Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Where to Fish
Many anglers, especially those new to the area, want specific suggestions on where they should fish.
The following is a month by month list of suggestions as to where you should fish in Great Smoky
Mountains National Park. Keep in mind that you can catch trout in any of the streams in the park. Our
stream section provides a lot of information about each of the major streams. This is just a short cut
list of suggested streams and areas of the streams for various times of the year round season.

July is hot everywhere except the highest elevations. Flies that imitate terrestrial insects
will become important. Fish early and late or go to the highest elevations. Avoid the
lower elevation streams all together. I would only fish the mid elevations during the early
morning or late afternoon. For rainbows, I would suggest the West Prong of Little Pigeon
River near the Chimney Trailhead on the Tennessee side or the highest part of the
Oconaluftee or the upper part of its tributary the Bradley Fork.  For brook trout, try Walkers
Camp Prong on the Tennessee side of the park. There is a lot of water in this stream
(length wise - I don't know about depth wise) to choose from. Get off the highway where
the stream leaves the road. On the North Carolina side of Newfoundland Gap, try
Kephart Prong off highway #441.

For the dog days of August, I would suggest you stay in the highest elevations and fish
for our beautiful native brook trout. Get a map and pick out the uppermost blue lines
near the North Carolina and Tennessee State line and hike into the backcountry. If the
weather is dry (no heavy rains coming) try the Raven Fork, which is the best brook trout
stream in the park.

I would fish for brook trout until at least the very end of the month. If the weather happens
to get cooler, then you may give the highest elevations of the large streams a try for
rainbows. You may try the uppermost headwater areas of Little River such as Fish
Camp Prong on the Tennessee side. Try the upper headwater areas of Deep Creek or
Hazel Creek on the North Carolina side.

September is going to still be hot for most of the month but the mornings and evening
should begin to cool down. Nights will be cooler, especially in the higher elevations. I
would still fish only from the mid elevations and higher, at least until near the end of the
month. The weather can vary a greatly, so the choice should vary with the changes in the
weather. For rainbows, try some of the smaller streams such as the upper waters of the
Straight Fork or Twenty Mile Creek on the North Carolina side of the park. On the
Tennessee side, try the upper, highest sections of  West Prong of the Little River or the
upper sections of the Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River. Brook trout fishing will
continue to be good anywhere they exist and that would still be a great choice for
September. Try the headwaters of Cosby Creek on the Tennessee side or the tributary
streams of the Cataloochee River, such as Palmer Creek or Lost Bottoms on the North
Carolina side.

Copyright 2011 James Marsh
Angie is wet wading this July day.
She is stooped down low casting
beneath the overhanging limbs in
the shadows of Hazel Creek trying
to trick a trout into taking her fly.
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
All images are thumbnails,
click for larger view
The trout, especially the browns,
do not get in the shade because
the water is cooler. They don't like
the bright light of the high sun in
the summer.
This nice little brown took a dry fly
from under the trees where Angie
is fishing in the above image. It's
always best to fish for the browns
in low light situations, either early
or late in the day or on cloudy
days. At times when the sky is
bright they will always seek the
shaded areas of the stream.
This is a nice rainbow Angie
caught from the fast runs in Hazel
Creek during the hot summer.
They seek the highly oxygenated
areas of the streams.
You must cross Fontana Lake to
get to Hazel Creek unless you
plan on a very long hike. Fontana
Marina can arrange boat trips
across the lake for you.
scene of Hazel Creek but it was
during the drought of 2007 when
most other streams were much
lower. It keeps a very good flow
during the summer and fall dry
months. It drains a very large area.
If the water is low in the park, this
would be one of our choice
locations to fish.