Haywood County

Yellowstone Prong

For a while, I've called this stream Big East Fork of the Pigeon River (it's confusing on the maps). However, Jon Smith of Transylvania County wrote me that this is indeed Yellowstone Prong. Sorry for the error!


The upper stretch of the Yellowstone Prong is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness area. This is an easily accessable area, and one that sees much hiking traffic, though I'm not sure how many folks fish the stream. I've hiked the area many times but only fished it twice.

The first time I fished this stream, I reported:

This area is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Graveyard Fields section of the Shining Rock Wilderness, just a few hundred yards from the overlook. It's a small stream above the "tourist" waterfall, only 10 or 15 feet wide, and often narrows to 5 feet. It is high, above 4500 feet, and seems to support a nice population of brook trout. The day before I fished it, I looked at the holding water as I hiked along to the upper falls, and saw many 5-8 inch brookies, warily waiting for dinner to drift by. The afternoon I fished it was very clear and bright, and the fish were easily spooked. These fish see a lot of hikers and will flash to cover if you waltz right up to the stream. I fished on hands and knees, and managed one hookup and a handful of misses in about an hour and a half. I'm sure I missed hooking most of the fish that rose to my flies due to slack in the leader, since casting was often difficult even with a 6'10" 3wt.

However, I don't measure a fishing trip by the quantity or size of fish caught. I had a blast stalking these diminutive "specks", and you can bet I'll be back.

Well, I came back for Easter 1997 and and it was well worth my effort. It was warm; I waded wet and was quite comfortable. I fished about 2 hours and caught about 10 of the little brookies, the biggest about 8". Used an American Express, parachute style. Usually it was one shot per pool, but I did pick up three fish out of one run. Outstanding! I actually missed hooking the best fish of the day; he hit the fly in the first pool I fished and I hadn't tuned in to my rythm yet and didn't get the hook set. Oh, well, that's what keeps us coming back.

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Last updated 17-December-1997