07/13/11
Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.    Blue-winged Olives
2  .  Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
3.    Little Sister Caddis (mostly Abrams Creek)
4.    Cream Cahills
5.    Sulphurs
6.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
7.    Little Green Stoneflies
8.    Slate Drakes
9. .  Streamers (Sculpin, Minnows)
10.  Inch Worms
11.  Grasshoppers
12.  Ants
13.  Beetles

Brook Trout Streams - Part 17
It's the time of year when the high elevation streams really become important, so for the next few
days I will be pointing out some high elevation brook trout streams (and some not so high), many of
which you may be familiar with and some you may not be familiar with.

Little River (East Prong Little River)
The East Prong of Little River, known locally as just Little River, isn't thought of much
as a brook trout destination and that's only because its rainbow and brown trout
fishing is as good as it is anywhere in the park. While magazine articles have made
fun of Little River's close proximity with Little River Road (showing guys fishing out of
the backs of their pickup trucks), facts are there's miles of Little River without any
road access. This isn't exactly a secret since the Little River Trail that follows along
the stream above Elkmont is one of, if not the, most popular hiking trails in the
Smokies. It's also a popular fishing route to take because the stream maintains a
good width with ample casting room for miles upstream of Elkmont. Even so, my guess
is about 90% of the fishing above the Elkmont Campground is done within the first
couple of miles upstream. Unless the stream has a few anglers scattered along it that
one would be concerned about fishing behind, there would be little reason to go much
further upstream on a day trip. Other than that, most anglers that venture further
upstream are headed to one of the backcountry campsites. I guess it's for this reason
you rarely hear anyone talking about the brook trout of Little River.

If you don't mind hiking a long ways, you can fish the brook trout waters of Little River
in a day trip. Just be prepared to make a round-trip hike of more than a dozen miles.
Keep in mind I'm referring to the watershed itself, because most all of the brook trout
are in the headwaters that form Little River along with some of its tributaries.

For all practical purposes, Little River brook trout exist above the confluence of its
Meigs Post Prong tributary. Campsite #30 is located in that general area and is where
you would want to stay if you fished upstream on the main stem of Little River. Most
anglers prefer to head upstream on the Fish Camp Prong but you will have to hike
about three miles upstream from its confluence with Little River before you begin to
catch brook trout. It's almost unbelievable to me, but there are also brown trout
existing that far up the Little River drainage.  

Fish Camp Prong:
The Fish Camp Prong tributary is everyone's favorite upstream Little River
destination. Campsite #23 is ideally located for fishing for Fish Camp Prong's brook
trout as well as rainbows. It's not exactly a small stream. There's plenty of casting
room in Fish Camp Prong and its still rather large where brook trout begin to show up.
The Goshen Prong Trail follows along the stream. There isn't an official trail above
the Goshen Prong confluence although there was one that was maintained at one
time. We haven't been above that point in the four years and I'm not sure of its
current condition insofar as stream access is concerned. Campsite #23 is situated at
about 3300 feet elevation which is generally considered the point that brook trout
begin to exist in the streams of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Goshen Prong:
Goshen Prong is located just upstream from campsite #23 and is the first major
tributary of Fish Camp Prong. It has a good population of brook trout and a good trail
(Goshen Prong Trail) that follows nearby but fishing Goshen Prong is a little on the
tough side. It's small and tightly enclosed with rhododendron. Most anglers prefer to
fish Fish Camp Prong. This stream has both rainbows and brook trout but it does
have several tiny feeder streams with mostly brook trout. Fishing them would be very
difficult.

Silers Creek:
Silers Creek is the next upstream confluence with Fish Camp Prong above campsite
#23. It's located just above the Goshen Prong confluence. It's population of fish
consist mostly of brook trout but its very small and tough to fish. It doesn't have trail
access.

Buckeye Prong:
Buckeye Prong is located a good ways upstream on Fish Camp Prong and although it
is said to have a good population of brook trout, I doubt it would be worth the trouble
to get to considering all the other brook trout water that's available and much easier
to access.

Tomorrow we will get to Meggs Post Prong and upstream as well as the brook trout of
the Middle Prong of Little River.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh