Another Successful Fly Fishing Camp on Hazel Creek

Hazel Creek Campout May 2008

R&R Fly Fishing at the Hazel Creek Hilton May 1-4, 2008

We’re back from another incredible stay at Hazel Creek in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The weather was good. We had one day of scattered rain showers. The fishing was good with trout eating dry flies and nymphs up and down the creek. Everyone caught some nice trout and, of course, the setting was top notch.

Steve Claxton makes biscuits

Steve Claxton making biscuits from scratch

As always, Steve Claxton and his lovely assistant Cynda kept us well comfortable and well fed. Steve’s dinners this time featured ribeye steak, bacon wrapped scallops, shrimp, pork tenderloin, fresh trout, asparagus, cheese biscuits, corn on the cob, salads, blackberry cobbler, and apple pies. After all the hiking and fishing I think we still gained some weight!

Dinner is served

Darren Cummings and Andrew Sonner load their plates with pork tenderloin, asparagus, cheese bisuits, mashed potatoes, and dressing.

Ian Rutter and Lee Howell w/ Hazel Creek rainbow trout

Ian shows a nice rainbow trout caught by Lee Howell

After the second full day of fishing everyone made their way back to camp. Charity and I had been guiding several of the campers while the rest had set out on their own. The overall consensus was that fishing had been tough, but gotten pretty good around 3:00. Most anglers were doing best with a nymph and the most successful used weighted flies or a small split shot.

Charity was anxious to do a little fishing for herself and got in the stream just downstream of camp. Several of us thought we heard some shouts a few minutes later, but dismissed it as another group we had seen on the trail a few minutes earlier. I think the chairs were a little to comfortable and the cocktails a little too inviting for any of us to get up. Charity came back a few minutes later, exasperated that no one had responded to her calls. She had hooked a large fish, then chased it down the creek some way before another group of campers came to check out the ruckus.

She had originally started by casting a streamer, but after a few minutes with no response she put on a heavy Prince Nymph and continued on up the stream. On her 3rd cast with the nymph she hooked something large that moved about the stream but was reluctant to run or come to the surface. Eventually the trout made a blazing run down the creek, zig zagging through boulders before entering a large pool near the campsite. A large tree had fallen into the stream last winter and the fish made several attempts to run to it before Charity could keep it turned.

Charity Rutter with 18″ Hazel Creek Brown Trout

Thanks to the unknown campers who took this picture of Charity and the 18″ brown trout she caught

Most of the trout caught on the trip were in the 5-8″ range with several over 10″. Nymphs easily outfished dries. Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, and of course, Prince Nymphs accounted for most of the fish hooked. We did raise some fish on Stimulators and Parachute Adams.

We’re already planning another back to Hazel Creek in October. We’ll keep you posted!

Hazel Creek Hilton