View Full Version : Fishin' Spots
11-09-2009, 01:46 PM
Hey guys, I'm new to the board and relatively new to fishing in the park. I have been about 4 or 5 times and had moderate success at best. I usually come into the park through townsend and was wondering where some of yalls favorite fishing spots are. Also, are there any spots that are best for november/december? I've been to Abram's Creek, West Prong, and LR above Elkmont. Any advice would be great. Thanks
11-09-2009, 02:17 PM
Welcome to the board, and I hope you find much information here.
However, I have to say that you may not get the responses you are looking for with the way your post is worded. I have a lot to learn about Smokies fishing, but enjoy my time in the mountains learing the ins and outs of each stream. People don't care to give out the names of streams, as long as they are not tiny bluelines, but giving out specific locations is generally a no-no for online forums.
The streams you have named are good locations, and they each have their prime locations. If you are new to Smokies fishing I would recommend hiring a guide, they can teach you many tricks that will increase your success rate. Please do not take my post the wrong way, it is only intended to be a friendly welcome and introduction to how things tend to operate on online forums.
Welcome to the forum. You've named some great places already, one of which (Abrams) I've not yet fished and really want to one day. Hang in there with what you know already, the advice to hire a guide is never a bad idea when learning, and just go back into the forum a ways and you'll see a wealth of info. shared over the years of a number of great spots to try for all different seasons of the year.
I can tell you from my little tiny bit of experience that it seems you picked a great time to jump in as far as water/ stream conditions in contrast to the last few years. Everyone seems to say general conditions are prime all over the TN side of the park and we're still having some spells of beatiful weather. BTW, if you'll hit the link for the Fishing Report at the top, Byron puts one up each day with stream conditions, flies, and angler reports etc.
Almost forgot, subscribe to the e-newsletter for more tips/ tactics.
11-09-2009, 04:46 PM
Sometimes you just gotta go fishing, I think that most seasoned anglers that chase fins with fur and feather will tell you that making the art of catching fish more difficult and challenging is a source of the pride and enjoyment we get from the sport. Whether its on a flat in the bahamas, the bow of a drift boat, or a tiny mountains stream in the park. There is something special and rewarding about heading to unknown water, stalking your prey, and finding success and also failure, which often we learn more from. To simply tell someone to go fish this hole or another would actually deprive that person from the total experience, and I can tell you that I treasure the "honey holes" that I have found on my own more so than they ones I was gifted. I hope you do not take any offense but to answer your question my advise would be to go fish the streams in the park and learn your own favorite spots, there are thousands of fish per river mile, you will always treasure more what you earn, versus what you are given.
11-09-2009, 10:45 PM
My favorite spots are stretches of river and not particular spots. When you're going fishing for 6 hours or more at a time, getting anchored to a specific spot can get pretty old.
It's no surprise to virtually anyone on this board that the West Prong of the Little Pigeon is one of my favorite streams and specifically the gorge between the Chimneys picnic area and the Chimneys trailhead. There are scores of favorite spots up and down that river - wouldn't know where to tell you to start other than jump in and experience it yourself. That's sort of the approach I took when Daniel at LRO first told me to try the gorge. As a matter of fact, 2 people fishing that same stretch would likely discover completely different favorite spots based on their particular style and fancy for fly fishing.
All this is not to be evasive or secretive about my favorite spots. The fun part for me about fishing WPLP is that I catch fish in different spots almost every time. There are spots where the first few times I hit them, I caught fish every time. The next time I go, I may strike out in that same spot but be surprised with a fish in a spot I've never caught fish in.
As Carolina Boy suggests, dive in and find your own favorites. It's part of the adventure.
11-09-2009, 10:53 PM
I will have to say ditto to what nvr2L8 and Carolina Boy say. I would say the better approach is to as some questions about reading the water and where the fish are likely to by lying, as well as asking some questions about how to make a stealthy approach. Most will be more than happy to share that information with you. You can also ask about rigging and different flies to use. You may even want to hit up Jim Casada about the best flies to use for the time of year. His book is a great source of places to try out.
For me it is not a matter of not wanting to tell you of a great spot, it is that I don't have great spots, and if I did I the directions would be like.....start fishing the Bradley fork after walking up the trail for about 45 min or so, and if you fish for at least two hours you should make it to the "spot". My experience in the Smokies is that there are catchable fish in every fishable stream (I am sure there are many in the unfishable waters too)! The trick is learning to read the water and determine where the likely spots are that the fish will hold, and getting your fly there without spooking the fish. I think fly selection is actually not nearly as important, most of the time.
11-09-2009, 11:34 PM
My favorite stretch of GSMNP water is the gravel road section of Tremont. There is a shade of green I call Tremont green when the rocks get all "mossy".
Tremont is a pretty place to fish and photo.
I have to agree with everyone that has posted so far. Fishing the GSMNP for me has become more of an exploring experience, I love fishing waters that are new to me. I have taken several new fly fishermen and showed them my honey holes that I discovered, but most of them end up doing their own exploring now. Read Byron's fishing report, take note of the stealth required, because even if you are put on a good run, if you don't use stealth you won't catch fish. I learned this lesson to the fullest last spring,a friend of mine fished the same run on the North river that I had fished earlier that day he did a few small things different, how he took his fly line off the water with a little shake so there was no pop as the line came off the water, I would take one false cast, where he took none, he ended up taking twice as many trout. Learn to read the water and cover every inch. I have caught Brookies in 3" water. The streams you have named are some of the best in the park, work on your skills and the fish will come. The last thing I will say is to hike at least 45min and the fishing will improve.
11-10-2009, 12:33 AM
Jake's Creek is nice. It gets to be kinda tight, but if you just follow the river, you get away from the crowds. Not to mention the crowds along the trail by the LR above Elkmont.
11-10-2009, 08:34 AM
TroutVol, just to get oriented on stretches of waters, you might find the links below helpful. On the pages you will see references to Jim Casada's great book and some others. Enjoy exploring.
2/15 Update: Deleted map links previously posted.
11-10-2009, 09:25 AM
Since I'm new at this also,one of the things that challenges a newby when asking where to fish,is actually remembering the creek names that everyone talks about and finding them on the map.Then figuring out where to fish where everybody and his brother doesn't.
I'm a big believer in topo maps,and I guess I'm a map junkie,I study them and when I fish a stream,then I hi-lite where I fish and make some notes.
Where to go is really not the big question,but what to do when you get there,now that's what counts.
11-10-2009, 12:12 PM
I'm so very envious of the guys who get to fish the mountains more regularly. I haven't fished nearly as many streams as I would like nor have I spent anywhere the amount of time in the mountains as my heart desires.
I do like fishing up Tremont and sometimes up Thunderhead prong. I like the Greenbriar area (I really enjoy Porters Creek) and the West Prong Little Pigeon river just above the picnic area at Chimneys is a lot of fun.
To be honest, I can't say I have a favorite place as they are all my favorites for different reasons.
For me, fishing in the Smokeys isn't about catching, it really is about fishing. Just being there on a stream, the sounds, smells, the cool of the air is what makes me love being there. The hills are a thousand shades of green. It's amazing to me to see how many different colors of green exist and how many colors of gray and brown and every other color in the rainbow. Just standing by a stream, hearing the water and lookig around me is far more important than catching the fish. The catching is just a bonus but soaking in the beauty around me and recharging my severly drained batteries is what fishing is to me and it's especially so when I get to fish in the Smokeys.
I know it's not the answer to the original question but in a way, I think it is the ultimate answer to the question.
11-10-2009, 12:23 PM
Greenbriar is a beautiful place. Went up there Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day and caught a few brookies and a my best wild bow of the season up above the Ramsey Prong trailhead.
11-10-2009, 02:30 PM
TroutVol, my advice would be to pick up some maps and do some exploring for yourself. It is much more rewarding that way, in my opinion. The national park service offers a free map online.....http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP%20Backcountry%20Map.pdf and trails illustrated makes a great map of the park, with all the stream names. Most substantial drainages in the park hold at least 1 species of trout, and some have all 3.
The following link --->http://www.dlia.org/atbi/science/park_quad_maps.shtml will give you access to some older topo maps of the area, showing you some of the older "manways" to help access the drainages that aren't frequently traveled by hikers.
I know that some forum members will scoff at the fact that I provide those links, but these are easily found with a little search engine help.
I do understand the sentiments of some members that say we should not be naming streams. When you drive hours to fish a place like Sam's Creek, get to the mouth of the stream and notice wet boot prints all over the rocks leading up into the drainage, it really gives you a sinking feeling and you know that you might as well find another place to fish.
11-10-2009, 03:20 PM
I know that feeling. I have roughly a 1 1/2 hr drive to the TN side. I drove to Greenbriar several months ago, hiked approximately 35-40 minutes, got in the stream and saw wet bootprints. Pretty dissapointing for sure and I had some equipment issues as well.
I have stayed away from the more easily accessed spec streams like Sams and Road Prong for that reason. Too much gas and time wasted if someone is already fishing ahead.
11-10-2009, 03:50 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions, I look foward to gettin' out there and exploring
11-10-2009, 04:07 PM
I recommend buying a National Geographics map of the Smokies to start with, they are around $10, they are waterproof, and are an invaluable resource. I am a forester, so I love reading topo maps. Buy a couple of the books on fishing in the Smokies. Like others have said I enjoy using these resources to find new fishing spots and to me it's a lot more fun than being led to a spot by a fellow fisherman, although a few tips have been very beneficial.
Enjoy the Quest!
11-10-2009, 07:00 PM
look for books and maps at the park stores or
money goes to the park.
11-10-2009, 08:19 PM
Go to the fly shops and ask questions, also read! The Flyfisherman's
Guide To The Great Smoky Mountains National Park By H. Lea Lawrence ,
Fly-Fishing Guide to the Great Somky Mountains By Don Kirk, Great Somky Mountains
National Park Angler's Companion By Ian Rutter, And the very best, Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountians National Park An Insiders Guidetoa Pursuit Of Passion By
11-10-2009, 08:25 PM
I also forgot to mention to get a copy of a North Carolina and a Tennesee
Atlas & Gazetteer.
11-11-2009, 11:59 AM
Honorable Principal--First of all, thanks ever so much for the very gracious comments about my book. Thus far it has been well received and for that I am most grateful.
I would note that in my opinion the best book on trails in the Park, by light years, is Ken Wise's Hiking Trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sadly, it is out of print, and some index to how it is prized is given by the fact that copies now demand premium prices on the out-of-print market. Forum members might be able to locate a copy in their local library.
Thankfully, Ken is presently working on a totally updated new edition. I met with him and some other folks from the University of Tennessee this past Friday in connection with a Kephart collection of mine in which they were interested, and Ken said he is making steady progress and should have a new edition completed by summer. That will mean UT Press will then get busy on it, but I doubt if we'll see if before 2011. It's a book everyone who really cares about in-depth knowledge of Park byways will want to have.
11-11-2009, 12:39 PM
look for books and maps at the park stores or
money goes to the park.
Sam--Good advice, although I would note that the information in the current hiking trails book the GSMA has out for the Park is very uneven. Some of the coverage, such as that by Bill Hart, Jr. on Big Creek, is spot on, in other cases I genuinely wonder if the writer ever even walked the trail. My brother is a dedicated and extremely fit hiker who, as an engineer, is also a stickler for accuracy. He has pointed out dozens of mistakes in the book. I guess that's what happens when you get a group effort like this.
I mention Ken Wise's wonderful book in another post, and Johnny Malloy's Trial by Trail is an interesting read. My personal opinion, and I think it is one you share, is that the serious fisherman needs to read lots of books on the Park. Indeed, that viewpoint is precisely why I included a 16 page bibliographical essay, listing scores of books with brief comments on their contents, at the end of my recent book on fishing in the Park. Chances are not one in ten purchasers will consult the bibliography, but for those who want to learn about the Park's past and its ample lore, the listings provide a literary road map.
11-11-2009, 09:24 PM
Jim, you can count me as one purchaser who did consult your fantastic bibliography. Most impressive! For keying my web site stream drainage listings (ex. Little River (http://www.smokystreams.com/systems/little)) to selected books, I was hoping to use, in addition to your book, Ken Wise's book on trails, but was unable to get my hands on one. Instead I purchased and am referencing pages in Russ Mannings's 100 Hikes in the GSMNP, which you cited as well. (As you well know it was originally published, along with Sondra K. Jamieson, as The Best of the GSMNP: A Hiker's Guide to Trails and Attractions.) As you pointed out, Manning's book is organized along creek drainages and, therefore, aligns nicely with my little endeavor.
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