Cartoogechaye Creek Trout Fishing
The topic of this article is trout fishing Cartoogechaye Creek. This is a pretty little stream in western North Carolina. It flows east from the mountains, ending it’s journey by emptying into the Little Tennessee River the the town of Franklin. It is an east stream to wade and fish with excellent access in several locations.
Cartoogechaye Creek is conveniently located and easy to fish. This is not the spot for anglers seeking a remote trout fishing experience. While not quite “urban fishing”, most of the spots are in parks that are popular and are used for walking and sports. However, the trade off is being able to conveniently fish a pretty stream that has a good population of trout.
The Cartoogechaye Creek is stocked fairly heavily in spring and early summer. Stocking is done from the state road 64 bridge about 4 miles west of Franklin down to the mouth at the Little Tennessee River. As is often the case, bridges are good spots to fish as they offer easy access for the stocking trucks. Most of the fish caught will be stockers, but there are holdover fish, especially in the less pressured spots. It is a nice sized stream that is easy to wade and fish.
Cartoogechaye Creek trout fishing
While I often practice catch and release, Cartoogechaye Creek is a great choice for anglers looking to keep a couple fish for the skillet. The trout stocked are really put there for anglers to keep and enjoy. As always, be responsible on the days when the bite is on and only keep a couple for a meal. Most of the fish are rainbow trout, but there are plenty of brook trout as well.
My favorite portion of Cartoogechaye Creek is where it runs through Parker Meadows Complex. This is a nice park with ball fields, pickleball courts, and a walking trail. Afternoons can be busy with sports activities. There is plenty of parking and a lot of access points to enter the creek. When conditions are decent, this area rarely fails to produce a few fish.
I like to start at either the west end and wade upstream or the east end and wade downstream. As with most trout fishing, the easier the access the more pressure it will receive. Getting just a little ways off the beaten path can make a difference. This is a really cool creek that feels remote once you are in the water and fishing. However, there are usually plenty of fish in the park itself.
Public access for Cartoogechaye Creek
The next access point to fish Cartoogechaye Creek is about a mile east, off of Industrial Park Rd. There are sports fields to the right and left and a short walk will have you in the water and fishing. This spot get a lot less fishing pressure, though there are fewer spots to access the creek. I have caught small bass here as well.
After the Industrial Road spot, the creek flows through a lot of private land with no real public access. There are a few bridges, but no real good places to park.
Once Cartoogechaye Creek flows under 441 in Franklin, anglers have terrific access. Of course, this also results in more fishing pressure. There are trails, bridges, and a lot of great access from the park complex. Anglers who don’t mind a short hike can park at the library and fish the creek in that area where the Greenway begins. There are a lot of people strolling, but few actually fish this area.
Trout fishing techniques
Fishing techniques are pretty basic for anglers hitting Cartoogechaye Creek. The same tactics that produce stocked trout throughout North Carolina will produce here as well. Fly fishing and spin fishing are both equally productive.
Anglers spin fishing will do best by using ultra light tackle. I like a 6 ½ foot to 7 foot rod with matching reel and 4 pound monofilament line. I always fish with lures and my favorite is a 1/16 ounce Rooster Tail spinner. These are very productive when cast out and reeled in slowly and steadily.
I like the convenience of using lures. A brightly colored trout magnet fished under a float and drifted through deeper runs will catch plenty of trout as well. A tiny gold Acme Kastmaster spoon is another effective lure, though it will snag more often in shallow water.
Live and prepared baits will certainly catch plenty of fish. Worms and nightcrawlers are the top live baits. Prepared dough baits as well as eggs and worms also do well with stocked trout. They are best fished under a float with a small hook and split shot to get it down in the water. This is definitely a family friendly way to have some fun and catch a few fish for dinner.
Fly fishing for trout
Anglers fishing Cartoogechaye Creek can certainly do well fly fishing for trout. A 3wt or 4wt outfit with a floating line s perfect. A 9 foot 6x leader completes the rig. Dry flies such as a #12 yellow Sally or any hopper pattern can work well. Again, stocked trout are usually a bit less selective.
#12 or #14 hares ear or pheasant tail nymphs can be fished 18” under a strike indicator or under a dry fly. The “dry dropper” rig is very effective. A #8 black woolly bugger is a versatile and effective fly that can be fished a variety of ways. It can be dead drifter or retrieved like a streamer.
Anglers seeking a pristine and more remote fishing experience can take a 20 minute drive west and fish the upper reaches of the Nantahala River. There are several parking and access points, including Standing Indian Campground. This is a gorgeous little stream that is full of small native trout.
This is a more classic trout fishing situation. However, it is not as easy and therefore best for anglers with a bit more experience. This is fairly technical fishing. Also, wading is not always easy. The reward is the chance to catch a beautiful native trout in a pristine environment.
In conclusion, this article on Cartoogechaye Creek trout fishing will help anglers catch more fish in this under-utilized fishery!