Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Little River (East Prong)
GSMNP Tennessee
Although it ranges in size from a small to medium size
stream, the Little River is one of the larger streams in
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its wild trout also
range in size. The little brown trout shown above is only
a fraction of the size of the large ones that exist in Little
River. Some of them grow to be well over twenty inches
in length. As you may expect, the wise, old larger brown
trout are difficult to catch but you always know that
opportunity exist.

The headwater areas contains the native brook trout but
most of the trout are either browns or rainbows. The
rainbows love the numerous stretches of runs and riffles
and the brown trout like the deeper holes, undercut
banks and crevices under the many, huge boulders that
form Little River's  pocket water.

Fly fishing Little River is good throughout the year. The
first choice seasons would be Spring and Fall but you
can usually do well during the Summer and Winter
Spring brings about most of the hatches of aquatic
insects in Little River and consequently, some of the
best dry fly-fishing.
The heat of summer slows the fishing in the lower
elevations but fishing in the higher elevations remain
good throughout the summer.
Fall is the most scenic time to be on Little River. The
autumn season also means the brown trout will be
spawning. Some very large ones are taken each autumn.
The warmer days of winter can provide excellent fishing
at times. Little River is one of the few wild trout streams
in the nation that is open for fishing during the coldest
months of the year.  

Fly Fishing Guide to the Little River:
The lower section of Little River near Townsend,
Tennessee becomes too warm for trout during the hot
summer months. The better trout fishing can be found
from about the Metcalf Bottoms area upstream all the
way to the headwaters. This area is near Wears Valley
and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Several miles of the river are closely bordered by paved
roads. Above Elkmont Campground the Little River Trail
provides access for several more miles. Its headwaters,
especially Fish Camp Prong, provides excellent fly
fishing opportunities.

Fishing dry flies in the fast pocket water of Little River
usually requires only short, upstream cast. The fish are
usually much easier to catch on a nymph fished using a
method the locals call "high stickin", a short-line
nymphing technique.
(Click to continue the fly fishing
Type of Stream

Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout

Small to Medium

Great Smoky Mountains National

Nearest Towns
Knoxville, Tennessee
Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Year - round

Very Good

Special Regulations

Non-Resident License
Either the State of Tennessee or the
State of North Carolina

National Weather Service Link

Hatch Chart
Perfect Fly Hatch Chart

Fly Fishing Guide - Page 1
Fly Fishing Guide - Page 2

Hatches and Flies

Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies

Additional Information:
Fly Fishing Smoky Mountains
Little River Tennessee
(East Prong) GSMNP
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
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Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.