9/28/08

Little Pigeon River from Pigeon Forge through Sevierville:

You would never think much about fishing the West Prong of the Little Pigeon
River as it flows along through the busy city of Pigeon Forge. The stream is lined
with all types of commercial buildings, campgrounds, retail stores, fun parks and
about everything else you can imagine. What most people don’t know is the fact
the stream is full of very good size, smallmouth bass. I have not caught them as
large as five pounds but I have a friend that does that on a regular basis. He does
not fly fish. He uses spinning tackle and lures. He has caught over a hundred
smallmouth bass over three pounds from this river during the last three or four
years fishing from the bank, not a drift boat. A few of them have exceeded five
pounds. A five-pound smallmouth is a big smallmouth bass – not records of
course, but big.

Even though Orvis has a company store within a few blocks of the river, the West
Prong of Little Pigeon that flows through Pigeon Forge is still is not noted or
thought of as a stream that contains smallmouth bass. That may not always be a
secret but I wouldn’t doubt it. It doesn’t normally take long for the word about a hot
fishing location to get out but in this case, it may never be recognized.
I read about the fine smallmouth fishing on this streams a few years ago in a
regional outdoor magazine but after looking at the area, I decided that it must
have be an arm chair outdoor writer and not an angler that was responsible for
the article on the fine smallmouth fishing in the river. I was wrong about that. I
don’t know or even remember the name of the guy that wrote it, but what he wrote
is correct in all respects. The stream is about as full of smallmouth bass as a
small stream can get.

There are many areas that you can fish the Little Pigeon River from the exit at the
Spur all the way to the west side of the city of Sevierville. That includes all of
Pigeon Forge and all of Sevierville. Most of the stream is bordered with private
property. The only thing most property owners would be concerned about is
parking space. They could care less about your fishing the stream, just don’t
block or take up the parking space.

I am not going to detail the many places you can access the stream. There are
numerous locations. Some are public areas and parks. I will note one very easy to
reach and easy to find portion of the stream. It is directly across the highway a
couple of blocks directly in front of Walmart. There is plenty of parking area and
quite a bit of stream that can be fished from the bank. There are many others.
In Sevierville, there is a park and a walk that borders much of the stream. On the
opposite end of the area of the stream I am referring to, when you first enter
Pigeon Forge coming from Gatlinburg, if you turn right and follow along the river
you will discover a public walkway that runs for several blocks along the river. You
can easily access the river anywhere along the walkway. The walkway sees few
people and the stream rarely sees an angler. I have only noticed tube floaters in
one small area of the stream and that was near the campground close to the
spur. You probably want see any tube floaters except during the hot summer days
and again, that will only be in a few hundred yards of a stream several miles long.
The smallmouth in this area of Pigeon Forge near the spur are not as large as
you will find them a few more miles downstream but they are generally larger than
those in the upstream portion of the spur area.

The best places for smallmouth are the large pools of which there are many. I
have taken smallmouth up to two and a half pounds in the river on a fly but I have
only fished it a few times. I have caught several in the two-pound range. The
larger fish are from about the center of Pigeon Forge all the way downstream to
near the downtown area of Sevierville. The best time to catch them on the fly is
during the spring and fall seasons. You will also find a variety of other species of
fish along the way. Don’t be fooled by the fact you don’t see anyone fishing. This
is “A River Runs Through It” in disguise.


Copyright 2008 James Marsh