View Full Version : Deep Creek Report (above CS#53) 9-23

09-23-2007, 10:06 PM
Sdetoro59 and I decided to try a little hiking/fishing this weekend on the NC side of the park. We had planned to hike about 2.5-3 miles down into Deep Creek from Newfound Gap Rd, but ended up making really good time and wound up all the way down at campsite #53. It took us about 90 minutes with light packs and was a fairly easy hike.

CS#53 has seen a fair amount of abuse over the years and its looking pretty run down. A little less than 2 miles from the TH at Newfound Gap there is a single site close to the river. Does anyone know if this in an old "unmaintained" site or if it is an illegal site? It seemed pretty nice from the trail, but I had never seen it on a map.

We fished above the campsite for about 4 hours in pretty tight conditions. The water level was good and the water temp was a nice 61 degrees at 3pm. There were some nice fish. Much nicer than I would have expected for the size of the stream. Steve caught a nice brown that was pushing 12" in an area not much bigger than a half of a bathtub. We caught over 30 fish between us (he caught more and also caught most of the bigger fish). We spooked at least double that. One pool I counted 8 fish fleeing from me under rocks as I was climbing into position to cast. But both of us caught a Slam (our firsts in the Park), so we were generally happy with the effort. In the half mile above the campsite we caught 4 browns, about 8 brookies, and twenty-some rainbows. Most fish were caught on #16 EHC (yellows and olives).

I was surprised that we were catching browns at over 3000'. I have not seen any on the WPLP in the gorge or above, so I guess I assumed that they preferred to stay lower on slower, larger sections. Do browns usually run that far up into the streams of the park?

The fishing was quite hard and it was rare if we casted more than a dozen times without ending up in a tree, bush or stump. Unbelievably we didn't lose any flies. Several times on a first cast into a new pool we would end up in a bush/tree, but rather than disturb the fish, we broke off our flies and tied on a new one. Once we had fished out the run, we would go over and pluck the first fly out of the bush/tree we had it caught in and moved on. The stream was that small.

We stopped fishing at 3:30pm when we neared a spot that would allow easy passage back to the trail (about 3.5 miles from the TH). It took us about 90 minutes to hike back up to Newfound Gap Rd. The first 2.5 miles took about 45 minutes and the last mile took about 45 minutes. The last mile is a real doozy, even with light packs. Even though the fishing was good, I'm not sure I would hike in from that direction. Its brutal.

All-in-all a great, but exhausting day

09-23-2007, 11:16 PM
Thanks for the report - I've always been intrigued by that route into that stream. That trail looks steep even on the map, but it would probably be the most practical way for me to ever fish Deep Creek. From what I've read, the browns have colonized that stream more thoroughly than any other in the park, even at the higher elevations.

Elk riverrat
09-24-2007, 12:24 AM
I've done it a few times in years past and we refer to it being as steep as a mules face, it will work your heart coming back out.

09-24-2007, 08:13 AM
Nice report Pete. I have been wanting to try that section of Deep creek for a few years now. Probably should have done it when I was younger. A 12" brown is a nice fish for a headwater stream in the Smokies. I am glad you were able to get a Slam for your efforts.


09-24-2007, 09:35 AM
We did that run a few years back and found some nice brownies up high...one of the few headwaters in the park were you will find browns with brookies...where there is a possibility of a cross breed - tiger trout...rare in the wild and in the park but some people have caugt a few....much like the elusive 12 inch spec a tiger would be a "holy grail" of sorts..
As I understand it though, there are states that actually hatchery cross breed, raise, and stock in public waters - agressive bull dog of a fighting fish with shoulders with a pension to eat everything willingly like a brookie...

09-24-2007, 10:40 AM
I think that the first campsite that you come to about 50 yards off the trail to the right gets alot of use. There was a fresh fire ring and ashes when I was there last. I fished much of the same water that you were fishing had had similar results. I dont think I covered as much water as you did because I was by myself but the water was up after some recent rains when I was there. Great report.

09-24-2007, 10:50 AM
After getting some sleep and resting up a bit, it probably wasn't quite as bad as it seemed yesterday evening. If someone was interested in fishing the upper parts of Deep Creek they should hike down between 2 and 3.5 miles. Hiking all the way to the campground (#53) really was unnecessary. The water looked pretty good between #53 and the unofficial site and about the same size. Fishing closer to the 2 miles would put you into a lot more brookies, as well.

A few pics from the trip:
Here was a nice looking section of the stream at about 3.5 miles (lots of Rhodies)

Here is a typical pool that had fish, but was nearly impossible to cast into without spooking all the fish in the pool.

Here is the smallest of the Browns that Steve caught. The biggest one jumped through his hands like a greased pig, before I could snap a picture!

Has anyone fished the section of Deep Creek from CS#59 to CS#53? I'd be interested to know how you did it. Could it even be done as a day trip? Was it worth the effort (I think I know the answer to that, but would like to hear some opinions anyway:rolleyes:).

mmorgan, how far down from the trailhead do you think that first campsite was? That may be the best place to stop for a daytrip coming down from Newfound Gap. I think the last mile back to the car was so hard, because we had already covered 7 miles at that point. If we had only covered 3 miles beforehand, it might have been easier (2 miles down and up each way).


David Knapp
09-24-2007, 11:20 AM
Great report! I hiked in that way last year on a day trip and had a great time. I hiked down to where the Left Fork joins Deep Creek and fished back up from there for around a mile or so. It is definitely worth doing as a daytrip but would be much better as an overnighter or longer...

09-24-2007, 11:58 AM
I dont know how long that first campsite was from the TH. I have them stored on my GPS but dont have it with me to look. I thought that fishing from 53 to the unmaintained site is a good amount of fishing. I hiked below 53 looking for firewood and noticed that the farther down I went the better the pools. Did you notice a bunch of yellow jackets at site 53? When I was there they were almost untolerable. I thought there might be a huge nest in that hollowed out tree in the middle of the campsite.

09-24-2007, 03:31 PM
We didn't spend much time at 53. It had a heavy bear scat smell (at least I hoped it was bear scat)...

We wound up covering about .5 miles of water above 53. It looks like the whole section from 53 up to the unpublished campsite would be fishable (about 2 miles). Some of it had good access from the trail and looked fishable. But some parts of the trail where quite a bit above the stream so you would have to be careful where you put in and got out.

I was disappointed in 53. I had hoped to camp there in a few weeks, but now I think I may go in from below and camp at either 56 or 58. That way I could fish up to 53 or fish the lower sections (or even the Left Fork).

09-24-2007, 07:22 PM
Man, that looks like my type of stream...I love plunge pools.