Hazel Creek is located in the southwest corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has the reputation of being the finest freestone stream in GSMNP. It also has the distinction of being the most remote. Hazel Creek headwaters start on the slopes of Stateline Ridge at an elevation of over 4,000 feet, prime native brook trout habitat.
Hazel Creek is a backcountry fly fishing destination which means you are going to have to do a little hiking and camping if you want to experience some of the finest fishing for native southern Appalachian brook trout, wild rainbow and brown trout the Smokies has to offer. If you do make the effort, though, I don't think you will be disappointed.
The primary access to Hazel Creek is by crossing Fontana Lake by boat or canoe. A boat launch is available at Cable Cove, accessible by Highway 28. Boats are available for rent and shuttle trips to Hazel Creek are also available at the Fontana Village Marina. Day trips and longer stays can be arranged.
The Great Smoky Mountains Trail Map details the location of stream-side backcountry campsites and the applicable regulations. In short, once you cross Fontana Lake, Hazel Creek Trail provides good access to the stream for some 15 miles to the headwaters.
Along the way are five backcountry campsites including Proctor Campsite #86, Sawdust Pile #85, Sugar Fork # 84, BoneValley #83 and Calhoun # 82. You must obtain a permit to use the backcounty campsites, and Proctor and BoneValley require advance reservations through the Backcountry Reservation Office at (865) 436-1231. Permits and further information are available from most park visitor centers.
Visit our Great Smoky Mountain National Park Fly Fishing Guide for more information about fishing in the park.
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and is on a quest to map the best places for fly fishing in America. He created DIY Fly Fishing and the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish. Have a question? You can get in touch with Ken here.
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