on this one........


old tom
04-24-2007, 10:24 PM
We fished it a couple of years ago, and yes it was tough. Didn't do any good anywhere in the valley. If you're one that doesn't mind a walk, my advice would be to hike up Palmer. That's the only stream where we caught anything.

04-24-2007, 10:45 PM
I think the scenery is probably the best thing about cataloochee. I've fished there a couple of times with limited success. maybe 10 fish days. I helped a couple of times with the electroshocking down at the gauge station. Don't remember anything over 14". I hear they have a short term big green drake hatch. But like Abrams, very few ever get to fish it.

04-25-2007, 09:03 AM
I have fished Cataloochee a lot over the years. In fact, that is where I made my first visit to the Smokies. I love going there if nothing more than the beauty of the valley. It is such a peacefull setting that takes you back in time. I have also fished there in the fall and heard the elk bugling while I was fishing!! Now to the fishing. I have fished all of the streams in the valley and have found that the Cataloochee from the campsite downstream is the most challenging. Beautiful water, but tough fishing conditions. My favorite stream is Palmer above the horse camp. As usual, the further you hike, the better the fishing gets. But that is usually true anywhere in the Smokies. Calwell Fork across from the campground is good especially in the fall when I have caught some good browns. I have caught a slam on a couple of the steams there. Tight lines and I know you will absolutly love the valley.

Paula Begley
04-25-2007, 09:44 AM
Cataloochee is one of my very favorite places in the Park!

I caught the prettiest brown I have ever caught in my life on Palmer creek one fall when Byron and I were camping there.


04-25-2007, 10:16 PM
Hey Dawgvet,
I fish Cataloochee 3 or 4 times a year and I would agree with most of what has been said. The fish are a lot tougher to come by in Cataloochee than most smoky mountain streams. I definitely agree that the most productive fishing is on Palmer and Pretty Hollow Creeks, though I have also caught plenty of small fish in Rough Fork with my back cast going between cars in the road. I have had some good look through the fields below the church, as a matter of fact my 2 best fish in that system came out of one run on back to back cast a 12-14" rainbow followed by a 12-14" brown. My largest Brookie in the park came out of Palmer just below Pretty Hollow (about 9" but in full fall colors). Some of the prettiest water is from the group camping site upstream to the steel bridge, but it is tough to get a bite through there. Even though it is tough it is still the area of the park I find myself fishing the most, especially in the fall (there is something really neat about catching wild trout and listening to bull elk bugle). There will be more people there in the fall, but if I had to chose seasons that is definitely when I would go, most of the folks are there for the elk not the fish.