Isolated in the southwestern corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (on the North Carolina side) is a little slice of fly fishing heaven – Hazel Creek; a place where fond memories are born, provided you can get there.
As shown on our interactive Great Smoky Mountains National Park trout stream map, Hazel Creek is a backcountry fly fishing destination. [Translation] This 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 and 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 Great Smoky Mountains Trail Map and Guide details the location of stream-side backcountry campsites and the applicable regulations. In short, once you cross Fontana Lake (oh, did I forget to mention you need to cross a lake to get to Hazel Creek? - more on that later), 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.
Our Hazel Creek fly fishing guide provides additional information on Hazel Creek access (including an easy way across Fontana Lake), the latest fishing reports and resources available to help plan your trip to one of the prettiest streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Enjoy your trip!
Ken Sperry is the editor of Fly Fishing Reporter and a life-long fly fisherman. When not fishing he's usually out running with hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. He also dabbles in building websites and smartphone apps.
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