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tennswede 06-20-2010 05:20 PM

Cherokee "Fly Only Section on Raven Fork"
I've got a question for anyone with recent experience from Cherokee. I have fished this section of water three times. Two times last year March and April. One time previously this year in the month of March. Yesterday on a camping trip in the area, I was thinking about hitting it late in the evening. I fished some park waters during the day and at about 6 pm I decided to check out the trophy section. I rigged up and climbed down to one of my usual holes. I immediately noticed that the water felt luke warm. I took out my trusted old thermometer and let is sit for a couple of minutes. I was in disbelief when I noticed that the temp read 70. I immediately made the decision that it wasn't for me. I don't want to ride a high horse or anything but I was concerned. I noticed at least a half a dozen other anglers in the area and if they caught anything it would be mostly lethal to the fish. This would be fine if you could keep the fish. Considering the need for small flies and 6 x tippet with long exhausting battles. I am sure that not much was caught in that kind of water temp but still. Is this really a good thing? I'm not trying to make an argument but since we can't catch and kill on this section it left me with some disturbing thoughts. Maybe they need to make it catch and kill during the hottest part of the year. Any regulars on here with some input. As for me, I won't be trying it again until I know the water is at a more trout friendly temp. I went up on Bunches instead. I was on the tribal lands and used my $7 dollar daily. This brings me two some more questions. On this stretch of river I caught several rainbows that looked like wild fish along with one larger stocker bow. Then a couple of small pale looking brookies. Do they stock fingerling brookies? I also had a somewhat larger brown come up twice and give me a refusal. I decided then, that he won and I went back to camp.

Speckleman5 06-20-2010 09:48 PM

Hans, I Don't know how far up Bunches you were, but the natives make their way down quite a bit from the park reaches. I have caught several below the last concrete bridge before it goes back up the mountain to Big Witch Gap.

Jim Casada 06-20-2010 09:56 PM

Hans--There are lots of wild rainbows in both Bunches Creek and Soco Creek, and the former is home to plenty of mountain trout in its upper reaches. Some filter down to reservation waters.
Jim Casada

Owl 06-21-2010 02:12 AM

I've caught some nice wild bows at the lower end of the trophy water...where you'd think they'd be...mid-river slow pockets, undercut banks, behind fallen tree limbs, etc. Not the places obvious to every flyfisher, but the places obvious to those of us used to chasing wild fish.

If you were to kill one accidentally, I'm sure the crawfish and/or snakes, otters, etc. wouldn't mind it. ( And Cherokee will stock more.)

PS - saw a flyline review you did on Cabela's, sweede! Ordered because of it! Thanks!

tennswede 06-21-2010 10:04 AM


Well the fact that they keep stocking and we keep fishing and releasing in that kind of water temp is the problem for me. I guess it's not really much of a sport for me to exhaust fish in that kind of water and not be able to keep them. I think they should close it when it gets above 70 or something. As for everyone else , I don't fault anyone if they keep fishing. The tribe has the right to do what they want to do on their land. I'm just not going to participate again until the water cools down.

Owl, as for the fly line comment, thanks.


The specs I caught most definitely looked like the northern strain stockers that I have seen in local tailwaters. They didn't look like the wild fish at all. The rainbows yes, but not the specs.

Owl 06-21-2010 04:09 PM

swede, no problem. We apparently just hold the fish in varying degrees of esteem. For me, it makes a difference that they are hatched by man and raised for the sole purpose of our sport, and not stream-borne trout. A small one, but a difference nonetheless.

As for fishing there, I'm not planning on fishing it again until fall either. Too many people in the Cherokee area in general and too hot for me this year to really enjoy being out there in a low-land stream.

tennswede 06-21-2010 07:21 PM


I tell you what though, I camped about 40 minutes away at Balsam Mountain Campground. It was 58 low at night and never got to 80 during the day. Too bad the drive is a haul.

Owl 06-21-2010 09:18 PM

Ohhh, yeah....I know. The other day it was 76 at Newfound Gap/state line, and 92 in Cherokee! eeeekkk! :)

Rog 1 06-22-2010 10:08 AM

I spent last week camping in Elkmont and fishing both sides of the hump....something wrong about fishing knee deep in a trout stream with sweat running off your nose...but still better than work.

Knothead 06-22-2010 10:43 PM

Cherokee and mountains
Hey, guys, I wish you wouldn't talk about cool temperatures. Yesterday,
Chattanooga hit a heat index of 101! Not much different in the rest of SE Tennessee. BTW, looking forward to fishing the park in cooler weather this fall. Hans, thanks for the temp report.

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