View Full Version : Upper Little River

David Knapp
04-21-2008, 11:28 AM
I'm back from a great weekend in the park! The fishing was a little strange for me. Saturday, Trevor (ttas67) drove over to Cataloochee for the day since I had never been before. We fished some and the fish didn't seem all that cooperative. We both managed several fish but had to work fairly hard for them. There were tons of bugs on the water but not really any rising fish.



Yesterday was another story. I woke up and broke down camp before hiking up above Elkmont. The trailhead was fairly busy but only a couple other anglers were either gearing up or already up the trail. I started hiking and an hour later was deep in the backcountry. The changes in scenery just hiking a little ways was incredible. At Elkmont, the dogwoods were in full bloom and spring was moving right along. As I hiked, seemingly went back in time to early spring. By the time I started fishing, the dogwoods weren't blooming at that particular elevation. The wildflowers were incredible however. The trailside was carpeted with several varieties. Here are some pictures (anyone know the specific names of these?)...


Anyway, I started fishing and stuck with nymphs (GRHE, Tellicos, and soft hackles) for several hours. It was really chilly up that high with the clouds. The water was around 48 degrees when I started fishing. The rocks were covered with yellow stoneflies that had crawled out and hatched but just couldn't get warm enough to take flight. Every time the sun peaked through, bugs would take to the air all over the stream.



Finally, late in the day, I made the switch to dries (yellow Neversink Caddis) and it was incredible. The fish were just slamming it even though I rarely saw any surface activity. Finally, I had to call it a day since I still had to hike out and drive back to Chattanooga AND do some homework when I got back...:rolleyes:

On the way back down, pools that had looked barren on the walk up in the morning were full of actively feeding fish and I started spotting plenty of risers. The temptation to fish more was strong but I stuck to the trail and made it out with some daylight left to drive back... Overall it was a great weekend...the fish were cooperative and any day fishing in the park is a whole lot better than school...:biggrin:


04-21-2008, 11:35 AM
Your weekend sounds eerily similar to ours....I'll post a report later, but basically we started out at Lynn Camp and got skunked (no rises, "used" water), then went over to Straight Fork, where we managed a few fish, but it was basically dead, too. I saw a lot of flies late that evening, but nothing rising to take them. Sunday was another matter - we hit Cosby and went fairly high up - saw the same flowers blooming there, and one of my daughters wondered what they were. Between my oldest and myself, we got about 40, with a few fairly decent sized fish...it was sort of a strange weekend, made even more so by the fact that now I'm back here, below sea level, and the highs will be well into the 80s today.

04-21-2008, 11:40 AM
Sorry I missed ya. Climbing was fun, but we all know it doesn't compare.... My regrets.:frown: My wife promised to come out to the Smokies next weekend, hopefully we can all meet up. I'm sure finals are on your plate now too, though. Have a good week.

04-21-2008, 11:51 AM
Oh yeah, did you see any snakes?:redface:

04-21-2008, 12:09 PM
Phlox…wild variety

daniel :)

04-21-2008, 12:25 PM
Great report. Nice pictures

04-21-2008, 05:15 PM
Thanks for the report and pics David, glad to see you were able to get to the mountains this weekend. It sure is hard to walk right past those good looking pools as you are leaving.


04-21-2008, 07:51 PM
David, I guess me and Hans missed you yesterday at Elkmont. We were at the trailhead at 7:30 am. We hiked up to about a 1/4 mile below where Huskey Branch joins the Little River. The fishing was sluggish early in the morning, I only managed a 5" brown and a smaller bow before we took a break at noon. I wasn't fishing or feeling particularly well due to a lack of sleep brought on by a bad frozen pizza I ate the night before. I'll spare you the gory details, LOL.

After taking a little break me and Hans decided to hike down to Jakes Creek since Hans was feeling a little chilly without his waders. Turns out someone was fishing on Jakes when we got to the area where we wanted to start fishing. We then decided to fish the Little by the trailhead, by this time the surface activity was beginning to pick up along with the hatches (yellow sallies and black caddis). A little problem though, there was someone fishing right above us, bummer. We decided to use proper etiquette and hop in our vehicles and headed downstream of the campground where there is a pullout along a stone wall on the river. We fished up to the little bridge that is closed to vehicles. Strangely, we didn't have any success in this area, maybe we were fishing just used water since there were people above and below this stretch. By this time Hans had enuff of wet wading in the cold water and I had enuff of running into other fishermen. Hans decided to head home and I decided to head to my old friend the WPLP.

I arrived at the WPLP above Sugarlands visitor center around 4:00pm. I hiked non-trail down to an area just above where I had success last weekend. I caught a small bow on about my second cast with a parachute stone. There were several types of bugs hatching, looked like some Quill Gordons, Sallies, and caddis. The fish were at lot more active than earlier in the day on the Little River. I ended up catching around 10 bows in a little over 2 hours, while missing that many more, all on dries. The rainbow pics below were caught on the W. Prong. The waterfall pic is where Huskey Branch joins the Little River. The other pic is one I took of Porters Creek last weekend. BTW, I think the one bow looks like a stocker that wandered up from G-Burg. What do you all think?

This is my first attempt at loading pics, so here it goes. All in all, it turned out to be a good day in the Smokies, especially after I started feeling better and moved to the WPLP.





04-21-2008, 08:17 PM
the purple in the front look like violets, those in the rear like purple phacelia

David Knapp
04-21-2008, 09:38 PM
pineman19, I knew it! I was hustling right along and was 99% sure I saw Hans just above Huskey Branch. He was standing in the middle of the stream on a rock (and the only other person I saw wet wading all weekend) but I didn't stop since I was starting later than I had meant to. Glad ya'll had a good time and caught a few in the process. Did you stick with dries the whole time? I caught a ton of fish on nymphs before I switched to dries late in the day. They seemed really hunkered down until at least mid afternoon when I started spotting fish feeding higher in the water column.

EarlofSoDak, I didn't see any snakes this trip but it was pretty chilly with all the cloud cover. I've been seeing them around here in Chattanooga so I'm sure they're out and about now...

04-21-2008, 09:46 PM
Glad to see you had some success in the "Forgotten Far East" and it's good to see that the yellow sallies are not to far off - definately one of my favorite hatches in the park by far...great pics too - I've got to replace mine here soon, I think its givin' out on me...
Pineman, good stuff as well..its good to see that people are able to get out and about as the fish are looking up and the bugs are getting thicker...

Rog 1
04-22-2008, 08:49 AM
Pineman....I think you are right on about that first rainbow....that does not look like any wild bow I have ever caught in that river...looks more like something in the cooler at my local grocery....lots of fond memories of Porter's Creek....caught my first trout on a fly there almost 50 years ago....last fall I saw what must have been a 20" brown in a small pool just above and across the river from where you took that picture of the falls on Huskey's Branch....if I recall weren't you from Live Oak a few years back...I am stuck in Tallahassee and still have to make that drive you used to complain about....thanks for the report.

04-22-2008, 07:01 PM
Hello Rog1,

Your right, I lived in Live Oak, Fl from 1999-2004. Moved to Deland, FL after the 2004 hurricanes were done in FL. Stayed in Deland about 2 years then I decided I needed to move north before I got any older. Moved to West TN for a year, just south of Jackson, then a position opened up in East TN so I transferred last October. Took me a few jobs and moves to get here, but I made it and I am enjoying spring hatches in the Smokies. The only way I am moving now is in a box, LOL. Can't wait till after May 15th when wildfire season is done and the fishing will become a serious priority. Give me a shout when you get up this way and we'll do some fishing if you like.

Have fun!


04-22-2008, 07:08 PM
pineman.....i went to stetson in de(ad)land

04-22-2008, 08:11 PM

I lived on Michigan Ave, in an old house that used to be owned by Stetson at one time. Right across from the historic Deland house. I miss Deland sometimes, it was a nice small town and I could walk five blocks and be uptown to drink a few beers or get some good food. The mountains drew me away though, and if go back it will be to visit friends.


Rog 1
04-23-2008, 10:51 AM
Pineman..Neal...in reading your posts it looks like you are really into this area...my mother's family still lives in Sevierville and I began fishing up there when I was 13....I have followed some of your excursions and would be interested in exchanging some local knowledge with you sometime...if interested drop me a line at jwatson@flabar.org...Jim Watson....I will be in Elkmont the second week of June with my son Porter(there is a family connection to Porter's Creek) and my best friend from college...UF...and his two girls....if you are over that way please stop in and say hello...white suburband and Coleman Popup....will be in Section D.