Combat Fishing In Maggie Valley

By Dan Dry

What a term for fishing! This is a perfect description of fishing Jonathan Creek, which runs through Maggie Valley. Swift, close quarters, with holes and rocks, and most of all—trout…Rainbows, Browns, Brook and Native. North Carolina Wildlife and Fisheries stock the creek all through the spring and fall. I’ve fished from Soldotna, Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. Despite this experience, it took me a while to figure out how to get Jonathan Creek trout to the dinner table. Actually, it took me a few years to really get it. Forget traditional corks, sinkers and heavy line, it doesn’t work that way. Fly fishing on Jonathan Creek is also difficult with its narrow width and trees. So you may wonder what I am getting at?

My typical day starts with my hip boots, my ultra light spin cast, and a stringer in my back pocket (along with my license). I’ll park and walk the sidewalk upstream for my approach. My spin cast is loaded with 4lb test and a small shank hook. I also carry extras in a small waterproof capsule. Short casts around the larger rocks, letting the worm drift to the backside, will bring them out. If you let the worm “surf” the ripples, odds are that will be the only pull you will get. Finicky and hard to fool, is my take on them. Get your footing right and you can free line your bait down stream with the current. These coldwater beings can bend the rod with a vigorous pull. You can’t horse them in the current so be patient and wear them down.

The current and slick rocks add to the combat experience so be careful. Crickets, wax worms, night crawlers, and even whole kernel corn will work, but the ol’ red wrigglers are my favorite. Also, calm spots below the rapids will hold fish but the eddys are the best.

Depending on the speed of the current, I have caught them on a gold spinner bait (Mepps)- smaller the better, and a small Rapala stick bait. However, these tend to get hung up more than the single hook. If you catch and release, take a small dip net. The less you handle the fish, the better. Single hooks give a better survival percentage.

The town of Maggie Valley has a J-Creek clean-up once a year and being a volunteer, I have found many empty worm boxes along the banks, so please always cart your trash out.

There is no size limit and the number is seven trout per day. Just remember the title “Combat,” I have broken rods and received a few bruises from falling so go slow and be careful. Happy fishing to all!

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