2019-07-01 Jonathan Creek
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
After running some errands and conducting a soccer training session, I needed to cool off and catch some trout. My "go to" spot when I don't have a lot of time is always Jonathan Creek in Maggie Valley. I changed clothes at the Mary Rathbone Rich Park and fished a short stretch beside the park, catching a stocked brown and three small wild browns. From there I went to the lower bridge at Frank Mehaffey Road and fished up to the RVs right beside highway 19 (one-tenth of a mile, according to my car odometer). The last stocking took place Friday, June 21, but there were still plenty of stocked brook trout spread out all through the section I fished. The water was up for this time of year, so I fished a size 14 bead head hare's ear nymph and one split shot below a neon orange strike indicator. I caught 17 trout through that stretch, including two small wild rainbows that would not cooperate for a picture. They all fell for the bead head with one notable exception. At a pocket on the right that always contains a fish or two, I had four consecutive takes on the indicator by what was probably the same stocked brookie. Seriously! For four casts in a row, this fish came up from the bottom of a deep pocket, latched on to the neon orange indicator, and took it back to the bottom! I had to fight the urge to set the hook, because that pulls the indicator out of the trout's mouth and also pulls the nymph up past his body, usually resulting in a foul-hooked fish. After the fourth take, I gave in and tied on a bright orange bead head that I tie for really dumb, newly-stocked fish, and he took it on the first cast. Maybe he learned his lesson.
At this point, I was ready to catch some fish on a dry fly, so I headed over to Campbell Creek, which is about half the size of Jonathan Creek. It goes under highway 19 and runs right through the middle of River Front Lodge's property before running into Jonathan Creek.
I got in at the mouth and fished up to the open stretch on the other side of the 19 bridge, using a yellow parachute. I did switch back to a nymph at a few deep runs that did not produce a strike on the dry, and caught fish in all of them. I finished up with ten more fish, including a fat 10-inch wild rainbow that jumped several times. All-in-all, it was three hours well spent. Enjoy the slideshow below (it is in reverse order, starting with Campbell Creek).