Cataloochee Creek lies in the Cataloochee Valley surrounded by some of the most rugged mountains found in the southeastern United States and is one of the most remote regions of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is often referred to as the “Forgotten Far East” because it is so remote and it is so far to the east within the GSMNP.
Cataloochee Creek is formed by the convergence of Palmer Creek, Little Cataloochee Creek, and Caldwell Fork. Cataloochee Creek flows approximately seven miles through open fields and glades within the GSMNP before emptying into Walters Lake an impoundment on the Pigeon River. The creek flows through a gradual change in elevation, creating long runs and riffles as opposed to the pocket waters found in the steeper streams within the GSMNP.
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Rainbow trout inhabit the upper reaches of the creek while big browns inhabit the lower reaches. Be prepared to hike to the last couple of miles of the creek in search of the big browns. Be sure to have some terrestrials along especially hoppers in the early months of summer when the fields are mowed.
The most direct route is to take Cove Creek Road (partially graveled). From interstate I-40, exit at North Carolina exit #20 and travel 0.2 miles on route 276. Turn right onto Cove Creek Road and follow the signs 11 miles into the Cataloochee alley. Cove Creek Road ends in the valley adding to its remoteness.
Visit our DIY Guide to Fly Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for maps and information on fishing other trout streams in the park.
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.
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