Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Stoneflies
4. Slate Drakes
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Little Yellow Quills
13. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Fly Fishing the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River
Locals know the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River as Greenbrier. It's a fast flowing
pocket water stream with huge boulders and lots of rainbow trout. It also has brook
trout in its headwaters and tributaries. We would say this stream is of medium size
as compared to the other streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There
could be a brown trout in the lower part of the Middle Prong but we haven't caught
Access to this stream isn't a problem for the first five miles because it has a road
that closely follows it from the entrance to the park (just out of the city limits of
Gatlinburg) to the Ramsey Cascade Trailhead. Even though it's close to Gatlinburg,
few people use that entrance to the park. It's located north of Gatlinburg on
highway #321 headed towards Cosby.
We have caught some large rainbow trout (for the park) in the Middle Prong of Little
Pigeon River. We caught two that were just a eighth of an inch under twelve inches
at the mouth of Porters Creek, a tributary stream. We have caught many that were
over ten inches and a few over eleven in the Middle Prong. It's probably just pure
coincidence that we have caught a few large ones. I don't see any reason it should
have any more large rainbows than any other stream of its size.
The very lowest part of the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River can get a little
too warm for the rainbows during the hot summer. If the weather is hot, we suggest
you bypass the first two or three miles or so and fish at a higher elevation.
The lower part of the stream up to the Ranger Station is easy to access but difficult
to fish in some areas due to deep pools and large boulders. There are also some
sections of fairly long riffles. Not far above the Ranger Station the stream flows
through a canyon, or I should say the road goes high above the stream on the side
of the hill. Access there is difficult. This stretch of water is rarely fished by anyone
and is a very good place to catch a lot of rainbow trout. You could enter it at the low
point of the road, fish upstream and walk back down the road to your vehicle. You
would probably be able to catch plenty of trout because this stream gets far less
attention that it would if everyone was aware of it.
At Greenbrier Cove the road splits and straight ahead is the road that follows
Porters Creek. Turn left and cross the bridge over Porters Creek to continue on up
the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. For the first couple of miles upstream
the road will follow along the stream but it's anywhere from fifty to two hundred
yards from it. You can access it fairly easily just about anywhere along the road.
This section of the stream is also packed with rainbow trout. We have caught some
huge numbers in this area all the way up to the bridge where the road crosses the
stream. Actually, the same thing continues on the left side of road above the bridge
headed on upstream all the way to Ramsey Cascade Trailhead. It's a little more
difficult to access it there but it too, has a lot of rainbows. When you get near the
end of the road, you will start picking up an occasional brook trout. There are some
nice size ones in the larger pools above and below the Ramsay Cascade Trail
bridge that crosses the stream at the end of the road.
There are a few tributary streams. The first one upstream is Porters Creek just
mentioned. We have read in a couple of books on fishing the Smokies where
Porters Creek is a very high acidic stream with a low Ph, but if so, we cannot tell
that it has affected the trout population adversely. We have caught some large
numbers of rainbows in Porters Creek fishing upstream the first couple of miles. I
also just mentioned it had some large ones, especially near its confluence with the
The first mile or so of Porters Creek is accessible from a gravel road that follows the
stream. From there on upstream, Porters Creek Trail follows the stream all the way
to campsite #31. It's difficult to access the stream from the trail in many places. The
stream heads through a flat area and then up the mountain towards Mt. LeConte.
False Gap Prong is the first of its tributaries which is of course, quite small. It also
has a small tributary called Cannon Creek. Porters Creek is the only tributary worth
fishing until you get to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead at the end of the road. The
trail follows Ramsey Prong and the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River bears off
the right without a formal trail.
Most all the trout in the Ramsey Prong tributary will be brook trout. The Ramsey
Cascade Trail follows the stream fairly closely for its length of four miles but
accessing it isn't very easy in many places. This is a very good brook trout stream.
Buck Fork is a very small brook trout stream that's a tributary of the Middle Prong. It
enters the Middle Prong not far upstream from its split from Ramsey Prong. Eagle
Rock Prong is the next upstream tributary stream of any size. It's a very small
stream that contains brook trout but it's very tough to get to. There aren't any well
established trails that follow it. You have to fish upstream inside the creek or crawl
beneath the bushes.
Chapman Prong and Lost Creek form the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Little
Pigeon River. They are very small brook trout streams that are also difficult to
The Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River is a sleeper. It takes a dedicated trip
there to fish it. Once there you have no other options but to fish it or one of its
tributaries. It's one road in and back out of the park. For that reason, not many
anglers choose it over the main entrance to the park at Gatlinburg where highway
#441 crosses park or provides access to the Little River Road.
The only negative point about the Middle Prong, if you consider it negative, is it
doesn't contain brown trout.