Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Middle Prong of Little River GSMNP
The Middle Prong of the Little River is one of the easier streams to fish in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. I don't necessarily mean that from a fish catching standpoint. I
mean it is easy to cast and get around in. Some of the stream is tightly enclosed with trees
but the part along the road has one side that is fairly open for much of its length along the
road. I have already mentioned the picture perfect, pool, run, riffles type makeup of the
stream. I have also mentioned the relatively low gradient. The low gradient is mostly along
the four mile section of road. The two headwater streams fall at a much greater decline.

Although theres been a few large brown trout caught in the lower part of the stream, they
are rare upstream. Most all of the fish are rainbows until you get into brook trout waters in
the headwater streams. There's also some smallmouth bass in the lower section of the
stream. The rainbows are easy to find most of the time. They like the faster water of the runs
and riffles. You will also find them in the pools, but much of the feeding they do is in the

Each year during late February through April, the Middle River is a popular fly fishing
destination. It is close to the park entrance at Townsend, fairly easy to fish and produces
some good catches during this period of time. During the later part of month of May, the
water temperatures usually rise above the point it is feasible to fish. Once the water reaches
the high sixties, it is time to move upstream past the end of the road or change to another

The stream will remain too warm in its lower section until about the middle of October. The
exact time will vary with the cold fronts that pass but normally the fish will become much more
responsive in late October. We have been able to catch trout in the Middle Prong in the
middle of the winter. We have done that several times on a dry fly. This is one of the
advantages of being able to fish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are really
no off seasons.
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Little River Tennessee
(Middle Prong) GSMNP