View Full Version : Straight Fork Smokies Slammin'

06-26-2007, 11:05 AM
The siren call of the Smokies could not be resisted; just a few weeks after our previous trip to the park, me and the girls made the trip up from bayou country. This time was just for the weekend - drive up Friday night, fish Saturday and part of Sunday, then drive back. Before we even got 500 yards from the house, we had a flat tire; this was a good one - we were going through the drive thru at Chick-fil-a, and had to pull into the parking lot, unload the trunk, and put on the spare. One of the kids working at the restaurant called the one place open at 7PM, Wal-Mart. For whatever reason, the auto department at our local Wal-Mart is staffed with people who aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. Ordinarily, I would never go there for anything, but I didn't have a choice. $78 and an hour and a half later, we were on the road. This time, the road led to the North Carolina side of the park, and Straight Fork:

On the way in (I took the back way in, from the Blue Ridge Parkway - pretty drive, but it took an hour longer...oh well, you learn):


We fished from the bridge crossing upstream. This portion of the stream is beautiful, but full of blowdowns from previous floods; even though the stream seemed to have a good flow, one can tell that it has the capacity to carry a lot of water - there were a lot of dry secondary channels off to the sides.

This little stretch of water produced 3 brookies and 2 missed strikes:


One of the brookies:


I had caught a small rainbow at a previous pool. Later, we moved downstream a bit, and I tried a short section, where I picked up another nice rainbow, followed by this (apologize for the blurry photo):


A view of the area:


Straight Fork is a beautiful stream, with a good flow even in this drought. The water temp was 61-62, and while it wasn't nonstop action, I managed to pick up 10 brookies, 2 bows, and the brown to complete the slam. The next day, we fished it again, where my oldest picked up a brook and a bow, and I caught 3 more browns. On the way back home, I stopped at Kanati Branch. I caught one more brook, this one all of 1 inch long, and snapped this picture:


It's a pretty stream - I wish I had more time to explore it.

I think this is the last of the all-night drives there and back that I'm going to try...I'm still recovering from the weekend - but it was worth it.

06-26-2007, 12:49 PM
Looks like you had a great day there JSouth. Its kind of funny that you fished Straight Fork and then Kanita Fork in that order. I did the very same thing a few weeks ago and sounds like we had a similar trip. My trip report is posted lower down the board. I plan on hitting the park the next three weekends and I might have to hit SF again.

06-26-2007, 12:52 PM
Yep, I had read that...on our previous trip, I made it a point to try to locate Kanati - it isn't that easy when you're driving by. It's a pretty little stream, but I didn't have a lot of time to head up it very far - it's very tight, but I saw a number of nice looking pools.

On our next trip, I plan on allowing more time to explore - it's tough when you're limited to such a short time.

06-26-2007, 01:02 PM
Kanita Fork is defiantly a pretty little creek. it would not be my first choice for fly fishing but its worth exploring just for the small stream feel and isolation. I was hesitant to give out info on a brookie stream but I figured most of the people on here respect them enough that they will not abuse them.

06-26-2007, 01:19 PM
Most of the brookie streams aren't any secret - a stream like Kanati will probably never be in danger of being overfished, because it's so tight - it can be very frustrating. Frankly, it wouldn't be my first choice, either; for me, I just wanted to check it out, since it is so hard to find.

So far, just about every place I've fished for brookies in the park, I've been the only one around - isolation brings an added bonus.

06-26-2007, 02:09 PM
Most streams in the park aren't a secret. In fact, Kanati Fork is listed in Don Kirk's book, Fly-Fishing Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains. With 9+ million visitors to the park each year, its the remoteness and difficulty of fishing that affect how secretive and protected a stream is and stays. Its truly amazing how few folks venture more than 50 feet from the paved roads. My son and I went hiking this past weekend on a trail off the road to Cades Cove and only saw 4 people on the trail in 3 hours of hiking. When we came back to the road at 2pm, there were hundreds of cars whizzing by...

06-26-2007, 03:02 PM
Its truly amazing how few folks venture more than 50 feet from the paved roads.

I'm not amazed - we've become a very lazy society in many ways. Since we've been driving up to the Smokies at night, it's easy to notice how many vehicles have the TV/DVD combination - I saw one with two of them. When I was growing up, I had books, magazines, and the "license plate" game to keep me entertained. Hiking requires a bit of effort, and most people don't want to put that effort in...that's fine with me - I think most of us like the solitude.

I've made the observation that, in many ways, my kids have been cheated of some great experiences, compared to when I grew up. When I was their age, I spent almost all my time outdoors in the Summer, exploring the woods and swamps behind my house, looking for that next great fishing spot. Now, there's houses everywhere, even in the swamps. We're losing touch with the outdoors as a society, and that's reflected in the numbers of fishing licenses sold, etc...they're going down.