Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fly Fishing Hazel Creek, N.C.

Traveling up the Hazel Creek Trail into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park affords excellent mountain trout fishing and so much more. Each elevation change brings an appreciation for the Indians, settlers and pioneers that used to live off the land in this area – seemingly cut off from other concerns. Thoughts regarding past efforts to tame a wild place were omnipresent, but our efforts were focused on what must be done to enjoy several days of fishing from a streamside camp.
Arranging transportation across Lake Fontana is the first step of the journey, which also includes reserving a campsite on the Hazel Creek Trail. Hikers must contact the Fontana Village Resort Marina to secure pontoon boat transfer service across the 10,230-acre Fontana Lake and into the National Park.
No mechanized travel is allowed into The Great Smoky Mountains National Park so hikers must haul all provisions up the mountain in backpacks or wheeled carts. Wheeled-carts allow for campers to bring in tents, cooking equipment, lighting, coolers, perishables – not to mention breathable waders, fishing vests and fly rods in protective tubes. Carrying gear three miles uphill is a chore to be sure, but an early challenge brings satisfaction to all that their time spent fishing in the stream would be earned.

This expedition reminded me of a prior adventure when Charleston fishing friend Fred Andrus and I camped in the Cohutta Wilderness Area of North Georgia to fish Jack’s Creek. I accused Fred of taking me on a “Bataan death march” carrying all of our needs up and down trails, with my sea-level legs being put to the test. Everything I learned on that outing could now be applied in the Smokies.

To view a blog entry about Fly Fishing Jackson County, N.C. click here.

PhotosByJeffDennis: Fly fishing in Hazel Creek (N.C.) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; a 7-inch wild rainbow trout that is 'fat and happy' in Hazel Creek; a beautiful blue mountain butterfly that paused on a rock; after hiking 3.5 miles to camp at the 'Sawdust Pile' you can bet that time around the campfire is cherished

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