If you’re coming to the Sevierville area this year and plan on spending most of your time here in the great outdoors, it’s likely that you’re one of the many people who enjoy fishing the waters of the Great Smoky Mountains. Around here, one of those bodies that numerous anglers seek out is Hazel Creek, located at the southern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For fishermen, it’s almost like killing two birds with one stone. Not only are there ample opportunities to catch some beautiful Smoky Mountain trout on Hazel Creek, small-mouth are also said to populate this area.
A tributary of the Little Tennessee River, Hazel Creek is found in the southwest portion of the Great Smoky Mountains and is also home to a few backcountry campsites. It’s one of the larger streams in the park and can be accessed from the Hazel Creek Trail – a 14.7 mile hike found at the site of the old town of Proctor.
But enough with the history lesson, etc., what about the fish? There is plenty brown and rainbow trout in this Smoky Mountain creek. Brook can be found in the headwaters, but those are catch and release only. From a casting standpoint, Hazel Creek is not difficult at all and there is plenty of room.
Many regard Hazel Creek as one of the best, if not THE best, streams for trout fishing in the national park. This is partly due to the food supply – Hazel Creek has a large supply of aquatic insects of different genus and species for the trout to eat like Caddis flies and mayflies. The Hazel Creek valley was also once home to several mountain families, as well as a large lumber company at one point. 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 lower reaches of Hazel Creek not only hold trout, but healthy populations of largemouth, smallmouth, and rock bass. This is one of the very few places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where largemouth bass can be caught by fly fishermen.
Crossing the lake by boat is perhaps the easiest and most popular way to visit Hazel Creek. For a modest sum, the operators of the Fontana Village Resort Marina provide transportation across the lake by arrangement.