Trout fishing in the Smoky Mountains National Park. Fly fishing in the Smoky Mountains. Trout fishing in the Smokies. Fishing guides in the Smoky Mountains. TN trout fishing
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Trout fishing in the Smoky Mountains National Park

Jay Fradd fly fishing on Cataloochee Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - photo by John Hudson Smith VI love to trout fish - whether it be for rainbow, speckled (brook), or brown trout. My fishing experience comes primarily from the rivers of West Virginia such as the Williams River, Elk River, Gauley, Cranberry, and several other mountain rivers in West Virginia. After moving to Tennessee, unfortunately, the time I have devoted to trout fishing has dwindled, but when I get a chance, there is nothing like fishing one of the mountain streams for a native brookie. Some of the places I've fished include Cataloochee Creek, Porters Creek, Abrams Creek, Deep Creek, Big Creek, Oconaluftee River, Bradley Fork, all prongs of the Little River, all prongs of the Little Pigeon River, Jake's Creek, Sam's Creek, and a few other streams in the National Park.

For the most part, the trout within the National Park don't get massive in size like you may see on the South Holston or Clinch River, but they offer a lot of sport in fishing the smaller mountain streams at high elevation with the native trout. Generally speaking, brown trout are the largest, then rainbows, and finally your speckled/brook trout. Browns up to 18" are not incredibly uncommon. A good sized rainbow is 11+ inches, and the average brook trout is about 3-7 inches and very rarely get over 9 inches - at least from my experience!

There are several sources who are light years more experienced and better fisherman than myself that can shed some valuable insight on fishing in the Smoky Mountains. One of the best websites is from Little River Outfitters in Townsend, TN. Byron Begley, the owner of the shop, does a fishing report every day that is a great read to catch up on the fishing conditions or for some simply entertaining stories.

I am thrilled when my cousins and uncle come fishing with me because they are much more experienced and are quite the fishermen! They fish primarily in the mountains of West Virginia and my cousin, John, is known to do some bushwhacking of his own in the very remote mountainous areas of West Virginia looking for some native brookies. Below are some photos of the gang fishing in West Virginia and here in the Smoky Mountains.

John Hudson Smith V cathing a large rainbow on a fly rod John Hudson Smith V with a large rainbow at the Gauley River in West Viriginia John Hudson Smith IV with a monster from the Gauley River in West Viriginia John Hudson Smith IV with another huge trout
Fish on! John Hudson Smith IV fighting a large trout on the Gauley River Large trout caught John Hudson Smith IV with a rainbow trout he caught on the Gauley River in West Virginia Trout caught on the Gauley River in West Virginia
Enough for a meal! John Hudson Smith IV, Ian Smith, and John Hudson Smith V in West Virginia
Rainbow trout, brown trout, and a golden trout

Some of the best references to plan your fishing trip in the Smokies or even research different streams include the following websites:

There are several valuable reference books about fly fishing and trout fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Below is a list of the books which I own and highly recommend:

Smoky Mountains Trout Fishing Guide - by Don Kirk
Trout Streams of Southern Appalachia by Jimmy Jacobs Great Smoky Mountains National Park Angler's Companion by Ian Rutter

Some of the better known rivers, creeks, and streams for trout fishing in the East Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park area include:

  • John Hudson Smith V after catching a large trout on his fly rodAbrams Creek
  • Bradley Fork
  • Bunches Creek
  • Clinch River (outside National Park)
  • Cosby Creek
  • Deep Creek
  • Eagle Creek
  • Forney Creek
  • Hazel Creek
  • Indian Creek
  • Jake's Creek
  • Left Fork of Deep Creek
  • Little River
  • Middle Prong Little Pigeon River (aka Greenbrier Creek)
  • Middle Prong Little River
  • Oconaluftee River
  • Noland Creek
  • Porters Creek
  • Raven Fork
  • Roaring Fork
  • Road Prong
  • South Holston River (outside National Park)
  • Straight Fork
  • Twentymile Creek
  • Walker Camp Prong
  • West Prong Little Pigeon River
  • West Prong Little River


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