Accessing the Straight Fork

7/31/08

We received some email regarding the location of Straight Fork. The answer to
that is in our streams section of this site
(Straight Fork Watershed) but may be a
little difficult to envision to those that have not been in this area of the park. The
entrance that is closest to Cherokee, which is the Straight Fork Road, is fairly
easy to find. Just get on Big Cove Road in Cherokee and it will take you there.
Big Cove Road is one of the main roads in Cherokee. If you are entering the
park from the North Carolina side you just turn right off the highway leading into
the park in town and cross the river. You will intersect Big Cove Road.
If you are coming from the Tennessee side of the park, turn left off highway 441
when you first get into town and cross the river where you will intersect Big Cove
Road. It will take you past the new Cherokee school still under construction and
through Big Cove to the park. Just keep straight and you will eventually cross
the Raven Fork. If you follow the road to the end you may think you are lost but
if you look closely you will see the road change to a dirt road with the fish
hatchery on your right a few yards down the dirt road. Take the dirt road right by
the hatchery and you will enter the park just past it.
By the way, you will pass the Hyatt Creek Trailhead that leads to Enloe Trial that
takes you to the Raven Fork just in case you want to fish this remote stream.
You better have a full day ahead of you if you plan on doing that.
You can fish anytime after you enter the park but you should be aware that the
city stocks the Straight Fork about a mile down the road at the intersect of the
Raven Fork and Straight Fork. Most likely some of those trout make it back up
into the park. I suggest that you travel about two or three miles up the road into
the park before you start fishing. The road leaves the stream about five miles
into the park. To fish the upper park of the Straight Fork you will have to follow
the stream. There is no official trail that follows it but it is real not difficult to travel
up the stream along the banks and in the stream.
At the point the road leaves the Straight Fork you will begin to catch brook trout
mixed in with the browns and rainbows. By the way, we have caught browns well
past that point far up the Straight Fork.
As the Straight Fork Watershed article says, you can also access the Straight
Fork from the Balsam Mountain Road that enters the park off of the Blue Ridge
Parkway. This road circles around to eventually becomes the Straight Fork Road.
The Straight Fork is not a large stream but it probably has as many, if not more
fish as any stream in the park. It is not heavily fished I think because so few
anglers know how to reach it. In over thirty trips to the Straight Fork, we have
never failed to catch quite a few trout. During one trip last fall, one rainbow
measured over eleven inches and one brown was over fourteen inches. No
records were set but it was a respectable catch for the park. You will rarely see
another angler on this stream. After all, you have to pass by a lot of other good
trout water to get there regardless of the direction you are coming from.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh