Laurel Fork Creek:
Laurel Fork Creek is one of the better wild trout streams that is outside of the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the state of Tennessee. It lies in the
Northeast corner of the state near the North Carolina border near the town of
Elizabethton. It is located off US highway 321 at Hampton, not far from
Elizabethton. Dennis Cove Road will take you there.
A portion of the stream is stocked by the state of Tennessee but there is a wild
trout area designated as such that has some excellent wild brown trout fishing.
The wild trout waters start above a cable crossing in Dennis Cove. The stream
contains wild brown, brook and rainbow trout. The headwaters have a very good
population of brook trout but most of the trout in the designated wild trout area of
the stream are browns. There are some wild rainbows but probably three-fourths
or more of the trout you will catch will be browns.
We haven’t seen one person fishing this stream in our five trips there. I am certain
it is fished but the stream is located in a very rural area and most people that do
fish the stream fish the put and take area. There is also a lot of other fine trout
streams nearby. The Doe River, Watauga River tailwater and the South Holston
tailwaters are in the same general area of the state.
This is a relatively small freestone, mountain stream. We haven’t taken any large
brown trout but I am certain they exist. One reason is that we have always fished
with dry flies. Even so, we have caught as many as twenty brown trout in a short
day of fishing and a few better than twelve inches up to fourteen inches long. In
the five trips we have made to this stream, we have always been able to catch at
least a dozen trout of decent size. We consider that very good brown trout fishing
for such a small stream. The average size fish will probably only average nine
inches or so but I assure you there are some larger ones there.
Angie’s young brother caught his first ever trout there on a dry fly-fishing behind
us about fifty yards. Without any coaching or instructions, other than a tip for him
to cast upstream and watch his fly, he managed to catch three browns that day.
All of them were caught fishing water we had just fished. He was very excited and
we were rather surprised.
The road doesn’t follow the wild trout part of the stream so this isn’t a stop the car
and cast stream. That is probably another reason we haven’t seen anyone else
there. We have always been there on a weekday and that may make a big
difference. There is plenty of water to go around even if there are a few anglers
there but you will need to do a little walking.
This is a fine, beautiful little trout stream in the wild trout designated area worthy
of any anglers time.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh