Fishing Report

Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains Fly Fishing Report by Smoky Mountain Angler.

*If you’re here to read about fishing conditions only, skip on down to the “Great Smoky Mountains National Park” section.*

A lot has happened since our last fishing report, and while most of it has been good, we received word that we lost a local legend. When I really buckled down and got serious about mastering the fish in the smokies, I knew I had to seek out some old “mountain men” for help. Everyone I talked to mentioned Melvin Carr, and even though I never got to stand beside him in a river, I learned a lot from “Preacher Melvin Carr.” When I would run into him during his Sunday lunch, I’d watch his face light up when I told him of the fish I had caught during the previous week, but as soon as I was finished telling tales, he’d tell me about times he caught fish that were two…three…heck, TEN times larger, and I never once doubted him!

Melvin grew up fishing and hunting in the Smokies, worked in the CCC, and served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific. Every aspect of his life demanded respect, and he certainly got mine…especially when he’d make his wife sit in the car while he spent his afternoon telling me of his time spent in the Pacific…and Little River! My hope in giving Melvin a few words here is that he’ll be remembered by the “younger generation” of mountain anglers!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

As far as fishing in the Smokies, we’re still catching a lot of fish lately on Yellow Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulators, Yellow Adams, Parachute Adams, and Mr. Rapidans! Most locals will agree that the drift you put on a fly matters a little more than the pattern…but you will catch better fish if you check the bugs you see around the river, and try your best to match them. It’s always good to have plenty of the flies mentioned above. They’ll catch fish! Carry some Tellico Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, and some Prince Nymphs as well!

Melvin always spoke highly of Little River, and he certainly caught the fish! If I were going out there, I’d fish a couple nymphs (Pheasant Tails, Princes, etc.) during the day, and a smaller dry fly (Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Mr. Rapidan, etc.) during the evening, but feel free to throw dry/dropper rigs at any point, they always catch fish!

Greenbrier has been fishing well (with the same flies as Little River.) I like to fish Greenbrier around dusk…there are some bigger fish in there that always seem to hit right around the time it gets a little hard to see your dry fly!

The West Prong of the Little Pigeon River always fishes well about anywhere you go! When the fishing is tough elsewhere, I’ll go around the Chimneys and catch some nice rainbows!



The Gatlinburg waters have been producing good rainbows averaging between 10 and 16 inches pretty consistently. You can catch these fish anytime, but it’s best to get an early start along River Road so you can find an easy parking spot along the road. If you can’t find a free spot, there’s plenty of paid parking through town.

If you want a little more scenery, head down the spur between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Brighter, flashy flies will work in both areas, but you can get away with more “natural” patterns along the spur.

If you’re spin fishing, throw single hook spinners (the single hook rule is year-round) or trout magnets. You can pick up whatever you need to fish in the National Park or Gatlinburg waters here in our shop.


No matter where you decide to fish, be sure to drop in and let us know how you did!


If you have any questions about fishing conditions, locations, or you would like to book a trip with one of our local, professional guides, give us a call at 865-436-8746 or shoot us an email via the Contact page.