For most of the year, Cades Cove and the Abrams Creek are absolutely packed with tourists, making it a less desirable destination for fishing from spring through the fall. However, Cades Cove and Abrams Creek Falls are largely unvisited when the weather gets colder, giving anglers some relief through the often fruitless and frustrating fishing conditions of deep winter. Rich in limestone nutrients and warm water from an underground stream, the section of Abrams Creek near Abrams Falls produces great fishing through winter when fishing turns off everywhere else in the park.
What Makes It Great
Trout are generally inactive below a 50℉ water temperature as their metabolism slows. Through a hydrologic and geologic windfall, Abrams Creek happens to stays at this temperature (sometimes even higher), making it one of the best places to go fly fishing on those winter days when every other creek and stream is hopelessly cold and unproductive.
Anglers will mostly catch wild rainbows in Abrams Creek. During any winter or cold weather trout fishing, your best bet will be nymphs in slow, deep pools. Alternatively, you can fish small-weighted streamers, like a beaded woolly bugger, slowly along the bottom.
Conventional anglers will need to fish small jigs or in-line spinners slowly.
As with all trout fishing in the Smokies, you’ll need to keep a low profile and use long leaders with light tippet. In winter, the fish will move less, so accurate casting is a must.
You can certainly fish the creek all year round, but you’ll have a hard time casting around all the tourists. If you want to fish Abrams Creek, there is a parking lot and camping ground off Happy Valley Road that is worth checking out during the warmer months.
Who is Going to Love It
If you’re visiting the Smokies in the winter months and want to fish, this is your best shot at a beautiful and wild Smoky Mountain trout. Beginners may not enjoy any winter fishing in the Smokies, but experienced anglers will enjoy the novelty of fishing in the dead of winter.
If you don’t like crowds, this is also a great way to see an iconic Smoky Mountain destination without the traffic or crowds.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Drive through Cades Cove and take a right on Abrams Creek Rd and find a parking spot. You’ll see the sign for the trail and the falls at the end of the parking lot.
Anglers must have a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license with a trout stamp. Natural or processed bait is prohibited, as well as double or treble hooks.