How To Read The River Gauge And Temperature

In general, the Little River and the streams and creeks that feed into it are safe to wade below 400 CFS, or cubic feet per second. Above this, and the water can be pretty pushy and unsafe to wade. Below 100 CFS, which can occur after several days of little rain, the fishing typically gets pretty warm and fairly difficult. Just go to higher elevation streams and you’ll find better fishing, and the fish you catch will have a higher survival rate.

To read the gauge, listed by the USGS here, read the temperature table and look for a reading above 45℉ and below 65℉. You can fish below 40℉ and up to 70℉, but fish will be lethargic. Furthermore, temperatures at 70℉ or above will result in a higher death rate of trout, so it’s not advised for those looking to practice catch and release. 

For the flow gauge, simply look at the graph for Discharge, Cubic Feet Per Second.

Where To Wade

There are three main prongs in the Smokies: The West Prong, Middle Prong, and East Prong. The West prong is quite treacherous and difficult to fish, so it’s better to fish with a friend. There are lots of brook and rainbow trout, but also some browns.

The Middle Prong, also referred to as Tremont since you can find the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, which is found along this prong. Most people fish the “paved” section in the colder months, and then moving up to the “gravel” section when the water warms in the summer. At the end of the road, you will find a parking lot and trailhead for a couple of tributaries, which can all fish well.

The East Prong is by far the most popular branch. The lower part is great in the