View Full Version : Palmer Creek, 5-26

05-26-2007, 09:58 PM
Hello all, today my father and i decided to go to an area we had never been before to fish for the day, the cataloochee valley. We arrived about 8 this morning and found this to be one of the most beautiful areas in the park in my opinion. The sun was rolling over the mountains and onto these beautiful fields of swaying grass and it was just truely a sight to behold. What made it even better was that we ran across about 10 elk grazing in these fields. I have only seen two other elk in the park, near the oconaluftee, but this was an absolute treat to see! They seemed undaunted by our car and continued grazing as if we weren't there.

Anyways, i guess this is a fishing report! We parked near the church on palmer creek and started fishing there. There was alot of bug activity going on: yellow sallies, the occasional large (almost chartreuse) colored fly, but interestingly enough the majority of the bugs coming off were brown mayflies. Kinda threw me for a loop since i thought the transition to lighter colored flies was already completed. So i rigged up with a small yellow stimulator and dropped a bhpt behind it and started out fishing with the water temp at 56 degrees. I immediately noticed that the water seemed very low, although i have nothing to reference it to since this was my first trip there. I immediately began getting strikes and catching fish with a little patience. It wasn't one of those perfect days, but with the proper presentation i was likely to get a strike. One thing that surprised me was the size of these fish. On average, they were between 9"-10", which i wasn't expecting for such a small stream. We caught some good sized fish and got to fish just a beautiful area. We rounded out the last hour fishing the cataloochee with on luck. When we got there, the bug activity was nonexistent so i switched to a double nymph set up and got one strike, but other than that, nothing.

It was a great day to be out on the river, i hope others got out as well. The fish were cooperating pretty good and i can't complain too much. One thing that was interesting was the lack of people there for a holiday weekend. The campground was full (i think it has 27 sites), but we saw no other fisherman all day long, just a few hikers and people riding horses and bikes. I know that this area is called "the forgotten corner of the park," but i was completely surprised by the lack of people. Here are a few pictures of the trip.

Here are just three of the elk we saw this morning

First fish of the day, and a nice one at that

Another fine smoky mtn rainbow

A view of palmer creek methodist church, from the creek

05-26-2007, 10:26 PM
Great report and pics. I explored that area over Thanksgiving - the conditions weren't the best and I didn't catch anything, but it sure is a beautiful area. Me and the girls might check that area out in a few weeks when we're up there.

05-26-2007, 11:31 PM
Great post and pics Craig.

You forgot to mention the fishing is usually terrible, the trails are hidious, the camp sites are muddy and black fly infested, the folage smells of agent orange and the guy is the photo, while he may look harmless, he only posts to get human bodies to perform witchcraft. oh ya, the church, that's where he sacrifices his offerings... So, don't go down there!


05-28-2007, 09:48 AM
Glad to see you enjoyed Cataloochee. What I love about that part of the park other than the fishing is that the campground has only like 4 electrical hookups for large RV's and it is in such a remote location that the casual fisherman will not make the long drive over the gravel road to just fish for a few hours. I have found the fishing there to be fine, but very technical. While camping there I have heard fishing reports from people ranging from 0 fish days to outstanding 50 fish days. The fact that you can have all of those streams in that valley all to yourself or at worst maybe 3 or 4 other FF's is what I love about that part of the Smoky's. I have 2 or 3 weekend trips planned there this summer, and I can't wait. I was there last October, and although the weather turned really sour that weekend and the fishing was mediocre at that time, the elk were bugling. That was quite a rush to be fishing along and suddenly hear that amazing noise.


05-28-2007, 10:09 AM
Yes it was definitely a very neat place and i want to go back soon. I have heard that the fishing there, especially on the cataloochee, can humble you. We did fine on palmer but farther downstream on cataloochee there was nothing, although we only fished there for a short while. I would love to do a backcountry trip there sometime. It is a magnificent area and although it is a little bit out of the way, i can't believe that we didn't see another fisherman! Let's hope it stays that way.