DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Fires Creek in North Carolina

Have you been thinking of planning a fly fishing getaway, but you aren’t sure where to start? Maybe you’ve long been a fan of the sport, but just aren’t looking for another guided tour that costs more than just money-- fly fishing is about enjoying the getaway.

With our DIY guide, you’ll learn all about the best fly fishing in Fires Creek so that you can plan a great getaway for less. Plus, you’ll be able to go where you please and create your own experience.

A sneak peak at the trout of Fires Creek in North Carolina

This is one of the lesser-known delayed-harvest creeks in the state for fly fishing. Because it’s located in the southwestern part of the state and not particularly close to any populated areas, it often gets overlooked. It is close to the Georgia state line and out of the way from everywhere, including the nearest town of Murphy, located 16 miles east. 

Fires Creek is a tributary of the Hiwassee River, which is located to the west of the creek. There are about 10 miles of waters that are prime for trout fishing on this creek, and while some might not call it a “destination”, per se, it does offer some great trout fishing for those who want something different. 

This creek is larger, offering rough pocket waters with riffles and runs, along with tons of plunge pools that are deep enough for even the most skittish trout to feel comfortable. The creek flows from the headwaters near the Tusquitee Bald area and ends up in the Hiwassee River just outside of Hayesville. Two small tributaries are also found off the creek, offering more selection of wild rainbow and brown trout. 

The main creek is home to both stocked and wild trout of the brown and rainbow variety. Most are small-to-medium in size and they aren’t going to bring home trophies, but they’ll provide plenty of fun and relaxation for the fly fisherman looking for a different kind of getaway. One of the biggest selling points of Fires Creek is its remote location and lack of crowds. 

For the angler who prefers a quiet getaway, Fires Creek could be a perfect choice. Read on to learn about where to go, when to go, and what you’ll need.

Fires Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

Map of fishing spots on Fires Creek in North Carolina

Get directions to fishing access points and real-time stream flow data with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

Best Places to Fish Fires Creek

This creek has unique accessibility: the entire stream can be reached from the Forest Service Road #340, and just about two miles upstream from the National Forest area, you’ll find the Fires Creek Picnic Area. Here, not many people are fishing unless they park and then wander downstream. 

Upstream from the picnic area, there’s a deep gorge that covers about three miles. It’s difficult to access this area for good fishing, so staying above the gorge is usually a good idea. You’ll also find good access and fishing around where FS 340 meets with 340C. 

You’ll find plenty of room to cast all along this stream and you probably won’t find much other company, unless it’s during the prime spring season. The trails along the streambed will take you to the best fishing spots, and where you can’t wade, there will be easy access to walk along the stream. 

Upstream casts that allow you to stay hidden are best in all areas of the creek and you’ll find plenty of hatches to keep you guessing as to what will work best in your fly box. The good news is, though, that most attractor dry flies work great for the stocked fish, who are much less picky throughout the creek. With so much fishable area, it’s a wonder more people don’t come to explore Fires Creek.

Best Time to Fish Fires Creek

The spring season is ideal for trout fishing. The hatches get both the stocked and wild trout going like crazy, making it less likely that you’ll spook them with your movements. Low and slow is the key, but you’ll need less reserve when you go during peak season.

 You might find the occasional good catch on a summer trip, but the shallower water can get too warm and make it hard to find good fishing. Fall will do you wonders if are looking for some feisty brown trout. Head to the lower section of the creek to find the best fishing during these months.

Fires Creek isn’t notorious for its winter fishing, but there is some opportunity. On warmer days, you’ll find trout hiding in the pools throughout the stream. Plus, the climate means that the terrain should be easy to traverse since it’s relatively flat and doesn’t require a lot of vertical movement.

The great thing about Fires Creek is that popularity won’t affect your travel plans-- you can go at any time and never have to worry about fighting the crowds like you would in some well-known fly fishing destinations.

Fly Box - What You'll Need

The trout in this stream spook easily, but they’re not so fickle about their food. The creek is home to mayflies of various forms, caddis flies, and other hatches, as well as plenty of midges. These will keep the fish happy, and the stocked fish will take most flies without much thought.

It’s best to keep a variety of nymphs, dry flies, and streamers on hand.

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Fires Creek:

Dry Flies

  • Yellow Sally (#12 - 16)
  • Yellow Humpy (#10 - 18)
  • Parachute Sulphur (#14 - 18)
  • Parachute Adams (#12 - 22)
  • Light Cahill (#10 - 18)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (#8 - 16)
  • Yellows Stimulator (#8 - 14)
  • Chernobyl Ant (#8 - 12)
  • Griffith's Gnat (#16 - 24)

Nymphs

  • Pheasant Tail (#12 - 20)
  • BH Hare's Ear (#12 - 20)
  • Rainbow Warrior (#14 - 22)
  • Pat's Rubber Legs (#4 - 12)
  • Golden Stonefly (#6 - 10)
  • Tellico Nymph (#12 - 18)
  • Zebra Midge (#16 - 22)
  • WD40 (#16-20)
  • Y2K Egg (#12 - 16)

Streamers

  • BH Wooly Bugger (#2 - 6)
  • Sculpzilla (#4)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 4-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Fires Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Fires Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide a Fires Creek fly fishing report and update on current conditions are listed below:

Fishing Regulations

The state of North Carolina requires that all people who are 16 years of age and older have a valid fishing license. There are resident and non-resident sport fishing licenses available.

You can purchase a North Carolina state fishing license and learn about the most current regulations through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Trip Planning Tips

Those coming to Fires Creek will find themselves a 20-30 minute drive from most major areas that offer lodging and dining. However, the backcountry area of the creek does allow for camping at some spots along the stream, and there is other camping nearby, as well. You can find nearby hotels and motels with access via Highway 64, and the creek is small enough that it makes a great day trip.

If you’re flying into the region, you’ll probably come through Western Carolina Regional Airport. Some choose to fly through Atlanta, but that’s about 90 miles south.

Looking for more places to fish? Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in North Carolina

Feature image Trout Junkie

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