View Full Version : Need some advice

04-09-2007, 01:43 PM
Our family is planning a trip to the GSM this coming weekend, the 12th through the 14th. I would like to try a little fishing in the GSM National Park. Since I've never done it before, is fly fishing the only way to do it? If so, any recommendations on the quickest way to get started? I know I'll need to pick up a license in advance. We probably won't fish more than a half day, depends on the luck.

David Knapp
04-09-2007, 03:02 PM
If money is not an issue, I would HIGHLY recommend checking to see if LRO has any guides available during that time frame. It may be hard to find a guide this close to your trip but if any are available, it would make it much more enjoyable and productive.

04-09-2007, 03:05 PM

Other people with more knowledge will reply. But, I think that you can spin fish as long as you have a single hook on your lure. This is a pain, because most artificial lures have treble hooks that you will need to replace. No bait fishing allowed.

Or your can try a combination of fly fishing and spin fishing. A few weeks back, my 6 year old caught his first trout using a Scooby Doo Zebco that I had tied a wooly bugger and split shot onto the end of. I've head of other people fishing nymphs below an indicator this way.

If you are going to fly fish for the first time, I highly recommend getting a guide. They will make the process a lot easier for you. Little River Outfitters has several reputable guides. I also had a great experience with Hugh Hartsell who posts here regularly.

Good luck.


04-09-2007, 03:11 PM
Money is definitely an issue. Would an open face spinning reel and light rod combo work? I thought about just stopping at a shop and getting several flies to try it out. You never know, just might get lucky. I mostly bass fish by the way. I would love to go fly fishing but I won't have the time to invest on this trip. I just thought my 7 year old might like to throw in a time or two.

Any hints or tips on using this method?

04-09-2007, 03:59 PM
If you plan to stick to the Park and you're on a budget I highly recommend that you go with a North Carolina license instead of Tennessee. Hopefully, one day TWRA will come to their senses with a more affordable one or multi-day permit. As of now, they don't even offer a one day permit.:rolleyes:

Rog 1
04-09-2007, 04:47 PM
You can just about duplicate nymph fishing with a light spinning rod....this is how I got my son interested in fishing up there.....get a standard size nymph and put a small split shot about a foot up the line...cast this rig up and across any nice pool and let the current carry the fly through the pool....it may be a little early but later a killer rig is a split tail worm sold almost anywhere called a trout magnet....fished the same way it will definitely bring some fish to bite....once the kids realized there are actually fish in these waters it is a lot easier getting to try out the long rods.

04-09-2007, 04:47 PM

I think you can do well with a spinning rod. If you don't get any replies on this Board, go to www.ngto.org. They have a huge membership and several people who regularly spin fish for trout. They can probably give you good advice on the best rig to use. When I fish places without the Smoky's regulations, I see people having good success with rooster tails. I'm not sure if a single hook would mess up the rooster tail's action.

For the seven-year old, definitely use a spining rod. If don't get advice on how to modify your regular fishing lures, stop by a fly fishing store and ask for some cone-headed wooly buggers and clouser minnows. These are both heavy, underwater flies that can work the same way that a regular lure works. You may need to get some lead weight and place it about six inches up the line from your fly. Basically, you need enough weight to give your fly a good toss.

With my six year old, we tied a big, cone-headed olive wooly bugger on. Then, we added several pieces of very small split shot. I would heave the set-up as far as I could into the current. He would let the current pull the line out of the reel and then retrieve. Because of the weight, he got stuck occasionally on the bottom. But, I can confirm that this method has caught at least one rainbow trout from the Little River.

If you want to try fly fishing, check in with Little River Outfitters. Some places will rent equipment. I'm not sure if they do.

Have fun.


swipper 74
04-09-2007, 05:48 PM
If you are interested, contact Hugh...here is his website...


04-09-2007, 09:33 PM
the creeks just are't that big. A spinning reel with a single hook rooster tail would be plenty for Abrams Creek and the roadside portion of the Little River but is teally too much for most of the other streams(in the Townsend area). One thing I haven't tried but would be fine for a child would be a cane pole with about a 7 to 12 foot leader (or 4 lb test) with a dry fly or nymph on it. Just reach or flick out and let the fly drift in the current. It counts, and if you are quiet and it is warm enough, they will bite.

04-09-2007, 10:56 PM
If you plan to stick to the Park and you're on a budget I highly recommend that you go with a North Carolina license instead of Tennessee.

I would definitely second that motion. Not only is a temporary license from North Carolina very reasonable, it is very easy to order online. I've bought several - sometimes in anticipation of going on a trip - I don't mind writing off the cost if I have to scrub the trip.

04-09-2007, 11:28 PM
Even though I fly fish , I wouldn't suggest it unless you had more time, instruction, the correct equipment and "better fishing conditions". The Smokies are a very hard place to start out fly fishing and the conditions are not going to be that great for a while.
My wife actually prefers spin fishing to flyfishing in the park. I call her "Panther Martin Pam" she uses a small black Panther Martin with a single hook. I've taken off the treble and use a single larger hook with a short shank and wide gap- similar to an salmon egg type hook and pinched the barb down. She uses these lures in trout streams all over the US prefering this set up to the treble. I know Wal Mart in Pigeon Forge sells single hooked rooster tails- haven't noticed if LRO does???
1. Realize that trout in the Smokies are wild trout and not stockers- Even the experts have fishless days. Fishing may be slow if the water temps stay down. Don't get discouraged. Just look around you and enjoy the beauty!Fishing in the park is a lot more than just catching fish!
2. Fish the spinners- deep and slow- the deeper and slower the better- add weight if needed. Throw them upstream at a 45 degree angle and bring it across the pool or riffle. Retreive just fast enough to get a flash. Spinner fishing in the park is NOT a Sure thing.
3. Try Little River around Elkmont Campground down toward Metcalf bottoms.
3. As for fly fishing, get some help by taking lessons, either from a shop Like LRO or some one in a TU or FFF chapter. Too many people try to fly fish on their own, have problems get fustrated and quit feeling it is too hard. I am assuming you don't have trout water nearby, try fly fishing for bass and panfish with a fly rod. It will help you gain confidence and it is a lot of fun.
Tight lines and Enjoy

04-09-2007, 11:52 PM
I also agree with Rusty on the license issue and others regarding the issue of fly or spin if time limitations are a factor.

Last but not least, you could never go wrong dealing with the folks at Little River Outfitters. Their insights and instruction are tops and will lend you some real advantages in terms of a sound foundation and quick results.


04-10-2007, 07:59 AM
If your just wanting the kids to catch some fish you may want to take a look at Cherokee, NC. Cherokee boarders the park and you do not have to buy a NC license. You will have to buy a cherokee license, which is about $8. There are miles of rivers and even three large ponds that are stocked twice a week. As for bait anything goes. You can use powerbait and you should have a much easier time with these trout. The park is alot more scenic but the trout are very hard to catch. The good thing about Cherokee is that the park is right there so you can fish and then check out the scenes. One side note, if you get there right at day break and go to the GSMNP visitor center right outside of cherokee, there is a very good chance you will see a elk herd. I fish bradley fork alot and its almost clock work when I am coming up by the large feilds that border the visitor center I see this herd grazing. You have to look real hard at the far side of the feild near the river and you will see their outline. Anyway if you want to catch some trout easily and also enjoy the park you should consider cherokee.

04-10-2007, 09:47 AM
I second cherokee. if you just want you and your kids to catch a few fish, that may be your best bet. you can also do a picnic there. plus your kids will probably like all that native american stuff. if you want to fish the townsend side with rooster tails or whatever, you may have a better chance at fish on the little river through townsend.

Rog 1
04-10-2007, 12:09 PM
I would second the idea of a cane pole....when I first started fishing in the Park you would always see the old timers with cane poles dabbing flies from behing trees and rocks in the pockets and currents....this is basically the same technique as "high sticking" but without the high price of a FF outfit...you can fish wet or dry this way...7-8' pole with a similar length of line and a trout magnet from Wally World should do the trick.