rout streams on the North Shore of Fontana Lake in Swain County have been highly regarded in the fishing community for some time. Perhaps Harry Middleton struck the final nail when he called Hazel Creek “the crown jewel of the Smokies” for fishermen. Maybe the lore just developed over time as dedicated hikers and fishermen left the woods with smiles on their faces and tight lips. Regardless of where all the discussion came from, there is no doubt that of its accuracy. The rivers on the North Shore could hold only 10 fish per stream mile and fishermen would still flock to the area. A weekend spent back in the wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is an unforgettable experience. With either a ferry ride or a manageable yet agonizing hike, any fisherman could reach the most remote portion of America’s most visited National Park. Something about the Great Smoky Mountains attracts millions of people from all over the world. Over 11 million people visited the park in 2016. These hiking areas and streams allow you to take a step back from the ever-growing National Park tourism industry. A large majority of these visitors never set foot in what could be considered “true nature.” I guarantee any trip into the North Shore of Fontana Lake streams will create genuine and strong connections to the wilderness around you.