GSMNP / Little River
GSMNP / Little River Fishing Report
The recent rains have swelled the streams in the Smokies and with more rain expected overnight that condition is unlikely to change anytime soon. The Little River peaked this afternoon at just over 2000 cfs but has begun to drop slightly. If we don't receive significant amounts of rain overnight the streams should drop back down to fishable levels by the weekend, however, Saturday's forecast is calling for more rain at this point in time.
Nowhere else in East Tennessee will your angling skills be put to a test as much as they will on the waters of this National Park. The water is gin clear, cold, and can fluctuate literally by as much as five feet in depth within the span of minutes. This pristine, untouched wilderness holds hundreds of miles of fishable trout water. Honestly, this place has more water than you could effectively fish in a lifetime, and every bit of it is breathtaking. The streams range from little more than a trickle in the high country around Walker Camp to wide and smooth. Within one day trip you will encounter pocket water, deep slow pools, and rolling cascades as the river moves . This place has the full bag of tricks and gives the angler multiple opportunities to fish several different styles within a single trip. A working knowledge of high sticking could very well be your best friend when tackling this place.
The higher ranges of the Park are home to the Brookie. This brilliant fish is East Tennessee's only native trout and the locations in which to find them are amazing. Lower elevations of the Park hold Browns and Bows in large numbers as the rivers and tributaries work their way down to Townsend and the Little Pigeon River. Though the fish are small by most standards, with an average length of seven to twelve inches, these fish are difficult to fish if you are not used to fishing wild mountain waters. There are some anglers who will show up in the park fully dressed in camo and be prostrate at the river so as not to spook the fish. If you are going to catch a bunch of trout here in this part of East Tennessee, you had best bring your a game. Though, as stated, most of the fish are not large, fishing the lower sections of the park in the fall can bring some truly monstrous browns out of hiding.
The gear selection for the Park should be based on the skill level of the angler. A 6 foot 3 weight, all the way up to a 9 foot 5 weight can be used, but be mindful that there is zero development so trees and other foliage are right on the shoreline. A quick examination of the branches along the river and the mass of flies and spinners wrapped around branches should be a strong indication of just how much attention you need to pay to your cast.
Archived GSMNP / Little River Fishing Reports:
Flows on most Smoky Mountain streams are about average for this time of year and water temperatures currently are hovering in the low 50s. This is all about to change with an advancing front predicted to dump up to 4 inches of rain here in the valley and potentially more in the mountains. This past week has seen pretty descent action in the Park with the vast majority of it coming on nymphs fished deep. All of the usual suspects seem to be producing (BH Pheasant Tails, BH Tellico Nymphs, etc) well enough provided you get the flies down to the trout.
After two weeks of no activity due to the government shut down the Smoky Mountains National Park is back open for business and the fish are still hungry. Water conditions are a little low and while the fish are hungry they are a little skittish due to the low flows. We're seeing trout throughout the pools set up in feeding positions. Dry flies are getting the job done on the rainbows and utilizing smaller sized parachute style flies.. We are spotting the larger browns pared up in breeding mode so keep a sharp eye out as you make your way up stream. The leaves are in prime color so get out there and enjoy it while you still can.
The Great Smokies Mountain National Park is fishing about as well as one could expect. Water levels are near perfect and the bugs are everywhere with anglers reporting good success throughout the day. Its dry fly time and yellow is the color of choice. Yellow Sally, yellow Stimulators, yellow Never Sink Caddis, yellow Sulfurs. This trend should continue for the next little while. Its an excellent time to get out in the park and get a line wet. Try nymphs in the morning (tellico, pheasant tails, princes, etc.) and switch to dries in the afternoon as the fish turn their attention to the surface.
Fishing in the smokies is about as good as it gets at the moment. Bugs, light cahills and yellow sally's, are the goto flies. Make sure you employ your stealth tactics though as the fish, while aggressive, are still wary of any movement or color in their peripheral vision. Nymph early (or sleep in) and watch the action heat up as the sun gets on the water and heats things up. Overcast days, obviously, are phenomenal as the clouds help conceal your position.
The mountains are fishing great at the moment. While the streams (Little River in particular) are a little bit higher than normal, by in large the Mountains didn’t receive the amount of rain that the valley did. The weather forecast is calling for warm Summer like temperatures through the holiday weekend so the water temperature in the mountains should follow suit. But activity is great and anybody headed to the Park to fish should have something that will imitate a Little Yellow Sally. I was looking in the fly bins here at the shop this morning and the smaller sized yellow stimulators were running low. Just saying.