A man standing on the bank of the Straight Fork casting a fly fishing line surrounded by green foliage.

Straight Fork


A man and woman standing on the bank of a river while she is casting a fly fishing line.

Straight Fork is one of the most captivating places to fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The headwaters are deep within the park. The creek flows through the park, past the Tribal Fish Hatchery, and then into Raven’s Fork.

Fish Species

fly fishing north carolina

Brook Trout

fly fishing north carolina

Rainbow Trout

fly fishing north carolina

Brown Trout

What's Special About This Water?

Straight Fork is lightly fished and there’s plenty of seclusion there along with shallow water that is great for wading. The lower reaches of Straight Fork offer many areas with ample room for casting.

Beautiful landscape of colorful fall foliage surrounding a rushing river with waterfalls.

Best Time to Fish

Straight Fork is a year-round fishing spot. Like most streams in the Smokies, even in the heat of summer, this creek’s water stays cool, so it’s ideal for walking and wading during the hotter months. Winter weather can change quickly and can be daunting, but there are plenty of mild winter days that offer opportunities to enjoy this secluded creek. Springtime is the best season for fishing Straight Fork. Fish are also quite active in the fall when anglers can experience the Smokies’ dramatic fall foliage.

A man kneeling in a river wearing fly fishing gear and a jacket holding a medium trout.

Trip Planning

Since Straight Fork Creek is only about 30 minutes from Cherokee, there are lots of options for lodging and restaurants, including the very nice hotel at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. The scenery in the area is incredible, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which you can access between Cherokee and Straight Fork Road. Within the city of Cherokee, make time to stroll through the City Park along the Oconaluftee River. Also, check out the very impressive Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Latest Fishing Reports

Additional Information

Technique and Tips

Like most streams in the Smokies, casting space can be tight upstream, so roll casting and bow-and-arrow casting are common techniques. Euro nymphing is also a technique that works extremely well in the Straight Fork and other streams within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

Go-To Flies

We fish wet and dry flies in the creek and occasionally small streamers.

Types of Trips

We guide walk-and-wade trips on Straight Fork.

License Requirements

Since Straight Fork is in the GSMNP, either a valid North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license allows you to fish anywhere within the park. No trout stamp is required.

Nearby Towns

  • Cherokee

Getting There

There is good access to Straight Fork Creek via Straight Fork Road, about 30 minutes northeast of Cherokee. Take Big Cove Road out of Cherokee and go about 9 miles. Turn right onto Straight Fork Road and drive past the Tribal Fish Hatchery on your right. Straight Fork Road then enters the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will see lots of places to park and access the creek in the first 5 miles or so of Straight Fork Road, but further into the park, access is more challenging.