Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2.    Mahogany Duns
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Little Yellow Quills
7.    Ants
8.    Inchworms
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Hellgrammite
12.  Craneflies
13.  Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)

Fly Fishing East Prong of Little River (From Metcalf Bottoms to
The middle section of the East Prong of the Little River from Metcalf Bottoms to
Elkmont is a prime part of the best Little River has to offer. It contains a variety of
water but most of it is fast pocket water. There are some long, deep pools; some
long riffles and a few long, deep runs but it is mostly pocket water. All in all, it is a
very beautiful stretch of water that looks like it has a trout in every square yard of it
and it isn't all that far from being true. Some sections are difficult to wade but you
can manage to get around in it just fine most everywhere.

Just above Metcalf Bottoms the stream's gradient increases and becomes typical of
what occurs for the next few miles upstream. There are sections ideal for dry fly
fishing and others perfect for high stickin with nymphs. There are areas where the
trees make it a little tough and you have to watch your backcast and others where it
is fairly clear of obstructions. There is one thing it isn't short on and that's boulders
and rocks. My guess is this section holds about as many trout per mile as any
section of water in the park, although I don't know that for a fact. I do know it has
plenty of them and a good mixture of browns and rainbows although it's mostly
rainbows. The very large browns in this section make up for any numbers of browns
in all respects. If there were many of the huge ones, there wouldn't be a living
creature in the stream. It has about all a stream of its size is able to sustain.

Just about all of the stream is visible from the road that follows closely along it.
There are many pull offs along the road to park and some designated parking lots.
Some areas have very steep banks and ledges to crawl down and in some places
you can easily walk down to the water. You are tempted to try to spot trout from
every high point of observation and if you are not very careful, you will do more
damage than good. A little movement or motion on high points above the stream
gets the trout's attention very quickly. Unless you learn what to look for, you
probably want see them when they are right before your eyes.

There is a major problem with this section at times. You may run into tubers and
kayaks along the way and if you are not careful, you may find yourself fishing right
behind someone. It can get crowded at the so called "peak fishing" times. In April
and May the Little River usually has about all the anglers it can support in this
section. It isn't a secrete that it holds lots of trout. The only thing I think is comical
about it is that often during other times of the year, such as the month of October
and November, I have caught just as many trout as I have caught any other time. I
have even caught them on cold winter days when no one else was fishing. I have
caught them every month of the year on a dry fly. There are few places in the
United States where that can be done.

From Metcalf Bottoms upstream to Long Arm Bridge, the stream will change from
flowing fairly smoothly to fast, turbulent rapids along with everything in between
these two extremes. During the warmer months of the year, you can count on a lot
of recreational activity in this section of the river. During those times, you may
consider fishing very early or late in the day. After all, that's not a bad strategy to
utilize during the summertime for other reasons.  

From the Long Arm Bridge to the Elkmont Campground you will find some of the
best water that exist in Little River. It certainly isn't a secret. It is fished as heavily or
heavier than any section of water in the park but it's for very good reasons -
primarily easy access and lots of trout. Some of this area contains the classic pool,
riffle, run stream makeup that allows the trout the opportunity to select prime lies
throughout the changing seasons.  You may occasionally become frustrated with
tubers in this area, but much less frequent than downstream. Most likely it will be
other anglers that frustrate you. We just avoid it when it is crowded, or even close
to being crowded, and fish other places in the park. Most of the time we fish Little
River, few others are fishing. Often we are the only ones in a few miles of the river.  
We prefer to fish it when the fishing is considered "quote", bad or not good. We
seem to always catch plenty of trout. What's almost comical about the quote "good
and bad" fishing days is that often anglers catch very few trout on the "good" days.
You will see this happen often in April and May, two of the quote "best" months of
the year. There will never be any shortage of excuses though. There's always
plenty of things anglers can blame.

My advice is to completely ignore what others have to say about their success, or
lack of success, and go whenever you can go.  I'll put it this way. If the water in this
area of Little River isn't completely out of its banks and it's above freezing air
temperatures, you should be able to catch trout. You probably won't be able to do it
fishing the same Jake's bead-head fly or green weenie you may normally fish when
anyone that can cast can catch trout. Jake (a name I just threw in, not any particular
person) may be the one that's the bead head. You may not be able to fish the same
Purple Trude or whatever it is you were told was the "hot fly". Most likely you may
not be able to fish the same fast water you fish 100% of the time and do well.  Don't
you think it would probably help to know something about what your trying to
imitate, where the trout are holding, and a few things many anglers don't have a
clue about? If you focus on what is going on in the water and not on what anyone
else has to say about the fishing, you will eventually start catching trout most every
time you go. The trout don't pay any attention to what anyone has to say and
neither should you. They aren't going to starve in spite of what Joe Blow has to say
about it. They feed every day and as long as they feed you can catch them.

I'm not about to try to count the times we have fished this section of the Little River
during the last ten years. Our video logs are full of trips to this area. Some of our
best days in the park have been on this section of Little River as well as the section
above Elkmont that hasn't yet been posted. We have had a few tough days on this
section of Little River, but only a very few and they really were not all that bad. At
times, we enjoy fishing on the worst possible days just to prove to ourselves that we
can catch trout under adverse conditions. It's amazing what you can catch when
you simply make the effort. I get very frustrated when I have a difficult time catching
trout. It just drives me that much harder towards trying to succeed. To me, that's
one of the most enjoyable aspects of fly fishing for trout or any type of fishing for
that matter. Overcoming the difficulties, or maybe you could call it outsmarting the
trout, is the thing that should give you the greatest amount of pleasure. I don't like
the later phase very much because when you think about the fact their brain is
about the size of a pea, it doesn't make you feel very successful to say you
outsmarted them. Anyway, just being able to catch trout when it's easy to do so,
doesn't quite cut it for me.

Most of the time when anglers have a tough day of fishing, it's because they are set
in their ways of fishing, using the same flies, the same methods of presentation, and
doing the same basic things over and over. They may change from a dry fly to a
nymph or vise versa, and change flies several times, but that's about the extent of
their versatility. The traditional methods of presentation and the generic and
attractor flies work okay when conditions are favorable but not otherwise. It's easy
to summarize most of the problem.
When the trout are feeding anywhere other
than the fast water where they are easily to fool, most anglers can't catch
They think the fishing is lousy and pass it off as if it has nothing to do with
their fishing skills or their knowledge about the trout and the food the trout survive

There are many very productive hatches and just as important, periods of time
leading into a hatch, that are completely ignored by most anglers. Actually it isn't so
much that they are ignored as it is they are passed over by anglers not familiar with
the stream's aquatic insects. Some of the insects are never mentioned mainly
because little to nothing is known about them. There are many days anglers are
complaining about lousy fishing conditions when there really isn't a good excuse for
not catching trout. I rambled off the main subject, but that's what was on my mind.

This section of Little River has several tributary streams. Laurel Creek is a very
small tributary stream that has some small rainbows and brook trout in its upper
reaches.  It passes under both Little River Road and Elkmont Campground Road
near the turn to Elkmont. It's so enclosed by rhodendrum bushes that it's hardly

Jakes Creek is a very small but a very good little tributary stream that comes into
the Little River in the Elkmont Campground. Small rainbows make up the bulk of its
trout but it also has some brown trout. The size of some of the brown trout may fool
you. High water in the Little River would be about the only justifiable reason to fish
either of these two little tributary streams considering the fact you have to pass
miles of Little River to get there. They also provide some seclusion from other

In a recent article on Hazel Creek, I made the statement that I didn't think any
stream in the park was any better than Hazel Creek and I will make the same
statement about this segment of Little River as well as the segment above Elkmont I
haven't posted that's coming up in a couple of days. Simply put, "the streams in the
park don't get any better than these two sections of the Little River".

Copyright 2010