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  • Writer's pictureRay Sugg

Henry Fork, New Creek #1026


Henry Fork a short distance inside the state park - I caught one below the big rock on the left.

I had Wednesday off, so I headed to South Mountains to try to mark Henry Fork off of the bucket list. I had fished the hatchery supported stretch twice before with no luck, both times in the winter. The section on South Mountains State Park was Bobby Kilby's creek #1,000, so it has been on my radar since 2008, but access is a little tricky. Let's just say there is no official park entrance on that side, and lots of posted signs and purple paint. I have been swapping emails with Jason Jefferies from Belmont about streams in that area, and he figured out a way in. He was gracious enough to take me in Wednesday, so Jason, I owe you a guided fishing trip in the Smokies!

Jason Jefferies high-sticks a good-looking run.

Henry Fork is a decent-sized stream inside the park, with clear water and wild browns, and on this day blue skies and bright sunshine straight overhead - not the best conditions! I started fishing downstream with a bugger, and turned one but that was it. I then switched to my usual hare's ear nymph fished under a pinch-on foam indicator. I covered a lot of water with no success, so I switched to a latex stonefly nymph and immediately caught a nine-inch brown that was camera-shy. A couple of runs later, I hooked his twin, making Henry Fork #1026. Both runs had the following things in common - great cover with big rocks at the head, strong current, and water about waist deep. I told Jason I would like to at least get a look at He Creek, a tributary that probably contains wild browns, so we walked the trail past some really good-looking water to that point.

He Creek comes in from the left.

I saw several fish in the 7-9 inch range holding near the bottom. At this point, I had tied the hare's ear back on, so I flipped it into the current beside the orange rock. The fly never made it downstream to the fish I could still see, because a bigger fish had come out from under the rock to take the fly. Full disclosure - I was watching the fish I could see and missed seeing the take, so I foul-hooked him . . . thought I had a real monster for s few seconds!

Finally, a Henry Fork brown that consents to be photographed!

I did fish up He Creek a short distance and caught four minnows, but I'm willing to bet there are browns in there. Jason and I made tentative plans to go back to try He Creek again and fish Henry Fork above the reservoir.


On the way home, I felt the urge to catch some on top, so I swung by Curtis Creek in Old Fort. The road was still gated (opened March 31) so I walked up to the campground (also closed) and fished that section. I caught twelve small wild rainbows on flies to top off a great day on the water.

Curtis Creek just above the campground

The biggest of a dozen small rainbows that wanted a dry fly.

Blessed to live in America - Thank God for public land!



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chrismcroberts40
Apr 06, 2023

Nice write up Ray. Ive not fished that. pretty water. Im all over your hairs ear now. ive been catching a lot of fish on it. ive done better with the copper and gray or darker tungsten. See you at Snowbird. McRoberts

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Jon Pershke
Jon Pershke
Apr 02, 2023

Love the posts and would like to see more fly recipes. Tied the yellow hazel and hares ear... The dry above looks like another parachute.... Want to share the pattern?

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