Hazel Creek Watershed:
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Description:
Hazel Creek is the most popular stream on the park side of Fontana Lake.

S
tream Size:
Hazel Creek is a large stream by Smoky Mountain standards.

Accessibility:
The stream is accessed from Hazel Creek Trail. The closet point of access to cross
Fontana Lake is the Cable Cove launch ramp.

Species:
The stream has a good population of both rainbow and brown trout. Brook trout are
found in its headwaters and tributary streams. Smallmouth bass are also present in
the lower part of the stream.

Average Fish Size:
The average size of the fish in Hazel Creek is probably above average for the park.

Popularity:
This is the most popular stream that requires either a long hike or crossing Fontana
Lake. Most anglers fish the lower portion of the stream. The headwaters see little
pressure.

Difficulty:
Hazel Creek is not a difficult stream to fish from a casting standpoint. It offers plenty
of room in its lower reaches. The fact that it sees more pressure than any of the
streams on the park side of Fontana Lake and the fact it has a good population of
brown trout doesn't make fishing any easier.

Tributary Streams:
Hazel Creek has several tributary streams.

Sugar Fork:
Sugar Fork is a small stream tributary of Hazel Creek. It usually has a good
population of rainbow trout. Two small tributary streams flow into Sugar Fork, the
Haw Gap Branch and Little Sugar Fork. Sugar Fork is located five miles upstream of
Fontana Lake. It is accessible from the Sugar Fork Trail. Sugar Fork is near
campsite #84.

Bone Valley Creek:
Bone Valley Creek is a small to medium size stream that flows into Hazel Creek. It
has rainbows in its lower portion and brook trout in its headwaters. Bone Valley
Creek is about five and one-half miles upstream of Fontana Lake. It has several
small tributary streams, Defeat Branch, Wooly Branch, Desolation Branch and
Roaring Fork. These small tributaries have populations of brook trout.

Walker Creek:
Walker Creek is another small tributary of Hazel Creek that's only accessible by an
unimproved path or by fishing upstream. Most of the trout below the falls are
rainbow trout. This stream is about nine miles upstream of Fontana Lake.

Proctor Creek:
Proctor Creek is yet another small stream that flows into Hazel Creek about ten
miles upstream of Fontana Lake. It can be accessed from an unimproved trail. The
tributary streams of  James Creek Branch and Long Creek Cove also offer anglers a
chance at its brook trout.

Comments:
Hazel Creek is certainly one of, if not the best trout streams in the park. It has a wide
diversity of species and large supply of aquatic insects for the trout to eat. This valley
and the creek's drainage was once the home of several families of mountain
people. It was also the site of a huge lumber operation at one time. This damaged
the stream in many ways but also, at least from a few standpoints, improved the
stream insofar as its ability to support non-native species of fish. The National Park
Service transports vehicles across the lake to take family members to visit the
graves of their people at certain times of the year.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh
Hazel Creek is low on water
in this scene, but not near as
low as other park streams.
The Hazel Creek trail is more
like a fine dirt road than a
trail. Getting around is easy.
The lake is seven-tenths of a
mile but it is a 21 mile hike to the
Forney Creek Trail.
Typical pool, run, riffle, type
of water makes up most of
the lower end of Hazel.
It seems like a large brown
trout should be in every few
feet in this stream.
Thumbnails-Click on Images
Thumbnails-Click on Images
This rainbow never made it to Angie's hand. It
jumped off shortly after this image was taken.
This was near the lark and a very good size
rainbow trout.
This one wasn't as lucky.
Thumbnails-Click on Images
Thumbnails-Click on Images
This is a fat, nice size rainbow Angie caught
on a size 20 BWO Dun.
Lake Fontana
Mouth of Hazel Creek