Well, I ended going to Cataloochee and stayed up at camp 39. I figured fishing would be slow because of the cold and I was right. I did catch several brookies in the upper parts of Palmer Creek and Pretty Hollow, but no rainbows. I suppose that they are willing to eat at lower temps than rainbows. It was interesting to see the elk with tags (much like cattle) standing near the road on the way in. I also liked the chapel, schoolhouse, and Palmer House. All in all I wish the fishing had been better, but the Cataloochee valley is a beautiful and peaceful place to go so I have no regrets. It looks like it is warming up and I probably missed the start of good fishing by a week or so. Thanks to all for the advice.
I live about 30 minutes out of Cataloochee and you hit it right on the head. 39 is my favorite backcountry site to stay at, but I love the brook. I usually catch a few nice fish up Pretty Hollow and Palmer, and have seen several trophy fish in Lost Bottoms. The weather has been terrible, but I have managed 3 trips in there this week, only one had any success and that was in Correll branch of Little Cataloochee. Even the brook were sluggish, not hit and run just drifting up and getting it. Any time you head back this way let me know, I love fishing and talking, and I am pretty knowledgeable about this side of the park. Walnut Bottoms, 36, on Big Creek is a great place to stay with plenty of Brook and small small rainbows.