View Full Version : First Trip to Smokies in a Long Time

10-24-2013, 08:45 PM
I've been a long time lurker and occasional contributor to this site for a long. This mostly because I seldom get down to Tennessee felt that i really didn't have much to add to the conversations here. The last time I fished in the park was about 12 years ago. I do have a Masters degree in Biology from Tennessee Tech although now I work as an environmental engineer in the Chicago area. That is my connection to Tennessee
Anyway, I digress. My wife and I are finally empty nesters and we decided to take an extended weekend trip to the Smokies from our home in Chicago. We arrived last Thursday just as the park was opening up. Before we were married my wife was my fishing partner but, this was before kids and the disease I caught called "fly fishing fever". She decided that she would go fly fishing with me on this trip. This would be her first time fly fishing. We would have one day to fish in the park. So we went to Little River Outfitters last Saturday to outfit my wife with Chota Hippies and Abrams Creek wading boots and of course our licenses. While I read about the shop through this website I was really impressed with the service. Alex did a great job of getting my wife outfitted. She was a bit nervous about going in with all the men but, the staff did a great job of making her feel at home. It was also pleasure to get to meet and talk with Byron. I've always enjoyed reading his fishing reports. You can bet we'll be back to Little River Outfitters on our next trip to the Smokies.
Most of my trout fishing is done on small brook trout streams like this one.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Lawrence%20Creek%20June_16_2013/102_3840_zps0aa82483.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Lawrence%20Creek%20June_16_2013/102_3840_zps0aa82483.jpg.html)
for brook trout like this
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Lawrence%20Creek%20June_16_2013/102_3844_zps2ea15278.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Lawrence%20Creek%20June_16_2013/102_3844_zps2ea15278.jpg.html)
in central and northern Wisconsin.
As you can see this stream is quite a bit different than the ones in the Smokies. Anyway Byron gave us some great advice about which streams to fish.
The first stream we hit was the West Prong of the Little River but, it seemed like only the dinkers were out. But, my wife was having a great time. We had practiced in the yard and on the water she was casting like a pro. She was hitting her spots and really enjoying casting. She said the fly fishing is very relaxing and there's just something about watching your fly drift with the current. Like me she still needs to work on controlling her drifts. This was our catch from the West Prong.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0128_zps2459e574.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0128_zps2459e574.jpg.html)
Unfortunately my only camera was the iphone camera and well, you can see the quality of the pictures.
While the West Prong had some nice pools ad pocket water it seemed like only the dinkers wanted to play. So we decide to try Tremont along one of the pull outs along the dirt road. There the fishing was much better. We started out on a deep big pool with a riffle on one side that looked perfect for swinging wet flies. To me this is the best way to start a beginner fly fishing streams. I rigged up to softhackle wet flies for my wife to try and gave her some instructions on fishing them. Then she told me to go upstream and fish the pocket water and she would work on her casting. Well I went upstream and immediately began catching little rainbows like this one
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0119_zpsae2712ef.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0119_zpsae2712ef.jpg.html)
and a little bigger like this one.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0117_zpsdf6f9121.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0117_zpsdf6f9121.jpg.html)
The last one was about 8" but, flopped off before I could bring him to hand. Most of the fish caught took the pink weenie although I was getting a lot of strikes on the Neversink Caddis but, had trouble hooking up. I think it was because I had too much slack in my line. I was having some difficulty controlling my drifts. I quickly realized that the 7' Cabela's CGR rod was too short for fishing the Smokies. For smaller streams it probably would have worked fine. I think a 9' rod would have worked much better. I'm convinced that is is the reason I missed so many strikes. A good day could have been a great day.
All in all it was great day and it ended all too soon. The wife and I can't wait to come back again.
Just thought I would leave with a few iphone shots of the Middle Prong of the Little River.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0126_zpsae332b30.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0126_zpsae332b30.jpg.html)
From the roadside.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0125_zpscbf7bc8c.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0125_zpscbf7bc8c.jpg.html)
Lay Yong Fishing.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0121_zps207d18d9.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0121_zps207d18d9.jpg.html)
Me fishing.
http://i1037.photobucket.com/albums/a451/softhackle11/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0129_zpscfe012de.jpg (http://s1037.photobucket.com/user/softhackle11/media/Smoky%20Mountains%20October%202013/IMG_0129_zpscfe012de.jpg.html)

AL trout bum
10-24-2013, 11:51 PM
Thanks for the report. That park is truly something special.

Throw up a report from your fishing up there sometime. A little variety is always nice, and that stream looked awesome.

10-25-2013, 10:40 AM
Throw up a report from your fishing up there sometime. A little variety is always nice, and that stream looked awesome.

Yes please. Work used to take me to Chicago and I regret never making it over to fish the small streams in Wisconsin.

For starters, how wide is the stream in your first shot?


Byron Begley
10-30-2013, 07:35 AM
Hi Softhackle,

Thank you for posting and for the nice things you said about the LRO staff. I enjoyed talking to you too. I'm glad you both had a nice visit to the Smoky Mountains and we look forward to your return. Thank you for reading the fishing reports and staying in touch with us.

See you in the Spring!


10-31-2013, 07:03 PM
Yes please. Work used to take me to Chicago and I regret never making it over to fish the small streams in Wisconsin.

For starters, how wide is the stream in your first shot?

I'll be happy to. Keep an eye out from time to time in the Trout Fishing in Other States and the Warmwater sections. I'll be putting up post of earlier fishing trips.
To answer your question Steve, the stream is about 6 feet wide where that picture was taken. There has been extensive stream rehabilitation done on that creek with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources putting in deflector logs, lunker structures etc. On some of the outside bends the stream is almost as deep as it is wide. These are the type of streams that I fish for brook trout in the upper midwest. As you can see there is quite a bit of difference between these streams and the streams of the Smokies. Forgot to mention too that that this particular creek where the picture was taken that wading up the middle of the creek you can touch both banks with your hands.
There can be some good fishing around the Chicago area. We have some good smallmouth streams, and there is some surprisingly good fishing in many subdivision retention ponds. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources stocks some of the local lakes and streams in spring and fall with catchable size rainbows. I've gotten pretty adept at catching those on the fly so that eases my trout fix a little bit. I have also discovered a few small streams with fishable populations of smallmouth bass and rock bass. I love fishing small streams.
More later.