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
13. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Fly Fishing the West Prong of Little Pigeon River
The only large, major watershed in the park I haven't covered during the past few
days is the West Prong of Little Pigeon River. It and its tributary Walkers Camp
Prong is visible in many places on the Tennessee side of the park from highway
#441. When it isn't visible from the highway, it's never really far away. The Little
Pigeon River flows out of the park through the city of Gatlinburg, the Spur section of
the National Park and Pigeon Forge. On its headwaters end, it's tributary stream
Walkers Camp Prong passes under the highway for the last time as a very small
brook trout steam not far below Newfound Gap. The West Prong of Little Pigeon is
one of the most rugged streams in the park. Parts of it are very difficult to access
but is well worth the effort to do so along its entire length.
The West Prong of the Little Pigeon River is one of the best fly fishing streams in
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You would classify the Little Pigeon
River as a large size stream in comparison to the other parks streams. Like its
smaller cousin the Middle Prong, it too, doesn't have any brown trout. Its trout are
rainbows and brook trout found in its headwaters. The rainbow trout exist upstream
almost as far as the stream's two main tributaries Walkers Camp Prong and Road
Most of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River is tough to access. It's almost
completely inaccessible in a few areas. From the point of its exit from the park near
the main entrance near Gatlinburg, headed into the park for the first couple of
miles, the stream is fairly close to the road and is easily accessed. Highway #441
crosses the river its first time inside the park near the Sugarland Visitors Center.
The road follows the rough course of Little Pigeon River all the up the mountain.
The stream isn't visible from the road in the lower elevation area except for a few
places in the Sugarland area.
Beyond the Sugarland Visitors Center headed up highway 441, a short hike is
required to reach the stream from the road. There are several nice trails in the
Sugarland area that access the stream. Headed up the mountain you will notice
there are a few pulloffs with trails leading down to the stream but the river is usually
out of sight. This is especially true during the time of the year the trees are covered
with leaves. When highway 441 starts up the steeper part of the mountain, it rises
above the river as much as a few hundred feet in elevation. You have to hike down
some rather steep, informal trails to reach the river. When and wherever you do,
you will find the fishing is usually great. The stream has some huge boulders and
some very rough pocket water in the area between the relatively flat Sugarland
area and the Chimneys Picnic area. There are deep pools, fast runs and short
plunges. Navigating upstream wading is difficult in many places but the stream can
be followed along its banks through the mostly open timber in most areas that you
cannot wade the stream. This is one of the West Prong's least fished areas.
Upstream of the Chimneys Picnic area, the West Prong is very difficult to access. If
you fish upstream from the Chimneys Picnic area, you will find that staying in the
stream to fish isn't easy to do in many areas due to the huge boulders and deep
pools that block your path. Accessing the stream from highway #441 is also very
tough between the Chimneys Picnic Area and the Chimney Tops Trail that crosses
the stream at the confluence of Walkers Camp Prong and Road Prong. You can
see the stream in a few places from the highway in a canyon-like area far below the
road as you head on up the mountain past the bridge at the Chimneys Picnic area..
You can get down from the highway to the stream in a few places, but the going is
very, very tough. There aren't any trails as such. If you attempt to work you way
upstream from the Chimney's Picnic area, you will find only a few places that it's
possible to get back up to highway 441. You must make a commitment to do a lot of
climbing and allow plenty of time to cover the water in this section of the Little
Pigeon River. It's an all day fishing trip to get to the Chimney Tops Trail from the
Chimneys Picnic Area. I don't recommend anyone attempt it alone. Breaking a foot
or leg in that area of the stream would make it just about impossible to get out
safely. The trout are mostly rainbows in this area but you will probably catch some
brook trout. There are some large ones downstream as far as the picnic area.
Angie has caught some huge brook trout in this stretch of water, including one that
measured eleven and a quarter inches shown below. When you get near the
Chimney Tops Trail, you will begin to pick up more brook trout.
Some areas of the stream, especially those areas that are easy to access, receives
a little fishing pressure but most other areas (which are in the majority) do not. It
strictly depends on the area of the stream you are considering. Like its access,
fishing the West Prong of Little Pigeon River can be easy or difficult, again,
depending on the part of the stream you are fishing.