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Thread: Skunked Again! Am I doing something wrong? Any Advice?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Thanks for all the tips and advice. I guess next time I need to try and be more sneaky. I noticed most of you said I should try higher elevations, smaller streams, or places I need to hike to etc. I have hiked to campsite 18 on the WP of LR, but this was last summer during the drought and I figured it was way to small to fish with a 9 foot fly rod. I have hiked abrams trail, but I only fished the creek that was right beside the trail; not the horseshoe. I heard that the Middle Prong trail is a great place to hike and fish, but yestarday I hiked a little bit and saw that the trail was very high up from reaching any river access; maybe I hadn't hike far enough yet. With that said, do you all have any other places in mind I might be able to hike to fish in the park? Also, does anyone know where the guides take the fly fishing beginner school to fish- easier fish?? Thanks again for all of your help, it is much appreciated. Can't wait to get back out there!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Tremont - the Middle Prong - has great access all the way up to the horse trailer park at he top of the gravel road. Granted there are some spots where you'd have to climb down a few boulders/rocks/banks, but they're worth the effort. You could drive up to the horse trailer park, and then take either the Lynn Camp Prong trail on the left (an old graded rail bed) or the more primitive trail on the right to Thunderhead Prong. I've found the Lynn Camp Prong to be more productive than Thunderhead. And if you hike up far enough you're in true Brookie country.

    Or try Elkmont. Again it's an old graded rail bed, gentle grade for the most part with easy stream access. From the entrance on up you'll find browns, bows and eventually brookies. I believe some of the bigger brown have come from the section between the entrance off LR road and the bridge. It's also a very pretty stream and consequently draws an inordinate number of tourists - especially with the campground right there.

    The West Prong of the Little River definitely has more water this year. You might want to try hiking up from the confluence of LR and Laurel Creek... gorgeous country and you can find a few runs and pools to try.

    If you're up for a little more drive time, you can't go wrong with the West Prong of the Little Pigeon river above the Sugarlands visitor center. You can pull off at any of the "Quiet Walkaways", hike a few minutes and be into some very nice but moderately technical water. Take 441 up to the Chimneys and you're in for a real treat. Walker Camp Prong runs right alongside the road from the Chimneys all the way to the switchback at the top. You might have to bushwhack your way into a few spots, but once there you'll find you can sight fish for both bows and Brookies. It can get a little tight, but since your casts will all be fairly short, a 9' rod shouldn't be a problem.

    Both my son and I have tried all of the spots I've mentioned -- me with my 8' or my 8'6" rod and him with his 9' rod.

    I think most of the beginner classes (whether LRO or independently guided) start out putting their beginners on the water at Metcalf Bottoms. Easy access for groups, relatively low and consistent water flow, and wide enough spaces for two or more bodies to stand side-by-side for instruction purposes. I have seen and caught fish there, both large and small, but not when there's a great deal of activity in the area. I know that Hugh Hartsell, for example, will use Metcalf Bottoms as an on-stream classroom when it's convenient, and then move his clients to more productive water once he's confident of their casting and mending abilities.

    If you can at all, I would highly recommend an LRO class or at least a half day guided Smokies trip with Mr. Hartsell to flatten the learning curve.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Maryville, TN


    As usual, Gerry has some great advice. To answer the earlier question, after you get above the cascades on the Middle Prong Trail, the stream is very close to the trail and access is much simpler.

    I fished above campsite #18 a couple of times last year. In May I caught a dozen or so frisky rainbows, by July I hardly saw a fish. Hopefully they made it through the drought. If so, it should be a great place to fish. But make sure you are sneaky. I caught four of them in one pool by hiding behind a tree and flicking my line out to the edges of the pool (no backcasts).

    Left side, right side...I knew I was doing something wrong with the Browns...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    I am no expert, but something that I have found that helps me is to just watch for awhile. Because of the limited time I have on the water, when I first started fishing I would drive or hike to where ever I was going to fish, jump out, get my gear together and hit the water and flail away. Now I get my gear together and then find a comfortable spot, and sit and take in the view for awhile. I watch what bugs are flying around, what direction the wind is blowing, is there any rise going on, study the stream flow, try to decide where would I hide if was fish, etc. After awhile it all starts to come together. Then I start to fish. Do I catch a lot, no, but I blame that more on my inability to detect bites quick enough letting some get away(I'm getting better). But you know what, I come to the Park for relaxation and while I love catching fish I probably enjoy the time observing my surroundings almost as much.

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