October 10, 2020 New Creek #985!
Peach Orchard Creek is a tributary of Carter Creek in the Big Ivy section of Buncombe County. I have been fly fishing the creeks of Big Ivy since high school, but had not yet fished Carter Creek or its tributaries. The upper part of Carter Creek is in Pisgah National Forest, but the downstream .5 mile is, and has been at least since 1978, heavily posted. When Carter Creek was designated Wild Trout/Catch and Release a while back, I asked a couple of game wardens about how to access it. Their answer was hike to Douglas Falls, walk downstream until you get to Waterfalls Creek, and continue downstream until you get to Carter Creek! I know of a guy who did that to get pics of the waterfalls, but not this boy! Too steep, too many waterfalls! Well, this past Christmas I purchased a book called Fly Fishing the Blue Ridge Parkway: North Carolina Section by Sam Johnson. I plan on doing a detailed book review when I get a chance, but for now let me tell you that I love this book - it has become one of my favorites. Not only has Sam fished the main streams featured in the book, he has personally fished many of the blue-line tributaries (so me and Bobby Kilby are not the only crazy people)!
I got excited when I read the section on Carter Creek. According to Johnson, all you have to do is turn onto Carter Creek Road (a private road that used to have a cable stretched across the bridge blocking access) and drive through the posted property until you reach the National Forest boundary! I assumed that the access situation had changed, so after a soccer game in Asheville, I decided to give it a try. Well, I turned onto Carter Creek Road, ignored the many "No Trespassing" signs and drove until I reached another bridge across the creek. There is a log cabin on the other side, and the road squeezes between the cabin and the creek in such a way that it actually looks like the driveway to the cabin. I decided to keep going. Since it was warm, I had my windows rolled down, and just as I got across the bridge and beside the cabin, I heard an angry voice yell "Hey, didn't you see them signs!" There was an older lady on the porch pointing a pistol at me! After a nice 15 minute conversation (no kidding - she did stop pointing the gun at me) I found out that she has never allowed access to the "government land" through her property. When I offered her $20 just to let me drive though, she said "I wouldn't do it for $50 million". Well, you can't argue with that. Sam, she must not have been home when you drove through her property - at least you are honest on your book cover where it says "An Almost Accurate Guide"! No harm, no foul here, but that old lady wants to talk to you.
Plan B involved driving up the forest service road into Big Ivy to where it crosses Peach Orchard Creek. I had tried fishing above the road a few times with no luck, but Bobby told me he had gone downstream from the road and caught specs, so that was today's plan. The woods are fairly open, but the terrain is pretty steep. I walked as far downstream as I thought I could fish back up with the remaining daylight. I started off with a bead-head nymph (was there ever a doubt?) and caught a couple of tiny specs to make Peach Orchard Creek new creek #985. At a pretty deep plunge pool, I switched to a woolly bugger I tied on a jig hook to get it down, and was rewarded with a fat 9-inch spec! Please enjoy the pics below: