Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
When To Come and What To Expect:

October, November and December:

October is one of our favorite times of the year to fish Great Smoky Mountains National
Park.  It's also usually the busiest time for visitors to the park. To those of us that
regularly fish the Smokies, October always brings a welcome change in the hot days
that we have become used to.

By the middle of the month, the trees in the higher elevations will begin to change into
their fall colors. Near the end of the month, the fall foliage will be at its peak in the
highest elevations. Elk will begin to bugle this month. Fall festivities will be in full swing.
Before the month is over, the brown trout will come out of their normal hiding places and
begin to move upstream to their spawning areas. Brook trout will begin to spawn in the
higher elevations. The fall spawning colors of the brook trout are something to behold.
Falling leaves may be a problem but the days they adversely affect the fishing are very
few and usually follow periods of high wind.

Hatches will pick up during October. Several species of caddis will begin to hatch and
the Blue-winged Olives will show up before the month ends bringing with them
opportunities to catch trout on the surface.

The first part of November almost always provides excellent opportunities to catch plenty
of trout, even on the dry fly.  It's also the most beautiful time to be in the Smokies. The
background of the streams will be painted in gorgeous colors of scarlet, orange,
maroon and gold. The fall foliage will be at its peak in the lower elevations. November is
also a very busy time for the park. The "leaf lookers" will be out in full force.  

Both Brown and Brook Trout will spawn during this month. The brown trout will be
getting into high gear and the brook trout will be ending their spawning cycle before the
month is over.

This is a good time for me to mention that wading can affect the brown and brook trout's
redds or beds where they deposit their eggs. Anglers should avoid trying to catch the
spawning trout but many do. There should be no satisfaction in harassing spawning
trout that are trying to protect their redds.

All things considered, the month of November is one of the best months of the year to
plan a fly fishing trip to the Smokies. You will have to carefully watch the weather. The
long range forecast should clue you in as to what to expect. Make sure you plan the trip
at the right time, especially towards the end of the month.

December can be a little on the "iffy" side weather wise. Normally, cold weather doesn't
start until about the middle of the month. The first part of December often turns out to be
a very good time to fish. The weather is often mild and it is comfortable to be outside. If
you live within a day's drive of the park and the weather forecast is calling for a warm
spell, you could be in for a good late season fishing trip provided you can come on a
short notice.

Thousand of  families travel to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg just to see the Christmas
decorations and to shop in the hundreds of stores for the holidays. It can be a good time
to sneak away to get into some fishing while the wife spends all your money. You will be
able to pick your spot to fish from the best locations in the park. It is a good time to catch
a large brown trout.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh
A Fall Caddis, this one a  Great
Autumn Brown, is just one of  the
hatches that occur suring the
autumn season.
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
Autumn is a beautiful time to fish
the streams of the park. Dry fly
fishing is often excellent . You
usually have the water to yourself.
The trout will line up at the ends of
the long runs like the one above.
Start at the tail end of the run and
work up stream.
November is one of the best
Smokies. Blue-winged Olives are
hatching and the trout are active.
Another large brook trout fell for
the dry fly this October day in Road
Prong just below the Chimney
Trailhead. It is a great time to
catch a trophy.
Notice the snow on the top of the
peak. It is early November and the
leaves are still on the trees. The
temperature in Gatlinburg reached
over seventy degrees this same
No one has thought much about
snow on this late October day. The
blue bird skies and snow capped
peaks remind you that a cold front
has recently passed.
It is cold and the rainbow trout love
it . This one is about the average
size you can expect to catch but
there are much larger ones where
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view