Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
12. Great Brown Autumn Sedge
Some Basic Tips Regarding Fly Fishing Destinations in the
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Yesterday, I mentioned some basic tips for the current weather and stream conditions,
so today I will suggest some particular streams that I suggest you fish this week and
this weekend. According to the forecast, there's little change expected until next
Monday or Tuesday. Bright, clear skies; warm daytime temperatures; and nights that
are not cold will continue for a few more days.
Most people would call this exceptionally fine weather. It sure was nice and pleasant
yesterday. That said, most anglers will find the fishing a little more demanding than
normal due to the low water levels. The bright skies also reduce the intensity of any
mayfly and caddisfly hatches that may possibly occur during the day. The bright light
conditions also makes it tougher to catch the brown trout. The larger browns will be
hiding under something for sure.
I've heard reports that some of the browns are out roaming around looking for a date.
This isn't exactly what happens, but it's fun to joke about it in that manner. So far, I
haven't seen any out playing around in the open water. It won't be long before they
will be in the pre-spawn cycle.
Keep in mind the forecast I am referring to is for Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is a little
higher in elevation that the valleys, but also keep in mind that the temperature at most
locations in the park will be cooler than that. In the highest elevations, nighttime
temperatures will be around the freezing point. Whereas the temperature is expected
to reach eighty degrees today in Gatlinburg, and just under that for the rest of the
week, at the mid elevations in the mountains the temperature should be closer to the
low to mid seventies. As far as I'm concerned, that's just great.
If you want to focus on catching brook trout, it's a good time to hike back into some of
the remote small streams. There are a lot of the small headwater streams of most all
the major streams in the park that would provide solitude and plenty of brook trout.
There's not a great deal of difference in them. The Raven Fork is probably the best of
them all. It's larger but also requires a fairly demanding hike. The headwaters of the
Middle Fork Pigeon River, Big Creek, Little River, Cosby Creek, Cataloochee (several
good ones), Forney and Noland all would work for those willing to go to the effort to
For those not so willing to stay overnight at a remote campsite, or hike a few miles to
fish, I would suggest some other locations. My first choice would be Cataloochee
because you can easily reach a lot of brook trout water that isn't so remote. Palmer
Creek, Caldwell Fork and other tributaries are nearby. Cosby Creek has some easy to
access brook trout but it's limited and there will be competition from other anglers.
There's more easy to access brook trout water off highway #441 than anywhere.
Walker's Camp Prong has a few miles of it near the road. Road Prong is a better
choice but it requires some hiking and a little more effort to fish some of the tough to
get to areas of the stream. Some of the streams I mentioned above also have
populations of rainbow trout. Most of the time, the rainbows in the higher elevations
(in what should be brook trout only streams) are on the smaller side.
If you want to fish some areas of the park with plenty of rainbows and/or rainbows and
brown trout, here are some suggestions.
The Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River has plenty of rainbows, easy to reach and
few anglers. Big Creek also has plenty that's fairly easy to access. Twenty-mile creek
is a sleeper with plenty of rainbows and few anglers but a little more difficult to fish in
most areas of the stream. The lower to mid elevations of Little Pigeon River has plenty
from the park headquarters to the Chimney Tailhead. Some of the lower areas can be
reached by taking a short walk down one of the quite trails off #441, but most of the
water is in deep gorges. The trout are all rainbows with some brook trout in the higher
elevations. Little River from the Long Arm Bridge to Elkmont Campground is all easy
to access with plenty of nice size rainbows and also plenty of brown trout. You can
hike from the parking area upstream on the Little River Trail above Elkmont as far as
your legs will take you and catch both brown and rainbow trout. The Oconaluftee
River is a great choice that for the most part is easy to access and never crowded. It
has plenty of browns and rainbows. It's large Bradley Fork tributary is a great stream
to fish and easy to access. Deep Creek is easy to access, nice rainbows and browns
but I wouldn't fish it on the weekends without hiking a long ways away from the visitors.
Hazel Creek is without question one of the top two or three streams in the park but
you're going to need a boat or to hike a long ways to get there. You can have a
pontoon boat drop you off and pick you up. You won't be the only one there either.
The best way to fish it is to stay overnight.
I know that I listed about half the water in the park and what I left out is just as good. I
just hope that maybe I dropped a tip or two that may interest you and help you make
the right choice as to where to fish.
Copyright 2011 James Marsh