View Full Version : Weekend Backpack, FlyfishTrip

07-25-2007, 05:41 PM
This weekend I was planning on backpacking in somewhere to fish and camp. I was hoping someone knew of a good place to go hike in, fish, camp, and get in deep enough to get away from it all. I have only flyfished the smokies a few times, but it was awesome and i really want to try it again. Thanks. PAtrick

07-25-2007, 07:11 PM
From the little experience I have on the subject I would say Hiking in above Elkmont would be a great option. Unfortunately campsite #24 has been closed due to bear activity. You could hike further up to campsite #30, but the water might be too skinny to fish (Although its been pouring here in buckets lately...)

Campsite #18 on the West Prong of the LR is another option assuming that the water has come up some.

The NC side has some good options as well. If you want to hike a ways, you could hike up Eagle Creek from the Fontana Dam and stop at a few different sites. Also, I believe you could take the "road to nowhere" outside of Bryson City to Noland Creek and hike in from there. There are a few site on that stream as well.

There are some folks on the board that do a lot of hiking/fishing, I'm looking forward to their suggestions...This is a subject that I'd really like to learn a lot more about as well.

Does anyone know of a guidebook to the backcountry campsites in the Smokies? I've found limited info from different sources, but nothing that really covers all of the backcountry sites. Most of the "tent" camping books deal with the fee-area sites and not the backcountry sites. John Malloy has written a book that describes a few of the backcountry sites, but only lightly, and only as part of overnight loop hikes.

My sons and I hiked into and camped at #20 a few weeks back and never saw another soul. It was a great site (unfortunately not close to a fishable stream), but we are always looking for great backcountry adventures...

07-25-2007, 10:23 PM
I am going this weekend by myself and I have it narrowed down to two camp sites; either 18 or 53. I thought about going to 53 and fishing deep creek because the trail runs most of the lenght of the trail and its a relatively short 4 mile hike to the camp site. 18 is the other suggestion that I got from Vern because he said it was a beautiful campsite and hopefully the rain will help bring up the water some. The downside to 18 I can see is that the trail does not follow the creek at all.

Anyway I am probably going to be going to 53 and if you would like to meet up and go you are more than welcome to join me. Does any one have any feedback on deep creek? I read on of ttas67's reports and he said that water was down alittle so I think that the rain will help that too.

07-25-2007, 11:45 PM
Have a great trip Matt, won't be back up untill fall. May trythe Caney this weekend. Gaintfish still needs that first trout.

07-25-2007, 11:59 PM
I hope the weather holds out on me. I have been doing some research and it looks like the hike out of 53 will be tough but I just "borrowed" my sister's camera so I hope to have lots of pictures to share of my trip. Good luck on the Caney.

Remind Giantfish to mend his line, and I'm sure he'll have one on in no time.

07-26-2007, 11:44 AM
where is 53 located ?

07-26-2007, 11:52 AM
its located off 441 right as you cross the TN/NC line, and right after the road that takes you to Clingmans Dome.

07-26-2007, 12:12 PM
what river is close to 53

07-26-2007, 12:30 PM
Deep Creek

07-26-2007, 01:49 PM
perhaps coming in from the bottom to 54 might be more fishable.....you come up the deep creek drainage. coming down, you are on fork ridge trail and do not have as much access as you would coming up. neither trail will be crowded (even in july).

07-26-2007, 02:21 PM
I planned on coming down Deep Creek trail where it connects to 441. Looking at my map that trail follows the creek almost 3/4 of the way. Sunday I plan on hiking down to 54 or 55 and fishing my way back up if the fishing isnt any good above 53. Does this not sound like a good plan? Do you think the water will be too low or something else?

07-26-2007, 03:01 PM
Coming down Deep Creek from Newfound Gap isn't too bad, getting out is another story.......... especially if you are carrying much of a pack. I am thinking you will lose/gain ~2,800 feet each way. Deep Creek is a good one though, lots of browns.
Hazel is another possibility. You can take a ride across from Fontana Village Marina. The last time I made the trip, it cost $ 27.00 per person. You can camp right at Proctor within a 1/4 mile of the landing. You can hike further if you want up to the Sawdust Pile or Bone Valley Campsites (~3.5 & 4 miles) miles. Sorry don't remember the campsite numbers. Hazel is a beautiful creek and a fair amount of bug activity as well. Both trails from the bottom are old rail grades (no more than 5%).
Let us hear where you went, and how you did. It has been too many years since I did any backpack camping. Another couple of years and my son will be old enough, hope he has some interest.......... and I have the legs.
Have fun ............ take some black cats or some book type fire-crackers. They will do wonders for bear removal if they become a nuisance!

old tom
07-26-2007, 03:40 PM
I've never done it, but I hear coming down to Deep Creek from 441 is a real bear. I've heard going back up, you've got 4 points of contact in some places. Keep in mind too that on a map a trail may look like it's next to the creek, and it may be - but it's 100 feet straight down. Again - no first hand experience - just what I've heard.

Most folks go in from the bottom, camp at one of the lower elevation sites, and fish/day hike to the upper reaches. Guess it depends on whether or not you have the time for a half-day hike in and out.

07-26-2007, 04:10 PM
i have never been and this may sound like a pretty stupid question but is dep creek really deep, is it more of a typical smokies stream, or is it deep at the bottom and smaller at the top? (is there a good brookie population there)

07-26-2007, 04:34 PM
Ok so does anyone have any first hand experience coming down from 441 to campsite 53 and how fishable is the water there?

old tom
07-26-2007, 08:04 PM
I've got a book in Bryson City that tells how places in the Smokies got their names, but I can't recall anything about Deep Creek. To answer your question, it's no deeper than any other creek. And like most of them, it's wider at the bottom and gets narrower as you go upstream. Again, I've never been there but I would think once you get to 53 and upstream, you should be able to snag a brookie or two. 53 is at 3,000 which is about the magic number for brookies to survive.

07-26-2007, 11:36 PM
I don't have any first-hand knowledge either, but according to "Hiking Trails of the Smokies" from the Road down to #53 you will lose about 1750', which of course you would have to make up on the way out. But across 3.9 miles that isn't too terrible of a gradient (Although the last 1.2miles look steep - 800'+).

According to the book, #53 is right on the stream and in a pretty setting, but heavily used and rather unappealing (whatever that means). #54 is away from the stream and is another 2.5 miles further. Unfortunately #54 is closed due to Bear activity. #55 is a rationed site and is 7.4 miles from Newfound Gap Rd.

It sounds like #53 will be your best option. And if the water is too low, you could hike down a bit and fish your way back up to it. At about 4.7miles the trail moves about 200' above the stream but rejoins it a little ways down further (less than .5miles?), but other than that the trail seems to more or less closely follow the stream, once it joins it (at around 1.1miles from the road).

According to Don Kirk's book, you should see Brookies above 3600', so the first mile after you reach the creek (at roughly 4000' elevation), may be your best bet for Specs.

Make sure you keep an eye on the weather, it looks like we may get at least an inch of rain over the weekend. It also, looks like the NC side of the park has had less rain than the TN side, this past week.

Let us know how it goes. The more I look at it, the more I want to give it a go, as well.

Dancing Bear
07-27-2007, 07:26 AM
We have hiked down a couple of times but it was a long time back. It is steep, like all the trails going down from from the big ridge. We never hiked back up. We shuttled from Deep Creek campground. It is a pretty fast walk down to 53. The book is right about 53 being worn. It is not very large and you can tell that it has been used a lot. The only bad thing I remember about the trail is the stinging nettle. It grew tall and thick in places along the trail. DO NOT TOUCH! It is a beautiful drainage though. It is s good hike even if you don't fish.

07-27-2007, 05:39 PM
it sounds like the 53 area is what i am looking for, but if the campsite is worn could i just hike up and set up a tent somewhere, or is it designated camping only

07-27-2007, 05:46 PM
i will definitely let yall know how it goes though

old tom
07-27-2007, 07:39 PM
All of the Park is designated camping only. Some sites, not 53, must be reserved. Those are usually ones that permit horses too. If you don't stay at a reserved site, all you need to do is go by a Ranger Station and register. There's one at each side of 441 at the Visitor's Center. Be sure to check what sites are closed for bear activity. All sites also have cables for hoisting up your food and other smelly stuff. Use them.

With the cables, the mice are more of a problem than bears. I've heard there is a good food bag out that has some sort of re-enforcement in it they can't chew through. You might check out your local outfitter for one of those before you go. They love peanut butter bagles and any kind of gorp.

07-27-2007, 10:26 PM
Well I have just got off work and fisished packing up all of my stuff. I am leaving in the morning as early as I can get up and plan on being at the trailhead at first light to hopefully get in and have my tent set up before any rain moves into the area. If its raining in the morning I'm heading out later because I need a rainfly for my pack.

If your on the trail I'll probably be wearing a camo UT Vols hat and I'll be camping at 53 still.

07-29-2007, 08:15 PM
designated camping only...with permits (free).........you cannot just go in and camp...unless ya got a big wallet

07-30-2007, 05:27 PM
i ended up doing 23. it was awesome my friend and i hiked it little river trail and goshen prong trail in about 2 1/2 hours. We got ther in time for about an horu and a half of fishing. in about an hour and a half i caught 4 brookies and 2 rainbows, and missed probably nine more. The next day we fished as we hiked down and i caught a brookie, a rainbow, and a brown! IT was and awesome trip, and i definitely reccomend it. We got up way too late to try deep creek, it was on the other side of the park but i want to try it soon. Thanks for all the help.