Abrams Creek brown trout caught on a fly rod

Fishing Abrams Creek: A Fly Fishers Guide with Maps and More

Abrams Creek is a beautiful stream located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known for its clear water and abundance of trout.  This popular little creek has a sustaining population of wild trout.

With easy access along a popular trail heading to Abrams Falls, it’s a blessing that it is catch-and-release only.  You’ll mostly find rainbow and brown trout with an average length of 6 to 10 inches.  There are some trophies, but they’ll be difficult to catch.  The bigger fish have “wised-up” to fisher folks.

Abrams Creek double, catching two trout on one line
Abrams Creek double, catching two trout on one line

The Best Places to Cast a Fly on Abrams Creek

Access to the creek is from Cades Cove Loop, a one-way road encircling Cades Cove.  Plan for up to an hour to travel the 6 miles to the turn-off to the trailhead.  Abrams Falls trail parallels the creek for 2.5 miles to the falls.  This hike has 4 nice hills to work up a sweat.  I like traveling past the first hill for to thin the crowds before setting foot into the water.

Guide Pro Tip: The rocks in this area are so slippery.  You must wear comfortable well built wading boots with FELT SOLES.  A wading staff might be a good idea if you’re not comfortable wading.  Please take care with every step in this creek, it’s like grease.

Rainbow Trout Scales
Rainbow Trout – click 👉 Learn to Catch Rainbow Trout

Arbutus Flow – Sometimes Crowded

This spot gets frequent visitors, not fishermen but sightseers.  The easy access and rock formations are inviting.  It’s been best for me to enter the creek here and wade up past the point folks can splash and throw rocks.

Horseshoe Section – Prepare for a Full Day

This area takes a full day commitment. Horseshoe loop from an air view doesn’t look like much, but the trail climbs a ridge while the river makes a big horseshoe.  I’ve got the entrance location called out on the map below.

A Favorite Pool on Horseshoe Loop

About midway around the loop past Law Branch is an s-curve section that has always held some trout in the bends.

Exit Location for Horseshoe

Usually, you’ll hear folks talking along the trail once you get to this area.  At this point you should have some amazing pictures and memories.  From here you’ve got to climb the ridge you walk around.

I’ve got a downloadable map with all the GPS coordinates here 👉 Where to Fly Fish on Abrams Creek

Why Abrams is Perfect for Fly Fishing

If you can get onto this creek before another angler, you’ll likely have an amazing day.  I’ll look for wet spots on the dry boulders to provide a clue if anyone has fished before me.  Brown and Rainbow trout are eager to take a well placed fly. 

Target the deep pocket water and fish around every boulder breaking up the pools.  The takes are typically with determination so setting the hook quickly is key.

Abrams Creek Rainbow Trout
Abrams Creek Rainbow Trout

Crowds on the Creek

Yes, Abrams Creek can get crowded, especially during peak fishing season in the spring and fall.  There are ways to avoid the crowds and find some solitude on the creek. One option is to fish during the weekdays when there are typically fewer people on the water. Another option is to explore the Horseshoe section I’ve detailed.

What Types of Fish in Abrams Creek

Rainbows dominate the creek typical sizes range from 7 to 10 inches.  Try to handle every trout with care.  These are wild trout, planted years ago but the State and National Park hasn’t planted any trout in many years.

Brown trout can be found and caught, but with less frequency.  I don’t change my fly rod setup for targeting brown trout, but thinking about it should occasionally tie on a small streamer and swing it through promising runs.

I’ve been told some brook trout are caught in Abrams, but I’m sure it’s farther up into the headwaters.

When to Fish Abrams Creek

Spring: March to May can be a great time to fish Abrams Creek, especially for brown and rainbow trout. During this time, water levels are typically high, and hatches of aquatic insects such as blue-winged olives and caddisflies can be abundant.

Spring time brown trout
Spring time brown trout

Summer: June to August can be a challenging time to fish Abrams Creek due to low water levels and warm water temperatures. However, early morning and late evening fishing can still be productive, especially in the upper sections of the creek.

Fall: September to November can be an excellent time to fish Abrams Creek, particularly for brown trout during their spawning season. Water temperatures cool down, and hatches of terrestrials such as ants and beetles can be abundant.

Winter: December to February can be a challenging time to fish Abrams Creek due to cold water temperatures and potentially icy conditions. However, midges and small mayflies can hatch during this time, and fishing can be productive on warmer days.

Favorite Flies for Abrams Creek

My go-to setup is a buoyant dry fly and a midge nymph hanging off the bend of the hook.  Occasionally, I’ll high stick a heavy nymph through a deeper run if the conditions a ripe.

Foam Yellow Sally Fly Pattern
Foam Yellow Sally Fly Pattern
Ventures Fly Co 40 fly assortment - a perfect gift for dad
Here’s an Amazon shortcut link 👉 Ventures Fly Co Assortment

Ventures Fly Co. 40 Fly Assortment Has a Great Selection of Flies

This assortment has most of the flies needed lay the foundation for an effective fly box. the most common dries, nymphs and streamers. Check out the on water video review on YouTube – HERE

Hatch Chart for Abrams Creek

HatchFly PatternsStart of HatchEnd of Hatch
Blue-winged oliveParachute Adams, Quill GordonMarchMay
Quill GordonQuill Gordon, Parachute AdamsMarchMay
CaddisElk Hair Caddis, StimulatorMarchOctober
Light CahillLight Cahill, SulphurMayAugust
SulphurSulphur, Light CahillMayAugust
TerrestrialsAnt, Beetle, HopperJuneSeptember
TricosTrico Spinner, Trico DunJulyOctober
Little Yellow StoneflyFoam Yellow StoneflyJulyAugust
MidgesGriffith’s Gnat, Zebra MidgeYear-roundYear-round

Fly Rod Setup for Abrams Creek

A moderate action 8-foot, 4-weight rod is my preference, but a 3-weight is perfect as well.  You’ll never cast more than 25 feet and if you do the differing currents are going to put drag on the fly. 

Foundation Fly Rod Combo
Foundation Fly Rod Combo 👈 Link to Amazon

Sage Foundation Fly Rod and Reel Combo

Are you ready to up your casting game? Looking for a rod that casts a little farther with more accuracy? The Foundation Setup will to step up and deliver. Plus when your buddies see the Sage name you’ll get those jealousy looks.

Read my review Here and watch my on-water review of the Foundation HERE ON YOUTUBE

Check out the link below for more reviews and current pricing.

Your fishing is going to be using stealth and being conscious of your visibility over the water.  Short accurate casts, picking apart the likely spots in every run and pocket.

A weight forward floating line matched to you’re rod with a 5X or 6x, 7.5-foot tapered leader.  I run nylon for my leader but use a fluorocarbon tippet for the dropper.  I’ve got a full article HERE for setting up a dry dropper rig.

Dry Dropper Setup for Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing
Dry Dropper Setup for Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing

Guides, Fly Shops and Other Resources for Abrams Creek

Trout Zone Anglers

I highly recommend my good buddy David Knapp.  A true “teacher” when it comes to sharing his knowledge of these waters and fly fishing.  David’ ‘s schedule fills fast so book a trip early. He can customize a trip to suit individual needs, skill levels and preferences.

Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day trip, wade fishing or float fishing, Trout Zone Anglers can provide a high-quality fishing experience in the beautiful and unique setting of the Smoky Mountains.  You can find Trout Zone Anglers at https://troutzoneanglers.com/

Little River Outfitters

A family-owned and operated fly shop located in Townsend, Tennessee, on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They offer a wide selection of fly fishing gear and equipment, including rods, reels, lines, flies, and accessories, as well as clothing and other outdoor gear.

They also provide guide services for anglers of all skill levels, from beginners to experts. You can find more information on their website at https://littleriveroutfitters.com/ or by calling (877) 448-3474.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park website has a detailed map of the park, including Abrams Creek. You can download a free map from the website or purchase a paper map at one of the park’s visitor centers.  Here’s a website to read more 👉 https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/abrams-falls.htm

The view at Abrams Falls
The view at Abrams Falls

Last Cast

Abrams Creek is a popular destination for fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This stream is known for its abundant wild trout populations, which include both rainbow and brown trout.  The beauty and easy access make this a must-visit creek to chase trout but plan appropriately with the crowds during the busy spring and fall seasons. 

If you can get onto the water before another angler you’ll likely hook into multiple rainbows and browns.  Get on the water early and enjoy the solitude of this amazing fishery.

Looking to Learn the Tips and Techniques for the Fish You Love to Chase? I’ve Got You Hooked Up Below

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


Want to dig a bit deeper? I fish the Smoky Mountains every spring 😎 Check out my contact page – HERE or checkout the websites below.

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