View Full Version : Forney Creek

01-29-2008, 06:19 PM
Hi all-- new user, first post. I am planning a trip to Forney Creek in the middle of March and would appreciate any info I can get.

We are planning to put in at Flat Branch boat ramp on Fontana Lake. It is just South of Goldmine Loop Trail across the lake right next to Evans Knob at the end of Greasy Branch Rd. Anyone familiar with this? Is it safe (car theft wise)? Is the road to it passable for non 4-wheel drive vehicles? We are paddling canoes across and planning on about a 2 hour paddle. Does this sound reasonable? It looks like slightly less than 3 miles.

We are planning on carrying some chains and padlocks so we can drag the canoes away from the trail and lock them to a tree. Will this be enough of a theft deterrent?

We will probably stay at CS 71 so we will have access to both the upper and lower stretches of Forney Creek. Most of the fishing will be on the lower reaches; but I will check out Jonas and Huggins Creeks as well. Any other info on trail conditions, creek crossings, good fishing spots, equipment, etc. will be greatly appreciated. I have done a back country trip like this (sans canoes) to Eagle Creek and had a great trip-- can I assume that Forney Creek and Trail will be similar in regards to hiking and fishing?

Also, if you had to pick between Raven Fork, Straight Fork and Bradley Fork this time of year what would your choice be?

Thanks in advance for any input...

01-29-2008, 08:59 PM
Welcome to the board, i can't really answer your question on forney creek as i've never been there (it's on my to do list), but i can throw my input in on the other question. This time of year, your best bet will probably be bradleys fork simply to its lower elevation and, therefore, warmer water. Straight fork isn't that much higher so you may give that a try as well. As far as ravens fork goes, it's up pretty high so i'm sure the water will be very cold up there. FYI though, if you ever do decide to go to ravens fork, make sure and go when the water is low to normal. I wouldn't even think of going there when the water is up, you couldn't navigate the stream very well, if at all, plus it would just be downright dangerous down in that area.


old tom
01-29-2008, 09:32 PM
Access to Bradley Fork tailhead is thru Smokemont Campground. This campgroud is normally open in the winter, but is closed until March 1 for water line construction. I was told at the Vistor's Center that it's okay to park on Hwy 441 and walk thru the campground to Bradley Fork. Just be aware that you'll have about a mile walk before you get to the creek.

Agree with Craig that Raven Fork probably isn't worth the effort this time of the year.

I've fished the lower reaches of Forney several times and found it to be very good. However its always been a couple months later than when you're planning to go. I wouldn't worry too much about your boats at the mouth of Forney. As for the car, the only place I've heard of trouble was cars left at the tunnel on the Road to Nowhere. That was several years ago and I think it was one group of bad guys and they were caught. I'm not familiar with the area you're looking at.

01-29-2008, 10:52 PM
Welcome to the board. I fished Forney Creek last May. I posted a report on the Smoky Mountain Fishing Board under a thread entitled Forney Creek - Backcountry. I'll try to provide a link for that report: http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum.showthread.php?t=8306
I will point out that the trail goes away from the creek just above campsite #71 and returns to the creek just below #70. In between there it climbs a ridge but nothing real bad. We just did not have the fishing that I had hoped for. If I had it to do over again I would spend more time fishing lower, especially the water between #71 and #70. This is pretty remote country, and even though it sees quiet a bit of hikers and horseback riders the section that I am referring to between the campsites is away from the trail and definitely not a place where you would want to take a fall. I do not know that you can fish through it, but I would like to try it. Campsite #71 is a pretty site, but if you are there during the weekend there is a good chance that you will share it with horseback riders (nothing against horses just making the observation). Below #71 Forney is a pretty good size creek.

01-29-2008, 10:59 PM
I see that my link didn't work. No suprise, I know nothing about computers or the internet, just being on a message board is a giant leap into the technical world for me. I watched this board for a long time, before I ever joined just because I wasn't sure I could figure out how to join. Thanks to the folks at LRO for show a great service and making it so simple that those of us with no computer skills can use it. Anyway, if you look in the Smoky Mountain Fishing forum last May (5/05/07 I think) you should be able to find a thread on Forney Creek - Backcountry.

Paula Begley
01-30-2008, 12:03 PM

Here is the link you referred to:



01-30-2008, 12:14 PM
That's it!
Thanks, Paula.

01-30-2008, 04:31 PM
BMC, it sounds like you are in for a great adventure. Just wondering about the canoe idea. Are you taking the canoes to cut down on the hiking into Forney, or just because it will make the adventure, more of an adventure?

If you are doing it for adventure-sake, I applaud you and read no further. But if you are investing 2hrs to paddle across the lake to save time, it may not be a good place to cut time out of. From the end of the "road to nowhere" to campsite 74, where you were paddling to, is "only" 2.9 miles. Depending on how fast you hike with a loaded pack, you could probably do it in around an hour, or so, with packs. The elevation changes are not too drastic (400' gain, then 700' drop). Depending on where you are coming from, it make take a bit more driving, as well. But you won't have to worry about stashing and lugging your canoe around, so that part may even be a wash, anyway.

But like I said, if you are doing it for the adventure...have at it. I'm trying to decide whether I should paddle over to Eagle or Hazel creek this spring, as well. I'm too cheap to pay the $50/person (3 of us) and am not sure about hiking 5.2 miles just to get to Eagle or 9.6 to Hazel is worth the effort, either. Paddling seems like a good option.

You should be able to paddle 3miles in less than 2 hrs if the winds are light, if you have a good cruising canoe and a good partner with you.

Keep us posted, I'm very interested in your experience, especially if you decide to paddle across to Forney. Not many folks on the board talk much about Forney. But it looks tempting...

01-30-2008, 07:39 PM
The "adventure" aspect is one of the things I'm looking forward to. I've never loaded up the canoe and paddled it to any backcountry camping destination. I'm not planning on it being a time saver-- I do think we can paddle it under 2 hours, just being conservative. I'm also thinking about the several miles that gear can be on the canoe, and not on my back. And how that would enable me to carry more gear than I normally would on a "regular" backpacking trip. And what kinda of streamer I will drag behind me as I paddle across...
The main reason we're looking at CS 71 is because we have a fairly large group and that is a reservable campsite. I've never been to Forney; but I've been told that all of the campsites from the mouth up to Jonas (I think) are heavily used-- mostly by horses. I would just feel better having a guaranteed place to sleep.
I do wish it was a few weeks later, when the fish aren't still so sluggish; but I'll take the breaks when I can get them. Should I concentrate on nymphing-- or at least use a dropper? Should the casting conditions be similar to Eagle Creek? I'm taking a 6'6" 4 Wt and a 7'9" 5 Wt, 1 reel and 2 spools.

01-30-2008, 10:26 PM

I fished a 7' 9" 5 weight all the way up to Huggins and never found the casting conditions to be what I would call "tight". My partner was fishing an 8' 6" 5 weight. #71 is a very nice looking campsite with quiet a bit of space, but just because it requires a reservation doesn't mean that everyone who is there will have made those necessary reservations. I have met a lot of people who have not filled out the paperwork for their backcountry permit. There were 2 guys at #70 when we arrived and they weren't sure where or when they were going from there. I don't think I would want to take a large group up to #70 there simply weren't that many good tent sites. You should be fine at #71.
Since I typed my previous post, I have looked at the map a half a dozen times and it looks like the trail stays on the creek from #71 to #70, but I remember it going away. So maybe there is an old trail that follows up the creek. Not sure, maybe someone with more familiarity with the area can answer that. When we were there in May we persisted with dries and just couldn't get a lot of fish to rise. I remember coming back and everyone was saying the same thing "bugs everywhere, no fish rising". One week later everybody was catching them on dries. In March, I would probably plan on a dry with a nymph dropped off of it to see which one they want and then go from there.

Rog 1
01-31-2008, 12:27 PM
PeteCz is right....do not hear much about Forney on this board or another one from the far side of the mountain....a couple of years ago, after reading Ian's book I became interested in Forney and the idea of walking in to fish it one day....figured it could be no worse than walking up to fish FCP above Elkmont....well, I asked a couple of questions about what type of flies would work, length of time to hike in and what to expect.....received well over a hundred views of the post but not more than one or two generic replies....I have always thought that kind of silence spoke volumes....only peaked my interest some I am still in search of some first hand experience....it would only seem that as with most places in the Park the farther away from the maddening crowd the better the prospects should be.

02-03-2008, 06:42 PM
I hiked in from the road to nowhere and fished Forney. The hike takes 1:45 to 2:00 hours if you really hoof it. Forney is medium sized water (alot like Eagle). As with everything it gets smaller as you go up. I would fish 3wt or 4wt max. The trail is more heavily used than you would think. Overall, fishing wasnt as good as I would have hoped but maybe it was just me. As with all GSMNP streams nymphs will outperform dries anytime. The rule I use - if you are not catching fish out of a run you know has fish - your nymph is not deep enough - get the nymph down and you will catch fish. I realize this is not most satisfying technique but it works. I don't think the type of nymph really matters that much. On these streams (Eagle, Forney) you really have to be stealthy to catch these fish if you want to do it with dry flies. I am talking crouching and crawling behind rocks. Once you lift your rod over a fish to cast - it is all over. As for the post that started this thread. I think canoeing to fishing is great - but for my money and effort - if I was going to canoe I would go to Eagle or Hazel not Forney.