There is nothing like going to sleep and waking up to the sound of a mountain stream. Some of my fondest childhood memories take place on the banks of Hazel Creek, Eagle Creek and Forney Creek. Growing up I had one of the greatest mentors I could have ever hoped for, his name was Henry Lambert and he was my “Pa-paw”. He taught me everything I know about fishing in the Smokies and how to spend days and nights in the backcountry. These are the lessons and experiences I hope share with my son and in a few years with my little girl.
I decided to take a break from guiding and running the fly shop to take my son camping in the Smokies for the past couple of days. We didn’t want do anything very remote since it was my son’s first tent camping trip into the Smokies so instead we decided on camping at Smokemont Campground. This way we had several options for fishing: the main stretch of the Oconaluftee along Hwy 441, Bradley Fork or we could hike the 1.2 miles up to Chasteen Creek. On the first afternoon we decided to take it easy and fish around the campground on Bradley. We landed several decent browns and one tiny rainbow before we headed back to camp for dinner.
The next morning my son woke me up at 6:30 and said “what’s for breakfast and can we go fishing”. After getting our bellies full we pulled on our waders, tied on our flies and headed towards Chasteen Creek. We fished several spots along the way on Bradley Fork without very much success. Once we got to Chasteen Creek we began landing fish after fish and my son brought in the “catch of the day” with the brown pictured below. Most of the fish were in the 5-9 inch range and were taken on #12 Tan Caddis and #16 BH Copper Johns.
My son says to me as we are hiking out of Chasteen, “Daddy is this the best camping trip you have ever been on?” which echos the same thing I would ask my “Pa-Paw” after every trip to the Smokies.